As you may know, there are many unsettling aspects to the the Lambton County Official Plan that concerned landowners believe must be removed or amended before it is passed.  Some over-arching problems are:

  1. The Plan projects a population decrease of 15,000 people (which is almost 12% of our population) and a workforce decrease of 18,000 (which is almost 24% of our workforce) by 2031.  The plan fails to provide a roadmap for economic success for our County even though it will soon become our County’s guiding document.
  2. The plan’s projections to increase woodlands, wetlands, primary & secondary corridors, vegetated buffer strips and wildlife habitat will necessitate that private land must be surrendered because there are no additional public lands available on which to achieve these objectives.
  3. The primary & secondary corridor system which previously was included in the appendix for information purposes only has now been expanded and inserted into the Natural Heritage System which is a formal part of the Official Plan.  The OP makes it clear that the long-term objective for these corridors is to return them to a "vegetated" or wild state.  Also, some productive farm land has now been deemed a wetland.
  4. The number of areas identified as environmentally sensitive have expanded dramatically and this draft plan requires Environmental Impact Studies (EIS) to be completed for development 400’ around each of these the areas.  In most cases, the cost of completing these Environmental Impact Statements is $10,000 to $50,000 because they include Species at Risk Studies, Migratory Bird Studies, Archaeological Studies and other studies that must be completed by an approved professional.  Keep in mind that even after paying this money for an EIS there is no assurance that the project will proceed.  This will most-certainly cause a serious chilling effect on building/development and undermine the economic vitality of our County.
  5. Several areas that were formerly Rural Settlements on the Growth Strategy Map have now been reclassified as Urban Settlements or Recreation and Conservation Areas and the plan indicates that centralized sewer systems are planned for Urban Settlements.  There are heavy restrictons for land identified as Recreation and Conservation Area.
  6. The public has not been properly informed of the land designation changes and the increased regulations found in the document's 20,000-word increase.  Many landowners will only learn of the changes when they embark on the building process, initiate site alteration or ask for accommodation through the development approvals process.

These are only a few of the serious issues.  There is an expanded list in the document, below, of areas tht need to be changed in the draft Lambton County Official Plan (OP) before it is passed otherwise there is no choice but to Scrap the Draft Official Plan .  We will need to return to our existing Official Plan that has functioned adequately for almost 20 years.

If staff members do not fully support council’s efforts to make changes, they should be released of their duties.  Lambton County must only have employees who respect the democratic process, private property rights and the economic vitality of our County.
If the Province of Ontario reverses any of the changes made by Lambton County Council, we must not enforce these changes and appeal to the Minister and/or wait for the next provincial election (2019) and work hard to make changes in the government so that rural Ontario is not further damaged.  Council must also insist that all provincial changes to our approved plan be clearly tracked for public information.
County councillors must remember that the 2018 municipal elections are not far away.  The results of the April 5th vote will be publicized widely.  Those who vote to undermine private property rights and the economic health of Lambton County will be held accountable.
With concern,
Concerned Landowners Legal Defence

Summary of Concerns with the
Draft Lambton County Official Plan