More Flooding Ahead with powerless Conservation Authorities

There is an adage that you don’t recognize the value of something until it is gone.  We are on the verge of losing something which effectively reduces flood risks and is instrumental in having clean drinking water.  I am speaking of the attack on the Conservation Authorities (CA’s).  Within a bill of budgetary measures in response to COVID-19 there is a schedule 6 which essentially emasculates the CA’s.  If you agree that the CA’s are important you need to make your opposition known quickly as  Bill 229 is being rushed through given the urgency of the budget; further (more…)

Rural Area Zoning Bylaw

On Nov. 16 Council agenda there is a report reviewing the plan to develop a new zoning bylaw for the rural part of the Township.  In last couple years we have developed and approved new zoning bylaws for the 3 villages; this exercise is to deal with the rest of the Township.  Its very important work as today’s development (e.g. building a new barn) is influenced by a zoning bylaw dating back to 1974 and the dozens of amendments which have been made since then.  Its very onerous to anyone who wants to build.  (This is not about if it is allowed to build a house or a barn as that it is permitted or not in the Official Plan.  This is about where specifically it can be built.  And there are more factors addressed in a zoning bylaw of course.  3 virtual public open houses will be held as the beginning of engagement with the public.  Content will be identical; hopefull you can make it to one.  (more…)

Development Charges

On Nov. 16 Council agenda there is a staff report presenting information about the new development charge (DC) bylaw being prepared and reviewing the process leading up to presentation of a new bylaw for approval by Council in January 24, 2021.  DC’s are the costs which anyone pays if there is to be a building permit; clearly the magnitude is different whether it is to build a replacement house or if it is for a house/unit in a new subdivision; but the principles as to how the magnitude is determined are same.  Concept is that DC’s are what funds the infrastructure required to support the development such as roads, water & sewers, transit, libraries, parks etc. etc.  For a layperson the topic is complex; but in addition, there have been significant changes in last two years with the new provincial government.  For the appendices click here to the agenda and scroll down.

Wetlands Under Attack

It will be no surprise to those who know me and/or read my blog that I am very disturbed by the news that wetlands are being considered as obstacles to development; and that rather than modifying a project (i.e change its location) permissions are being granted by the Province to fill them in.  It is by no means a new “crime” as they have been disappearing since the Europeans arrived and we started establishing ourselves.  I am being provocative to say it was a  crime 400 hundred years ago but I am tempeted to use the term as today we are still doing it.  I think the first new people to live in this area of Canada, do have a good excuse:  true ignorance.  Today we don’t have that excuse.

Earlier this year 3 provincially significant wetlands on agriculturally zoned land were filled in to enable construction of a Walmart distribution centre (more…)

Green Building Standards

On Nov.16 Council agenda there is a staff report presenting the final version of sustainable developement standards for approval by Council; also presented is the plan for implementing with a start date of February 2021 for all new site plan applications.  This program has been a long time in coming; first version was checklist in 2013.  Since then there has been changes in expectations and recognition of the need for such; and, there has been significant consultation with various stakeholders and experts.  As a member of the Sustainability Committee when the first version was launched I am very happy to see this.  It looks very comprehensive and is appropriately complex but structured and organized well.  I do have a couple significant questions.  First, as I read it, there is a minimum which must be achieved in order to get approval of a site plan.  The question is whether a proponent can appeal our refusal to approve.  Second, how do our standards compare to current Building Code in Ontario?