Northumberland Next: Official Plan Update

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We are updating the Northumberland County Official Plan to guide growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years. These updates align with Provincial legislation that requires municipalities to review and update their Official Plan every few years.

Current Provincial forecasts indicate that the population for Northumberland County will grow to 122,000 people and 44,000 jobs by the year 2051. As part of the Official Plan update, we will be reviewing the maps and policies in the current Official Plan, and will undertake a series of amendments to update the Plan to ensure that the County and its member municipalities are prepared for the forecasted growth.

Some specific topics that we will be reviewing include:

  • Natural Heritage System mapping and policies
    • First amendment planned. NHS report finalized based on public consultation in 2018-2020 and endorsed by County Council on July 22, 2020. Virtual consultations regarding amendment held in spring 2021.
  • Agricultural mapping and policies
  • Population, Housing and Employment
  • Land Needs
  • Water Resource mapping and policies
  • Affordable housing policies

The updated Official Plan will be developed in consultation with the local area municipalities and community partners, and through consultation with the public, including public meetings and online input through Join In Northumberland.

The public consultation process launched with a virtual public meeting on October 28, 2020. Additional opportunities for public engagement will continue in 2021.

About the project

Our vision: To manage growth for a complete and thriving Northumberland over the next 30 years.

The public engagement objectives for Northumberland Next are to:

  1. Inform residents of the process for updating the Northumberland County Official Plan
  2. Gather public input on land use planning priorities for Northumberland County as we plan for future growth and development
  3. Gather resident and stakeholder feedback about topics for review in the County's Official Plan

Join In the conversation

  • Share your ideas on key issues for the County to address as plans are updated to strategically manage local growth and development.
  • Join our email distribution list for updates about the project and opportunities to provide your feedback. Click 'subscribe' under the 'Stay Informed' box.
  • Attend our upcoming consultations for more information and to provide your feedback on the topics for review.

Recent consultations

In spring 2021, Northumberland County hosted virtual consultations regarding the Natural Heritage System mapping and policies for the Enhanced NHS option endorsed by County Council in July 2020.

Learn more about the NHS mapping and policies:

For a copy of a consolidated version of draft NHS policies in the Official Plan (Microsoft Word Document with tracking changes) or the full NHS final report, please submit a request to our Document Request Form.

We are updating the Northumberland County Official Plan to guide growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years. These updates align with Provincial legislation that requires municipalities to review and update their Official Plan every few years.

Current Provincial forecasts indicate that the population for Northumberland County will grow to 122,000 people and 44,000 jobs by the year 2051. As part of the Official Plan update, we will be reviewing the maps and policies in the current Official Plan, and will undertake a series of amendments to update the Plan to ensure that the County and its member municipalities are prepared for the forecasted growth.

Some specific topics that we will be reviewing include:

  • Natural Heritage System mapping and policies
    • First amendment planned. NHS report finalized based on public consultation in 2018-2020 and endorsed by County Council on July 22, 2020. Virtual consultations regarding amendment held in spring 2021.
  • Agricultural mapping and policies
  • Population, Housing and Employment
  • Land Needs
  • Water Resource mapping and policies
  • Affordable housing policies

The updated Official Plan will be developed in consultation with the local area municipalities and community partners, and through consultation with the public, including public meetings and online input through Join In Northumberland.

The public consultation process launched with a virtual public meeting on October 28, 2020. Additional opportunities for public engagement will continue in 2021.

About the project

Our vision: To manage growth for a complete and thriving Northumberland over the next 30 years.

The public engagement objectives for Northumberland Next are to:

  1. Inform residents of the process for updating the Northumberland County Official Plan
  2. Gather public input on land use planning priorities for Northumberland County as we plan for future growth and development
  3. Gather resident and stakeholder feedback about topics for review in the County's Official Plan

Join In the conversation

  • Share your ideas on key issues for the County to address as plans are updated to strategically manage local growth and development.
  • Join our email distribution list for updates about the project and opportunities to provide your feedback. Click 'subscribe' under the 'Stay Informed' box.
  • Attend our upcoming consultations for more information and to provide your feedback on the topics for review.

Recent consultations

In spring 2021, Northumberland County hosted virtual consultations regarding the Natural Heritage System mapping and policies for the Enhanced NHS option endorsed by County Council in July 2020.

Learn more about the NHS mapping and policies:

For a copy of a consolidated version of draft NHS policies in the Official Plan (Microsoft Word Document with tracking changes) or the full NHS final report, please submit a request to our Document Request Form.

  • Upcoming virtual consultations regarding Natural Heritage System amendments to County Official Plan

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    Cobourg, ON – March 4, 2021 – Northumberland County will be hosting a virtual open house and virtual public meeting regarding proposed Natural Heritage System mapping and policies for inclusion in the County Official Plan, as part of Northumberland Next – an initiative to update the County Official Plan. The Northumberland Next initiative will involve a series of amendments to the Official Plan, which will guide community growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years.

    Required under provincial legislation, the Natural Heritage System will be the first amendment presented to County Council as part of the Northumberland Next process. This system, which has been in development since 2018, will preserve and enhance significant natural features and areas across the County such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses.

    Last year, County Council was presented with three options for a local Natural Heritage System including Basic, Comprehensive and Enhanced options, based on the minimum requirements identified by the province as well as input from the public. After consideration of feedback gathered from the public during two rounds of consultation taking place between 2018 and 2020, County Council endorsed the Enhanced Natural Heritage System Plan on July 22, 2020.

    “With our community projected to grow to 122,000 people and 44,000 jobs by 2051, the County has launched the Northumberland Next initiative to evaluate our Official Plan in preparation for this forecasted growth, and ensure we are positioned to meet the evolving needs of our community,” states County Warden Bob Crate. “As a community that is known for its unique and thriving natural features, it is important that we update our plan to include policies and mapping that support a conservation-forward Natural Heritage System that protects and preserves these features for future generations.”

    County staff are now considering policy and mapping changes to the Official Plan to implement the endorsed Natural Heritage System Plan. These proposed changes will be presented for feedback during two upcoming virtual events:

    • An open house with a 20-minute presentation to the public from County staff and consultants, followed by a Q&A period.
    • A public meeting with a 20-minute presentation to the Economic Development, Tourism, Land Use Planning Committee and the public for feedback.

    Event details

    Virtual Open House

    Monday, March 29, 2021
    6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
    Join online: zoom.us/join
    Join by phone (toll-free): 855-703-8985
    Meeting ID: 864 1631 3406
    Passcode: 993411

    Virtual Public Meeting

    Economic Development, Tourism, Land Use Planning Committee Meeting
    Wednesday, April 7, 2021
    9:00 a.m.
    Join online: zoom.us/join
    Join by phone (toll-free): 855-703-8985
    Meeting ID: 826 9239 2700
    Passcode: 465315

    Feedback gathered during these consultations will be used to inform a recommendation to County Council later in 2021 for a Natural Heritage System amendment to the County Official Plan. Once adopted by Council, this amendment will be submitted to the province for approval, and then integrated into the County’s Official Plan.

    Residents are invited to visit the County’s online consultation portal at JoinIn.Northumberland.ca to learn more about the Northumberland Next initiative, to view an interactive map demonstrating how the Natural Heritage System would be implemented in our community, and to review a copy of the draft Official Plan amendment.

  • Developing a Natural Heritage System

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    Northumberland County has developed a Natural Heritage System Plan to manage community growth in a way that preserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations. An Enhanced Natural Heritage System was endorsed by County Council on July 22, 2020.

    Staff will now initiate an Official Plan amendment and arrange public events to incorporate the preferred Natural heritage System mapping and policies into the County Official Plan update.

    Required by the province, the natural heritage system includes areas such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses that have been identified as significant natural features that we must protect and enhance.

    To receive a digital copy of the final report, background report, or draft rationale/criteria/options report, please submit a request using our Document Request Form.

    What does this mean?

    The Natural Heritage System Plan will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan policies, including:

    • Establishing a new Natural Heritage Area designation that will apply to properties with natural heritage features
    • Identification of natural heritage features and areas, as well as supporting features and areas that would be subject to development prohibitions and/or restrictions
    • Introduction of new policies affecting development and site alteration in and adjacent to the Natural Heritage System
    • Updates to the requirements for environmental studies

    Public consultation process

    In November 2018, Northumberland County conducted the first round of public consultation sessions to gather input on natural features to be included in Northumberland County's Natural Heritage System Plan.

    This input was used to develop three Natural Heritage System options, which were presented to the public for feedback during our second round of public consultation sessions in November and December 2019.

    In response to feedback received during these public consultation sessions, the County developed an online interactive map to demonstrate how each of the three options for a Natural Heritage System would be implemented in our community. Public feedback was gathered on the proposed mapping until February 21, 2020.

    Project timelines

    Complete

    November 2018 - first round of public consultations

    • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - November 26, 2018
    • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 28, 2018
    • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - November 29, 2018

    November/December 2019 - second round of public consultations

    • Cramahe Township Municipal Office, Colborne - November 21, 2019
    • Northumberland County Headquarters, Cobourg - December 2, 2019
    • Clock Tower Cultural Centre, Campbellford - December 3, 2019

    January/February 2020

    • Interactive map and online form for gathering public input

    July 2020

    • Completed final report

    Spring/Summer 2020

    • Present the preferred Natural Heritage System option to Northumberland County Council on July 22, 2020

    Next steps

    March 2021

    • Initiate update and arrange for a public meeting to incorporate the preferred Natural heritage System mapping and policies into the County Official Plan update

    Later in 2021

    • Make recommendation for Natural Heritage System mapping and polices to County Council to send to Province for approval
  • County to launch Official Plan review and update at upcoming virtual public meeting

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    Cobourg, ON – September 17, 2020 – On October 28, Northumberland County will launch Northumberland Next, an initiative to review and update the County’s Official Plan to manage growth and development in Northumberland over the next 20 years.

    As part of the Provincial Planning Act, municipalities in Ontario are required to review their Official Plan every few years. In alignment with this requirement, County staff will review the maps and policies in the current Official Plan and undertake a series of amendments to update the plan to ensure the County and its member municipalities are prepared for forecasted growth. Current Provincial forecasts indicate that by the year 2051, Northumberland's population will grow to approximately 122,000 people and the workforce will grow to approximately 44,000 jobs.

    During the review process, Northumberland County will review several topics including:

    • Natural Heritage System mapping and policies
    • Agricultural mapping and policies
    • Population, Housing and Employment
    • Land Needs
    • Water resource mapping and policies
    • Affordable housing policies

    Residents are invited to join County Council and staff for a virtual kick-off meeting on Wednesday, October 28 to learn more about the Official Plan update process and to share your thoughts about key issues for the County to consider as plans are updated to strategically manage local growth and development.

    Virtual meeting details: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 7 p.m.
    Web: zoom.us/join
    Meeting ID: 848 5924 2810
    Passcode: 759484
    Join by phone (toll-free): 855-703-8985

    In advance of the virtual public meeting, resources including project timelines and background materials about the Official Plan are available on Join In Northumberland—the County’s online consultation portal. To access these materials and to sign up for our email distribution list to be notified of future meetings and opportunities to provide input, please visit JoinIn.Northumberland.ca.

  • Council to consider preferred option for Natural Heritage System Plan at July 22 meeting

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    Cobourg, ON – July 17, 2020 – County Council will consider the preferred option for a Natural Heritage System (NHS) Plan on July 22. Required under provincial legislation, the NHS will preserve and enhance areas such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses that have been identified as significant natural features.

    “Over the past three years, County staff has been working with our consultant team from North-South Environmental Incorporated to develop an NHS that best meets the needs of Northumberland,” states County Land Use Planning & Inspection Services Manager Dwayne Campbell. “After much consideration of best practices, provincial requirements and based on extensive consultations with staff, stakeholders, residents, and property owners, the Enhanced option has been identified as best fulfilling the objectives for a Northumberland NHS. This option is the most robust, conservation-forward system of the three proposed options, and this approach will ensure we protect the County’s unique natural features and ecosystems for future generations.”

    In 2019, Northumberland County developed three increasingly robust options for a Natural Heritage System (basic, comprehensive and enhanced), based on minimum requirements identified by the province and input gathered during public consultations in 2018. These three options were presented to the public for feedback during public engagement sessions in 2019, and were presented in an online interactive map in 2020, which indicated the areas incorporated under each option.

    Once implemented, the NHS plan will result in amendments to the County’s Official Plan, including the establishment of a new Natural Heritage Area designation that will apply to properties with key natural heritage features.

    For more information about the Natural Heritage System Plan, and to review the full NHS report, please visit Northumberland.ca/NHS. Residents can live stream the upcoming meeting of County Council on July 22 at 9:30 a.m. by visiting Youtube.com/CountyNorthumberland.

  • County introduces interactive map to demonstrate three options for a Natural Heritage System

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    Cobourg, ON – January 27, 2020 – Northumberland County has developed an online interactive map to demonstrate three options for a local Natural Heritage System Plan. The County is inviting residents to review the interactive map and provide feedback on these options.

    Required under provincial legislation, the Northumberland Natural Heritage System will preserve and enhance areas such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses that have been identified as significant natural features. Once finalized, the plan will result in updates to the Northumberland County Official Plan policies, including the establishment of a new Natural Heritage Area designation that will apply to properties with key natural heritage features.

    Based on minimum requirements identified by the province, and input gathered during the previous two rounds of public consultations completed in 2018 and 2019, the County has developed Basic, Comprehensive and Enhanced options for a local system. Each option builds upon the previous option, providing additional connectivity and identifying more key natural heritage features. The Basic option achieves the minimum provincial requirements while the Enhanced option proposes the most conservation-forward system.

    Residents are invited to view the interactive map and share their feedback by visiting Northumberland.ca/NHS and completing the online form by February 21, 2020.

  • Second round of public information sessions planned about Natural Heritage System

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    Cobourg, ON – November 5, 2019 – Northumberland County invites members of the public to attend one of three information sessions about work that is currently underway to finalize a Natural Heritage System Plan for Northumberland. A Natural Heritage System Plan is designed to help manage community growth in a way that preserves and enhances the natural environment for future generations.

    Northumberland County conducted the first round of public information sessions in November 2018. At these sessions, the County presented the local natural features that were identified for inclusion in the plan, and received public input on other possible areas of interest and considerations for the development of policies related to these features.

    “Northumberland County is made up of many important natural environments including wetlands, woodlands, valleylands, habitats and watercourses,” states Land Use Planning & Inspection Services Manager Dwayne Campbell. “A Natural Heritage System will ensure plans are in place to protect and preserve these unique features as our community continues to grow and thrive. As we move forward with the development of a local plan, we would like to share our progress with the community, and receive input on three proposed Northumberland Natural Heritage Systems.”

    This plan, required by the provincial government as a partner document to the County’s Official Plan, will be finalized in early 2020.

    To learn more about the proposed Northumberland Natural Heritage System plans, and to provide input into this process, members of the public are invited to attend one of the following upcoming information sessions:

    Details: Natural Heritage System Plan: Phase 2 Information Session

    Presentation: Lead Ecologists for this project will deliver two 15-min presentations at each session, at 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

    Session 1: November 21st, 2019
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Cramahe Township Municipal Office
    1 Toronto Street, Colborne

    Session 2: December 2nd, 2019
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Northumberland County Headquarters
    555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg

    Session 3: December 3rd, 2019
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Clock Tower Cultural Centre
    36 Front Street South, Campbellford

    Information is also available at NorthumberlandCounty.ca/NaturalHeritage.

  • Public Information Sessions planned about local Natural Heritage System

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    Cobourg, ON – November 14, 2018 – Northumberland County will host three public information sessions in November about work that is currently underway to develop a Natural Heritage System Plan. A Natural Heritage System identifies the natural features in a community such as forests, lakes, rivers, valleys and wetlands, as well as how these features are linked.

    “Natural Heritage Systems are vital to a community’s well-being and quality of life,” indicates County Land Use Planning & Inspection Services Manager Dwayne Campbell. “Northumberland County is creating a Natural Heritage System Plan to guide community growth in a way that preserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations.”

    Using data from local municipalities as well as the province, historical mapping, area photography and other sources, the County has identified local natural features for inclusion in the plan, including:

    • Wetlands;
    • Woodlands;
    • Valleylands;
    • Significant wildlife habitats;
    • Habitats of endangered and threatened species;
    • Fish habitats
    • Watercourses; and
    • Areas of natural and scientific interest

    The County is now working with project partner North-South Environmental to identify ecological linkages and draft policies related to these features. This plan, required by the provincial government as a partner document to the County’s Official Plan, will be finalized by the end of 2019.

    To learn more about the natural features identified throughout Northumberland for this plan, and to provide input into this process, members of the public are invited to attend one of the following upcoming information sessions:

    Details: Natural Heritage System Plan: Information Session

    Presentation: Lead Ecologists for this project will deliver two 15-min presentations at each session, at 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

    Session 1: November 26th, 2018
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Northumberland County Headquarters
    555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg

    Session 2: November 28th, 2018
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Cramahe Township Municipal Office
    1 Toronto Street, Colborne

    Session 3: November 29th, 2018
    4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Clock Tower Cultural Centre
    36 Front Street South, Campbellford

    Information is also available at NorthumberlandCounty.ca/NaturalHeritage.

Page last updated: 21 April 2021, 14:55