Lot Creation in Ontario's Agricultural Landscape
Trends, Impacts, Policy Implications
Dr. W.J. Caldwell, Professor,
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
University of Guelph
Arthur Churchyard, Claire Dodds-Weir,
Anneleis Eckert, Charlie Toman
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
New non-farm lots not only remove land from agricultural production, but can also restrict surrounding agricultural land and potentially threaten future agricultural viability. Non-farm residential lots can introduce to rural areas, urban dwellers who may have limited understanding of the agricultural landscape. Conflicts surrounding noise, dust, water pollution, livestock and manure odours, chemical applications, and sharing of the road with slow-moving farm machinery can arise. Even residential severances that were initially related to the agricultural operation can create conflict later as the lots are sold and resold to individuals without an agricultural connection.
In an effort to address these issues, the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) placed more emphasis on the protection of agricultural land and thus restricted residential severances. The changes permitted surplus dwellings as the only residential severance in the agricultural designation. This research generates a count of rural non-farm severances from 2000-2009 in 35 counties/regions with Official Plans containing agricultural designations. This data, combined with the previous study of this nature conducted in 2001-2002 using data from 1990-1999 by Caldwell and Weir, gives a large data set to identify trends for a 20 year period. Data will be presented for the Province of Ontario; four regions of the Province including Eastern, Central, Western, and Southern; and each upper and single tier municipality. This research project has been completed by researchers at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph.
PURPOSE OF RESEARCH
This research will be of broad interest to those working in agriculture, rural communities, and sustainable development. Results will be of particular interest to provincial planning staff, most specifically, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Upper, lower, and single tier municipal councillors and staff will also draw upon this resource to assist in their understanding of complex trends in their municipalities. Results are especially relevant to ongoing reviews of the Provincial Policy Statement, the Greenbelt Plan, and Places to Grow. Other indirectly informed acts include the Green Energy Act, Nutrient Management Act, and the Farming and Food Production Protection Act.
goals and objectives
- Document the numbers and purpose of lots created within rural and agricultural Ontario
- Identify the local land use policy that was in effect when these lots were created
- Determine the relationship between current provincial policy and the creation of rural non-farm lots. Identify the impact these lots are having on the agricultural industry and review the impact on the viability and sustainability of agriculture in rural communities
- Provide quality information to assist with upcoming reviews of the Greenbelt Act and the
Provincial Policy Statement. Maintain the data gathered on a publicly accessible web site