Following a recent review of regional land use plans, the Ontario government is proposing changes that could dramatically impact the way water is managed on the landscape.
According to the government’s summary, Shaping Land-Use in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, “Under proposed new policies in the Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, municipalities would be required to develop plans for managing stormwater in their settlement areas. These plans would incorporate low-impact development techniques (which manage rainfall at the source) and green infrastructure.”
The summary says the changes would: “Encourage the use of green infrastructure and require low-impact development techniques that include integrating green space in design strategies, landscaping with native plants, and using natural water systems to generate less runoff from developed land.”
Municipalities will be required to undertake “more comprehensive stormwater management planning.”
Watershed planning will be required across the Greater Golden Horseshoe Areas, using a “one water” approach. Direction will be provided on: “watershed-based integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater master planning.”
Low impact development is cited as a way to increase community resiliency in the face of climate change.
Guidance will be developed for watershed planning and stormwater management.
Municipalities will also be encouraged to conserve and sustainably manage topsoil, a leading green infrastructure measure.
See: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14809.aspx for more information, including opportunities to support the proposed changes at open houses throughout the province.
Input is due by the end of September. A joint brief is being coordinated through the Great Lakes Network and the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition, including more in-depth analysis of proposed changes and recommendations for improvements.