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News Release

Durham Region releases final report related to review of Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine plans

WHITBY, ON September 18, 2014

In 2015, the Greenbelt Plan—along with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) and Niagara Escarpment Plan—is scheduled for a mandatory, 10-year review.

To inform this mandatory review, the Region led a community consultation exercise that allowed residents and stakeholders to provide input about the Plans and related legislation, via public meetings and an online survey; as well as through the project’s Greenbelt Plan Review Working Group (which includes representation from relevant agencies and other stakeholder organizations).

After several months of community consultation, an initial consultation report was presented to the Planning & Economic Development Committee on June 10. This document summarized the most common key benefits, challenges and opportunities that were raised by approximately 420 respondents. Common challenges, identified by consultation participants, included:

  • Lack of flexibility in policy interpretation and application at the local level.
  • Lack of focus on the viability of both agriculture and rural communities.
  • Ineffective implementation of the Plans’ policies, due in part to the complexity of layered plans, processes, governments and agencies.
  • Boundary issues and the lack of a mechanism to address them.
  • Lack of fairness and/or transparency in the Plan’s initial implementation and upcoming review process.

To address these important challenges, which were identified throughout this process, the final report highlights some of the most important and emerging opportunities for improvements to these Plans. The Durham Greenbelt Plan Review Final Report—Directions and Recommendations outlines eight directions and 19 related recommendations, including:

  • Increasing flexibility for municipalities—and conservation authorities, in consultation with municipalities—to interpret and apply policies.
  • Supporting both agricultural viability and the sustainability of rural communities.
  • Providing additional resources to effectively implement the Plans, as well as ensuring consistency and clarity between Plans and other provincial legislation.
  • Establishing a process to consider limited refinements to the boundaries of the Plans.
  • Ensuring that the upcoming 2015 Provincial Review process proceeds in a fair, accountable and transparent manner.

This final report was approved by Regional Council on Sept. 17. It will be forwarded to the province to inform the 2015 review of the Plans.

“These Plans have played a key role in land use planning over the past decade. We wanted to develop a final report that reflected the specific needs of Durham Region,” said Alex Georgieff, Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development. “This consultation process made that possible, as area-specific benefits, perspectives, challenges and opportunities were clearly identified.”

To learn more about this process, or to review the full report, please visit www.durham.ca/greenbeltreview.

 

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