Public consultation on MRC Pontiac’s agricultural land use reforms

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Deborah Powell


Deborah Powell

CAMPBELL’S BAY – A public consultation was held August 3 at the MRC building for the “Draft By-Law Amending the Land Use and Development Plan Regarding the Destructured Tracts and New Residences to be Built on Areas of Ten Hectares or More” (227-2016) on lands zoned for agriculture or agroforestry . Apart from staff and members of the advisory committee, eight people attended the meeting.
"By-law 227 is part of the process to ensure the dynamism of agricultural land," said Régent Dugas, MRC Pontiac Director of Territory.
The by-law aims to allow new residences in the permanent agricultural zone under the conditions set forth by the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec (CPTAQ) in its decision no. 377560 issued on June 17, 2015. That CPTAQ decision was in response to a MRC request sent in June 2013 for authorization to make zoning changes affecting agricultural land. The draft by-law also modifies the land use designation names of uses associated with the permanent agricultural zone in order to match those used by the CPTAQ and the MRC Pontiac’s Agricultural Zone Development Plan (PDZA).
Another part of by-law 227, concerning building on destructured tracts in the agricultural zone, is already in force.  De-structured tracts, a grouping of at least three dwellings with lots in between, had been identified by municipalities and accepted or rejected through negotiations with the CPTAQ, the Ministry of Agriculture (MPAQ), the UPA and the MRC.
Concerns were raised regarding respect for environmental regulations and the capacity of lakes to tolerate additional development. Winston Sunstrum, mayor of L’Isle-aux-Allumettes and member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, stated that it was up to municipal inspectors to ensure compliance with all aspects of the by-law as well as with provincial regulations, but there would be a process laid out for inspectors to follow.
Donald Graveline, member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, reminded the assembly that farmland in Quebec is only about 2% of the total landmass of the province, making protection very important.
Applications for building in the agricultural zone now have a better chance of being accepted once municipalities pass the by-law. Municipalities must pass the by-law by June 2017 or risk CPTAQ refusal of requests.
The report of the consultation and other related documents, including maps, are available on the MRC website.