After months of consultation and public open houses, Brockton has approved its updated Walkerton Official Plan.
Mayor David Inglis says the plan has been tweaked to address concerns regarding Walkerton’s Downtown Heritage Designation as well Hazardous Materials in the downtown core.
The new amendments also provide business owners with more flexibility in their storefronts designs.
The amendments represent what Inglis calls a reasonable compromise on a contentious issue.
While it is recommended that no hazardous materials be allowed in the downtown core because it is in a flood plain, as a compromise the plan prohibits the storage of bulk hazardous materials.
Inglis says the challenge is that hazardous materials include items such as pharmaceuticals, gasoline, solvents and cleaners.
With a downtown pharmacy, hardware store and local service stations this makes compliance near impossible.
As such, Inglis says they decided to limit the storage of bulk hazardous materials rather than imposing an outright ban.
The new plan also protects current legal non conforming businesses that really should not be allowed in a flood fringe.
However once that business is sold for another purpose that legal nonconforming designation will be lost.
At the request of Brockton’s Heritage Committee, Brockton has also agreed to keep the wording ’shall’ appoint a Heritage Committee rather than adopt the recommended wording ’may.
Likewise Council has also agreed to keep “shall” maintain a Community Heritage Trust Fund rather than adopt the recommended wording “may”.
Heritage Committee Chair Ted Cobean calls this a victory saying the proposed wording change could have jeopardized their future funding and committee status.
All in all Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak calls the updated Official Plan a good document that will move Walkerton forward for the next five years.
With Brockton's approval of the plan, the Walkerton Official Plan will now go before Bruce County for final approval.