Bruce County is embarking on a journey to a new County Official Plan. Learn more about the process in Appendix ‘A’
This workbook is intended to help guide you to giving input and feedback on the following topics:
- Value-based direction for stewardship of Bruce County’s natural legacy;
- Natural Heritage System:
- Recommended approaches to delineating the system.
- Options defining features which will comprise the Natural Heritage System (N.H.S) for Bruce County;
- Water Resource System:
- Options for the features which will comprise the Water Resource System (W.R.S) for Bruce County;
- Evaluation criteria for assessing the system options; and
- Preliminary recommendations for implementation and policy directions
Bruce County’s Natural Legacy
Bruce County is home to excellent landforms, shorelines and features intact natural areas, rare habitats and species uncommon within southern Ontario. Bruce County also features the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve. Many areas provide opportunities for recreation in a natural setting.
Through the “Bruce G.P.S.” public engagement process, the community expressed that:
- It is important to protect the County’s natural resources, including farmland, water quality, natural areas, and scenic views; and
- Bruce County’s rich natural resources contribute to our quality of life, economy, and health in the future.
Stewardship approaches in the current Official Plan
The current Bruce County Official Plan was established in 1997 and is based on the principle of sustainable development. The major principle is to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This principle is to be used to resolve land use issues.
Natural legacy goals in the current plan include protection and preservation of ecologically significant areas in their natural state; restoration of abandoned, neglected, or degraded lands; protection and enhancement to air, land and water quality; and protection of mineral resources for extraction now or in the future.
Plan objectives include identifying and protecting the County’s unique natural resources and environment, as well as listing several specific feature areas or types such as headwaters, natural areas along shorelines and rivers, and habitats of threatened and endangered species for protection.
Environmental mapping in the plan is based on features. Not all features are mapped; the plan relies primarily on mapped environmental hazards, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (A.N.S.I.), and wetlands.
The plan requires an Environmental Impact Study (E.I.S) where development is proposed in or next to certain environmental features or sensitive areas or hazard features, whether mapped or unmapped. Studies may be waived if the development is (a) subject to a duplicate or similar environmental process; (b) minor in nature; or (c) an Environmental Impact Study (E.I.S.) would serve no useful purpose.
The last major update of the plan was approved by the province in 2010, and pre-dates a shift in provincial guidance towards mapping natural features from a systems-based approach.
Stewardship approaches for our Natural Legacy
The Natural Legacy project and the new Official Plan will result in updates to Official Plan policies and include a systems-based approach to stewarding natural and water resources to reflect provincial direction and current best practices.