New Official Plan still on hold, meeting with Municipal Affairs and Housing scheduled for February 26

MANITOULIN—The new Manitoulin Official Plan (OP) is still on hold as Island municipal leaders, through the Manitoulin Municipal Association (MMA) and the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB), wait for answers from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

“The MMAH was scheduled to attend the last MMA meeting to address some of our concerns (with the draft OP), however they had to cancel because the (MMAH) staff that was to attend got called away to Toronto for training,” explained MPB secretary/treasurer Elva Carter. “We are still waiting to hash out issues with Lake Manitou (being designated as at ‘capacity for development’) and development on rights of way and hear back from the MNR about better defined deer yards.”

Ms. Carter explained that the final draft of the OP cannot be approved by the planning board until these issues are resolved. According to protocol, the draft OP is approved by the planning board, then sent to the Island municipalities for their councils to adopt before moving on to the MMAH for final review. Once the new OP is finalized, it will be in place for the next 20 years, with a review every five years.

“A majority of the of the municipalities must adopt the draft OP before it can be sent to the MMAH for review, to approve and modify as see fit,” Ms. Carter added. “I have heard that the MMAH has rescheduled to attend the next MMA meeting, but the planning board has not officially received notice of this.”

The secretary/treasurer of the MMA was able to confirm that the MMAH would be attending the next MMA meeting to discuss the OP on Wednesday, February 26.

“The MMAH will be coming to the next MMA meeting and we are trying to get the MNR to attend as well,” said MMA secretary/treasurer Bonnie Bailey. “The Island municipalities have a number of concerns with the draft OP and the MMAH has agreed to come and discuss these issues with them. We are also trying to get Mike Meeker (of Meeker Aquaculture) to attend and discuss the water quality of Island lakes.”

The MMA meeting will occur on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30 pm at the Mindemoya Community Centre.

Robin Burridge