The long awaited staff report on proposed changes to Official Plan policies and designations for employment lands has been released and will be considered by the Planning and Growth Management Committee on November 8, 2012. Assuming that the Committee endorses the report for onward transmittal to Council for its endorsement, the report together with any specific recommendations of the Committee will be considered at the City Council meeting scheduled for November 27, 2012.

Three new designations are proposed to replace the existing single designation of Employment-Core Employment, General Employment and Retail Employment. Additional changes proposed include removing the differentiation between Employment Areas and Districts and deleting Avenue designations on employment lands.

Also included in the report are the City's preliminary assessments of 65 of the now 90 requests received to date to convert lands from an Employment designation to another designation or to add site-specific policies to permit additional non-employment uses on the property. The requests were considered against the conversion criteria in Section 2.2.6.5 of the provincial Growth Plan and the PPS. The remaining conversion requests and any new requests received during the consultation period will be the subject of further reporting prior to the statutory public meeting together with the results and recommendations arising from stakeholder consultation on the draft policies.

Next Steps-Employment Policies-Extensive Stakeholder Consultation

Staff is seeking Council's endorsement of the draft Official Plan Employment policies and preliminary assessments of the conversion requests included in the report as the basis of consultation over the winter. Planned consultation includes open house meetings, internet and social media engagement and potential TV showcase of issues, stakeholder interviews/roundtables, expert panel discussion, and internal departmental and external government consultation.

No specific date has been set for the statutory open house, public meeting or conclusion of the consultation process.