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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN revitalization and intensification of developed areas, these tools ensure that issues pertaining to the protection, improvement, and enhancement of our natural resources are taken into consideration throughout the development process. Policy tools might include municipal policies, incentive-based tools as well as other water conservation related tools. Specific examples of these policy tools and incentives are presented here. Stormwater Management Policies require the control and treatment of stormwater discharges to prevent flooding, minimize downstream channel erosion, and protect water quality. Riparian Buffer Policies protect watercourses and maintain aquatic habitat. Riparian buffer guidelines should take into account the amount of natural vegetation adjacent to a stream, the width of the vegetated buffer, total suspended solid concentrations, percent imperviousness in urbanizing watersheds, and fish communities (EC 2004c). Shoreline Protection Works should take into consideration natural coastal processes and incorporate natural elements in the design and the materials. Shoreline protection should also be designed and constructed as to not impeded natural dune processes or create a barrier preventing amphibians during reproductive migrations between water and land(e.g. Fowler‟s Toad) Sustainable Subdivision Design encourage the development of subdivisions whereby houses are clustered and open space is protected. Conventional subdivisions spread development evenly throughout a parcel of land. However, conservation subdivisions are considered “density neutral”, which means that the same number of lots can fit on a parcel of land, but the arrangement of the houses are clustered. Incentive-based Tools such as Water Conservation Programs aid in the protection of water quality, quantity and aquatic habitat by reducing the demand on water resources and maintaining instream flows. Thus, the natural hydrology of streams is protected during peak water demand. Alternative Land Use Services is a program whereby agricultural producers offer Canadians an environmental partnership opportunity by contributing the use of a portion of their land, plus labour, equipment, fuel, and money to produce environmental benefits, while encouraging investments from the rest of society to manage these benefits. Land Securement Programs: securing land into public or private ownership can help to protect water quality and natural heritage features. For example, maintaining the natural condition of land around watercourses is an ideal approach to enhance water quality protection. Land securement programs help protect greenspace, conserve biodiversity and promote stewardship and community involvement, e.g. NPCA, Niagara Land Trust Conservation Easements: are agreements made between a landowner and a conservation groups whereby the landowner still owns the property but has agreed to restrict or prevent certain land uses in order to protect the natural features on the property. Brownfield Redevelopment Incentives encourage the rehabilitation, remediation and redevelopment of abandoned, underused or idle industrial and commercial properties. There are several programs that can be implemented through the RMN and municipalities such as the Brownfield Tax Grant Program, Brownfield Tax Assistance Program, Brownfield Tax Arrears Credit Program, Brownfield Development Charge Incentive Program, and Municipal Brownfield Leadership Program (RMN 2007b) 112

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Brownfield Financial Tax Incentive Program: is a provincial funding initiative to encourage the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield properties. The program matches provincial education property tax assistance to municipal property tax assistance for eligible brownfield property owners for the cleanup of the brownfield property. Environmental Assessment Grant Program: This program will assist developers of brownfield sites in acquiring the environmental information needed to determine the financial viability of developing these sites (RMN 2007b). Downtown/Commercial Area Redevelopment Incentive Programs: these programs are designed to provide financial incentives to encourage the redevelopment and rehabilitation of downtown properties and commercial areas in the Region of Niagara. These programs include the Downtown Redevelopment Grant Program, Building and Façade Improvement Loan/Grant Program, and Downtown Development Charge Incentive Program (RMN 2007b). Heritage Properties Tax Reduction Program: this program is designed to help property owners defer the higher maintenance and repair costs of heritage properties (RMN 2007b). Heritage Restoration and Improvement Incentive Programs: these programs are designed to provide financial incentives to encourage restoration and improvement of heritage properties in the Region of Niagara. These programs include the Heritage Grant/Loan Program, Professional Design Study Grant Program, and Heritage Development Charge Incentive Program (RMN 2007b). Special Multi-Residential Tax Rate: encourages the construction of new medium and high density rental housing by providing a special property tax rate (RMN 2007b). Residential Conversion and Intensification Incentive Programs: these programs are designed to provide financial incentives to encourage residential conversion and intensification. These programs Residential Grant/Loan Program, Convert-to-Rent Grant Program, and Residential Development Charge Incentive Program (RMN 2007b). Funding Sources for Environmental Projects Several funding sources and land management tax incentive programs are available for landowners and non-profit organizations for creating, enhancing and preserving natural heritage. Examples of some of these programs follows: Water Quality Improvement Program The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority provides landowners with up to 75 percent cost-share funding (depending on the eligible project) through its Water Quality Improvement Program. Participating landowners are responsible for any remaining costs through cash and in-kind contributions. To qualify for funding the following criteria must be met: projects must be within the NPCA‟s jurisdiction; projects must demonstrate an improvement to local surface and/or groundwater quality; the landowner must demonstrate good land stewardship practices; the landowner must contribute financially to the project in some capacity; and the landowner must complete a water quality improvement application and sign a project agreement form (NPCA 2003). 113

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