Policies, Regulations and Projects for Promoting Large Landscape Conservation

National Trust Conference 2017
Rebecca Sciarra

This presentation will focus on the intersection between regulations, guidelines and policies that help foster a culture of conservation by looking at the Credit River Valley in the Province of Ontario. The Credit River flows from headwaters above the Niagara Escarpment and drains down into Lake Ontario at Port Credit. It has, and continues to function as a complex landscape that is intimately linked to its natural setting and cultural features and processes. It also functions as a landscape that resonates in people’s imaginations and memories. Its beauty has been rendered on canvases and its waters bear witness to the different communities that have thrived on its banks. It too is part of our contemporary urban and peri-urban fabric in the Greater Toronto Area.

This presentation will examine the overlapping regulations, guidelines and policies that have been developed for this watershed at municipal, regional, and provincial levels for the purposes of sensitively managing and protecting its ecological, cultural and scenic values. The presentation will show how these tools have established a rich policy framework for conserving the Credit River Valley and promoted broad based mobilization around its assets that form an integral part of the public realm. The presentation explores the field of large landscape conservation in general and discusses its relevance in Ontario’s current land use planning context. The presentation also characterizes Ontario’s historic and contemporary policy framework for conserving large landscapes and presents a series of recommendations for practitioners to consider when developing municipal and regional official plan policy.