Grey Highlands considers rule change to lift ban on mobile homes

The Municipality of Grey Highlands is going to proceed with a public meeting on a housekeeping amendment to its official plan.

At its meeting on Oct. 18, Grey Highlands council voted in favour of moving ahead with a public meeting on Official Plan amendment 44. Council had a choice of taking the proposed amendment directly to the public or discussing the amendment at a future committee of the whole meeting.

The decision was made after significant debate and multiple votes. In a 4-3 vote council first defeated a resolution to take the amendment to committee of the whole. Mayor Paul McQueen, Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen and councillors Paul Allen and Nadia Dubyk combined to defeat the resolution.

Council then voted 6-1 to go directly to a public meeting, with only coun. Dan Wickens opposed.

The update proposes to make some changes to planning policies for agricultural and rural severances, minimum distance separation requirements and would eliminate a prohibition of mobile homes being built. The full package of changes can be found in the staff report on the matter here.

“These are housekeeping items that have been kicked around and kicked around and kicked around,” said McQueen, who argued that council should get public input on the changes now and then debate the amendment at committee of the whole. “We’re not going to lose the discussion. It’s all going to come back to committee of the whole. Let’s get on with it.”

Other members of council pointed out that a committee of the whole meeting for OPA 44 could not be held until earlier in 2024.

“That’s moving it a long way out,” said Allen.

Councillor Tom Allwood said, in some cases, the existing policies the amendment seeks to change are holding up the project’s of local citizens. Earlier in the meeting during the open forum portion of the proceedings, local resident Debra Varey encouraged council to adopt the changes in order to allow her to locate a mobile home on her property.

“It’s important stuff, we’ve got to get it right,” said Allwood.

A public meeting on the amendment will be scheduled in the near future.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,