A class of graduate students under Professor John Meligrana at the Queens University School of Urban and Regional Planning is looking for help from local landowners in Central and North Frontenac. The students are working on a project that is focussed on the issues that impact land use planning in rural areas.
Such regions are common in Eastern Ontario, and this project has used North and Central Frontenac as an example of rural areas with a wealth of lakes, the landscapes that contain them and few urban areas.
As part of their work, the students have been looking at a number of topics, including Rural Land Stewardship: Ideas, Concepts, and Indicators; Servicing Options for Private Land Owners; Shoreline Planning Considerations; and Rural Green Economies.
They have consulted with township and county staff and politicians, public and private sector planners, and others, and have prepared presentations about what they have learned.
The next step, according to Professor Meligrana, is to engage local individuals and property owners in their work. A free workshop, which is set for St. James Catholic Church Hall in Sharbot Lake on Friday, March 22, from 10am-3pm (free lunch included) will feature those presentations, followed by an engaging set of exercises that have been designed to bring out the insights of the local population on the true needs of the community and the local environment.
This first study that the students have completed will be extended by a second, more detailed study in the upcoming university term, which will incorporate what the students learn at the workshop. Beyond that, we hope that findings from these studies can be usefully extended to other similar areas in our region.
The Frontenac Stewardship Council has funded this work in the belief that good stewardship in non-urban areas will be enhanced by fresh planning approaches that acknowledge lake and landscape features as foundation elements of resilient communities of the future. The complete project will attempt to gather and incorporate, into those foundations, the views and hopes of people on the land.