After three years of engagement, drafts and reviews, the County’s new official plan has been approved by the Province. The new official plan sets goals related to development, communities and natural resources in the County. It will be active for 20 years with reviews every ten years to ensure it is effective and relevant.
“Creating a new official plan is a huge undertaking. To do it properly takes a long time and a lot of effort, but at the end of the day you have a useful plan to help communities grow in a healthy and strategic way,” explains Grey County Warden Selwyn Hicks. “Grey County’s new official plan has been designed by the public, for the public. I commend our planning staff for their years of engagement. The bar has been raised.”
The Province also applauded the County’s collaboration with stakeholders and the public. Other municipalities have also taken notice, reaching out to staff for advice as they begin reviewing their own official plans.
Grey County kicked off the official plan review in May of 2016, calling the process Recolour Grey. For more than a year, County staff were out in the community, attending events across all nine local municipalities. Participants were asked to share their visions for Grey County in five, ten and twenty years, outlining their priorities. Comments and feedback were reviewed in detail and incorporated into discussion papers on five reoccurring themes. Move Grey focused on transportation; Cultivate Grey focused on farming and agriculture; Develop Grey focused on our need to grow; Live Grey focused on healthy communities and quality of life; Natural Grey focused on the environment and our natural heritage.
Public workshops were hosted in all nine local municipalities in the summer of 2017 to share findings, collect feedback, and fine-tune ideas. A first draft of the new plan was written throughout 2017. It was presented to the public at a special public meeting in March of 2018. The feedback loop on the project continued and multiple rounds of edits were made throughout the year with multiple opportunities for public input.
On October 25, 2018 a draft of the plan was approved by Grey County Council and sent to the Province for review and comment. The province responded in the spring of 2019 with recommendations which were supported by Council. The plan was revised one last time in May of 2019 time and received formal approval from the province in June.
“Public input is key when developing any official plan,” said Randy Scherzer, Director of Planning. “We know our plan is strong because we had great participation in the Recolour Grey process. Thank you to everyone who filled out a survey, attended a meeting, or stopped to talk to us at an event. Your input will have a lasting impact on the future of Grey County.”
Municipal engagement was also an important part of Recolour Grey.
“It’s important for the Grey County Official Plan to support local plans and strategies too. Keeping the local municipalities involved throughout Recolour Grey was a big part of the process,” explains Scherzer.
The new Grey County Official Plan has been circulated with all local municipalities. Its policies and guidelines are now in effect. Questions about the new plan can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-567-4739.
For media inquiries, contact Rob Hatten, communications manager, at email@example.com or call 519-372-0219 or 519-373-1592.