Serving Dorchester, Belmont, Thorndale, Thamesford, Putnam, Crampton, Avon, Harrietsville, Mossley and surrounding area
Signpost photo by Wendy Spence
'TIS THE SEASON: From left, Sawyer Burroughs his sister Charlotte Burroughs, cousin Arya Jocz, brother Hudson Burroughs and cousin Sebastian Jocz hold up their favourite pumpkins at their grandparents' roadside stand on Donnybrook Drive.


Official plan review underway

by Wendy Spence
THE SIGNPOST

        The municipality is revisiting a document that helps guide orderly growth and efficient use of municipal services, protect the natural environment and to promote public health and safety. A public meeting was held during the council meeting on Monday afternoon to begin the official plan review process. Director of development and planning services Marc Bancroft did a presentation about why and how it is being done. Some residents and businesses made requests to make amendments to the settlement area and next steps were discussed.
        "Land is important now. Local food is even more important but if we don't have the land, we can't grow the food, and we're not going to have it locally," said farmer Crispin Colvin, who said we don't have a lot of arable land, but most of what we do have is class 1. He said he did a very quick number crunch. Requests are being made to take about 350 acres out of production for housing or commercial uses. "So, I'm saying, be a leader in land preservation. Protect the habitats that we protect as agriculture. Protect the wetlands that we protect in agriculture. Intensification of existing land is the direction you should be going in." He added that value added agriculture is something we should be looking at.
        Developer Chris Rijnen suggested that about 44 acres of land at the northeast quadrant of Elgin Road and Hamilton Road and lands on the north side of the river in Dorchester should not be included in the settlement area boundary, due to the lack of municipal services.
        Phil Riggeri, representing Sile Ltd., also mentioned lands in that area when doing a presentation about the proposed Wye Creek North subdivision north of Trails of Wye Creek subdivision. The hope is that the land the company owns can be added to the settlement area. The proposal calls for starter homes, active retirement living and a retirement residence. Riggeri said the property is shovel ready because there is existing infrastructure including sewers and watermains.
        Bancroft discussed the inventory of houses in Thames Centre according to the 2016 census. Just over 90 per cent were single detached homes. When approved developments were factored in, he said there's a marginal improvement in terms of housing stock. He also spoke about the possibility of determining standards for low, medium and high density housing, the appropriateness of the current targets for intensification and affordability, second dwelling units on existing properties and updating the garden suites policy.
        The next step is background research, followed by the development of a draft official plan, public engagement, adoption of the official plan by Thames Centre and approval by Middlesex County council.
        Residents can contact Bancroft if they have any questions or comments by phone at 519-268-7334, extension 223 or email at: mbancroft@thamescentre.on.ca.

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