Council adopts Natural Heritage System amendment to County Official Plan

Cobourg, ON – December 15, 2021 – Today, Northumberland County Council adopted a Natural Heritage System (NHS) amendment to the County Official Plan. This system, required under provincial legislation, will guide the preservation and enhancement of significant natural features and areas across the County such as wetlands, woodlands and watercourses.

Development of this system involved multiple rounds of in-person and online consultations with the public and stakeholders between 2018 to 2021. In July 2020, County Council endorsed an Enhanced NHS as the preferred option for Northumberland. This option was the most robust of three options proposed, based on minimum requirements identified by the province.

Based on this preferred option, final recommendations for mapping and policy changes to the Official Plan were presented at the Economic Development, Tourism and Land Use Planning Committee meeting on December 1, 2021. Today, these final recommendations were adopted by County Council and the NHS amendment will now be submitted to the Province for approval before it is implemented.

“As a community, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by so many unique and thriving natural features in Northumberland County,” states Warden Bob Crate. “As our community continues to grow and evolve, the Natural Heritage System amendment to the County’s Official Plan will incorporate policies and mapping that will ensure we continue to protect these valuable green spaces in our community and the legacy of Northumberland’s natural beauty for years and generations to come. On behalf of County Council, thank you to everyone who shared their insight during the multi-year consultation process. We are very proud of the work that has been done to arrive at a system that meets the unique needs of our community and delivers on our commitment to preserve and protect our local natural assets.”

The NHS was developed as the first amendment in the ‘Northumberland Next’ initiative, which involves a series of amendments to the County’s Official Plan to guide community growth and development in Northumberland over the next 30 years. The second amendment, currently under development, involves a review of maps and policies related to long-term growth and land needs in Northumberland.

Community members are invited to visit Join In Northumberland – the County’s online consultation portal – at JoinIn.Northumberland.ca to view the final recommendations for the NHS, as well as to learn more about the Northumberland Next initiative, sign up for updates about future consultations, and to review and provide feedback on a draft Growth Forecast and Urban Lands Needs Analysis Report.