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Residents view draft plans for County’s near and distant future

Gary Caley, of West Lake, speaks with County planner James Bar at the Official Plan community open house in Bloomfield Tuesday.

Gary Caley, of West Lake, speaks with County planner James Bar at the Official Plan community open house Tuesday.

Prince Edward County’s draft blueprints for the near and distant future were viewed by residents attending a draft Official Plan community open house in Bloomfield on Tuesday.

Project consultants and County staff were on hand at the Bloomfield Town Hall to discuss the plan’s key policy areas.

Ron Palmer, of project manager The Planning Partnership, of Toronto, noted visitor interests in permissions for second units, more economic opportunities for rural lands, how to achieve affordable housing and environmental protections.

“We have been pleased with the turnout and that people have been asking questions,” said Jena Neumann, also of The Planning Partnership, of Toronto. “They also had questions about their properties, mapping, bicycle infrastructure. They were curious to know about next steps and how long it takes go move through the process.”

Margaret Walton, of Planscape in Bracebridge, noted the session’s input will be added along with tweaks from municipal staff and council and the draft could go before council by the end of January. Planscape was involved in the rural, agricultural, shoreline and environmental parts of the plan.

Following adoption by council and approval from the province, the plans policies will guide how, when and where physical change takes place in the County through land use, development, zoning, building design. The plan also affects social, economic and cultural aspects of community life including affordable housing, parks, trails, facilities, roads, water and sewage services; environmental and conservation protection and conservation.

The County is projected to experience modest population growth to the year 2032. The permanent population was 25,300 in 2012; the seasonal 6,050. The numbers for 2032 are projected to be 27,350 and 7,425.

Employment (jobs) are set at 7,745 in 2012 with a projection to 9,145 by 2032. Key strengths and drivers of growth are agriculture/viticulture, tourism and technology based sectors and attractiveness to new permanent and seasonal residents.

The County’s current plan is 22 years old – adopted n 1993, before the amalgamation of 10 local governments into a single tier municipalitiy in 1998.

The draft plan was initiated in 2010 with secondary plan projects in Picton-Hallowell, Wellington and Rossmore. It can be reviewed at The Edward Building, all County libraries and online at the County website.

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