Working with the County and Townships
During development of the Lake Plan, many discussions were held with representatives of Peterborough County and the four Townships surrounding Clear, Ston(e)y and White Lakes. Toward the end of the process, municipal representatives made input to the Action Plans that summarized the full set of recommendations in the final Lake Plan report.
One of these Action Plans called on the Lake Plan Steering Committee/Environment Council to continue to work with the County of Peterborough Planning Department and the four Townships to ensure that land use policy and regulations – Official Plans and Zoning By-laws – are consistent with watershed sustainability and provide a guide for future development and redevelopment.
With this Action Plan in mind, the Environment Council works in a co-operative, consultative way with the municipalities, and regularly makes input to municipal planning processes and pubic meetings. To help ensure that its contribution to these municipal plans and processes is of high quality and value, the Council is co-sponsoring an in-depth research project.
Studying Best Practices
Late last year, together with the County of Peterborough Planning Department, the Council launched a research project to identify best practices in watershed and lake related planning, policies and regulations. The project is a partnership between the Council, the County, Queen’s University and Trent University, and is supported by a federal grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This project is nearing completion.
A graduate student from Queen’s has carried out a review of relevant academic and government guidance documents and case studies from other Ontario municipalities pertaining to environmental protection and lake planning. One product from this literature review is a set of criteria for evaluating best practices in these areas.
Subject areas reviewed include proactive environmental protection policies for specific water and land-based features. There is a strong focus on identifying effective implementation approaches, including official plan designations, policies and by-laws on lakeshore regulation, water quality and future residential and commercial redevelopment. The project also evaluates related implementation practices, such as septic re-inspection programs, environmental advisory committees, enforcement, monitoring and stewardship.
The Environment Council is reviewing the report and plans to release a summary of the research findings, along with proposed recommendations.
Douro-Dummer Adopts Environmental Goal
In late 2012, the Township of Douro-Dummer invited public input to the development of a Strategic Plan for the municipality. The Environment Council participated in this process and suggested to the township that it establish an environmental goal as part of its Strategic Plan.
We are grateful to the Township for doing just that. The goal is, “To preserve and enhance the natural heritage features and resources of the Township”. Two of the strategic actions designed to further this goal are:
- Promote responsible stewardship of the natural environment by continuing to provide protection in
planning documents for agricultural and natural heritage resources; and
- Identify and protect natural spaces that are important to the Township.
The Townships of North Kawartha and Selwyn (formerly Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield) also have Environmental Stewardship goals in their Strategic Plans.