Renfrew United Landowners Association Meeting by Shirley Dolan

Renfrew County is the largest county in Ontario and is fortunate to be well represented by three landowner groups. The Renfrew Private Landowners have been operating in the county for over ten years. They operate independently from the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA). The county is also served very well by two OLA chapters: the Renfrew Nippissing Pembroke Landowners Association and the North Renfrew United Landowners Association (NRUL).

I had the good fortune to attend a meeting of NRUL on June 17th in Stonecliffe. The meeting was held in the newly renovated township hall for the United Townships of Head, Clara and Maria. About 40 people were in attendance.

NRUL is a new landowner association and according to Frank Burke, President, after their initial meeting to scope out public interest, they decided there was sufficient support and local issues to form a new chapter of the OLA … all with the objective of bringing valuable information about property rights to the people.

Topics covered in previous meetings include MPAC, Municipal Financials, and the Trespass Act.

At the June 17th meeting, Charles Cheesman, Manager of Planning for the County of Renfrew, gave a presentation on the history of planning and land severances. He outlined the process for applying for severances and stressed the fact that conditions in one municipality may not be the same as in a neighbouring one. It all depends on the Official Plan governing land use in your area.

Melinda Reith, Municipal Clerk and CAO for Head, Clara and Maria gave a presentation on municipal budgeting and taxation, explaining how property tax rates are set.

Frank Burke brought to the attention of the audience the Forest Resource Inventory which is ongoing in Renfrew County. The Ministry of Natural Resources has contracted a company from Hearst, Ontario by the name of Thunderhouse Forest Services who are doing a “forest inventory and ecological land survey of the forests within the Ottawa Valley”. Although these agents are supposed to ask permission to enter private property, it has come to our attention that they are not doing this. Read more about this survey and what it means to you here.

The meeting ended with the treasurer’s report and an invitation to everyone to attend the next NRUL meeting on July 15th in Chalk River at the Legion for a presentation on Species at Risk.

The model of inviting government officials to speak to a landowner group is an excellent one and is used by a number of Landowner Chapters. I went to the meeting to learn about land use, particularly the conditions for severances. Severances (not to be confused with sub-divisions) are normally done to create a development lot, an easement, addition, or a right of way. I learned that conditions for single-lot severances are usually spelled out in a municipality’s Official Plan (OP) – one good reason to look very carefully when your municipality reviews their OP which they are obligated to do every five years.

Congratulations to Frank Burke and NRUL for a very informative and interesting meeting.