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Response from NGFA legal counsel to Town of Georgina July 19th press release

Prior to the involvement of the NGFA, the Region of York and Metrus Developments had negotiated proposed modifications to the adopted York Region Official Plan (“YROP”) which would have granted the Maple Lake Estates development (“MLE”) a site specific transition policy that would have exempted the MLE development from the entire new regional policy regime...including its enhanced environmental protection policies for provincial significant wetlands (“PSW”) and forests. The proposed site specific policy exemption also referenced Minutes of Settlement (“MOS”) which had not been publicly released. The Region and Metrus intended to obtain Ontario Municipal Board (“OMB” or “Board”) approval to this proposed site specific exemption on July 11.

NGFA believed that the proposed exemption policy was contrary to the Planning Act and the Provincial Policy Statement, the latter of which prohibits any development taking place within a PSW [provincially significant wetland].

NGFA’s lawyer contacted the lawyers for the Region and Metrus and secured their consent to the NGFA obtaining party status on July 11 at the OMB hearing considering partial approval of the YROP. In the interim, the NGFA, the Region and Metrus appeared before a Board mediator to canvass all parties’ interests and positions.

On the eve of the July 11 OMB hearing, the lawyer from Metrus/MLE withdrew its appeal seeking the site specific exemption policy for the MLE development.

As a direct result of the NGFA’s involvement:

  1. no site specific transition policy exempting the MLE development was inserted in the YROP;

  2. no MOS granting MLE special status were entered into;

  3. no MOS exempting the MLE development were inserted in the YROP;

  4. the YROP was partially approved by the OMB on July 11;

  5. the MLE development is not transitioned under the now in force YROP;

  6. the MLE development is subject to the enhanced environmental policies of the now in force YROP;

  7. over 80% of the MLE Lands are identified on Map 4 of the YROP as being within a PSW; and

  8. a significant portion of the MLE Lands are also identified on Map 5 of the YROP as being within a significant forest.

While there is a 25 year old zoning approval currently in place on the MLE Lands permitting the limited development of the site only as an adult only, leased trailer park community; additional approvals, permits and servicing allocations are required prior to any such development ever occurring on these lands. Furthermore, such approvals are required by law to be consistent with the current Provincial Policy Statement and conform with the now in force YROP.

In addition, the Planning Act now requires that the Town of Georgina’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Law must be amended to conform with the now in force YROP and its enhanced environmental policies and recognition of the PSW covering the majority of the MLE Lands. If the Town fails to amend its planning policies within the next year, the Planning Act authorizes the Region to make the necessary modifications to those Town planning policies.

Leo F. Longo
Certified Specialist
(Municipal Law: Local Government & Land Use Planning and Development)  
Aird & Berlis LLP



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Cedar tree in wetland

The North Gwillimbury Forest includes the York Regional Forest and the Arnold C. Matthews Nature Reserve. The Reserve will be cut off from the rest of the forest by Metrus' proposed Maple Leaf Estates.

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