The Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project began in 2015. This was intentionally started after full of approval of the City’s Natural Heritage System through Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 42. With the City’s Natural Heritage System in place, the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project was started with an integrated, connected and protected NHS which forms a foundational building block of the secondary plan process.
The Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (CEIS) being undertaken as part of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project will:
- be a comprehensive and strategic document intended to address natural heritage and water resource protection;
- incorporate subwatershed planning elements;
- inform land use and infrastructure decision making as part of a broader integrated development framework.
The City’s existing Natural Heritage System (NHS) protects all known significant natural heritage and water features and ecological linkages. In addition, the NHS recognized the importance of the Paris-Galt Moraine and protects areas which contain areas of significant landform as part of the system.Through the Clair-Maltby Secondary plan project it is intended that direction will be provided and policies will be developed to minimize the disruption to existing landform through alteration of the existing landform.
No development and only limited types of infrastructure may be permitted within areas of significant landform subject to there being no negative impact to the feature or its functions in order to protect these areas for the long term.
For the areas of the Moraine that are outside of the NHS, the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan will develop additional policies and requirements to support innovative design that integrates new development into the rolling topography, while minimizing the disruption to the existing rolling landscape and its functions including those that support groundwater recharge.
The Policy Directions Document also recommends exploring the feasibility of a proposed moraine ribbon. The moraine ribbon would be a unique feature of the open space system designed to provide a connected open space system that runs along the outer limits of the Natural Heritage System within the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan area.
Groundwater monitoring has been underway since 2016. As a groundwater community, the City understands the value of integrated groundwater studies to characterize the existing functions of groundwater in supporting municipal water supplies and ecological habitat. These studies support informed decisions around land use planning. City staff continues to review groundwater monitoring results, and are using the City’s science-based models to simulate proposed development scenarios to identify, quantify and map potential impacts and mitigation strategies effectiveness for planning purposes.
The City’s groundwater flow model (Tier 3 model) was developed for source water protection purposes under the technical requirements of the Clean Water Act. Source water protection is about protecting our water quantity as well as quality, and the City is equally committed to both. The Tier 3 model is used to simulate current and future sustainability of Guelph’s drinking water system in light of expected growth and development, and climate change impacts such as drought. In short, the model helps determine the amount of water available for human uses, while making sure there is still enough left to keep wetlands, rivers, streams and lakes healthy.
Due to the specific characteristics of the Clair-Maltby area, it’s a headwater area, the hummocky terrain of the Moraine and the numerous wetlands and ponds, an integrated ground-surface water model is required for the secondary plan project. The Clair-Maltby integrated ground-surface water model builds on the Tier 3 groundwater flow model and represents additional water budget processes, natural heritage feature and land use details to support an assessment of the potential impacts on recharge to municipal aquifers, natural features and mitigation effectiveness of future development and management strategies.
Before any final recommendations are made, the full extent of the environmental work outlined in the Terms of Reference and the Technical Work Plan for the CEIS will be completed. At this time, the Phase 1 and 2 work has generally been completed with the exception of environmental analysis associated with tasks that have been shifted to Phase 3.
It was originally anticipated that refinements to the existing Natural Heritage System (NHS) would occur as part of Phase 2 and the land use alternatives; however, refinements have not yet been proposed. The refinements to the NHS will occur as part of the Phase 3 work using a science-based approach grounded in two years of environmental monitoring. Once refinements are proposed to the NHS and any potential impacts are understood, the land uses identified will be revisited and modified if necessary.
The Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP) Alternatives, which will look at different ways to provide water, wastewater, stormwater management and mobility service to this area, are being developed and evaluated in Phase 3 of the project. Therefore, the corresponding environmental analysis of those alternatives will also happen in Phase 3. After this work is completed, the land uses will be revisited and modified if necessary.