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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 history and cultural heritage with its natural heritage. It is the intent of the Policy Plan to promote and coordinate further development of recreational trails in Niagara to promote recreational opportunities and encourage healthy lifestyles while fostering the expansion of the tourism industry. The Policy Plan also recognizes that successful planning and environmental conservation requires coordination and cooperation involving all levels of government and respective stakeholders (e.g. municipalities, landowners, environmental agencies and interest groups). Accordingly, the Policy Plan, which adheres to provincial policies, provides an overall framework for development and planning in Niagara Region that the respective municipalities are to adhere to with further detail at a municipal level. Region of Niagara: Lower Tier Due to Niagara‟s importance in cross border trade with the United States, the GGH identifies a Gateway Economic Zone and Centre in Niagara. Accordingly, the RMN in partnership with the province and local municipalities commissioned a study to develop an action plan for the implementation of the Gateway Economic Zone and Centre (GKH 2008) in Niagara Region. The Gateway Economic Centre in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed includes all the settlement areas and port infrastructure in Port Colborne, the Welland Canal and the linkage between Port Colborne and Welland. The Gateway Economic Zone does not fall within the Watershed Plan study area. In the Lake Erie North Shore watershed, the GGH also identifies the area surrounding the built-up areas adjacent to the Welland Canal in Port Colborne as a designated greenfield area, making this the focus area of future intensification with an overall minimum density target of 50 jobs and residents per hectare (MPIR 2006). The remainder of the Lake Erie North Shore watershed is considered a Good General Agricultural Area. City of Port Colborne The Council approved Draft New Official Plan for the City of Port Colborne (Dillon 2006) identifies strategic directions for the future of land use planning in Port Colborne. Intensification will be promoted within the urban area boundary, which will extend north and westward for the first 15 years, then eastwards there after (II-Section B1a). Likewise, designated industrial lands will extend in a northern direction along both sides of the Welland Canal and port facilities and marine transportation industries will be encouraged to thrive (II-Section B2a). The expansion or establishment of quarry operations will be subject to a series of provisions including a rehabilitation plan and potentially contaminated sites will require written verification stating that the parcel is suitable for the proposed land use in accordance with provincial legislation and regulations (Section II-C12a). The lakeshore along Lake Erie has been designated as rural land use. Numerous policies outline the criteria necessary for future development of these lands including but not limited to; the planting of mature vegetation; do not and will not require municipal water supply services or piped sewage treatment; and incorporation of architectural treatment and landscaping that is compatible with the natural setting of the Lake Erie shoreline (III-Section E3c). In addition, it is the intent of the City‟s Official Plan to protect and support the rural and farm related operations by, for example, protecting the 42

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN cultivated lands north of Highway #3, and supporting farm-related activities that contribute to the viability of the farm operations (II-Section B5). The municipality recognizes the importance of Port Colborne‟s natural, cultural and heritage resources to the community; accordingly it is the intent of the Draft Official Plan to strengthen these resources by for example, enhanced protection of natural features; incentive programs; and the “establishment of a [cultural] Heritage Character Area” (II- Section B3b). Township of Wainfleet The predominant land use within the Township of Wainfleet is agriculture. The Official Plan of the Wainfleet Planning Area (Township of Wainfleet 1996) recognizes the need to preserve their prime agricultural land and therefore development is encouraged only in areas that a balance of quality and sustainability can be maintained. Accordingly, the majority of the lands north of Highway #3 are zoned agriculture and consist of prime agricultural land. It is the intent of the Official Plan to “maintain the integrity of the agricultural area”; therefore “all uses shall be compatible with agriculture and farm parcel sizes shall be maintained to foster the viability of the agricultural area” (Section 4b). The lands south of Highway #3 are primarily zoned rural with a strip of lakeshore residential and pockets of estate residential along the shoreline of Lake Erie. Land use activities permitted in the rural zone include agriculture and agricultural related activities with nonfarm related uses encouraged to locate in the industrial, commercial, lakeshore and estate residential zones (Section 4Bi). In areas zoned for extractive industrial, all new applications for a new pit/quarry or the expansion of an existing pit/quarry shall have regard for numerous potential impacts (e.g. impact on water table, transportation systems, adjacent land uses) to ensure that the extraction is carried out with minimal environmental and social costs (Section 12biv). Population is not projected to dramatically increase in the near future in the Township of Wainfleet due to the “unserviced nature of the Township, the capability of nearby urban centres to absorb significant increase in population, and the relatively slow population growth rate of the Township in the past” (Township of Wainfleet 1996). In addition, due to the accessibility of the larger urban centres of Welland, Port Colborne and Dunnville, commercial development remains oriented towards cottagers. New development along the lakeshore is limited to single dwelling homes or cottages, and conversions from cottages to permanent dwellings will only be permitted if several stipulations are met [e.g. lot size, access, suitability, sewage treatment (Section 8b)]. Currently the Township of Wainfleet is working with Regional Niagara to generate a secondary plan for the lakeshore area; therefore once complete this section will be updated. Objectives of the Official Plan not only include protection and promotion of the farm related lands and operations, but also provides a framework to protect and enhance Wainfleet‟s natural and cultural heritage resources by adopting policies that will preserve and protect these significant assets. The environmental policies of the Official Plan are designed “to identify and protect the critical components of this valuable natural resource, including hazard lands, wetlands, environmentally sensitive areas, fish habitat and natural resources areas” (Section 14a). The Official Plan calls for the designated land use activities to “maintain the significant environmental attributes and functions” (Section 14a). As previously indicated, it is also the intent of the Official Plan to “preserve and enhance structures, buildings and properties of historical, cultural, 43

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