Anne Fisher, heritage planner at Town of Milton, Ontario in Canada, talks about about her work and the issues facing the area.
Despite being six months pregnant with my third child, the lure of adventure was strong enough to entice my husband, two children and me across the Atlantic from Banbury to Milton, just west of Toronto in Cana
The picturesque UNESCO-listed Niagara Escarpment runs through Milton, which is the fastest-growing municipality in Canada. As a heritage planner this, in addition to the town’s built heritage, presents many challenges in my current role, where I deal with any development proposals that involve heritage resources. I provide planning policy advice relating to cultural heritage resources and try to conserve and integrate cultural heritage into new subdivisions. It is very different from my time in central London and Coventry, but the work here is more diverse and the environment rapidly changing.
The planning system could do more to conserve heritage resources and require good urban design. Given the pressure to plan for growth, conserving the best of what we already have can be easy to overlook. The planning appeals system, headed up by the Ontario Municipal Board, should be reviewed and more funding is needed to provide public transport within and between communities.
Zoning has become topical in the UK and while it has long been used here, zoning by-laws which are used to regulate development have become massive documents that do not offer the flexibility to deal with dense urban environments. As a result, there is increased interest in Canada to remove zoning and introduce a development permit system like the UK’s planning application system in its place.
* This article was first published in the January 2016 issue of The Planner
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