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The City of Owen Sound has completed a draft Official Plan that is available on the city website and will be presented at a virtual Open House on Wednesday January 20 at 4 p.m.

The Owen Sound Official Plan is Council’s contract with city residents, guiding land use development and growth within the context of social, economic, built and environmental matters in Owen Sound, over a 20-year time horizon.

Official Plans are a big deal, and in 2021, Official Plans are a really big deal. In the midst of a pandemic that exposes many cracks in our systems, the climate crisis continues to grow. Now more than ever, Official Plans need to require Climate Action Plans that include a climate lens with clear mitigation and adaptation goals.

Over the past year and a half, The Climate Action Team Owen Sound (CATOS) has been actively involved in community engagement, public education, municipal collaboration and local projects. CATOS has provided input to the discussion papers prepared by the city hired consultant, who has guided the Official Planning process.

The consultant’s report to city staff states: “sustainability and climate change were prominent topics that were mentioned during all forms of consultation and engagement.” The city consultant further stated: “The new Official Plan must embrace the notion of climate change and assess its implications upon the community’s social, environmental and economic activities.” None of these recommendations are reflected in the draft Official Plan. The city has not followed its own process and did not incorporate community input into the draft Official plan.

The city also has not complied with the Ontario Planning Act RSO 1990 which states: “An Official Plan shall contain policies that identify goals, objectives, and action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to provide for adaptation to a changing climate through increasing resiliency.”

The Owen Sound draft Official Plan is out of step with other municipalities and all three levels of government. Similar municipalities in the province, some of which the consultant included in the recommendations, address climate change throughout their Official Plans. Grey County started developing a Climate Action Plan in 2019. Ontario has Green House Gas emissions targets of reducing emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and nationally of net 0 emissions by 2050. Owen Sound’s Official Plan draft has no emissions targets, which is a glaring problem when time is running out on reversing climate change.

Without an Official Plan that includes climate action, Owen Sound will not be in line to receive funding from any level of government. That money will go to municipalities that have Climate Action Plans that include both adaptation and mitigation goals, objectives and actions.

Climate Action Team Owen Sound urges the community to join us in expressing their plea to Owen Sound City Council for an Official Plan that ensures that a climate lens is applied in all land use development and growth plans.

Participate in the Virtual Open House Wed Jan 20 @ 4:00 p.m. If you wish to speak, register with [email protected] by Mon Jan 18. If you wish to submit written comments, send to [email protected] by Wed Jan 20 @ 2:00 p.m.

Liz Zetlin
Owen Sound



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