The new Official Plan (OP) for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) is in the hands of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The OP outlines the intended uses for land across the territory of the UCPR while protecting natural features, balances growth with future land needs, addresses the location and form of new development, and provides municipalities with a framework to follow for their own zoning by-laws. 

According to UCPR Director of Planning and Forestry Louis Prévost, the OP identifies matters of provincial interest under Planning Act and must be reviewed every five years. The previous review of the UCPR OP was in 2016. In April, Prévost highlighted changes that have been made since the last review. 

The UCPR has fulfilled a promise made in the 2016 OP to do national heritage study, which was completed by South Nation Conservation in partnership with the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. The UCPR also included engagement with Indigenous communities as part of that process. 

Prévost said another major undertaking was to identify major and minor roads in relation to future development projects and infrastructure improvements. 

The updated OP Identifies new employment areas for trade and industry in Alfred and Plantagenet, East Hawkesbury, and La Nation. Prévost said most of that reallocated land was previously territory designated for the same purpose in Champlain Township. 

Once the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing review of the draft Official Plan is complete, it will go before UCPR council for final approval. That is anticipated to happen in September.