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County amendments to official plan focus on sustainability

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Significant amendments to Oxford County's official plan regarding waste management will be brought before council Wednesday.

The proposed changes are an effort to better reflect the county's commitment to community sustainability when it comes to the consideration of land use.

Director of community and strategic planning Gordon Hough said the changes are primarily amendments to policies related to waste

management that speak to a number of issues, including the expansion and creation of landfills, as well as what can be done with recycling and reusing materials.

"In October 2013, the county passed a resolution kind of in response to the initial proposal

from the southwest landfill site. There was a proposal to investigate this," Hough said. "So over the course of the last couple of years, we did some research, drew from the Future Oxford Sustainability Plan and came up with what we thought were policies that would better reflect the county's commitment towards sustainability."

Hough said the existing policies were already satisfactory. While initially a response to the south west landfill proposal, that resolution also looked at sustainability in a broader sense.

As for what's being amended, Hough said most of what's being changed in the official plan's second chapter- CountyDevelopment Strategy - has to do with either building in sustainability or bring ing the policy up to speed with 2014 provincial policy statements.

When it comes to chapter five - Waste Management - Hough said the county decided to organize the plan a little differently.

"We built in more of the enabling type policies that reflect Future Oxford," he said, "with respect to things like recycling, reusing, recovering and diverting waste, as opposed to sending it to landfills."

Hough said the second part of the amendments reorganizes the policies around expanding existing landfills and creating new ones around added policies."

An example of this, Hough said, Oxford has created a new criteria that assesses the impact of new landfill proposals on people and communities from a human health perspective.

"It was kind of in our policy before," he said, "but we kind of just made it clearer and better articulated.

"Really a lot of what we've done is just that. We've taken the existing policies and provided clarity to them."

 

bchessell@postmedia.com

 

 

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