BRUCE COUNTY – A special meeting of Bruce County council on the new Official Plan set out timelines and next steps. It also provided council and members of the community with an opportunity to make submissions for potential revisions.
WSP consultants Robert Rappolt and Gregory Bender gave the presentation on the Official Plan (OP).
The document establishes policies for management of growth and change in the county involving land use, housing, economic development, community improvement, transportation and the protection of agricultural and heritage resources, according to the presentation.
The new OP will guide decisions for the next 25 years, to the year 2046.
Throughout the process to date, there has been ample opportunity for public input. This will continue until the final plan is approved.
The process is at the stage of preparing the draft OP for presentation in early 2022. That draft will be revised based on stakeholder feedback, taking the process into mid-2022, with the proposed approval of the OP to take place late in 2022. The plan will not come into effect until it receives provincial approval.
County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, Saugeen Shores, commented that he liked the way the process was conducted, through a series of discussion papers. Some of the topics for discussion papers remain outstanding; Charbonneau said he’d like the opportunity for discussion on all of them.
County Coun. Steve Hammell, Arran-Elderslie, commented that there will be a municipal election in October 2022, about the same time as the final draft comes before county council.
County Coun. Chris Peabody, Brockton, noted there are letters of concern from both Huron-Kinloss and Brockton on the Watson Report on Good Growth. He asked how the concerns about growth being constrained in the two municipalities will be addressed.
“The Watson Report has already had a chilling effect on development (in Brockton),” Peabody said, relating how he’d received a call from a developer. Peabody also said concerns about growth being discouraged in the hamlets “haven’t been heard.”
He further stated “there seems to be a lot of duplication … with what Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority is doing” in the paper on Natural Legacy regarding source water protection. He said he would not support the plan as it stands.
Peabody was told the intent is for a “collaborative approach” in which the concerns expressed will be taken into consideration.
In addition to the letters from Huron-Kinloss and Brockton, comments were provided by Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (with an offer to assist in the review of natural hazards, natural heritage and water resources), Grey County, Garry and Joy Johnson (of South Bruce Peninsula, who expressed concerns about the designation of agricultural land, and growth in hamlets), and Walker Aggregates.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times