Do you think we need better public transportation? Do you have an opinion on the quality of the City’s bike paths? Do you have something to say about affordable housing? Accessibility issues? Are you concerned that we must now pay taxes to service 175 acres of recently annexed and completely unneeded farmland?
Stratford will be having a Special Public meeting on December 7, 2023 at 6:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall. This meeting will formally begin the process of reviewing and updating our Official Plan.
A municipality’s official plan establishes the framework for how land within a municipality is to be used, developed, and protected. This includes designating areas for residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational purposes. It helps shape the physical environment of the municipality, and helps manage and direct its growth. There’s also the planning of infrastructure and services such as roads, water supply, sewage, and public transportation to support a growing population. Our Official Plan also assures our environmental protection by including policies to protect natural features, green spaces, and sensitive ecological areas, balancing development with environmental conservation.
And don’t forget the climate crisis. The planning act states that our Official Plan must “contain policies that identify goals, objectives and actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to provide adaptation to a changing climate, including through increasing resiliency.” (2017, c23, Sched.3, s5(2) So far, we have nothing in our Official Plan on these issues. Should be interesting.
Although official plans must conform to provincial policies and regional plans, they are developed through a public consultation process, and this is where you come in. Without input from residents, businesses, and stakeholders, our Official Plan won’t reflect the needs and desires of the community. It won’t have the long-term vision necessary to span the coming decades.
Think about all the changes we are going through in our housing, transportation, and economic development. Think about the difficulties of transitioning to a fair and sustainable future. Your opinion matters. We all need to be responsible, and speak out about where these changes might take us.
Have a look at the current Official Plan: https://www.stratford.ca/en/inside-city-hall/planning.aspx#Official-Plan
The meeting will be live-streamed: https://video.isilive.ca/stratford/live.html
Read the meeting announcement on the City’s website : https://www.stratford.ca/en/news/notice-of-public-meeting-official-plan-review.aspx