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Designed by Polly Ko

Municipalities responsible for Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
Response to: Houses planned on prime Moraine land - Gormley area designated urban by province

by Debbe Crandall
Jan. 29, 2006.

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While Ms Willoughby has no doubt correctly quoted Ms Babcock, Richmond Hill’s planning commissioner, it would be helpful for all if the commissioner would stop misrepresenting the policies of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. While the province did indeed include these lands within the Settlement Area designation, this in no way stopped Richmond Hill from carrying out its full responsibilities. The Oak Ridges Moraine legislation is very clear that municipalities are the primary implementers of the Conservation Plan.

What this means is that the municipality is fully responsible for all secondary planning including determining what the land use will be, how much gets developed and when, how much is included in greenspace, how many houses get built or not built etc.

Of course what this means is that the planning department has to actually do their jobs and develop a vision and a plan for these lands. They had a number of options open to them over the past four years. They could have consulted with the public to determine what kind of development would be acceptable to the majority of people. Or they could have done what they did – which was nothing in the way of strategic planning thereby allowing the developers to once again run the show.

The Town could have developed a secondary plan for the Gormley lands through the conformity exercise and they could have worked with the province to approve this without any appeals allowed on it. So, the residents of Richmond Hill have every right to be angry and they have every right to demand that Council direct staff to defend the interests of the public now.

But don’t blame the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan for what is now turning into another headache for Richmond Hill. It gave the power and responsibility to council and staff to plan these lands. It seems as though they chose not to exercise these rights.

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