Mulmur hosting NEC open house amid tax concerns over proposed changes

September 22, 2016   ·   0 Comments

The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) will hold an open house on September 26th at the Mulmur Township Offices next Tuesday concerning the proposed expansion of the NEC’s planning area.

Mulmur Council had been asking for clarification on issues surrounding proposed changes to the Niagara Escarpment Plan as set out in Ontario’s Coordinated Land Use Plan, which is currently under review.

In welcoming the public to attend the session, Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones said the proposed changes “to the four plans have the potential to have a major impact on the way the residents of Dufferin-Caledon will be able to use their land.

Mulmur Councillor Janet Horner, Dufferin’s representative on the NEC and Executive Director of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance, spoke to residents at the annual general meeting of the North Dufferin and Community Taskforce in July about her Township’s concerns. She said the proposed changes that would see the expansion of NEC conservation areas would have serious financial repercussions for her Township and Dufferin County.

“Conservation land tax rebates” to taxpayers living in the Niagara Escarpment protection areas already add up to a loss of over $250,000 to Mulmur Township each year,” said Councillor Horner. She warned that the expanded area proposed for the NEC would mean that loss could grow to $800,000 a year and make it very difficult for the Township to fund necessary services for Mulmur residents.

Making up for the shortfall could mean a tax hike for ratepayers of $1,000 more per year per household in Mulmur. She said there could be consequences for areas of Melancthon as well, and the County would take a big financial hit in rebates, possibly as much as $1,000,000, should the expansion go through.

“Mulmur Township already provides high protection for the escarpment and questions the benefits of the expansion to the citizens,” added Councillor Horner. She said the lower tier municipalities need to “take a close look at this and make sure that compensation is provided.”

In  a press release last week, MPP Jones said she has been calling for a public open house to be held in Dufferin County since June. Not just the Niagara Escarpment Commission however, the MPP wants an open house on the entire Coordinated Land Use Planning Review. This includes not only the Niagara Escarpment Plan, but the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

“I am hopeful that the Minister of Natural Resources agrees that the people of Dufferin-Caledon deserve the opportunity to learn about the proposed changes,” Ms. Jones said.

Shirley Boxem, Chair of Food and Water First, called for written public input to the Province earlier this summer, and reminded residents that a review of the Land Use Plan only occurs every 10 years, stressing, “As we go through policy changes, public opinion does matter.”

The Open House takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 26 at the Mulmur Township Office 758070 2nd Line E, Mulmur. Phone: (705) 466-3341. All are welcome.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.