“The complexity also relates to the fact that we have one set of PLUPs but we have a province where one size won’t fit all.”
– BOB GRODZIK, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
Revising Manitoba’s land use policies (PLUPs) proved to be a bigger job than anticipated, pushing back what was expected to be a release last fall of new policies now to spring 2010.
Last April, the provincial government rolled out a full review of the PLUPs, and held public consultations around the province throughout spring and early summer.
Proposed changes in the draft policies aim for better protection of farmland and water resources as well as improved energy use. The policies came up for review in light of emerging issues such as climate change.
Bob Grodzik, a senior policy planner with Intergovernmental Affairs, said no one expected the complexity and diversity of views that were expressed during consultations. They frequently heard a far greater mix of opinions on matters they initially thought would generate a strong view either for or against, Grodzik said.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be simple… but we ended up getting a lot of comments and feedback that gave us a lot more to think about,” he said.
“The complexity also relates to the fact that we have one set of PLUPs, but we have a province where one size won’t fit all.”
Grodzik said they also realized the language of the draft policies needed scrutiny, after so many municipal leaders interpreted them as impeding future rural development.
“Our policy language was seen as promoting depopulation,” Grodzik said. “So we have had to go through this and say, ‘did we really say that?’ That certainly wasn’t our intent.”
The consultation process was also extended further into summer to hear submissions for key stakeholder groups such as Keystone Agricultural Producers and the Manitoba Professional Planners Institute.
“We really wanted to hear from those folks,” Grodzik added.
KAP has indicated it is generally supportive of the draft policy, seeing it as giving positive consideration for agriculture, while supporting expansion and diversification of agricultural operations.
The PLUPS were last reviewed in 1994, with an amendment made in 2006 to address the development of livestock operations. They came under review last year so that they would reflect new and emerging issues such as climate change and need to protect watersheds.