What Policy Document is the NPCA updating?

    The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is undertaking a review and update of the NPCA Policy Document: Policies for the Administration of Ontario Regulation 155/06 and the Planning Act (May 2020).  A full version of the current NPCA Policy Document may be found at:  https://npca.ca/images/uploads/common/LandUsePlanning.pdf 

    What does NPCA’s Policy Document do? What does it articulate?

    NPCA’s Policy Document is an important document that is used in day-to-day decision making. Approved by the NPCA Board of Directors, the Policy Document serves a number of principal functions – both for NPCA and its clients and partners: 

    • It is used by staff to review development applications submitted for approval under the Planning Act; 

    • It is also used by staff when reviewing permit applications submitted under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act. 

    The Policy Document provides a critical platform for NPCA’s ‘opinion’ on development applications submitted for approval under the Planning Act, and for the review of permit applications submitted under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act. Members of the public and stakeholders would be interested in the Policy Document because it will offer clear direction about NPCA’s position on flooding hazards, Great Lakes and Niagara River shoreline hazards, Valleyland erosion hazards, Hazardous Sites, Wetlands, Watercourse, Fill Placement and Municipal Drains.  It also helps the public better understand what activities the NPCA can support and cannot support within areas regulated by the NPCA. 

    Not only is the Policy Document important for NPCA staff, but it also provides information and guidance to NPCA partners and clients as well as those who are seeking approval of applications both under the Planning Act and the Conservation Authorities Act.  

    Why is NPCA updating its Policy Document?

    The current Policy Document was last updated in November 2018, after extensive public and stakeholder consultation. There have been only two amendments to the current version of the Policy Document; the last amended by the NPCA Board of Directors was in May 2020.  

    Since 2020, there have been a number of changes in legislation, regulation and guidelines that require the current Policy Document to be updated.  New legislation, policy and regulations have emerged at the provincial level. Updates have and are continuing to be undertaken to partner municipal Official Plans and changes in corporate direction at NPCA, such as the new 2021-2031 Strategic Plan, require the current Policy Document to be reviewed, and updated.  The new Policy Document will be consistent with current provincial legislation, policy and guidelines and reflective of municipal partner planning and environmental policies. The document will contain policies that are relevant, reflective of NPCA’s watershed and offer clear and consistent direction for Board Members, staff and interested stakeholders, property owners, developers, members of the agricultural community, other sectors as well as members of the community.  

    How did the Policy Document update start? Who decided an update of the Policy Document is necessary?

    On December 20, 2020, the NPCA Board of Directors authorized staff to commence a review and update of NPCA’s Planning and Permitting Policies (NPCA Policy Document). The NPCA Board of Directors has indicated that this initiative is a critical priority and staff have been directed to undertake the Policy Document update and report to the NPCA Governance Committee on progress.   

    How is NPCA proceeding with the Policy Document update? What is the process?

    The Policy Document review and update is proceeding in two (2) Phases.  

    • Phase 1 consisted of a review and gap analysis of the current Policy Document. Phase 1 involved speaking with members of NPCA staff and Board as well as partner municipalities. Phase 1 was an internal scoped review that identified policy gaps as well as good practices in place in other Conservation Authorities. A report outlining the findings from Phase 1 was presented to the NPCA Board of Directors on March 25, 2022.  This report is available on the Planning & Permitting Policy Review page. 

    • Phase 2 - a much larger undertaking – focuses on the  actual Policy Document update (e.g., changes to the policies to address the gaps identified in Phase 1). Phase 2 also involves the development of an accompanying Procedural Manual that the NPCA currently does not have. 

    • While Phase 1 consisted of an internal NPCA review, Phase 2 involves a comprehensive public and stakeholder engagement process to allow interested parties to share their thoughts and input regarding current NPCA   and will result in two products:  the updated Policy Document and an accompanying Procedural Manual. The scope of work in Phase 2 will be captured in the form of a Request for Proposals and will be distributed to potential service providers to respond.  

    What is the timeframe for the completion of Phase 1?

    The Phase 1 report was presented to the NPCA Board of Directors at its March 25th Board meeting. Phase 1 is complete.  

    How will Phase 2 unfold?

    Phase 2 builds on the work undertaken in Phase 1. Phase 2 began in May 2022 and is expected to conclude before the end of 2022. NPCA has retained the services of two (2) consulting firms to assist with the Phase 2 work.

    Who will be consulted?

    NPCA staff are committed to consulting with NPCA’s partners and stakeholders throughout the project through interviews, surveys, a public information session, and the use of NPCA’s website.  A comprehensive engagement and consultation process will be followed to ensure that NPCA partners, stakeholders and interested community members have an opportunity to participate in the development of the new Policy Manual.  

    How can I provide feedback and input on the Policy Document update?

    There will be numerous opportunities for interested individuals and organizations to share their thoughts throughout the process. A dedicated portal, available and accessible from the NPCA website, contains all of the project-specific resources and references that may be of interest. A Public Information Session will be held virtually on August 24th2022 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Information and details about the Public Information Session will be advertised in local newspapers. A survey is also available for completion by anyone interested in sharing their thoughts. The survey  may be accessed through the dedicated NPCA Policy Document Update portal. In addition, meetings with organized stakeholders and municipal partners will be undertaken in August 2022. The results of the feedback and input received from all parties will be reviewed by NPCA and used to develop the new Policy Document.  

    I still have questions. Who do I contact at the NPCA?

    If you have any questions about the work that is being done by the NPCA in relation to the NPCA Policy Document and Procedural Manual, please contact: 

    David Deluce, MCIP, RPP, Senior Manager, Environmental Planning & Policy: policy_review@npca.ca