Wilhelm updates council on official plan review

KENILWORTH – County manager of policy planning Sarah Wilhelm updated Wellington North council on the process for the county’s official plan review.

Similar updates were offered to all of Wellington County’s lower tier municipalities.

“We are trying to be proactive by coming to the municipalities before we officially kick off this project,” said Wilhelm.

She added “we are here to listen and take back any comments you might have.”

She said explained the Official Plan provides policy direction for land use planning and development across Wellington County.

“It is living document which is updated on a regular basis.”

The plan includes both county and local policies.

Wilhelm said there are different approaches in the update. She noted the growth plan – municipal comprehensive review is a top priority as the province has a July 2022 deadline.

She said one of the key components will be the land needs assessment and where growth within the municipality will happen.

“We also have the Agricultural System and Natural Heritage System mapping and policy direction.”

Wilhelm noted the Planning Act requires municipalities to update their official plans every five years. That process is subject to provincial approval and is non-appealable.

The county completed its last five-year review process in 2014.

“We plan to have consultation throughout this process in many different forms,” said Wilhelm.

She acknowledged Wellington North’s staff for being very proactive.

“You are the first municipality which asked to meet with us before the council meeting. Therefore we had a chance to meet beforehand to lay out what the municipality believes to be key issues moving forward.”

And, she added, staff have already provided background material that will assist in the process.

“We will be back and will continue to be working with you,” she added.

CAO Mike Givens said township staff is prepared for the process because of the community growth plan work already undertaken.