Official Plan Review
What is Your Future Vision for the City of Sarnia?
The City of Sarnia is updating its Official Plan. The Official Plan affects everyday life. It is a policy document that manages and directs physical change and affects our social, economic and natural environment. The current Official Plan came into effect on January 12, 2001. Since then, much has changed. A new Provincial Policy Statement was released in 2005 that places a greater focus on sustainable city-building and promotes decisions that result in a healthy and vibrant community. An emphasis on fostering compact communities through intensification and redevelopment initiatives has been prioritized, as has the protection of prime agricultural areas. New development must be integrated with infrastructure to foster responsible growth over the long-term. Any consideration to expand the urban boundary is subject to a set of criteria designed to ensure that the expansion is needed and won’t negatively impact existing areas. Council decisions are required to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and the County of Lambton Official Plan. Public input is a key part of the process and will be sought in developing a new framework for decision-making of how we want our City to grow. A number of community meetings and workshops will be held along the way to discuss a variety of issues, topics and options. This review process will form the basis for the development of new or revised policies to be included in the Official Plan and Zoning By-law. The City of Sarnia is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to plan for the long term future of the municipality given the significant changes in Provincial legislation. It is recognized that a coordinated, integrated and comprehensive strategy for managing and directing growth is essential to the well-being and long-term economic prosperity of the City. The City is undertaking work to identify the amount, location and pace of population and employment growth in Sarnia to 2031. This strategy will also identify the infrastructure and financial requirements to support anticipated growth. Below are eight components that together will inform the basis of a growth management approach to guide Sarnia’s evolution over the next 20 years.
How a City is arranged directly impacts how it works and how we live. It’s about identifying the components of a city like our main streets, stable areas and natural heritage features that work together as a whole. A City’s arrangement can have direct implications for accessibility, connectivity, sustainability, safety and economic viability. Understanding city structure helps to make best use of our resources in a sustainable manner.
Population Projections and Demographics
To make responsible and accountable decisions, we must understand how we have developed in the past and have a vision for how our City will grow in the future. A key component is realistically anticipating how many people will live and work here in the future and understanding things like what age and the average household size will be. This insight gives us the ability to make strategic decisions about how we grow.
Residential and Commercial Land Needs
Once population projections are prepared, an analysis can be undertaken to see how much growth can be accommodated within the City and if additional land is needed for the expected population. A healthy city maintains the flexibility to promote a variety of housing and retail options – that don’t undermine existing areas and the City structure.
Intensification and Redevelopment
Accommodating growth within the City is an essential part of fostering a healthy and vibrant urban environment. Responsible intensification anticipates areas of change and areas of stability. It strategically directs growth and reinvestment to areas that support the city structure and make the best use of existing infrastructure, helps to create a well-designed built environment and public realm, offer additional shopping and retail employment opportunities, a wider range of housing options and expanded transportation choices.
Agriculture and the Countryside
The Countryside is facing many opportunities and challenges. Strong provincial agricultural preservation policies, urban encroachment, new and emerging trends in agriculture, and the importance of natural areas and ecosystems to our health require a renewed look and understanding of this integral part of our City.
Sarnia has many areas of exceptional natural beauty. While our shorelines and natural areas continue to contribute to a good quality of life, over time land use activities have had an impact on the natural environment. Recent initiatives have been undertaken to improve the quality of our air, water and soil. A healthy environment rooted in the protection, restoration and enhancement of ecosystems and natural areas in Sarnia is important to our long-term health and well-being.
Sarnia boasts a series of unique employment clusters that distinguish our city and drive our economy. Ensuring that these employment areas are protected for the long-term helps to keep the flexibility necessary to reinforce our current economic base and take advantage of future trends.
Infrastructure and Public Services
An understanding of our infrastructure is an important consideration in accommodating growth. Making the best use of our existing infrastructure and integrating it with our growth helps to ensure we are making the best use of our pipes, roads and public services like schools and fire protection. An efficient and cost-effective infrastructure system is a fundamental building block in achieving a sustainable City.
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This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:53 PM