Callander is getting close to having a new official plan which will outline a vision for the municipality’s future. J.L. Richards has been given the task of drafting the document—with much input from the community and council—and they recently informed councillors they are almost finished Stage 3 of the four-stage process.
J.L. Richards presented to council on May 24 and provided details of the draft document. The next step is to update council in the near future, host meetings with community “stakeholders,” have an open house for residents, then put the finishing touches on the plan before it returns to council again for approval.
This should all be finished within a few months, most likely by late summer, and once council signs off, the document will be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
See: Callander updating official plan and wants your input
“An official plan,” J.L. Richards clarify in its report, “is a comprehensive policy document that looks twenty and more years into the future and establishes a vision of what that community will look like” over those years.
Callander’s last official plan was adopted on March 6, 2010, and the Ministry of Municipal and Affairs and Housing approved it on June 7, 2011. That plan has been guiding the municipality since.
Having a plan is handy, but it is also legislated. Section 26 of the Planning Act not only requires municipalities to have a plan on the shelf, but to revise it at least every 10 years.
What’s in this new plan? The 64-page draft document covers many aspects that will affect the future moves of the municipality. Economic development, housing, community amenities are all discussed. Service levels are included, cultural heritage is discussed, and health and safety are covered as well.
The environment is also highlighted, and the report addresses possible climate changes, and how these changes could affect municipal policy. For example, some predict more torrential rainstorms in the coming years, and with this in mind, a municipality could construct larger culverts when it is time to remove the old ones.
The old plan mentioned some policies regarding energy conservation and green energy but neglected to address climate change issues the way this new plan will. “Climate change is an increasing threat to municipalities across the globe,” the report explains.
There is also a focus on protecting the water and land within the municipality to ensure “a holistic and balanced approach” when considering new residential and commercial developments. As the population increases, so does demand on the environment, and the report acknowledges it is “vital to identify and establish clear provisions around natural heritage features” to make sure “development occurs in a coordinated and sustainable manner.”
The official plan is still in draft, and the public will have the opportunity to add input in the upcoming months once those meetings are announced. The draft is available to view on Callander’s website, as is the current plan which was approved in 2011.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca