By Chad Ingram
Published April 14 2016
There are a number of new sections in Haliburton County’s updated official plan many of them a direct result of changes in provincial policy.
Official plans are the documents that guide planning and development within municipalities. They must be updated every five years and county planner Charlsey White has been doing presentations on the updated official plan for Haliburton County for its lower-tier councils.
The draft plan with then go to the county’s planning committee and ultimately to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval.
The updated plan removes “lakefront communities” and “dispersed development” sections now capturing that type of development under the “rural lands” section.
“Rural lands is now also a separate land-designation area” White told Algonquin Highlands councillors during an April 7 meeting.
The rural lands section deals with employment areas resources agriculture aggregates minerals tourism and resource-based recreational uses.
Choosing employment areas – sites for future business parks etc. – will be a responsibility assigned to each of the lower-tier councils.
“Through some back and forth with the planning committee it was decided this was more of a lower-tier responsibility” White said. “I’m not sure how that’s going to be received so we’ll see.”
A new section is a housing section which deals with intensification targets redevelopment policies etc.
Under the updated plan second dwelling units are not permitted in waterfront areas.
“We have a number of other areas where we feel it’s more appropriate to have those uses” White said.
The plan also deals with the notion of “community hubs” a concept being promoted by the province whereby underutilized public spaces such as schools are used for additional purposes such facilitating daycare or hosting blood donor clinics.
“Community hubs comes from a new provincial initiative . . . so we’ve taken some ideas from there” White said.
Other sections such as cultural heritage and archeology waste management transportation and economic development have been upgraded grouping policies by topic.
“So it’s like a one-stop-shop for policy” White said.
While there are no lands assigned specifically for agricultural or specialty crop use “agriculture is probably more defined” said White explaining the updated plan includes language that is supportive of agriculture. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have farms.”
White said some 350 properties in the county are identified as farms and stressed that consultation with local food producers had taken place during the updating of the plan.
“A lot of the things in the county’s OP will feed into ours as we go through the process” said Reeve Carol Moffatt.
Each of the county’s lower-tier townships must also complete a review of their own official plans.
The official plan update can be viewed on the Haliburton County website and feedback can be sent to email@example.com.
Under new provincial legislation official plan reviews will begin taking place every 10 years rather than every five.