BRUCE COUNTY – Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody voted against endorsing the Plan the Bruce good growth discussion paper. However, the motion to endorse the paper carried. The only other member of the planning and development committee to vote against the motion was Warden Janice Jackson, South Bruce Peninsula mayor.
Peabody’s issue with the paper was numbers used by the consultant that indicate the county, as a whole, has a surplus of land to accommodate growth for the next 15 years. This would serve to constrain growth at a time when Brockton is looking to expand urban boundaries.
Jackson said projections for her municipality surprised her – they seem to be very low, compared to growth that’s happening at present.
During discussion, Peabody asked how to proceed “if Brockton doesn’t agree with this.” He raised the possibility of appealing to LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal).
Mark Paoli, director of planning and development, said he hopes to avoid that.
Presenting the discussion paper on for the consultant, Watson and Associates, was Jamie Cook. He explained that estimates show a higher rate of growth than was originally forecast.
“We think what happened during COVID-19 will continue,” he said.
This new pattern is expected to continue. Cook said many of the people coming to this area are from the Golden Horseshoe area.
Along with new residents coming to the area, there are new jobs. Some reflect residential growth, but there are also industrial jobs. Cook said the Bruce Power refurbishment project is driving that growth, but there are jobs in other areas including agribusiness.
The municipalities with the highest rates of growth are Saugeen Shores, Brockton and South Bruce, Cook said.
Growth is being directed to fully serviced urban areas, but Cook noted hamlet areas also play a role.
The good growth discussion paper will serve as a foundation for developing policies in the new Official Plan. The document will be monitored on an ongoing basis. Because of this, County Coun. Milt McIver, Northern Bruce Peninsula, said he could support the motion.
Recommended directions for growth management include managing the municipal servicing infrastructure, maintaining a distinct settlement area structure, planning for permanent and seasonal population growth, and develop a plan monitoring and evaluation framework.
Residential themes include updating countywide housing projections, defining a regional market area, and planning for residential intensification. Non-residential themes focus on consistent employment area delineations, future employment lands development, intensification of employment lands within urban settlement areas, and agriculture-related industrial and commercial uses on agricultural lands.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times