Residents Encouraged to Have Say in City of St. Catharines’ Land Use Plan

“The City (of St. Catharines) is expected to grow by roughly 31,000 people by 2041. … “So the big questions we needed to answer through the Land Needs Assessment were, can we accommodate this growth through the City’s current Land Use Plan, and are there opportunities to revise the Land Use Plan to best support and facilitate the accommodation of future growth?” – St. Catharines’ Director of Planning and Building Services Tami Kitay

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted August 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Have your say in how Niagara’s largest municipality – the City of St. Catharines – should grow for the future. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – Residents of St. Catharines can have their say on the latest recommendations and draft changes to the City’s Official Land Use Plan.

Triggered by the potential redevelopment of 50 acres of industrial land located on Ontario Street in the middle of the city, Council directed the City’s Planning and Building Services department to study the potential conversion of industrial lands to allow for alternative uses, such as residential and mixed use purposes.

This conversion, or re-designation, of industrial lands requires an amendment to the City’s Official Plan, and as such a comprehensive city-wide Land Needs Assessment was completed.

“The City is expected to grow by roughly 31,000 people by 2041, which will require over 14,000 new dwelling units to accommodate that growth. The City is also expected to accommodate for the provision of 18,000 new jobs during this time,” said Director of Planning and Building Services Tami Kitay.

“So the big questions we needed to answer through the Land Needs Assessment were, can we accommodate this growth through the City’s current Land Use Plan, and are there opportunities to revise the Land Use Plan to best support and facilitate the accommodation of future growth?”

The abandoned General Motors plant site off Ontario Street in St. Catharines is more than an eyesore for residents and businesses living near it. How can it be re-imagined for the future

Following the Land Needs Assessment, the City’s Building and Planning Services department is recommending changes to the Official City Land Use Plan. These changes include re-designation and conversion of certain industrial lands including the property on Ontario Street, to permit alternative development opportunities.

Other associated and relatively minor revisions to the Official Land Use Plan are also recommended. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person public open house to present findings and draft recommendations was not possible.

As an alternative, residents can go to www.stcatharines.ca/LNA to access a video presentation by Senior Planner Bruce Bellows, along with associated materials outlining the study background, context, findings and draft recommendations.

All written comments and input from residents received by Aug. 27, 2020, will be considered in the final study recommendations.

This will be presented to City Council for consideration of approval at a legislated public meeting on Sept. 28, 2020.

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

As a long-time  environment reporter who happens to feel that what we do with urban planning matters greatly in the over-all effort to protect our environment, I salute the City of St. Catharines for actually encouraging its citizens to participate in setting land planning rules for the future.

I hope other municipalities in Niagara, including our Niagara’s regional government, would do the same around encouraging those of us who live, play and do business here to do the same.

How sad it was earlier this summer to find out from A Better Niagara and other area citizen groups that our regional government is now working on revising its Official Plan and the rules for protecting our natural heritage systems that go with it.

Our Regional Government should be going out of its way to encourage citizens across Niagara to become involved in this process without bias from planning staff and consultants, aimed at watering down future protection options and rules for protecting what is left of our natural heritage.

Nothing less than a health and prosperous future for Niagara is at stake.in the way these land-use plans for our communities are mapped out.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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