Our PC Government is introducing new legislation that would modernize The Planning Act and ensure fair opportunities for economic development in rural municipalities, Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton announced.
“Our government has worked extensively with municipalities and industry to see how improvements could be made to our existing regulatory framework,” said Wharton. “This new legislation strengthens our government’s commitment to providing a fair say for municipalities on matters that affect their local community.”
In addition to modernizing the current municipal zoning by-law review and approval process, Bill 19 The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning) would enhance ‘fair say’ by giving municipalities the option of setting a threshold for conditional use hearings for livestock, accordingto local needs.
Other changes would include:
- setting timelines for municipal board reviews of development plan bylaws;
- harmonizing hearing process requirements with those established in The Municipal Act;
- introducing the option for members of the public attending planning hearings to opt to receive notice by e-mail;
- strengthening environmental protections by introducing a technical review process for aggregate quarry proposals;
- requiring municipalities to review their livestock operations zoning bylaws within one year;
- improving animal safety by enabling producers to upgrade existing facilities and clarifying this reinvestment does not require a new approval from council;
- dissolving the Interdepartmental Planning Board, which held its last meeting in January 2014;
- expediting the municipal zoning bylaw approval process by increasing the minor variance threshold from 10 to 15 per cent; and
- allowing municipal officials authorized by council to grant variances on zoning bylaw requirements such as square footage, height and parking spaces without holding additional council hearings.
“We have seen many examples of the significant economic benefit that livestock development can offer communities in Manitoba,” said Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler. “Our government wants to provide municipalities with the opportunity to achieve that growth and development through a more equitable process. The proposed legislation takes a balanced approach to the livestock review and approval process that improves animal safety and maintains a high standard of environmental accountability.”
Municipal Relations will be hosting three information sessions in March to meet with key stakeholders, provide an overview of The Planning Amendment Act (Improving Efficiency in Planning) and answer any questions.