We appreciate it has been difficult to follow what has been happening at Clarington Council on the issue of the expansion of environmentally protected lands (EP) in rural Clarington from 27% to 50%.
Over the past 4 months, landowners have been bringing this matter consistently to the attention of Council members and we are making some progress. The impact on landowners would be serious, lowering property values, reducing one’s ability to get loans and financing and limiting what one can and can not do on their land. It will also increase the need for more site visits, environmental reviews and environmental assessments which can be very costly to the landowner.
From earlier in the summer, when Clarington’s Planning staff made its presentation to Council to amend zoning by-laws on June 24th to this week, the public have been repeatedly and strongly voicing their concerns.
Council now recognizes that Clarington’s Official Plan (mapping) has extended EP lands and protection zones beyond that shown on the Region’s mapping and Ministry of Natural Resources’ mapping. Council has also recognized that there are many errors on the Clarington map.
Despite numerous requests from Councillors, elected public officials and landowners, the Planning staff have not provided copies of the specific documentation on which decisions were made nor a clear rationale for much of the expansion.
We believe that the mapping has to be amended and corrected and that the property owner must be informed of any designation changes made to their land.
A Motion put forward on September 9th, requiring a 3 month pause of the staff work on the rural areas of Clarington zoning, passed unanimously by all members of Council, has now been replaced by a new Motion.
The new Motion is to abandon the work on amending Clarington’s zoning by-laws. After all, zoning by-laws are based on the Official Plan, the map, and the map has to be corrected.
As Councillor Neal stated on October 7th, “We need to go back to the basics and get the mapping right first.”
On Monday, October 7th, he put forward a Motion that:
: tells staff to abandon work on the zoning,
: prepare a map that shows only areas that need to be protected based on Provincial legislation and Policies and the Region’s map,
: ensures that individual landowners are notified of any changes to their land’s designation, and
: includes that public notification not only includes what can be done on EP land but also states what can not be done.
(To see the full Motion, click here)
This Motion was not passed unanimously because 4 Councillors voted to refer it to the next Planning and Development Meeting on Tuesday, October 22nd for discussion.
It is critical that this Motion does not get amended.
Possible amendments may result in continuing to use a map on which there are errors, with some corrections made after a site visit that a landowner has to request and unexplained expansion of EP rural lands remaining as Clarington’s Official Plan.
Once the Motion goes through Committee – hopefully not an amended version – it must go to a full Council Meeting on Monday, October 28th to be ratified.
Your presence is critical at both meetings. A large attendance at these meetings will show Council that we want them to do the right thing for rural landowners in Clarington.
Planning and Development Committee on
Tuesday, October 22nd
Full Council Meeting on
Monday, October 28th
Remember to mark your calendars with these dates.
Don’t forget our next Information Session on Thursday, October 24th at Faith United Church in Courtice. We have invited the Mayor and all Councillors to be there to answer your questions.
Questions, of no more than 200 words, must be submitted in writing via email to Rezoning Clarington at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, October 22nd.
It’s time to hear from our Council Members and hold them accountable for how they stand on this issue.