County Official Plan – Now the County Reacts? by Donna Burns

Published December 1, 2018

In Renfrew County, we are in big trouble with a restrictive Official Plan, the Watershed Study, Bill C68, Algonquin Land Claims – all of which could impact our properties. It’s time our County and our local municipalities start paying more attention on how to protect the people from losing their properties and ensure they continue to have a tax base, rather than spending money on outside consultants, etc. Its time elected officials do their own research, read their own legislation, and represent the people.

In 2016 and again in 2018, I stood before Council, along with many other people, putting forth our objection to the Official Plan (Amendment 25). Our objection was based on the fact that our properties belong to the inhabitants of this county – they DO NOT BELONG to the county or the municipalities, or even the province.

Several pieces of legislation clearly state that the CONSENT OF THE OWNER must be obtained first before changes can be made to private property. Nearly 900 property owners provided in writing to the County their objection to the Official Plan (OP) and that they did not give consent to any designations proposed for their properties. The County ignored the people and approved the OP on April 25, 2018 and submitted it to the Province.

Now the County Council is angry because the Province is also targeting them and threatening their viability, just as the County threatened the viability of property owners.

As a property owner, I am very angry at the County Council for not doing their job and PROTECTING the interests of their people – instead, they chose to serve the interest of the province ahead of the people…and look where that got them! Did they ignore the reports I gave them that showed the proof of what is written in the legislation that protects private property? Did they also ignore the report of 2002 we gave them with the proposal for the “role of government” to “create innovative ideas” to bring about decline in a humane manner” for the “small, rural and remote communities” – a report, in our opinion, that showed the province no longer wanted to put money into the rural areas and began shutting services and creating regulations to make living in the rural areas unaffordable. I am angry that so many volunteers for the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) have spent thousands of hours researching information and trying to work with municipal councils in protecting the people and their properties, only to be ignored.

Politicians running for the Conservative and Progressive Conservative Leadership races have approached the OLA for their support, knowing the information researched by the OLA has been truthful and that the people are being lied to or misled to believe something false. But the municipal level of government – the level that has the most direct contact with the people ignore everything we bring forward to them. Why? What makes this level of government so fearful of the knowledge we share? Why do our elected council members refuse to inform the public on information they learn that will impact our properties? Do they know about it – do their senior staff inform them of this information?

The Ottawa River Watershed Council completed its study on October 31st and it will likely have a huge impact on our private properties – those with streams, creeks, wells, waterfront, etc. The same with Bill C68 – Amendments to Fisheries Act – changes where fish species may be found whether they are fished or not. All of this ties in together – the Official Plan, the Watershed Study, Bill C68, Algonquin Land Claims – they will all impact our properties…and yet our “elected officials” say nothing. Why does it require volunteers from the OLA to bring this kind of information forward to the public – information that our paid “elected officials” should be sharing.

But for the work of the Renfrew, Nipissing, Pembroke Landowners Association, many people in the County would not have been aware of the impact of the OP on their properties.

You can help us, help you by purchasing a membership online at http://store.ontariolandowners.ca/ola-yearly-membership/ or by sending a cheque for $60 payable to the Ontario Landowners Association, with your name, address, phone number, and email address, if you have it, to the OLA, PO Box 5223, Huntsville, ON. P1H 2K9.

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