County of Renfrew demands meeting with Province on official plan

PEMBROKE – A war of sorts was declared on the province by Renfrew County Council on October 31. It was not just one councillor who was taken aback by provincial staff comments about the County of Renfrew Official Plan Amendment, it was unanimous within the council chambers. At issue is the Official County Plan Amendment 25. This is the document which will regulate where and how development can take place within the county for the next five years. The plan guides such things as the construction of subdivisions to the division of the family lake lot. After months of public consultations, the plan was submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in April. The deadline for signing by Minister Steve Clark is December 24. County and provincial staff have been wrestling with the wording of the amendment. As Charles Cheesman, county planner, explained to council, the ministry staff reviews the text submitted by the county and has the authority to amend it, “as they see fit based upon provincial policy and their needs.” There are no appeals to the ministry’s decisions, once it is signed. Cheesman and county staff are concerned that no one has seen a final draft of the text of the amendment from the ministry. To read the full story, pick up a copy of the November 7, 2018 Valley Gazette.