Water is a critical resource for long term social, economic and environmental health. Protecting municipal water sources from significant threats to water quality and water quantity is a key consideration in community sustainability and wellbeing. The Oro Moraine provides critical ecosystem services as a groundwater recharge area. Managing surface water and ground water, as well as stormwater and sewage, will play an important role in how communities in Oro-Medonte develop.
Provincial & County Policy
The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the County of Simcoe Official Plan Policies provide direction on specific issues. The Township Official Plan policies must conform to the PPS and County Official Plan, which set out the following policies:
Protection & Identification
Provincial policy requires that the quality and quantity of water be protected for long-term use and conservation. Identification of water resource systems – including groundwater features, hydrologic functions, natural heritage systems and areas, surface water features, and key hydrologic features and areas – and use of the watershed as an ecologically meaningful scale for planning will support water protection.
Some necessary restrictions on development and site alteration may be required to protect municipal drinking water supplies, and to improve vulnerable and sensitive surface water and ground water features and functions.
Certain activities and uses are prohibited in wellhead protection areas, such as storage of petroleum fuels, road salt and liquid industrial waste.
Water & Stormwater
Planning for sewage, water and stormwater must optimize existing infrastructure. Municipal sewage and water services are the preferred form of servicing for settlement areas. Private individual on-site sewage and water services may be used, in certain circumstances as long as there are no negative impacts. Planning for stormwater must minimize changes in water quality and quantity, and promote the use of best practices, such as attenuation and re-use, and low impact development. Planning will be integrated with watershed planning.
Existing Policy & Legislation
Provincial Policy Statement 2014
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017
County of Simcoe Official Plan, 2016
South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan, 2015
Clean Water Act, 2006
Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, 2009
Current Township Policies
Protection of groundwater is a key goal of the Township’s Official Plan. The current Official Plan has strategic objectives for groundwater, including: maintaining and enhancing surface and groundwater resources, directing development away from significant groundwater recharge areas, and monitoring groundwater resources in the Oro Moraine. Schedule B of the Official Plan identifies Natural Features, although vulnerable areas such as Wellhead Protection Areas have not been mapped. Policies for the Oro Moraine area and Environmental Protection designations provide protection to water resources, and also incorporate source protection objectives. The Official Plan also addresses servicing requirements for public and private water and wastewater systems. Section D4 of the Official Plan contains policies regarding water taking. Section B5.1.5 contains policies regarding watershed planning. Section B1.6 addresses groundwater in the Oro Moraine. Current Official Plan policies require:
That for major development applications in the Oro Moraine (i.e. development requiring an OPA, Secondary Plan, gravel pit requiring rezoning, or major recreational use), that no development within 30 metres of the stable top of bank shall be permitted. All major development applications within 120 metres of a hydrologically sensitive feature shall be supported by a hydrological evaluation.
That it is a long-term goal of the Official Plan that watershed and appropriate sub-watershed plans be prepared, to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the objectives of water supply management, habitat protection, flood management and land use. Until such plans are prepared, all major development applications shall be supported by studies that demonstrate that the ecological and hydrological integrity of the Oro Moraine will not be compromised. Studies shall indicate that the quality and quantity of groundwater and surface water will be maintained, and where possible, improved.
That Council shall ensure, as part of the review of any major development proposal near an existing municipal water supply source, that the use will not have an adverse impact on the well.
That all applications for an Official Plan Amendment and all applications for major development (i.e. combined area of >500 square metres), shall be supported by a Water Resource Management (WRM) Report.
All major commercial, industrial, institutional and residential development proposals shall be supported by a Stormwater Management (SWM) report. All storm water management facilities in a Plan of Subdivision shall be placed in the Environmental Protection Zone in the implementing Zoning By-law.
New and revised Official Plan policies will aim to support sustainable use and conservation of water resources, and to promote the protection of surface and ground water.
What changes would you like to see?
The province provides strong direction for protection of water resource systems and the quality and quantity of water. The Clean Water Act and source protection planning have provided a multi-barrier approach to the protection of municipal drinking water supplies. PPS, Growth Plan, County of Simcoe Official Plan, Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, Ontario Great Lakes Strategy, Great Lakes Protection Act, and other Great Lakes agreements and plans all provide a range of approaches for protection of water resources in the land use planning process. These approaches include direction for watershed planning to be undertaken to inform land use planning; the protection, improvement, or restoration of water resource systems, features, linkages, and hydrologic functions; ensuring stormwater management approaches minimize contaminant loads and maximise extent of vegetative and pervious surfaces, and others. Conservation Authorities and environmental organizations, including Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, and Severn Sound Environmental Organization, also provide strategies, programs, plans, and monitoring data which support protection of water resources.
Do you think that the current policies for water in the Oro Moraine and the goals for watershed planning are sufficient to protect surface water and ground water?
Do you think that the current policies are adequately protecting drinking source water, including public and private water systems?
What else should be done to protect water?
Please provide any other comments you may have for consideration in the development of new policies.