Official Plan

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Image of a County road in the fall with leaves turning colours

The County has been in the process of updating its Official Plan for many years. The current Official Plan is dated and requires significant updates to reflect provincial policy and the development of policies that more accurately reflect today’s environment and to guide development in the future.

Your feedback is vital to ensure that the plan provides the best policies to guide decision making. The latest draft is now available for review and public comment. An overview of each section is provided below where you can also give your feedback.

The preferred method of correspondence is through Have Your Say or a letter to the County. If after reviewing the document you have many concerns, you may request a socially distanced meeting to discuss further with Planning staff.

At the end of the public consultation timeframe, staff will evaluate all comments and make changes to the plan as necessary. Once the document is finalized it will be brought forward to Planning Committee for discussion and then to Council for adoption.

The County has been in the process of updating its Official Plan for many years. The current Official Plan is dated and requires significant updates to reflect provincial policy and the development of policies that more accurately reflect today’s environment and to guide development in the future.

Your feedback is vital to ensure that the plan provides the best policies to guide decision making. The latest draft is now available for review and public comment. An overview of each section is provided below where you can also give your feedback.

The preferred method of correspondence is through Have Your Say or a letter to the County. If after reviewing the document you have many concerns, you may request a socially distanced meeting to discuss further with Planning staff.

At the end of the public consultation timeframe, staff will evaluate all comments and make changes to the plan as necessary. Once the document is finalized it will be brought forward to Planning Committee for discussion and then to Council for adoption.

Discussions: All (4) Open (4)
  • Section 2.0 County Context and Future Direction

    24 days ago
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    The overarching vision of the new Official Plan can be found within Section 2.3. The elements of an abundance of agricultural lands, environmentally protected landscapes, shorelines, and a mix of settlement areas together form the County’s desirable quality of life and quality of place. The above noted vision and the Provincial Policy Statement’s guiding principle to concentrate growth within our settlement areas (villages, hamlets) are important themes within the proposed plan.

    As development occurs the plan envisions that development is compatible with what is existing (i.e the look and feel of a hamlet). The plan also requires that development does not cause harm or negatively impact the environment, agricultural land or lead to public health and safety concerns. This section also sets out projections for population and employment growth until the year 2038. 

    Questions to consider:

    Does the plan’s vision capture the essence of the County? 

    The population and employment projections have a large impact on further policy development within the plan. Do you agree with the growth as presented? If not, what are your thoughts and how might your idea(s) affect policy development?


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  • Section 3 Shaping the County

    24 days ago
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    The first subsection speaks to how the plan protects and enhances the County’s many natural features including wetlands, shorelines, valleylands and woodlands. The plan outlines if and what form of development can take place in or adjacent to such a feature. If development is permitted the plan will require one or more environmental studies to be done to support the proposed development. Any required study will need to show that no negative impact will occur to the natural feature as a result of the proposed development in advance of the proposal being approved. 

    One new feature is the concept of “natural core areas” and the linkages between them. These natural core areas can be seen on Schedule B of the plan. Currently the plan will not support major developments within natural core areas. However, given how much of the County falls within this proposed designation, we might ask ourselves: 

    • Is too much land being protected or not enough? How much and what size and types of development could or should be permitted? 
    • Is eco-tourism a viable option within Natural Core Areas given the environmental studies required to support an application for development??

    The next subsection provides details on economic prosperity within the County. Given the County’s vision: 

    • How do we create meaningful jobs and still protect the uniqueness of our community? 

    The agricultural sector is an integral part of the County. 

    • How do we maintain and support the growth of the agricultural industry? 

    Tourism is another large sector of the economy. 

    • How and where do we build upon this sector?

    Next we look at how we create a liveable community. The main objective for housing is to create an appropriate mix of housing that is attainable to most along with creating affordable housing for low income individuals and families. Have we missed an opportunity based on your reading of the policies? 

    We examine heritage buildings and landscapes and policies to help preserve and enhance our history for those who live in the community and those who may visit as tourists. 

    No community is complete without its facilities and services. The plan recognizes the value of community facilities that are accessible to all and that services are centrally located to support the community. The plan provides for many of the services to be within the villages. 

    • However, is this the best way to provide a service? 
    • Are there cost implications for another method of service delivery?

    The final subsection provides policy to guide the development of infrastructure and the type of infrastructure to be used in different situations. For instance, villages with one municipal service (water) will be developed based on the extension of the water service to new development proposals. However, sanitary servicing options will focus on the provision of communal systems first and private systems second. 

    • In the presented scenario, should the municipality do more to obtain some sort of municipal sanitary servicing system and, if so, how might this affect growth in those communities? 

    The plan also recognizes that local roads do not need to be 20 m wide. The typical standard now is 18 m (pavement width is still the same) but we should also explore other standards, such as a 14 m local road for window streets where the boulevards of two streets meet. The ability to be creative with regards to municipal infrastructure can lead to savings for the County and help achieve more affordable housing.

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  • Section 4 County Land Use Designations

    24 days ago
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    The plan provides policies on how and at what scale our villages and hamlets will grow. Do the policies reflect how you see our settlement areas growing? The rural and agricultural policies have been crafted to allow these two land uses to work in harmony. To help minimize conflicts between development in the rural area and agricultural lands and operations, as well as to be in greater compliance with the Provincial Policy Statement in terms of directing growth to the County’s various settlement areas, the plan eliminates the development of country lot residential subdivisions. 

    The shoreland designation recognizes its potential for tourism in permitting resort and camping-type developments, but also balances this type of development with the need and desire for more public access to the County’s shoreline. 

    The last designation presented is that of environmental protect. The policies recognize the importance of our natural features and how we may be able to protect and enhance them. Many of the afforded protections come from provincial and/or conservation authority legislation. 

    Question for Consideration:

    After reviewing the land use designations and their respective policies, do you feel that the plan captures the right balance in the interplay of the different land uses?


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  • Section 5 The County Toolbox

    24 days ago
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    This section speaks to the different ways that the municipality can implement the policies of the plan. 

    The division of land takes place in two ways: plans of subdivision and consent for severance. In reviewing subdivision and severance applications, the plan permits the County to ask for appropriate studies to support the proposed request. The plan also indicates the process an application must take before it is approved, such as pre-consultation before an application is made, how the County attains comments regarding applications, and how an official approval is given, either by a Council by-law or an agreement with the County. 

    In terms of consents for severance, the plan again recognizes the desired vision of the County, the Provincial Policy Statement for directing growth to settlement areas, and the desire to protect agricultural lands. As such, the number of severances permitted is to be reduced to one from the existing two.

    Applications for Site Plan are ways in which the plan permits individual pieces of land to be developed. Policies indicate what is required in advance of the County reviewing and approving such applications. The plan permits the municipality to ask for land or cash for parkland purposes when applications for commercial, residential, and industrial development are approved. The plan also recognizes the role the public plays in the various development applications submitted to the County and policies indicate how and when the public are to be engaged and their input sought. 

    Question for consideration:

    Are you satisfied with the how the County can use its tool to implement the vision and policies of the plan? 


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