Update #2 from Gord Robinson

August 29, 2019

Rezoning Clarington has been active in meeting with property owners, Municipal Councillors, Clarington’s Planning Department and the Region of Durham’s Chair.

We have been monitoring announcements from the Province, particularly the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’ letter to Conservation Authorities in which he states:

These changes will give greater control to individual municipalities on conservation authorities programs and budgets. These changes will also require conservation authorities to re-focus their efforts on the delivery of programs and services related to their core mandate, such as those related to:

  • Risk of natural hazards;
  • Conservation and management of CA owned and controlled lands;
  • Drinking water source protection;
  • Protection of the Lake Simcoe watershed;
  • Other programs or services, as prescribed by regulation.

Furthermore, over the coming months, I will be reviewing all of the relevant legislation and regulations that govern Ontario’s conservation authorities to explore even more opportunities to re-focus their efforts and to ensure they are best serving the interests of the people of Ontario.

Rezoning Clarington is currently researching what regulated programs and services conservation authorities are currently required to undertake. We will also be monitoring and taking every opportunity to submit comments to the Minister as he reviews the legislation and regulations that could impact on the zoning of environmentally protected private lands.

At a meeting with the Clarington Planning Staff, we were informed that the Municipality of Clarington does not have a Memorandum of Understanding or any written agreement with the Conservation Authorities in our area. If as the Minister’s suggests “the changes will give greater control to individual municipalities on conservation authorities programs and budgets”, is it not important that Clarington enter into written agreements with the Conservation Authorities and that these agreements be made available to the public?

How will almost doubling the Environmentally Protected lands to almost 50% of Clarington’s rural land impact on the workload and budget demands of the Planning Department and the Conservation Authorities?  Will Clarington meet any increased budget pressures without raising our taxes?

In September, Clarington’s planning staff will be reporting to Council as follows:

: report back on a process whereby Official Plan amendments made to correct errors in Environmental Protection designations in Clarington’s Official Plan be made at no cost to the property owner.

. report back, in general, on whether setbacks were added to properties proposed to be re-zoned to Environmental Protection and if so, what justification Staff have for such expansion of the setbacks;

. That the Municipal Solicitor report to Council with a report outlining legal ramifications of not conforming to the Official Plan

At the Council meeting on July 2nd, it was also resolved that “Clarington Staff afford any owners of a property affected by the proposed zoning changes the opportunity to have their properties inspected to verify any Environmental Protection features”.

At our meeting on July 30th with the Planning Department, they recognized that there may be errors in the mapping and where identified, the error will be corrected. So if your property has been affected and you do not understand or agree with the zoning changes, contact the municipal planning department.

At the July 2nd meeting of Council, Council also resolved “That every landowner materially affected by the Zoning By-Law Amendments be notified of the proposed change in zoning in writing where there is an expansion of EP lands, and be invited to provide input, either through a representative or personally, regarding the proposed re-designation”.

At our meeting with Clarington Planning staff later in July, we were informed that written notification to all affected property owners will not be sent out until the staff submit a report to Council that will include options and the associated cost for providing additional notification moving forward.

Consequently, it is important that you help us inform your neighbours, friends and families, living in both rural and urban Clarington, that their properties may be affected.

Plan to attend or make a delegation to the next Municipal Council Meeting on September 16 at 7 pm. or at the Planning Committee meeting on September 30th.