Mayors respond to Ontario Planning Act at county meeting

PEMBROKE – An otherwise technical and seemingly humdrum report by Charles Cheesman, Manager of Planning Services of the County of Renfrew, at the monthly county meeting that was held on May 27, raised a storm of indignation from the county’s mayors.

The report, entitled, “Official Plan 25 Year Amendment No. 25 (5 Year Review) of Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Modifications,” might have serious implications for development in the region if something cannot be done about it, said the mayors.

Mr. Cheesman’s presentation gave the history of the new policies of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as well as the new classifications of land in the county and what these classifications mean, or might mean, for building.

The process has been going on now for a few years, with local mayors and reeve and their staffs registering their concerns at each moment.

The new regulations, alongside the new maps of land classification, introduce very wide swaths of ‘deer wintering ground,’ for example. In these designated areas, any development would have to be preceded by an environmental impact study.

One point that seems to make sense is the province’s concern with Karst, which is rock layers of material easily eroded into sink holes, rock like limestone.

There were also concerns with the extension of agricultural zoning, which would impede housing development.

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