The City recognizes the important contribution that natural heritage features and their associated ecological functions make to the community’s unique identity and to the creation of a vibrant, livable City. The Natural Heritage System is made up of wetlands, woodlands, valleylands, watercourses, significant wildlife habitat, areas of natural and scientific interest and the linkages between natural heritage features.

Benefits provided by a functional Natural Heritage System include, but are not limited to: flood moderation, erosion control, air quality improvements, pollination services, genetic resources, recreation opportunities and human health.

The creation of a Natural Heritage System ensures that an appropriate balance is struck between protecting the key elements of the natural environment and the need to accommodate and manage future growth in a sustainable and healthy environment.

Policies related to the Natural Heritage System can be found in Section 4.6 of the Draft Official Plan.

Something to Consider

Does the proposed categorization of features provide an appropriate balance between protection of environmental features and development? If not, what could be done to provide that balance?

Draft Official Plan document

After more than three years of consultation and activity on the development of the City's new Official Plan, we are pleased to release the draft Official Plan for your review and feedback.

Download the Draft Official Plan (Tracked Changes) document  Give us your feedback

 Previous public engagement and meetings
On November 26, 2018 and December 5, 2018, the City hosted evening public open houses to discuss urban design and the natural heritage system.  Materials related to the natural heritage component of those open houses include the draft Natural Heritage System Components and Level Definitions and presentation.
 Past reports
On October 2, 2017, Council approved the retainer of an environmental consultant to complete the Natural Heritage System policy update for the Official Plan. Details are available in Report PLPD17-043.