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Rideau Lakes updates official plan

Some of the new updates include expanded housing options, new economic development and increased environmental protection that includes the many lakes in the township.

The updates and amendments of the official plan were adopted on Monday, Oct. 4 following many public consultation processes and through the leadership of the planning advisory committee and staff. The official plan was about two years in the making.

Rideau Lakes Mayor Arie Hoogenboom said the new plan will make things much clearer in terms of planning rules in the township. According to a news release, the plan establishes a framework for managing the effects of growth on the social, economic and natural environment.

“It is rewarding to work toward better affordability and increased environmental protection for the benefit of all the township residents,” said Coun. Bob Lavoie, chairman of the planning advisory committee, in a prepared statement.

The updated plan includes expanding housing options, meant to help address the issue of affordable housing in the future.

“We have clauses in there that deal with climate change and we have numerous clauses in there that relate to making sure development on the water is environmentally sustainable,” said Hoogenboom.

“I think all those things are important to all our residents both permanent and seasonal in Rideau Lakes,” added the mayor.

Housing options have been expanded to allow property owners to add secondary dwelling units with some restrictions, develop tiny homes and age in place through new supports for senior-based housing initiatives. The township is committed to seeing that 25 per cent of new housing in Rideau Lakes is affordable as defined under the Provincial Policy Statement, township officials added.

“I think it’s important to make sure your official plan is current on issues that are current,” Hoogenboom added. Affordable housing and environmentally responsible development has become much more important to residents than it was before.

With 32 lakes and 800 kilometers of shoreline in Rideau Lakes, the township enhanced its protective measures for waterfront areas, further to protect the large waterfront land holdings, and created policies to emphasize the importance of water quality monitoring for future township decisions.

“The official plan is quite dated and I think we’re taking significant steps forward in terms of addressing some of those things,” said Hoogenboom.

These updates were needed as the previous official plan was approved on Apr. 2, 2004, shortly after the amalgamation in 1998.

The next step of the process is for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville to review, make suggestions or recommend modifications to be made to the plan and then approve the official plan.

Hoogenboom said he hopes that the plan will be approved by the end of the year to give the township the opportunity to update the zoning bylaw, which is the next planning document that needs updating.
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