Important Reminder: Public Meeting on Draft 2 of Official Plan Tuesday, May 22 at 6

Tomorrow night starting at 6 pm is the statutory public meeting on the revised draft of the Community Official Plan:

May 22, 6 pm at the Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge Street, Almonte

Here are some of the changes about which you might want to comment:

Natural Heritage Systems

You should know that the second draft still contains undefined references to “locally significant” lands, or just “significant” lands with no cited authorities for such designations (see 3.1.4). You will remember that at the Municipal Open House on the matter on December 14, 2017, with all Council but one in attendance,  Mayor Shaun McLaughlin committed to the removal of all but “provincially significant” designations as required by the appropriate provincial authority. No accepted, accountable authority was identified for designating and managing “locally significant” or “significant.”

Suggested comments: REMOVE “locally significant” and “significant” references in the Natural Heritage Systems section.

Heritage Resources

With regard to “Heritage Resources” this plan greatly expands the number of affected buildings to include those in the vicinity, resulting in much more intrusion, expense to both owners and non-involved taxpayers, and red tape by unaccountable committees. The heritage conservation measures to date, underwritten by all taxpayers, are both autocratic and unsustainable, and should not be expanded to non-heritage structures.

Suggested comments: REMOVE all changes and expansions to “Heritage Resources” especially for non-heritage structures; allow opt-outs.

Agricultural Lands

The plan says that agricultural use may continue unless the use is proposed to be changed. There is also a proposal for an alternative review and identification of all prime agricultural lands (3.2.3.4).

Suggested comments: agricultural operations will be permitted with no changes to buffers; where prime agricultural use can be expanded, it will be encouraged in recognition and preservation of the rural character of the Municipality.

Economic Development

Changes to the COP require that the Municipality “support” arts and culture, pursuant to economic development and tourism. However, it misses a huge opportunity when the plan completely ignores planning for the economic potential of the new Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail, which can be tied in with arts, culture, tourism and recreation. This has been in the works for many years now.

Suggested comments: add support for the multi-use recreational trail.

Future Expansion Areas

The Plan has a new section on “Future Expansion Areas: Almonte Ward” which defines three areas and needs a great deal more public consultation for better-managed growth throughout the Municipality.  The new Planner recommended that settlement areas throughout the Municipality be reviewed by the next Council within two years.

Suggested comments: Remove the new section on Almonte expansion; say instead that settlement area expansion is to be reviewed throughout the Municipality.

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You can see Draft #2 of the proposed Community Official Plan at the Municipality or at their website, halfway down the page, by clicking on this link:

http://www.mississippimills.ca/en/townhall/planning.asp

“Residents and community members are invited to review the updated policy and schedules and offer comments either in person at the Statutory Public Meeting on

May 22, 6 pm at the Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge Street, Almonte

in writing to the Director of Planning, or in person during scheduled Friday drop-in sessions with the Director up to May 22nd. ”

Unfortunately, this location offers little parking for residents of Pakenham, Clayton, Appleton and Ramsay to attend.  As you know, previous public meetings on the Plan held by PRATAC and the municipality were well-attended.

From the Municipality:

“A copy of the plan amendment and information and material is available to the public for inspection at the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, Building and Planning Department, 3131 Old Perth Road, Mississippi Mills Public Library, Almonte Branch, 155 High Street, Almonte, and Pakenham Branch, 128 MacFarlane Street, Pakenham.”

“If you wish to be notified of the decision of the Municipality of Mississippi Mills on the proposed official plan Amendment No. 21, you must make a written request to Municipality of Mississippi Mills, 3131 Old Perth Road, P.O. Box 400, Almonte, Ontario K0A 1A0.”

“If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the Municipality of Mississippi Mills before the proposed official plan Amendment No. 21 is adopted, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the Council of the Municipality of Mississippi Mills to the Ontario Municipal Board.”

“If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to Municipality of Mississippi Mills before the proposed official plan Amendment No. 21 is adopted, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board unless, in the opinion of the Board, there are reasonable grounds to add the person or public body as a party.”