New Rural Plan for Fundy Shores
The Fundy Shores Rural Community Council, a new municipality incorporated on January 1st, 2023, on the geography of the former Lepreau and Musquash Local Service Districts, has requested that the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission draft a rural plan for the community. As it stands, Fundy Shores Rural Community (map) is covered by the now out-of-date, Lepreau and Musquash Planning Area Rural Plan Regulation (link).
What Does a Rural Plan Do?
A rural plan is a land use planning tool that helps a community set goals and strategies about how it will grow and develop. It balances the interests of individual property owners with the wider interests and objectives of the whole community. Rural plans become a vision of where the community wants to see itself in the future. They generally try to achieve the following:
- Guide future development in a planned manner;
- Enhance important community characteristics;
- Reflect local land use priorities that affect social conditions, the economy and the environment;
- Minimize the potential for conflicting land uses; and,
- Establish a process for public consultation regarding proposed land use changes to the area.
Contents of a Rural Plan
As outlined in section 44 of the Community Planning Act a rural plan must have statements of policy with respect to:
- residential uses,
- housing, including affordable housing and rental housing,
- commercial uses,
- institutional uses,
- recreational facilities and public open spaces,
- climate change adaptation and mitigation,
- resource uses,
- protection of water supplies,
- heritage buildings and sites of historical or archeological interest,
- conservation of the physical environment.
Rural plans may also contain any other matter the Council considers necessary, including proposals for public works projects. Another way that the policies of of the rural plan are implemented is through zoning. A rural plan will have zoning provisions and a zoning map that prescribe how development may occur in each zone. These zones can regulate the types of land uses, buildings, and structures that that zone may allow and prohibit other uses of land, buildings, and structures that do not comply with the plan. For example, a designated rural settlement zone may prohibit the use of land for a large-scale fish processing facility that would negatively impact nearby homes. Or, an industrial zone or a zone permitting livestock operations might prohibit large-scale residential development within it to avoid odour complaints.
How is the Rural Plan created?
Like any by-law, a rural plan is a by-law adopted by Council. But unlike some local by-laws, rural plans are required by the province, and they can only be made on the basis on planning research. Plan-making is a public process that involves the whole community; this process is facilitated by the professional planning staff at the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission (SNBSC). During the plan-making process, information is shared widely to encourage all community members to participate in the rural plan. This will involve a combination of in-person meetings and mail-in/online surveys. Later in the process of developing a rural plan, a formal public hearing will take place so the public can weigh-in on the plan prior to its adoption (or not). Before the hearing, a complete draft of the rural plan is circulated to various Provincial agencies and First Nations for comments. If the Rural Community Council is satisfied with the proposed rural plan, it may be adopted as a local land use by-law.