York, Peel, Durham, Toronto and The Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition (YPDT-CAMC)
Since its inception in 2001, the Oak Ridges Moraine Groundwater Program has had a strong technical and scientific direction. However, there remains a need to ensure that the scientific understanding gained from the program, as well as from other programs (e.g. Source Water Protection), continues to support day-to-day decision making. This is done by ensuring that groundwater related policies are scientifically defensible.
In 2004-2005 a core team of Municipal and Conservation Authority planners from the partner agencies embarked on a process to develop science-based generic policies under the YPDT-CAMC partnership. At the time, a key goal of the work was to better integrate watershed policies (typically developed through various Conservation Authority driven watershed studies) with Official Plan policies (as developed through various regional official planning processes). A report (prepared by Ogilvie, Ogilvie and Company, and Anthony Usher Planning) from this study entitled "Watershed Planning - From Recommendations to Municipal Policies: A Guidance Document" was released in June 2005 as a working draft. The report provides generic policies that watershed and municipal planners could reference: a) when writing watershed plan policy recommendations; and b) to obtain guidance on how these policies could be implemented through municipal official plans. The study generated policy guidance under four broad areas that are addressed in watershed planning:
- Natural Heritage
- Landform Conservation
The study was ground-breaking for the time providing:
- direction to watershed planners such that their watershed plans would facilitate the transfer of the science-based recommendations into official plan policies; and
- direction to municipal planners to demand watershed outcomes that are readily transferable into Official Plans.
Upon its release, the longer term objective was to have the policies be refined and updated as planners from the partner agencies tested their effectiveness in their day to day work. However, in 2005 - 2006, Source Water Protection initiatives were launched across the Province, superseding the short-term need for the report to be updated and for now the report remains in a draft format.
The Source Water Protection work is now (in 2013/2014) leading to the development of new groundwater protection policies. Under provincial direction however, the policies are directed to drinking water protection and not necessarily the protection of groundwater across the broader landscape. Once the policies have been approved by the Source Water Committees, and then tested in the planning arena, there will be an opportunity to evaluate their effectiveness and to determine whether additional policy development may be required.
Click the link below to view a PDF of the paper:
"Watershed Planning for Recommendations for Municipal Policies"