Oops MNR map mistake adds more wetlands in Lambton

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The map on the left is the version Lambton County planners found on the MNR website when work on the official plan began in 2014. The map on the right is the corrected verson. Both show St. Clair Township where most of the new wetlands were created by mistake.

A mistake by the Ministry of Natural Resources may end up easing some concerns about the Lambton County Draft Official Plan.
The county has faced some stiff opposition from landowners over the document – particularly the increased number of wetland areas. Members of the Concerned Landowners Legal Defence worried they would loose the ability to farm the land or build near it.
An area of St. Clair Township was of particular concern. A township resident whose land had been designated as wetlands in the draft plan called the MNR, which created the map, to ask about why his land was considered wetland.
County Planner Will Nywening says the MNR didn’t know what he was talking about. The ministry’s most current maps didn’t show his land as wetlands.
So officials started digging and soon found out the map in the draft plan was an error. Nywening says someone had been analysing aerial photos and designated the areas wetlands, but they had not been confirmed.
The map Lambton County officials had found on the MNR website in 2014 when the first draft was written, had been taken down shortly afterwards when an MNR official noticed the mistake.
Lambton County officials were never told. And that has led to a lot of concern, and a threat of a lawsuit by the Concerned Landowners Legal Defence group.
Nywening says it is good the landowner, instead of just complaining, “went out and investigated himself” otherwise, the mistake may have never been found.
Municipal leaders hope people hear about the new wetland mapping. The draft official plan is being circulated to all municipalities for one final look and is expected to be approved at the Aug. 2 county council meeting.
While the new map may ease some concern, the CLLD still has a list of about 30 outstanding concerns including a map outlining agricultural areas.

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