The authority for preparing and adopting an Official Plan is set out in provincial legislation known as the Planning Act. The Act requires that, at least every five years, a municipal council hold a public meeting to determine if there is a need to revise the Plan. The objective of periodic reviews of the Official Plan is to maintain a contemporary Official Plan which reflects community interests while fulfilling its primary role of directing the physical development of the City and accounting for land use, economic, environmental and other relevant considerations.
A special meeting of Council was held on June 3, 2002 at which time it was determined that the Official Plan should be reviewed and updated where necessary so that it reflects current trends and circumstances.
It was recommended that the Official Plan Review be limited to a small number of focus areas that include:
- a new set of long term population and employment forecasts;
- a review of the retail policies to determine how they can be adjusted to respond better to emerging retail trends;
- an evaluation of the office centre nodes and policies to reflect more realistic business development opportunities;
- an update of the environmental mapping and policies;
- an update of the urban design policies in order to implement the finding and recommendations of the City-wide Development Design Guidelines;
- an update of the cultural heritage policies; and,
- a variety of general housekeeping matters.
In addition to the statutory public meeting as required by the Planning Act, public involvement in the Official Plan review was widely promoted by communicating through Official Plan newsletters, a presence on the City’s web site, advertisements placed in the newspaper, bus shelters, public kiosks and on the radio, Mayor’s Town Hall meetings, scheduling meetings with residents, agencies and stakeholder groups, and holding open house/ focus group workshop sessions in conjunction with the Focus Area Discussion Papers. The results from each session were presented in a staff report to Planning, Design & Development Committee.
Recommendation Report (July 3, 2002)
Progress Report (November 4, 2002)