The town will look at hiring a professional planning firm to thoroughly investigate and assess how industrial properties here can be developed in the future.
In addition to retaining a consultant to look at the future development of the Shevlin wood yard, municipal planner Tyson Dennis believes town council should consider dedicating adequate time and proper planning resources to assess the future development of other significant tracts of industrial-zoned properties within the community.
“Currently, industrial-zoned properties are scattered throughout the community,” he noted in a report approved by council during its regular meeting Monday night.
“This is not an optimum situation," he stressed. ”The need for well thought-out and systematic planning is required.
“In addition, the idled pulp and paper mill properties are located in close proximity and are intermingled with other land use designations, emphasizing the need for proper planning to occur,” Dennis added.
“It is recommended that adequate planning take place to ensure all options are considered for the redevelopment, demolition, and re-zoning of existing industrial properties in Fort Frances.”
Dennis noted that by using the available tools contained within the town's current Official Plan, and in accordance within the provincial Planning Act and regulations, the town can investigate and evaluate the preferred development of existing industrial properties.
Studies to be completed by a consultant could include: heritage impact assessment, noise and vibration assessment, traffic and transportation impacts, stormwater management, and planning justification studies for future development.
These studies also would include input from stakeholders, the public, and administration. This would ensure a thorough planning consultation takes place to determine where industrial land uses should be located within Fort Frances going forward.
“The use of proper planning tools to complete a full assessment of industrial properties in Fort Frances would allow council to have options for development, re-development, and economic growth for the long-term,” Dennis said.
“The town needs to review all planning options while considering all land use designation within the community,” he added.
“The main objective of this proposed planning initiative is to increase taxable assessment and ensure systematic sound planning takes place,” he concluded.
Council approved the report, directing the town to retain the necessary planning expertise through the request for proposal (RFP) process.
This will be advertised in the second quarter of 2019.
Approval of the report also directed administration to develop an interim control bylaw to temporarily hold specific industrial properties from future growth, development, or demolition for a maximum of two years.
This would allow time for the municipality to investigate and evaluate policies in its official plan and zoning bylaw, and subsequently create options for proper land use planning strategies.