DATE AND LOCATIONS OF PUBLIC REVIEW WORKSHOPS
Gilbert Plains Community Centre (Curling Hall)
101 Complex Drive
1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m. April 21 Shoal Lake
Shoal Lake Community Hall 315 The Drive 1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m.
April 22 Souris
Souris Glenwood Memorial Complex (Kirkup Lounge)
32 -3rd Avenue West
1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m. April 23 Carman
Carman United Place Hall 134 -1st Street SW 1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m. April 27 Winnipeg
Norwood Hotel (Promenade Room A)
7 p. m. to 9:30 p. m.
April 30 Thompson
Thompson Regional Community Centre
(Mary Fenske Boardroom) 1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m.
May 4 Fraserwood
Fraserwood Hall (new hall) 1:30 p. m. to 4 p. m.
May 7 Beausejour
Brokenhead River Community Hall
320 Veterans Lane
Prospects of a not-so-distant future where farmland, water and energy resources grow scarcer has prompted the Manitoba government to review its provincial land use policies.
Proposed changes, which would make conserving those resources a higher priority for municipal governments, come up for public review later this month.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton announced the review March 29. It will include public workshops held in April and early May, plus a series of stakeholder consultations.
“We need to hear the views of Manitobans to ensure the proposed changes will benefit the province for generations to come,” Ashton stated in a news release.
The draft policies, which were developed by a Provincial Intergovernmental committee, aim for land use planning that takes the need to protect water and farmland into greater consideration, integrates land use with infrastructure planning, addresses emerging issues like climate change and promotes energy efficiency, said a senior government official.
The new draft document also aims for greater clarity and contains a clear statement of provincial interests, said Bob Grodzik, a senior policy planner with Provincial Planning Services in Intergovernmental Affairs.
The provincial land use policies, referred to as PLUPs, were last reviewed in 1994 to incorporate principles of sustainable development. An amendment was made in 2006 to address the development of livestock operations.
Since then a number of new issues, such as watershed protection and climate change have emerged, Grodzik said.
One of the key issues draft PLUPs address is the way farmland is disappearing under commercial, industrial and residential development in Manitoba.
“We see over time… ‘one lot at a time’ type of impacts,” Grodzik said, adding that it can lead to a landscape where it will be tougher for farmers to have the contiguous tracts of land they need.
Like anywhere else, farmland is a finite resource in Manitoba. Just 13 per cent of the provincial land base has agricultural potential, yet that land is also the most desirable for these non-farm uses.
The changes made in the draft policies encourage municipalities to better plan for agriculture, Grodzik said. They call on municipalities to direct development closer to urban centres, thereby reducing low density and scattered development.
“We try to propose settlement strategies and residential land split stragegies and subdivision in rural areas in a way that’s more compact,” said Grodzik.
For example, draft policies propose that land designated agricultural be maintained in minimum parcel sizes of at least 80 acres. Criteria for single-lot subdivisions would also become stricter.
Other draft policies urge local authorities to integrate a watershed management plan into future development plans, and to account for transport needs as well. Municipalities would be asked to identify a hierarchy for local roads with a view to how they best serve the regional and provincial transportation system, Grodzik said. It’s a process that actually might lead to decisions that some roads are not needed, thereby reducing future costs, he added.
“We hope that municipalities will see the value of this and examine their own transportation and their own municipal road system as part of this process.”
The aim is to have the land use policies finalized by the fall of 2009.
Manitoba was the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt provincial land use policies in 1980.