Staff’s proposed Official Plan continues to leave a big hole in the heart of our forest - NGFA
Wednesday Apr 13th, 2016
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Staff’s proposed Official Plan continues to leave a big hole in the heart of our forest
The proposed new Official Plan (April 2016) being put forward by the Town of Georgina's Planning Department prohibits development on all of the major wetland and woodland areas in rural Georgina with one exception — the Maple Lake Estates (MLE) property in the North Gwillimbury Forest (NGF).
The Planning Department’s proposed special treatment for Maple Lake Estates is inconsistent with Sections 26 and 27 of the Planning Act, which legally oblige the Town to bring its Official Plan into conformity with:
According to the Town’s Director of Planning, Harold Lenters, the Town cannot protect the MLE’s provincially significant wetland and woodlands because these lands are designated as “Towns and Villages” in the Greenbelt Plan. Mr. Lenters’ assertion is simply not true.
On the contrary, according to Section 18.104.22.168 of the Greenbelt Plan, “Towns and Villages” are not subject to the Greenbelt Plan and “continue to be governed by municipal official plans”. That is, there is nothing in the Greenbelt Plan that exempts the Town from its Planning Act obligations to protect the MLE’s provincially significant wetlands and woodlands.
The NGF is a priceless natural asset for the Town of Georgina. It stretches all the way from the north end of Keswick to Jackson’s Point and is more than three times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
Despite the fact that both the York Region’s Official Plan and the provincial policy statement make it clear that wetlands and significant woodlands within the NGF are off-limits to development, the DG Group is seeking permission from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to build a 1,073 unit subdivision on the Paradise Beach-Island Grove provincially significant wetland in the NGF. If this project proceeds it will drive a stake through the heart of the NGF and split it in two.
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