Council looking for input on official plan Skate park presentation also slated

As required by legislation, council will hold a special meeting tonight to determine any need for revision of the town’s official plan.
The town gave notice of this meeting in the Jan. 5 and 12 editions of the Times, at which time the town also asked for written or oral submissions in respect to the need for a revision of the plan.
Clerk Glenn Treftlin said this morning no one responded to this call, but added anyone is welcome to come to tonight’s special meeting and step up to the podium.
“We’re interested if anybody has any thoughts about the plan,” he said. Any presenters are encouraged to bring copies of their reports for distribution to council.
Municipal planner Faye Flatt noted that in simplest terms, the official plan is a policy document which, working hand in hand with the zoning bylaw, sets out the long-term goals and development objectives of the town.
She noted, for instance, if someone wanted to build a new subdivision in the industrial park, they could not do so because under the current official plan, that area is earmarked for industrial development.
In a second example, the mill yard in the east end of town is designated as a recreational space in the town’s official plan. This means once the land is no longer used as a wood yard, the designation in the official plan will come into effect and the land developed appropriately.
Flatt noted council is not obligated to incorporate input from the public into the plan, and such input likely would be referred to executive committees for discussion.
She added any possible revisions to the official plan likely would be held off until the town completes its strategic plan.
The special meeting is slated for 7 p.m., interrupting the regular council meeting which is scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m.
Back on Oct. 29, the Planning and Development executive committee reviewed a report from Flatt regarding the legislated requirement to hold a special meeting to determine any need for revisions to the official plan, and recommended council schedule a public meeting.
Section 26 of the Planning Act requires that at least once every five years, council hold a special meeting to determine the need for a revision ot the official plan. The only requirement is that a meeting be held (there is no requirement to make amendments even if something is identified).
The current official plan was adopted in 1997 and approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing the following year.
While this requirement should have been satisfied by September, 2003, “as a result of the impending election and workload existing at the time,” no meeting was held in that period of time, Flatt noted in a report to council.
Then on Feb. 9, 2004, council voted the official plan be reviewed in conjunction with the town’s strategic plan, on the basis changes to the official plan might be required once the strategic plan was complete.
But later talks with the ministry indicated that notwithstanding the intent of the deferral, a special meeting still had to be held sooner than later.
< *c>Skate park
In other news, Rob Tovey of the Kiwanis skate park committee will make a presentation at tonight’s council meeting.
As reported in last week’s Times, the group is looking for the town’s approval of revised plans for a 14,500 sq. ft. permanent modular park, including confirmation of a site for the proposed park.
This portion of the tonight’s meeting tentatively is scheduled to take place around 6:40 p.m.
The committee of the whole meets at 5:30 p.m. downstairs at the Civic Centre, but will be in-camera until 6:20 p.m. The public session will resume at 6:25 p.m., followed by the council meeting at 6:40.
Other business at tonight’s meeting will include:
•a request from the Canadian Red Cross Society to proclaim March as “Red Cross Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•a letter of request from the local Business Improvement Association regarding parking on the 200 block of First Street East;
•a letter of request from Bill Morrison regarding traffic concerns at the corner of the 1200 block of Colonization Road West;
•a request for financial assistance for this April’s performing arts festival from the Rainy River District Music Festival Association; and
•a request from Essex-Windsor Slid Waste Authority for support of its resolution regarding the elimination of in-kind newspaper advertisements from the Canadian Community Newspaper Association and the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, and the requirement for the CCNA/OCNA to make their payments in cash.