The Town of Huntsville will begin a series of community consultations – through various mediums – in order to garner your vision of how you think your town should develop into the future.
Huntsville councillor and planning committee chair Nancy Alcock said it will be an extensive process. “It’ll take us 16 months to do it because there is so much ongoing consultation, special studies need to be done, and we need to incorporate policies that we’ve already developed like active transportation,” she said.
The Town has formed a working group to help with the Official Plan (OP) review in conjunction with a planning consultant and municipal staff. The review, which is mandated by the Province every five years, has been allotted an estimated $80,000 from the Town coffers.
Huntsville’s Official Plan review working group is comprised of councillors, municipal staff as well as representatives from various segments of the community. They are: Nancy Alcock, Steve Alcock, Melissa Candelaria, Brian Gray, Ben Jardine, Debbie Kirwin, Nancy Le Blanc, Julie Leggett, Chris Marshall, Mary McCulley, Larry Ross and Karin Terziano.
“We’ve got every sector in our community covered. It’s all just starting to roll out,” said Alcock. The working group is set to have its first meeting in October, followed by a series of public sessions – the first in Utterson.
While the OP has teeth, especially as it pertains to the Ontario Municipal Board, it is not carved in stone. Council is still able to make amendments to it, but not without public consultation.
The OP will be updated to reflect changes in the community as well as any new policies under the Provincial Policy Statement.
“It’s a living document that must be updated to take into account not just the changes in all our community but the province comes out with edicts now and then as to what is required of municipalities to look at. They might have a policy on affordable housing and we are required to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement on all of these things,” explained Alcock.
“If we’re effective, people will feel like they’ve had some input. To be frank, it’ll be an opportunity for people to say, ‘This is what I don’t like. I want to see a change. I don’t want to see this anymore.’ It’s incumbent upon us to hear all of that.”Nancy Alcock
Alcock also said that while the Town’s Unity Plan is an important document, it has no real legislative authority. She said some of its most important components will be incorporated into the updated OP in order to give it more weight.
Check out the Town’s website for updates on the Town’s review process and upcoming public forums.