The approved plan will take time to implement and includes a number of steps
There are four key steps included in the approved plan to protect Guelph’s drinking water.
1. Moving Guelph’s boundary to include the Dolime Quarry lands
The process for moving Guelph’s boundary to include the quarry lands, currently part of Guelph-Eramosa Township, includes a public process and requires provincial approval. Jurisdiction for the quarry property would be transferred from the Township to the City. The quarry owners would still own the property.
A proposed boundary adjustment, or annexation, is now before Township, County and City Councils for their approval. Should the proposed annexation be supported by the three municipal Councils, the proposal will be submitted to the Province of Ontario for approval.
2. Land use planning approvals
The land use planning process would require both provincial and City planning approvals to allow residential development and determine how it fits into growth plans. There would be further studies, and we’d need input from our community and other government agencies.
This step is being initiated by our request for a Minister’s Zoning Order to establish the principle of residential use on the property and does not include site plan approvals. Principle use means that the use of the property would be residential but that further studies and planning are needed to determine what that looks like including environmental limits (e.g. impacts to groundwater), housing density, and where things like roads and parks are. We’ll need input from our community as these plans are developed.
We have yet to understand how this new development would be accommodated into growth plans.
3. Building a system to protect Guelph’s drinking water
The City would take control of the quarry’s water supply and build an on-site water management system. The system would prevent surface water from mixing with groundwater, and some of the water the quarry uses now could be used for the City’s water supply.
The City will take over control of the quarry’s water in the later stages of the plan. First the property needs to become part of the City (proposed annexation) and we need to complete the provincial and municipal planning and approvals processes to support future residential development.
In the meantime, the quarry owners, with input from the City, are managing water takings to ensure that Guelph’s drinking water is safe, and we’ll be doing testing through our water supply planning to inform the design and function of the water management system the City will later build to maintain a safe supply of drinking water. Through this work we’ll also determine how much water will be available for the City’s needs.
4. Planning and building the residential development
Finally, detailed planning for the residential development will go through the City’s standard planning processes. That means our community will have opportunities to comment on development plans before they are approved.
The quarry owners will lead and finance the remediation and revitalization of the quarry site to replace it with a new residential neighbourhood. This development will still be subject to the City’s planning and approvals process.
This planning includes a secondary plan or block plan process, an Official Plan Amendment, further zoning refinements and site plan approvals, all throughout which our community will have more opportunities to get involved.