Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Anne Dawkins, the city’s supervisor of planning and policy, says changes to the official plan could make an impact on future development in Thunder Bay.
The city’s supervisor of policy and planning says changes to the official plan will impact development in the community.
The proposal, which still must be approved by city council, would move development originally planned for the Parkdale subdivision to Belrose Road, after a provincially recognized wetland forced developers to halt plans to expand westward.
The plan also designates a pair of neighbourhoods in the city’s southwest as hamlets, allowing for future residential development.
Additionally it sets population density goals, targeting 25 per cent of all new construction as infill development, a number the city surpassed in 2013, hitting 42 per cent.
Anne Dawkins said the policy, last altered in 2002, takes a hard look at single-service development, which is frowned upon at the provincial level.
“The City of Thunder Bay has a fair amount of this. It was referred to as suburban development. Essentially it’s a rural form of development, but on city water,” she said.
“Now provincial policy is very clear as to where you can have that type of development. It must be in a defined settlement area or you only extend services when you’ve got an emergency. In other words you’ve got contamination of wells in a particular area.”
The two newly designated hamlets are already partially developed. The first straddles Highway 61 and extends westward to 20th Side Road.
The second is bordered by Rosslyn Road, 25th Side Road and Arthur Street West.
“That’s where suburban development would be permitted to continue,” Dawkins said.
“Essentially what provincial policy requires is that you look at where you’ve got a concentrated amount of residential development, plus you have some non-residential uses. These two areas, which are yet to be named, met those requirements.”
Future development would still require approval at the provincial level.
The plan has removed suburban and rural residential designations and its economic development policies must provide flexibility to promote community development and mining readiness. It also includes new powers for site-plan control and a cash-in-lieu-of-sidewalks plan.
Tuesday’s open house at the Jackpine Community Centre is the first of five open houses the city intends to hold on changes to its official plan.
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