October 29, 2021
Oxford County proposes updates to agricultural policies to ensure land is sustainably managed and protected
Residents invited to learn more and offer input in phase one of the Official Plan review
Oxford County is seeking public input on proposed changes to agricultural policies in phase one of the County’s Official Plan review. The Official Plan is the land-use planning document that guides how land is used, what services are needed, and where growth will occur in Oxford County’s eight area municipalities.
More than 87% of the land in Oxford County is considered agricultural. Land-use planning policies help to ensure this agricultural land is sustainably managed and protected for the long term.
The general intent of the proposed updates to the agricultural policies is to continue to protect the County’s agricultural area for long-term agricultural use, support viable and
sustainable agriculture, and ensure the vitality of rural settlements while also providing increased opportunities to establish rural and agriculture-related businesses and maintain rural populations, where appropriate.
As part of the public engagement process, Oxford County is hosting a virtual open house on Tuesday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m. to outline the proposed changes. Residents who are interested in attending to learn more can register by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oxford County staff will also host a series of public meetings in November and December to solicit public input and feedback. Interested residents are welcome to attend one of the following area council meetings:
- November 16 | South-West Oxford (7:00 p.m.)
- November 17 | East Zorra-Tavistock (7:00 p.m.)
- November 23 | Norwich Township (7:00 p.m.)
- December 01 | Blandford-Blenheim (4:00 p.m.)
- December 15 | Zorra Township (7:00 p.m.)
Those who prefer to submit feedback online can visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/speakup to ask a question, take a survey, or connect with a local planner. The consultation period for agricultural policies will remain active until December 17, 2021.
Subsequent phases of the Official Plan review will focus on policy areas such as natural heritage and water resources, commercial uses, and implementation measures. Opportunities for public input and community participation will be announced as part of each phase of the update.
More information about the County of Oxford Official Plan is available online at www.oxfordcounty.ca/officialplan. Information about phase one of the review (updates to the agricultural policies) and opportunities for public input will soon be available at www.oxfordcounty.ca/speakup.
Paul Michiels, Manager of Planning Policy, Oxford County
“Updating the County’s Official Plan policies to ensure they remain current, consistent with Provincial requirements, and reflect local planning principles and objectives to support Oxford’s agricultural sector and protect agricultural lands within Oxford is of key importance, particularly as our communities continue to grow and change”
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About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario at the crossroads of Highways 401 and 403, Oxford County has a population of approximately 123,000 people across eight area municipalities that are “growing stronger together.” As a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government, Oxford County is emerging as a leader in sustainable growth through the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan and County Council’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, becoming a zero waste community and working towards zero poverty. Situated in one of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, agriculture is a key industry that is driving innovation in sustainable industries and diversifying the local economy. Oxford County offers a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock, Ontario. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.