Currently Browsing: Planning Policy Reviews

Greenbelt or….swiss cheese?

The review of the Growth Plan and Conservation Plans is coming to a close.  I have written about it several times.  Last week shocking news was released; in addition to considering policy changes the Province has received 650 requests from developers and municipalities to remove lands from the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt.  The number is shocking but also is the fact that the Province may make decisions to approve without quality public consultation; the public should not have to comb through the Environmental Registry to find requests in order to communicate concerns to the Province.

Here is map showing some (1/3) of the requests.  There are at least 20 requests from land owners in King Township to take 520 hectares out of the Protected Countryside.  (I say “at least” as only 1/3 of the (more…)

OMB Reform

The Province has initiated a review of the OMB and are seeking public input.  The closest one to us is Tuesday October 18th in Newmarket at Trinity United Church 461 Park Ave.  To learn more about the review process etc. see here.  Changing the scope of the issues open to OMB decision making needs to be significantly reduced.  I will be writing more about this later.

You will see that RSVP’s about intent to attend is “encouraged.”  I can appreciate why a perspective on how many will attend is a reasonable preference; but, if you think you can’t or won’t and at last minute you decide to go, do go!  Its important that the Province hears that we want reform.

4 Plan Review: feedback to Province

On 9/27 Council agenda there is Staff report asking for Council endorsement to proposed feedback to Province on its draft amendments of changes to the 4 Plans i.e. Growth Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Greenbelt Plan.  The provincial review also includes (Niagara Escarpment Plan which is not commenting on as it is not of direct relevance to King.)

The area of policy about which I have voiced disagreement, specifically, the ability to remove lands from the Protected Countryside along the 400 series highways to serve as employment lands has not been eliminated. But, I am very supportive of numerous other changes which I have commented on in earlier posts.

I think the report is much improved in terms of King providing firm feedback where the Province needs to provide support and/or more definition of standards.  Given the challenges we have had with applications to install energy infrastructure  or recreational facilities which we do not interpret as being consistent with the intent of the conservation plans I think we have valid experience for providing strong feedback to the Province on these matters.

A major challenge for us is the density requirements under the new Growth Plan.  Indeed its a challenge for most municipalities as few have plans to meet the current requirements, let alone the increased ones in the amended Growth Plan.  Its very tough for most people to envision what our villages could look like 40 years from now.  Human nature restricts that vision to being essentially what it is today with some modest change.  If we allow that to happen (i.e. we do not plan and act for something else) it will not be possible to protect and preserve our green spaces, our open spaces i.e. where we grow food.  Hence when there are plans showing intensification, there is little enthusiasm from those living today in the community.  I agree with a point made in the proposed feedback to Province that meaningful increased in density without the public transit infrastructure in place is inappropriate.

I would like to hear what you think about these issues.

 

Status report on critical planning initiatives

Given how critical our projects to update Official Plan and zoning bylaws for the 3 villages Staff has been asked to provide updates every 3 months.  Here is 2nd such update which is on 9/27 Council agenda.  I am disappointed to see that previous target dates are not being met; I will be asking a couple questions for more understanding.  I am glad to have confirmation that quality is not being compromised.

 

 

4 Plan Review: Township Feedback

On 9/17 Council agenda there is a Staff report recommending what feedback the Township should give to the Province in response to the amendments proposed for the 3 conservation plans and the growth plan.  You can see here my initial assessment of the Province’s amendments. The subject matter is significant both in breadth and complexity and reading the Township’s comments has triggered me to look at some of the provisions again.  I encourage you to review the Staff report; I am very interested to hear what you think.  At time of writing there are several areas I would like to hi-light for you. (more…)