At Monday night’s Clarington Council Meeting, we saw Council work together, make compromises and pass a motion that will move forward the issue of the expansion of environmentally protected land (EP) in the rural areas.
Over the past 20 months, hundreds of rural landowners have attended town hall meetings, written letters, emails and made presentations at Council meetings to express their concerns and frustration. The unanimous support of Councillor Neal’s motion does show that Council recognizes that specific steps must now be taken to find a resolution.
The motion outlines action to be taken by staff in 2021. Importantly, it initiates steps towards amending the zoning by-laws, works towards Official Plan mapping that would include all provincially mandated EP land and reduce the added EP land designations that were made in 2016 at the discretion of the former Council. It calls for public input on the proposal in Clarington’s Official Plan to expand the Greenbelt south of Highway #2 in Courtice and between Bowmanville and Courtice along that same highway.
This is an important, significant step for rural property owners. However, we can not become complacent. This initiates another long process that will last into a good part of 2021. This calls for our continued diligence every step of the way.
I appreciate the support you have given us. Your interest and participation over the past year and a half is making a difference. As land owners, tax payers and residents in Clarington, let’s continue to make every effort to achieve a fair and balanced settlement that not only protects the environment but also respects the rights of property owners and recognizes the impact of EP land designation on your land and your families’ futures.
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. Thank you to all Council members who voted to move this issue forward.