$1.25 Newsstand Price
Weekly Independent Local News
Friday, September 22, 2023

City of Peterborough looking to acquire county lands


The City of Peterborough is having troubles meeting their housing targets due to a shortage of employment lands and they are seeking help from their neighbours to rectify the problem.

A letter was sent to the townships of Cavan Monaghan, Douro-Dummer, Otonabee-South Monaghan and Selwyn by Peterborough mayor Jeff Leal on June 13, 2023.

In this letter Leal stated “...I am reaching out to you, your council, and your residents to engage in mutually beneficial negotiations to adjust boundaries to provide the City of Peterborough with employment lands in order to support economic development in the region.”

Leal stated in the letter that the city received approval in their original official plan to replace some residential lands with work lands, but the new official plan reversed that decision.

Leal stated in the letter that it has always been his intent to meet half way with any negotiations involving the city’s neighbours and that he believes that working together they can achieve a mutually beneficial outcome that will enhance the prosperity of the greater Peterborough region.

Mayors from the townships contacted by the mayor of Peterborough  responded with letters of their own approved by their respective councils and signed by the mayors. Each of the letters agreed that economic development is important to the region, but questioned the approach taken by the city.

Selwyn mayor Sherry Senis stated in her letter “The Township is open to discussions related to regional economic development partnerships that would maximize the benefits for the region and that are in line with our vision for the community. For these discussions to be meaningful, the City must first look to the options identified within its borders as part of the recent Official Plan Update and the related Lands Needs Assessment. Drawing an arbitrary new boundary for the City of Peterborough to establish new employment lands without due regard for the options and other factors. ..e.g. ability/intent to service, proximity to major transportation corridors/facilities, etc., will not ensure a positive outcome for the region.”

Mayor Matthew Graham of Cavan Monaghan penned it his letter  that “With the recently announced changes in the Provincial Policy Statement being finalized by the Province, we feel that among the most positive changes will be those that eliminate the traditional constraints to rural development from both a residential and commercial/industrial perspective. Both the County and our Township are diligently working to capitalize on these opportunities in our Official Plans.

It is in this light, and from our experience with the City of Peterborough, that we do not feel as though a boundary adjustment is necessary to achieve the economic development that we all agree is an important priority for the region. Given that the land within our boundary is the most valuable asset to our residents, it is essential that we manage it with utmost prudence to ensure the future vitality of our Township.”

Otonabee-South Monaghan mayor Joe Taylor said in his letter “Our Township has invested many years in negotiating in good faith with the City of Peterborough pursuing an agreement with the expressed hope to develop a mutually beneficial economic development area.”

In the letter sent by Leal there was a specific reference to the official plan overturning the city’s desire to turn residential properties in Cold Springs in to employment lands.

Taylor stated in his letter “The Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan advised the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing of our objections to the draft provisions for the Cold Springs Special Study Area via correspondence dated February 22, 2022. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in their Notice of Decision dated April 11, 2023 concurred with the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan’s position through the deletion of the proposed draft provisions of the Cold Springs Special Study Area as advocated by the City of Peterborough.

The Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan has made significant investments to pursue our own development and working with strategic partners from both the private sector and other levels of government to put our Township in an excellent position to achieve the growth needed for both our residents, and the collective benefit of the region.”

Finally Heather Watson, mayor of Douro-Dummer wrote in her letter “In your letter, you allude to a willingness to meet halfway in negotiations, but there is little indication as to what benefit may be realized by our townships from the city developing these lands. This sentiment suggests that the economic development of the city should take primacy over other municipalities. Our municipality is a proud partner of the County of Peterborough, but we are even prouder to be members of our own communities who entrusted us to pursue the best interests of our residents and that commitment will continue to be our primary focus.”