This week, Lori Schuett, Chair of the Board, attended council to comment on one of the priorities in the Trent Hills Strategic Plan relating to rezoning from commercial to residential in the downtown areas. Putting residential in commercial spaces changes the nature and look of a downtown core. It changes the culture and shape of the community, and creates a lack of cohesive design in the shopping districts. We have heard from several members regarding this issue in the past when council has made exceptions to the bylaw.
In February we attended council requesting a policy be established to protect the downtown communities, and we were pleased to see that one of the priorities states a consistent policy is required to retain commercial spaces. We were concerned about the timeline of 6 to 12 months and asked for a moratorium that would prevent commercial to residential rezoning in the downtowns until a policy has been established. As council did not support our recommendation, we will be actively working to encourage this policy is established sooner rather later. We will be seeking feedback from the members as the Municipality will be inviting the Chamber, along with the business associations, to participate in the process to develop the policy.
Trent Hills Strategic Plan 2019-2022
Approximately 250 residents provided input on the Strategic Plan through the community consultations and survey. This process resulted in a completed Strategic Plan that reflects the wants of the community and also highlights the priorities of Council. The complete plan was adopted by Council at this week’s Council meeting, and can be viewed on the Municipality of Trent Hills Website.