St. Mary’s municipal planning strategy nears final approval

ST. MARY’S – The first municipal planning strategy (MPS) for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s in 15 years has passed second reading of council and is expected to be on its way to the provincial government soon for final review.

The document – which has involved extensive research and public consultations over the past two years – will serve as a blueprint for everything from land use to community economic development, replacing a strategy ratified in 2006.

Following a public hearing and special council meeting on Oct. 18, St. Mary’s Deputy Warden James Fuller stated, “Be it resolved by council for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s give second reading and approve the draft of the municipal planning strategy and land use bylaw dated October 18, 2022, with … non-substantial amendments … and minor edits in content and form.”

Council moved and approved the resolution. According to Fuller last week, the next stage for the plan is provincial review, which should occur shortly. Once approved, the MPS has the status of law in the municipality.

The Guidebook on Municipal Planning Strategy and Land-Use By-Law Preparation, published by the provincial government in 2020, states that the usual focus of the MPS is “on policies to deal with opportunities and issues related to the development of land, although a wide variety of other issues may be addressed. It should thus be comprehensible to a lay person but also legally interpretable. A municipality cannot act contrary to its MPS … though [its] the policies do not commit a council to undertaking any specific project.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal