By: Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The town of Gananoque is conducting a review of its official plan with the goal of creating a new one for the community. As part of the process, the town will be holding a virtual public open house for the official plan on March 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The public open house will introduce the community to the plan and will give residents an opportunity to provide their input.
The official plan is a statement of goals, objectives and policies that will act as a roadmap for future growth within the town over the next 20 years. The plan applies to all land within the town and protects natural and cultural resources. It also guides development, redevelopment and infrastructure services.
The public’s input and contributions build the town’s policy document, said Brenda Guy, manager of planning and development, adding that this upcoming meeting will be held virtually and there will be other opportunities to provide feedback as the process goes on.
The upcoming open house is in the early stages of the process and the feedback received will be used to create a directions report. Another open house will be held later in the process to share and receive feedback on draft official plan policies.
The current official plan was approved and adopted in 2010 and “the town has seen a lot of updates or changes with new developments, remediation of brownfields, pedestrian trails and pathways, waterfront, open space, downtown all unique to Gananoque,” said Guy. “We need to grow and sustain ourselves but ensure that we do so properly recognizing our natural resources, housing needs, infrastructure, employment areas that shape who we are… Maybe our current official plan is still very valid and just needs to be adjusted or changed in some areas.”
The virtual open house will be led by consultants JL Richards & Associates Limited and will ask residents and local business what they like about Gananoque or what the town needs to consider to change, said Guy.
Community members wanting to make a five-minute oral presentation or submit written comments to be read at the meeting can do so until 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting by contacting the town by email at email@example.com.
The meeting agenda and how to get to the meeting can be found at www.gananoque.ca/town-hall/meetings, prior to the meeting.
A special council meeting was held in July of last year to kick off the official plan process but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but now the town is moving forward again, said Guy.
The upcoming open house will include a presentation of previous work undertaken and provide an opportunity for the public to ask staff and consultants questions.
(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)