The summer felt like a re-setting time for the Township: the new Chief Administrative Officer started his job, input for the next three years strategic pan was being collected and developing the new Official Plan started. A few other issues were percolating that will also have significant impacts on the Township.
Planning Changes: A Win for Large Developers
Last spring the provincial government passed an omnibus bill, “More Homes, More Choice”. It is not clear that it will lead to more affordable housing, but it will definitely shift planning power strongly in favour of large developers and away from community input and control.
The government has changed the rules Local Planning Appeal Tribunal back to those of the old Ontario Municipal Board which takes power away from local councils: a change that will lead to longer, more expensive legal proceedings, particularly around subdivisions.
The new legislation also shortens the time allowed for Councils and communities to consider new development proposals. Extra reports and community input into both the Johnson’s Point and Hartington developments changed the original developer proposals for the better. Yet this input was not possible even under the longer timeline rules. The situation will be worse with the new shorter timelines.
In our community many residents are away for part of the year: longer timelines are needed to get their input. The number and complexity of studies required for most developments demand time for the community, let alone Township staff and Councillors, to adequately assess them, and get a second opinion if necessary. The legislation also restricts the right of residents and community groups to appeal the Land Tribunal decisions on subdivisions, further limiting public oversight of large developments.
All these changes strongly favour well-financed large developers. The impacts will be felt when new proposals come to Council.
A proposal to turn plastics into energy through a process called pyrolysis appeared on the Public Works Committee agenda this summer.
Concerns about this technology include:
• It burns plastic which produces significant amounts of greenhouse gases in its manufacture and again when it is burnt.
• The technology is very expensive.
• To be efficient it requires a large guaranteed amount of fuel, effectively encouraging more plastic consumption.
• A more pressing and solvable problem is organic waste. Organics make up about 50% of our garbage. Proven technologies that can turn organics into compost or bio-fuel are cost effective, reduce green house gases and can significantly extend the life of our landfills.
Official Plan Redo Officially Started
At the August Council meeting the Official Plan redo was formally initiated. When finished the new plan will play a major role in how the Township develops over the next twenty years.
To be a good plan it needs extensive public input. A good plan will help South Frontenac develop into the community we want it to be.
Writing a new official Plan will take about two years. Your early input early is important. It sets the tone and ensures that the correct questions are answered to create the best Official Plan.
The first series of meetings for community in-put are being held this fall. If you can, come to any one of them:
September 21 – 9am-11 – Glendower Hall, Westport Road
October 3, 7pm-9 – Storrington Lions Club, Battersea Road
October 23, 5pm-7 – Council Chambers, Sydenham
There will also be an opportunity to online input.
Council will be considering the community input on our next three year Strategic Plan at a special Committee of the Whole meeting, Tuesday, September 10 from 9am-2. Anyone interested in the discussion is welcome to come. Recommendations from that meeting will go to a regular Council meeting for final approval.
Desert Lake Causeway
After many years of planning upgrading the Desert lake Causeway will start this month. Expect traffic restrictions for a few months. The Causeway will also be completely closed to traffic from late in the day on September 26 to September 29: that is a PA-day weekend for the schools allowing for minimal disruption while the culverts are replaced.
Committees are considering regulations for cannabis production facilities, dog kennel noise and licensing of docks on public shorelines. Initial reports on these topics are in the August 26 Development Services Committee agenda.