Once again Clarington has taken steps that will infringe on your property rights without full and open disclosure to the public. For the 3rd time within the last 2 years, Clarington property owners have discovered that they have not been notified of Council decisions that will impact their land and their families’ future.
First, for almost 2 years, 6,500 rural property owners in Clarington have been protesting against their land being designated environmentally protected without justification or any notification to the property owners.
Next in 2020, in their support of the expansion of the Bowmanville Hardware Store to the west of Bowmanville, Council tried to have 2200 acres of the surrounding land added to the Greenbelt. Once again without any public notification.
And most recently, the public has discovered that in 2016, without proper notification to the public or landowners, the previous Council passed a statement in the Official Plan indicating that 9,500 acres (Special Study Area 2) on both the east and west side of Bowmanville might be added to the Greenbelt.
How did this happen?
In 2016, when public discussions were taking place on the Official Plan, Special Study Area 2 was consistently referred to as Camp 30 lands. Then one week before passing the Official Plan, Special Study Area 2 was changed to encompass a larger area of 9,500 acres. And Camp 30 was given a different designation. Obviously this rapid change did not allow for proper public notification nor any discussion by the public nor Council of the NEW Special Study Area 2.
Special Study Area 2 in Clarington’s Official Plan now includes all of the land east of Highway 418 south and east of the Greenbelt boundary, north of Highway 401 and outside of the urban area boundaries in Clarington. There are no maps in the Official Plan showing Special Study Area 2, however due to public pressure a map has recently been made public (see the map below on which the Special Study Area 2 is shown in purple).
Council has an obligation to ensure full transparency and accountability to the public for it’s decisions, particularly those that impact one’s property.
Currently 81% of Clarington is already in the Greenbelt. When property is designated to be in the Greenbelt, it limits what one can do with and on that land. It reduces property values. It also limits any future development of affordable housing, businesses, services or commercial operations.
Clarington needs to grow. Without more growth, a majority of our families will be commuters to the west of Bowmanville where more jobs and services exist. We will see our taxes rise if we do not expand the tax base. We have been preparing for growth taking steps such as building Highway 407 to Hwy 115/35, the extension of the GO train to Bowmanville and the plans to expand the Bowmanville Hospital. A thriving community not only needs good transportation systems and better healthcare, it needs more jobs here in Clarington. It needs more housing to accommodate families so they can work closer to home and as the population grows so must available services. Let’s not limit and lock in Clarington’s future now. Act today!
The 200 landowners on the west side of Bowmanvillle strongly opposed the addition of 2200 acres of their land being added to the Greenbelt as part of the Home Hardware expansion. They sent letters, emails, and a petition to Council, made phone calls and gave presentations at Council meetings. Subsequently, Council deleted it’s request to add the 2200 acres to the Greenbelt.
Now is the time to strongly demand that Council to delete Special Study Area 2 from it’s Official Plan.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD NOW!
By deleting Special Study Area 2 there will NOT be any changes to existing zoning. This means that farmers who are currently farming their land can continue to farm.
By deleting Special Study Area 2 from the Official Plan NOW means that we are not severely limiting the future of the municipality.
In the future Clarington can grow in a rational and practical manner with full disclosure to the public, open debate and the support of property owners. Once land is designated to be in the Greenbelt, it is difficult, challenging and expensive to pursue any plans to build, expand or undertake any kind of residential, retail, service or commercial development (not only subdivisions) on that land.
If you or your family choose to expand your house, add another building or sell your property or residence for any other purpose, you may not be able to do so. And if, in the future, you decide to go the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) to have a Council decision appealed or reviewed, it is advised that you have shown your opposition to the original decisions taken by Council now.
By doing so you are asking for proper notification of future changes affecting your land and ensuring that a wider range of options remain for the future of your property, your family and for Clarington.
Call, email or write the Clerk and ask for the deletion of Special Study Area 2 from Clarington’s Official Plan.
Also email or call to ask to make a delegation at the May 17th Planning and Development Committee meeting by 4 pm on Friday, May 14th.
Phone # – (905) 623-3379 (ext. 2109)