Over the past several years, the Provincial government has updated much of the planning legislation in Ontario. In 2014 the latest Provincial Policy Statement was released, replacing the 2007 version. Notable changes included: new policies affecting rural lands and rural areas; consideration of aboriginal interests in conserving cultural heritage and archaeological resources; an increased focus on active transportation, transit and goods movement corridors; and planning for stormwater management.
In 2017 the new Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Greenbelt Plan were released. The introduction of Natural Heritage System and Agricultural System mapping for the Growth Plan area are also new additions to the policy framework. The Agricultural System mapping greatly increases the area identified as Prime Agricultural within the Greater Golden Horseshoe. In 2017 OMAFRA introduced a new guideline for Permitted Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas, and provided opportunities for on-farm diversified uses, as well as secondary and farm-related uses.
As a result, the planning process in Ontario has become increasingly complex. Whether your project is large or small, the benefits of seeking the assistance of qualified planning professionals to guide you through the process cannot be underestimated. EcoVue’s team of Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) and technical support staff have the expertise necessary to move your project forward.
The first steps to a successful development project can be best summarized in the following way:
- Involve a Registered Professional Planner, (with an RPP MCIP designation) early in the process to tell you what will be required to bring your project to fruition.
- Hire a firm that you can trust. Seek recommendations from friends and colleagues and ask municipal staff if they can provide a list of go-to consultants in the area.
- Find out if the planning firm you are considering provides additional services, such as design, surveying, and technical support, which can help to streamline the process.
- Ask if the firm is available to oversee the project on your behalf and to act as the single point of contact between you and the municipality.
- Ask the firm to provide you with a Work Plan and Budget for your project, so you will know what to expect moving forward.
- Don’t underestimate how complex, costly and time-consuming the approvals process can be.
What can you expect from EcoVue?
We know the process and we understand how it works and who should be involved. Our Planners have established excellent working relationships with departmental staff in the municipalities where we practice. Our team members draw upon invaluable experience gained in public sector positions, together with unique problem-solving skills gained through our years in private practice.
Our Senior Management Team will assign a Project Planner to your file. Your Planner will be responsible for guiding your file through the approvals process, and will:
- Work with other team members at EcoVue in completing your project while keeping with the Work Plan and Budget which you have authorized;
- Provide regular updates on the progress of your project;
- Prepare your development application, and coordinate any required supporting documentation such as Environmental Impact Studies, Functional Servicing Reports, and Archaeological Assessments.
- Identify any issues that municipal staff or municipal Council may have with your application and develop a strategy for effectively managing these concerns.
- Act as a single point of contact with council and other individuals involved in the project
- Address staff and council requests following submission of your application and develop a strategy to address any concerns raised by any objectors.
- Become your expert witness, if your development application hits a snag and ends up before the Ontario Municipal Board.