Region of Waterloo Planning, Housing and Community Services ...

May 27, 2014 - The website of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) currently lists 32 ... holding the forum such as advertising, speakers' expenses, catering, ...
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Report: P-14-050

Region of Waterloo Planning, Housing and Community Services Community Planning


Chair Jim Wideman and Members of the Planning and Works Committee


May 27, 2014

File Code: D03-80/Land Trust

Subject: A Community-Based Conservation Land Trust in Waterloo Region Proposed Discussion Forum Recommendation: That the Regional Municipality of Waterloo authorize Planning, Housing and Community Services staff to hold a community forum to discuss the merits of an independent community-based multi-property conservation land trust, with the associated expenses for the forum to be allocated from the Stewardship Stream of the Community Environmental Fund, all as described in Report P-14-050, dated May 27, 2014. Summary: The purpose of this report is to initiate a conversation in Waterloo Region about the potential creation of a community-based conservation land trust comparable to those established in neighbouring jurisdictions. A land trust may be generally defined as a non-profit registered charity which can hold land, conservation easements, or enter into covenants with landowners. The purpose of a land trust is to maintain, protect, and steward properties having notable natural, cultural heritage, and/or agricultural values. Such a land trust would not be a part of government, but a non-profit registered charity based in the community. The website of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) currently lists 32 local land trusts and two provincial land trusts (the Ontario Farmland Trust and Ontario Nature) (see Attachment A). In recent years, land trusts have been created for the long-term conservation of significant and unique properties There are two site-specific privately initiated land trusts in Waterloo Region: the Branchton Village Land Trust which is conserving a small tract of Carolinian woodland adjacent to the village and the rare Charitable Research Reserve, a unique entity in Ontario which focuses on the conservation of one large contiguous property in North Dumfries Township and Cambridge. 1607765

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May 27, 2014

Report: P-14-050

Currently a multi-property conservation land trust does not exist within Waterloo Region. A multi-property land trust would be primarily interested in conservation properties not suited to sustained recreational or public use. As essentially private landowners, land trusts are not necessarily obligated to open their properties for public visitation. Where there are sensitive ecological features, a land trust may restrict access to trust volunteers in order to focus on stewardship and research with minimal human disturbance. In contrast to site-specific organisations, a multi-property land trust would have the flexibility to take advantage of the fact that suitable properties become available sporadically as individual landowners in scattered localities decide to sell or donate land or conservation easements to the trust. The Region has been anticipating the examination of a community-based multiproperty land trust for some time as evidenced by Regional Official Plan (ROP) (policy 7.I.11) and Strategic Focus 2011-2014 (1.5.3) which states, “Foster partnerships to promote and protect Waterloo Region’s environmentally sensitive lands (e.g. rare Charitable Research Reserve, Grand River Corridor, Conservation Easements, potential land trust, etc.)”. A multi-property land trust could provide maintenance, enhancement and restoration of ecological functions within the Greenlands Network, including Regional Recharge Areas and Environmentally Sensitive Landscapes, without requiring the Region to own the land or contribute financially. Staff is recommending that the Region host a one-day community forum, potentially in September or October 2014, to bring together representatives of appropriate organisations, interested members of the public, and Area Municipalities to learn more from others who have been involved in the successful crea