$250G study will be neutral on land use, development

SIMCOE - Norfolk County has agreed to a $250,000 shoreline mapping exercise after receiving assurances the new data won’t be used to compromise property rights.

The Long Point Region Conservation Authority asked Norfolk to participate in the mapping venture in 2016 but was rebuffed.

Several members of Norfolk council sit on the LPRCA. At the time, they were alarmed by the impact new mapping had on lakeshore activity in Elgin County.

Simcoe Coun. Doug Brunton said the new data was “a nightmare” for lakeshore property owners.

Two years ago, Brunton said Norfolk doesn’t need new mapping to know that low-lying areas such as Long Point and Turkey Point are prone to flooding.

Brunton and others were worried that the province or conservation authority might use the new data to depopulate lakeshore areas or encumber development opportunities.

Port Rowan Coun. Noel Haydt at the time said new data would likely be used to declare new hazard land areas.

That, Haydt said, could result in farmers being unable to use long-standing irrigation ponds or construct new out buildings because their land was redefined as environmentally-sensitive.

This week, a report came to Norfolk council saying the current data set is badly outdated and is making it difficult for Norfolk’s planning department to make sound decisions.

The report added that “the project will not provide advice or recommendations on policy and is not a shoreline management plan.”

“The Norfolk County shoreline was last investigated and mapped in 1988-89,” Pam Duesling, Norfolk’s manager of community planning, said in a report to council Tuesday. “From a land-use planning perspective, this 30-year-old information is challenging to work with as there are many data and technical gaps. New modeling technologies are now available that would provide more detailed and accurate descriptions of how flooding occurs, wave forces and erosion.”

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