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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 archaeological and architectural significance” (Section 4B1) by implementing policies that promote the preservation and maintenance of these unique features. Currently, the Township of Wainfleet is in the process of updating their Official Plan. Town of Fort Erie Approximately 10 percent of the Lake Erie North Shore watershed study area falls within the municipality of the Town of Fort Erie. The land use in this portion of the municipality is predominately agriculture and protected environmental area. The Council approved Draft Official Plan for the Town of Fort Erie (Town of Fort Erie 2009) outlines a number of goals and objectives in terms of future land use planning for Fort Erie. For the area of interest for this watershed plan, it is the intent of the Town of Fort Erie to preserve and protect its agricultural land from activities and land uses which could limit productivity, and prevent further fragmentation of agricultural lands by non-agricultural purposes and conservation of the rural landscape (Section 2.3.4). The Point Abino area has been designated as an Environmental Protection Area in the Draft Official Plan which will protect this unique area from further development due to restrictions on development and site alterations in such designated areas as outlined in the Official Plan (Section 8.2.I). The same restrictions apply to the Dune Protection Area which has been outlined in the Draft Official Plan; this will protect Point Abino‟s unique dune system from any new development (Section 8.2.4V). North of the Point Abino Environmental Protection area, the area is zoned rural. Numerous criteria must be met for a non-agricultural or related land use to be permitted in rural zoned areas. Some of the criteria include, but are not limited to; a minimum lot size of 0.4 hectares is required; natural drainage systems of surrounding agricultural lands shall not be interfered; and the development must be at a scale and density that is suitable for the physical characteristics of the site (Section 4.6.2). The majority of the lands within the Crystal Beach urban area that form part of this study are designated Urban Residential. This zone is intended to facilitate a number of housing forms and associated urban land uses and services [e.g. schools, public utilities, cemeteries (Section 4.7.4)]. Haldimand County: Single Tier The remaining 15 percent of the Lake Erie North Shore watershed study area falls within Haldimand County. The land use consists primarily of agriculture, recreation and seasonal residential, with some permanent dwellings. In consultation with the community, Haldimand County has also developed a series of strategic directions regarding the future of their municipality; Haldimand County Strategic Directions 2004. The strategic directions process is based on 6 core themes (e.g. environment, economy, growth management) that are used to outline the main components of the Official Plan. These core themes will assist in preparing policy direction for achieving various components of the Vision Statement that was developed through community involvement (Haldimand County 2004). Similar to other official plans, the Haldimand County Official Plan (Haldimand County Planning 2006) outlines various strategies for future development under the core themes developed through the Strategic Directions process as previously indicated. The Official 44

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Plan also identifies the need to preserve and manage the County‟s natural environment features and that these principles should form the basis for future development and land use decisions. The Official Plan states that a “high quality environment will be achieved and retained as human health is linked to environmental health. The County will strive to preserve essential ecological functions and protect natural biological diversity and ecological integrity” (Section 2A.4). In order to accomplish this, the Official Plan outlines numerous policies with regard to for example, provincially significant wetlands, habitats of „species at risk‟, development, and other natural environments such as water resources. The Official Plan also recognizes that cooperation and communication with other agencies is necessary to accomplish these objectives. The Official Plan recognizes the importance of Haldimand‟s productive agricultural lands as the “prime economic basis for the rural community” and it is in the “County‟s interest to preserve that lifestyle and foster the agricultural industry” (Section A1). The Official Plan outlines various policies that are intended to preserve and protect the agricultural land base for agricultural purposes by for example, limiting land use activities to agricultural and related activities and for land uses that are compatible with agriculture. In addition, the policies “encourage the development of agricultural support services within urban areas and designated hamlets” (Section 3A.3). A study was conducted in 2004 titled North Shore Strategies: The Lakeshore Area Study (Haldimand County) with the purpose of providing the County with background information on the lakeshore area so informed decisions regarding policies for land use along the lakeshore could be formulated. A major concern identified in the study was the increase of housing conversions from seasonal to permanent that have been occurring over the past few years along the lakeshore, therefore a challenge of Haldimand County includes finding a balance between a sustainable and viable shoreline community while protecting the natural environment and preserving the lakeshore as an asset for residents and tourism. Accordingly, the Official Plan outlines numerous policies in regards to shoreline development as the County recognizes this area as an invaluable resource and the County “supports the preservation of the open nature of the lakeshore by limiting development to designated areas or nodes. Scenic roads, public vistas, and landscapes along the lakeshore will be identified and protected” (Section F6). Conservation Authorities It is the intent of the Province of Ontario in the PPS (MMAH 2005) to direct development “away from areas of natural or human-made hazards where there is an unacceptable risk to public health or safety or of property damage” (Section 3.0). Accordingly, along the Lake Erie shoreline, development is restricted within the shoreline hazard limit. This limit is defined as the “furthest landward extent of the aggregate of the flooding hazard limit plus the erosion hazard limit plus the dynamic beach hazard limit” (NPCA 2007b). These hazards are defined in the PPS (MMAH 2005) as follows: Flooding hazard limit (along Great Lakes shoreline): based on the 100 year flood level plus an allowance for wave uprush and other water-related hazards. Wave uprush means the rush of water up onto a shoreline or structure following the breaking of a wave; the limit of wave uprush is the point of furthest landward rush of water onto the shoreline. 45

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