Niagara Escarpment Plan Changes

Meaford, Ontario – August 5, 2016 – The Municipality of Meaford, along with neighbouring municipalities and Grey County, are asking that the commenting period for changes to the Niagara Escarpment Plan be extended past September 30, 2016. The municipality of Meaford is recommending an extension of at least 12 months.

The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) has put together a proposal recommending an additional 32,559 hectares of land in Grey County be added to the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP). About 2/3 of this proposal (21,323 hectares) is located in the Municipality of Meaford. Additional lands in Georgian Bluffs (4,279 hectares), Town of the Blue Mountains (4,464 hectares) and Grey Highlands (2,358 hectares) have also been proposed, and the NEC would also like to change existing land use designations in some areas.

These changes could be significant for many residents. According to Rob Armstrong, Director of Development and Environmental Services. “We believe our current Planning Policies, together with the Conservation Authority regulations and policies, already manage growth and protect the natural environment, so we do not see the need to expand the NEP boundaries. It also seems very unusual to propose areas for inclusion within the Niagara Escarpment Plan, without identifying the applicable designation. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, for our residents to evaluate the impact on their property and provide meaningful comments.”

“We hope by joining together with our neighbours and the County we can get our message heard”, said Mayor Barb Clumpus. “I question whether these proposed additions are necessary given our current commitments to environmental sustainability. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the NEC in meeting their environmental objectives. More public consultation is essential to this process. Many residents whose properties may be included don’t even know yet that these changes are proposed, or how they may be affected. Future development and property values could be impacted.”

The commenting period is currently set to end on September 30, 2016 but an immediate request to extend this period is being submitted. Staff from the affected municipalities have agreed to collaborate on a draft motion that will be shared with local Councils.

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Contact Us

Rob Armstrong
Director of Development and Environmental Services
Municipality of Meaford
21 Trowbridge Street West, Meaford
519 538-1060 ext. 1121 | rarmstrong@meaford.ca


Background

Courtesy of Grey County

Ontario is reviewing four Provincial Plans including the Niagara Escarpment Plan. As part of this review, the Niagara Escarpment Commission has proposed changes to the plan. Changes include expanding the area of the NEC, changing land use designations, altering recreation areas and making changes to forest management policies.

Proposed Additions

  • 45,677 hectares of new land are being proposed in the plan for a total of 84,114 acres of land.
  • 32,559 hectares of the new land is within Grey County.
  • Two-thirds of this land is located in the Municipality of Meaford (21,323 hectares). There are also significant portions in Georgian Bluffs (4,279 hectares), Town of the Blue Mountains (4,464 hectares) and Grey Highlands (2,358 hectares).

Changes to land uses can significantly impact how property owners can or cannot develop their land. Local municipalities have no decision making control for development in areas under the jurisdiction of the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Changes to land use designations may also impact property assessment. The total financial impact of the proposed changes has not been calculated.

More information about the Niagara Escarpment Commission and their proposed changes to the Niagara Escarpment Plan can be found on http://www.escarpment.org/(link is external).

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