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    Niagara Escarpment Plan (2017)


  • NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLAN (2017) Approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

    Order in Council No. , as an amendment to the Niagara Escarpment Plan effective June 1, 2017.

    Lion’s Head Provincial Nature Reserve Credit: Ontario Parks

  • In 1990, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment a World Biosphere Reserve. This designation recognizes the Escarpment and land in its vicinity as a nationally and internationally significant landform, and endorses the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

    This Plan is Canada’s first, large-scale environmental land use plan. Implementation of this Plan upholds the biosphere reserve principles by balancing protection, conservation and sustainable development to ensure that the Escarpment will remain substantially as a natural environment for future generations, and by promoting collaboration and providing opportunities for research, monitoring and education.

    Collectively, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves form an international network of sites of excellence that collectively work to ensure environmental, economic and social (including cultural) sustainability, acting as demonstration areas and learning sites with the aim of maintaining and developing ecological and cultural diversity, and protecting ecosystem services for human well-being.

    Niagara Escarpment Commission 232 Guelph Street Halton Hills (Georgetown), Ontario L7G 4B1

    Tel: (905) 877-5191 Fax: (905) 873-7452

  • Limehouse Conservation Area Credit: Credit Valley Conservation Area

  • Fathom Five National Marine Park Credit: Parks Canada

  • Niagara Escarpment Plan i

    Table of Contents Introduction 1

    The Niagara Escarpment Plan 1 Landscape Approach 3 Legislative Authority 4 How to Read a Provincial Plan 4 How to Read This Plan 5 Purpose and Objectives 7

    Purpose 7 Objectives 7

    Performance Indicators and Monitoring 8

    Part 1 Land Use Policies 10 1.1 Interpretation 10

    1.1.1 More Restrictive Policies in Municipal Official Plans, Secondary Plans and By-laws 11

    1.1.2 Special Policies 11 1.2 Land Use Designations 11

    1.2.1 Plan Amendments 11 1.2.2 Amendments for Mineral Resource

    Extraction Areas 12 1.2.3 Exceptions 13

    1.3 Escarpment Natural Area 14 1.3.1 Objectives 15 1.3.2 Criteria for Designation 15 1.3.3 Permitted Uses 15 1.3.4 Lot Creation 17

    1.4 Escarpment Protection Area 19 1.4.1 Objectives 19 1.4.2 Criteria for Designation 19 1.4.3 Permitted Uses 20 1.4.4 Lot Creation 23

    1.5 Escarpment Rural Area 25 1.5.1 Objectives 25 1.5.2 Criteria for Designation 26 1.5.3 Permitted Uses 26 1.5.4 Lot Creation 29

  • Niagara Escarpment Plan ii

    1.6 Minor Urban Centre 31 1.6.1 Objectives 31 1.6.2 List of Minor Urban Centres 32 1.6.3 Application of Development and Growth Objectives 32 1.6.4 Boundaries 33 1.6.5 Permitted Uses and Lot Creation 33 1.6.6 Amendments to Municipal Plans and/

    or Secondary Plans 33 1.6.7 Land Use Control 33 1.6.8 Development and Growth Objectives 34

    1.7 Urban Area 35 1.7.1 Objective 35 1.7.2 Criterion for Designation and List of Urban Areas 36 1.7.3 Boundaries 36 1.7.4 Permitted Uses and Lot Creation 36 1.7.5 Development Objectives 37

    1.8 Escarpment Recreation Area 38 1.8.1 Objectives 38 1.8.2 Criterion for Designation 39 1.8.3 Permitted Uses 39 1.8.4 Lot Creation 41 1.8.5 Development Objectives 41 1.8.6 Official Plans, Secondary Plans and/or By-laws 43

    1.9 Mineral Resource Extraction Area 43 1.9.1 Objectives 44 1.9.2 Criterion for Designation 44 1.9.3 Permitted Uses 44 1.9.4 Lot Creation 48 1.9.5 After Uses 48

    Part 2 Development Criteria 50 2.1 Introduction 50 2.2 General Development Criteria 50 2.3 Existing Uses 64 2.4 Lot Creation 66 2.5 Development Affecting Steep Slopes and Ravines 72 2.6 Development Affecting Water Resources 72 2.7 Development Affecting Natural Heritage 75 2.8 Agriculture 78 2.9 Mineral Aggregate Resources 81 2.10 Cultural Heritage 86 2.11 Recreation 86 2.12 Infrastructure 87 2.13 Scenic Resources and Landform Conservation 89 2.14 The Bruce Trail 91

  • iiiNiagara Escarpment Plan

    Part 3 The Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System 94 3.1 The Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System 94

    3.1.1 Objectives 95 3.1.2 Parks and Open Space System Concept 96 NEPOSS Council 96 NEPOSS Planning Manual 96

    3.1.3 Nodal Parks 97 Administrative Role of Nodal Parks 97 Modifications to the List of Nodal Parks 98

    3.1.4 Parks and Open Space Classification Policy 98 Existing Uses in Parks and Open Spaces 100

    3.1.5 Parks and Open Space Zone Policy 100 Master/Management Planning Policy 102 Aboriginal Engagement and Public

    and Stakeholder Consultation 103 Approval Process 103

    3.1.6 Recreation and Commercial Uses in Parks and Open Spaces 103

    3.2 The Bruce Trail 106 3.3 Municipal Parks and Open Space 106 3.4 Land Acquisition and Land Disposal 107 3.5 Addition or Deletion of Parks or Open Space 108

    Appendix 1 Niagara Escarpment Parks and Open Space System 110 A. Bruce Peninsula 110 B. Georgian Bay/Grey County 113 C. Nottawasaga Highlands/Dufferin Hills 123 D. Halton Escarpment/Caledon Hills 126 E. Dundas Valley/Hamilton Escarpment 137 F. Niagara Peninsula 140

    Appendix 2 Definitions 144

    Appendix 3 Residential Heritage Property Listing 162 Appendix 4 Nature Preserve Property Listings

    and Approved Conservation Organizations 164

    Appendix 5 Agricultural Purposes Only Lot Property Listing 165

  • Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area Credit: Nigel Finney


    Niagara Escarpment Plan 1

    Introduction The Niagara Escarpment Plan The Niagara Escarpment includes a variety of topographic features and land uses extending 725 kilometres from Queenston on the Niagara River to the islands off Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

    The particular combination of geological and ecological features along the Niagara Escarpment results in a landscape unequalled in Canada. The natural areas found across the Niagara Escarpment act to clean the air, provide drinking water and support recreational activities that benefit public health and overall quality of life, as well as helping to address and mitigate the effects of climate change. In addition, the region’s cultural heritage, including First Nations and Métis and European presence, is visible on the Escarpment landscape. These resources need to be protected over the long term to ensure that the connection to our shared past is maintained and that quality of life is not diminished as growth takes place.

    First Nations and Métis people in Ontario have a unique relationship with the land and its resources and this relationship continues to be of central importance to First Nation and Métis communities in the area of the Niagara Escarpment today. Ontario, including the area covered by the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area, is largely covered by a number of Treaties which provide for treaty rights. In addition, Aboriginal communities may have Aboriginal rights within the Plan area.

    Human impact on the Escarpment environment is reflected in a variety of ways. The Escarpment area is the site of a large mineral aggregate extraction industry. Demand for permanent and seasonal residences in many areas is intense. Farming ranges from the cultivation of tender fruit and other specialty crops in the Niagara Peninsula to the raising of beef cattle in Bruce County and provision of local food to Ontario’s largest population centres nearby. The proximity of that large population also makes the Escarpment a popular tourist destination.

    The Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act established a planning process to ensure that the area would be protected. From this emerged the Niagara Escarpment Plan (this Plan), which serves as a framework of objectives and policies to strike a balance between development, protection and the enjoyment of this important landform feature and the resources it supports.


    Niagara Escarpment Plan 2

    On February 8, 1990, the Bureau of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and Biosphere (MAB) program approved the designation of the Niagara Escarpment as a Biosphere Reserve. The designation was confirmed in 2002 and again in 2016 through the 10-year periodic review process which was led by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

    The Greenbelt Act, 2005 authorized the preparation of the Greenbelt Plan, which was first approved in February, 2005. The Greenbelt Plan identifies where urbanization should not occur in order to provide permanent protection of the agricultural land and the ecological features and functions occurring in the Greenbelt Plan Area, which includes the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area, as well as the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Area, and the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt Plan. The Greenbelt Plan provides that the policies of the Niagara Escarpment Plan are the policies of the Greenbelt Plan for the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area and the Protected Countryside policies do not apply with the exception of section 3.3 (Parkland, Open Space and Trails).

    The Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Greenbelt Plan work wi