County Land Review Project

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Update: February 12, 2024

Answers to questions 6, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 52 from the November 2023 County Land Review public engagement activities have been added to the Questions and Answers section below.

The Land Monetization Project Status Update from July 13, 2021 (PDF) has also been posted.


Update: November 28, 2023

Recordings of the County Land Review in-person engagement sessions have been posted below. Staff are working on providing answers to questions raised at each session. Answers will be posted to this page when available.

Langton Community Centre, November 22, 2023


Vittoria & District Community Centre, November 22, 2023


Talbot Gardens in Simcoe, November 23, 2023

This video's audio quality is poor. Should you need assistance, please contact communications@norfolkcounty.ca.



Project overview

Norfolk County owns over 2,500 acres of vacant land, parkland, and woodlots. The operating costs to maintain this land include grass cutting and tree maintenance, as well as indirect costs such as insurance and administration.

During previous budget deliberations, Council directed staff to review underutilized land identified as not significant for present or future needs that could be sold. Proceeds would help fund Council-approved priorities and further solidify Norfolk’s financial foundation.

Selling vacant land will also add more land supply for future housing and employment opportunities and reduce annual maintenance and operating expenses.


How land was selected

Staff established a comprehensive process to review all County-owned vacant land. Based on this review, staff have shortlisted the first group of vacant land to conduct public engagement and further review before making any recommendations on whether portions or all the land should be considered as potentially surplus and sold.

During the review process, staff used criteria to do a preliminary evaluation of the vacant land, including location, size, usability, and access to roads, infrastructure, and services. The adjacent land, potential future use and marketability of the site were also examined.

Read more about the standard process for selling surplus land in Norfolk’s CS-60 Land Purchase and Sale Policy.

What was not included in this review?

Only vacant land was included in the County Land Review project, and specific types of properties, including cemeteries, roads, trails, and parking lots, were excluded from the shortlisting after the preliminary evaluation. Land with significant natural features, including waterways, wetlands and woodlands, along with waterfront land, were also excluded. In one instance, land with a small, closed infrastructure facility was included.

All County buildings and facilities will be reviewed during the upcoming Facility Review Project.


Land under review

View the County Land Review story map to see all land under review, or access a PDF map for each using the links below:

There are two additional vacant lands in Vittoria that have also been shortlisted as part of this review process:

A public engagement session for the land in Vittoria was held on November 22, 2023, at the Vittoria and District Community Centre. Read more about the public engagement opportunities for the locations in Vittoria at EngageNorfolk.ca/Vittoria-Properties.


Community feedback

Norfolk County is committed to creating opportunities for the public to learn more about this project, ask questions, and provide feedback about the proposed land sale before Council makes a final decision.

The current feedback period has ended. Further update will be shared on this page.


Questions and Answers

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback, asked questions, and attended the in-person engagement sessions. The following questions were asked by residents online. Additional questions are currently in review and will be shared on this page soon.

Question 1: [A family has] lived next to this park since the street was created and have and continue to use that side of the property as access to the back yard for yard maintenance. To arbitrarily take away that access would make it difficult to get machinery needed in the back for that purpose.

While typically public land isn’t necessarily for private use, the County does have a process to allow machinery or other maintenance access to private yards through parks via operations@norfolkcounty.ca. In this case, the access may have to go around one lot if it is created.

Question 2: Eroding away our parks to make a quick buck will permanently change our green spaces for generations to come. This is a quick cash grab that will not fix Norfolk's' financial woes. The money will be spent, and then what? More selloffs? I expect this will continue. What will our parks look like in ten years? I bet you know and are not sharing.

Thanks for the comment and questions. Green space is important for a healthy and sustainable community. Norfolk continues to investigate opportunities each year to manage our financial position and minimize the impact on the tax base where possible. The amount that would be contributed to reserves or strategic priorities has not been determined at this time and would be part of any future decision on any sale or monetization of any portion of lands. The County may continue to review its land inventory from time to time in the future.
Regarding what our parks will look like in 10 years, the County does plan on updating the existing 2016 Parks, Facilities and Recreation Master Plan as part of a future10-year update which sets out the vision and strategy for parks and recreation facilities. Norfolk does have a strong provision of parks and green space. At this time, the existing Master Plan is the guiding document for what our parks will look like.

Question 3: How is this information distributed to people who may not be on a social media platform? I have great concern that despite "following" Norfolk County on Facebook I didn't receive this news until someone sent it to me personally. There is the potential for many residents to NOT be informed about something that impacts their neighbourhood tremendously. The lack of informed citizens would potentially bias your data collection. Also, those who are not fully computer literate or lack accessibility to the internet would be disadvantaged in learning or commenting on this information. Please let me know how Norfolk County will ensure that no one is missed in this information-seeking strategy.

Yes. Paper copies of the survey are now available at our ServiceNorfolk locations, the Simcoe Recreation Centre, and Norfolk County Public Library branches.

At this point in the process, the public engagement was broad and community-wide, using the County’s social media channels and our Engage Norfolk online platform.

If Council decides to go down the route of potentially declaring the property surplus, then we will follow the Public Hearing process which includes notification to adjacent property owners and a Public Hearing Committee meeting of Council where people can speak regarding the proposed declaration and disposal of surplus land.

Question 4: I have been looking through the lands under review in order to provide some input but have a couple of preliminary questions. Obviously, the county would like to receive the highest possible value for these parcels in addition to shedding the ongoing costs for maintenance, insurance, etc. A much better price would be achievable on all parcels if a residential zoning was already in place.

4.1: Does the county have the ability to change the zoning of the parcels prior to sale?

If Council decides to declare the lands surplus, then prior to sale, the County could go through the required processes for any lands where a rezoning or other development process needs to occur (note: this would increase the value of land for a sale). Another option is that any potential purchaser could go through the rezoning process.

4.2: Does the county have the ability to divide the blocks into smaller pieces prior to sale?

The county could look to divide the blocks into lots via a Reference Plan (most efficient process), severance (via the Committee of Adjustment process) or plan of subdivision (if roads, infrastructure or other requirements are needed via the development process) as necessary (note: this would increase the value of land for a sale). Similar to the above, better prices would be achievable if the land parcels were already divided into residential lots.

Question 5: What Method of sale will be used? CS-60 lists six or more possible methods. Public tender in accordance with the County’s Purchasing Policy EBS-02. Call for proposal • Listing with a real estate firm or broker. Land exchange. Negotiation with County staff, ratified by Council. Auction. Such manner as Council deems appropriate.

There are some smaller parcels of land that have already been declared surplus by the County, and it is being determined whether they can be sold to the adjacent property owners in accordance with Norfolk County policy. The County currently has an RFP in the marketplace to develop a roster of real estate brokers to list and assist with the sale of surplus lands.

Question 6: Please publish the original agreement ceding this land [Percy Ryerse Park] for use as a park in perpetuity. If this land was not originally gifted to Norfolk County, how did Norfolk County acquire this land?

The Corporation of the Township of Woodhouse acquired the lands on October 16th, 1958, by Instrument Number NR263289. This document did not contain any covenants or restrictions regarding the use of the lands nor any requirement to retain the lands in perpetuity. There are no other documents registered on title to the property that restrict the use or ownership of the lands.

Question 7: I want to review all the infrastructure reports of the expansion in Waterford as part of legal disclosure.

The scope of the County Lands Review project does not include any “expansion” of facilities or land in Waterford. Perhaps the question is related to another proposed initiative. If it is related to the Lingwood Park lands in Waterford, there is a water main along the frontage of the entire property along with sanitary and storm under the road to near the end of the existing pavement (fully serviced). Utilities are in the vicinity.

Question 8: Percy Ryerse Park is a monument to the man who so generously donated the land to the county with the caveat that it be used as parkland in perpetuity. The land is not "under-utilized" as it's used spontaneously by residents throughout the year. My kids have played soccer, volleyball, had picnics, climbed the trees, played with their dog in the park. Did the County document this? Likely not. My mother-in-law skis in the park, with her friend, who also lives in the subdivision. More houses will bring no added value to the community. It's unlikely any new houses would be single level bungalows, as is the current architectural style. Consideration must also be given to the added traffic in a neighbourhood without street lighting or sidewalks. I urge council to reconsider this very bad decision.

Yes, there is some use of the park. Under-utilized does not necessarily mean it is not utilized and may refer to portions of the land. The County does not document each time a park is used.

Thank you for the information about various uses of the park space throughout the year. For clarity, no decision has been made or needs to be reconsidered. Norfolk is conducting public engagement to gather information and feedback along with continued review before anything is brought forward in a future report to Council

Should any portion of lands be considered and ultimately declared surplus, additional work would be required to identify what could be done with any surplus lands. In many cases, this would involve a rezoning process, which is public. That process would look at items such as building types, heights, setbacks, traffic, services, etc.

Question 9: If this is a park, how can it be zoned residential - was the zoning changed and if so, by whom?

The land is currently zoned Open Space. It is not currently zoned to allow residential and has not been changed.
Should any portion of lands be considered and ultimately declared surplus, additional work would be required to identify what could be done with any surplus lands. In many cases, this would involve a rezoning process, which is public. That process would look at items such as building types, heights, setbacks, traffic, service, etc.

Question 10: Regarding Hawtrey Road Woodlot. Am I correct in thinking that the County would be looking into the Ontario Heritage Act since there are provisions related to "resources of archaeological value"? There were at least two wooden grave markers there years ago. Jack Ungar built one of the first homes there and, being employed as a horticulturalist, walked the woods many times. He told me there were graves back there and at least two wooden grave markers from the late 1800's early 1900s. Unfortunately, in those days, the poor were not always buried in designated cemeteries, and church records were not always adequate or even found. I believe there were maybe the same issues with Indigenous people across Canada. I feel that there should be equal due diligence for everyone, no matter the colour of our skin or nationality or ability to purchase a cemetery lot. This may not be much different from the Poor House Cemetery in Simcoe behind the condos.

Nothing related to a burial site was identified; however, staff appreciate that this has been identified through public engagement and will research further to confirm prior to bringing forward a recommendation to Council related to this property.

Question 11: I would also like to point out the fact that there are already likely over a thousand privately owned vacant lots for sale with the various new subdivisions throughout Delhi, which would be more desirable than a lot on Hwy 59 that would be basically across the road from a fertilizer factory (Scotts) with many transports coming and going on a busy highway, not to say there would be also the air quality factor.

A: As of the end of 2022, there were 58 vacant lots in registered subdivisions in Delhi, 65 lots in draft-approved subdivisions in Delhi and 157 proposed lots or blocks under review in circulated plans. Since that time, there have been two new large subdivision proposals, one stage of a draft-approved subdivision that is now registered and one plan that was under review that is now draft-approved. There may be other vacant land on the market from private landowners outside of these subdivisions. Although the land on Hawtrey Rd is zoned residential, introducing new residential development near existing industrial is something that should be further considered along with the potential driveway access requirement.

Question 12: As for selling the additional land at the back of the Hawtrey properties, it would not be advantageous to the homeowners since the increased land would increase MPAC assessments which in turn increases the property taxes as well as making them liable for maintenance on the trees behind their houses. The County increase in taxes would be minimal for the staff resources to make this happen.

A: Any potential sale of County land that may result in a future development would increase the tax assessment for that property – this is one of the advantages of this process and initiative. Given there are many factors in MPAC’s assessment process, it is not known at this time whether this would have a resulting effect on the implications to the assessment of adjacent properties. It is unclear regarding the statement about maintenance liability for the trees behind houses. If the parcel of land was sold, the maintenance liability for the trees would shift from the County (taxpayers) to the new owner.

Question 13: The trees definitely need to stay as a buffer zone for noise created by Scotts. Otherwise, the complaints will never be resolved. Again, Staff time is tax dollars.

The comment regarding the trees as a buffer area to the nearby industrial area is a consideration.

Question 14: For the vacant land in Vittoria, what will the process look like for the sale of the properties - will the public be allowed to know when the property will be on the market?

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued to the marketplace to establish a roster of real estate brokers to assist with the sale of any lands that are declared surplus. The process to declare a property surplus and sell it is a public process so yes, the public will know if a property is going up for sale.

Question 15: Will the properties in question be surveyed into lots prior to sale?

Please see Question and Answer 4.2 above. The land could be sold as one parcel (or portion), and then in the future, the owner could create lots prior to selling, or the County could create the individual “lots” prior to selling.

Question 16: Regarding all three properties - if sold, would there be any restrictions as to what - if any - could be built on the existing property?

The use of a property would first be related to zoning. The existing or proposed new zoning would identify the permitted uses, such as a single detached dwelling (a house) or a townhouse, etc. The County could limit what those uses are and the size, height, and building setbacks of that in the zoning. Another option is with the sale of property; the County could consider putting other limitations or requirements within a purchase and sale agreement. If there are specific ideas or suggestions, we would be open to feedback, and it may be different for each property’s situation and neighborhoods.

Question 17: What sorts of uses will be permitted for the land?

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above.

Question 18: Will the proposed uses blend in with the existing land uses around the properties in question? What sorts of restrictions will go along with the sale of the land - will there be safeguards in place to protect the community from unscrupulous land speculators/developers?

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above. In considering each site that may move forward to the next step, there are a few scenarios. In some cases, there may already be zoning for the property that is in place that allows certain uses, such as a single detached dwelling. In those instances, the sale of the land could potentially proceed under the existing zoning standards, although the County could consider adding “restrictions” to any purchase and sale agreement (which may impact the price/sale amount). In other cases, the property would need to be rezoned (which is a public process with Council decision). Through that process, the uses and zoning provisions to ensure that any new development is compatible with the surrounding area could be considered and put in place. “Compatible” doesn’t necessarily mean “exactly the same.” Another scenario is that the surrounding area may entirely be made of the same housing type (e.g. only single detached dwellings), and there may be a desire to consider permitting other housing types to be built (e.g. semi-detached or townhouse dwellings) to provide a range of housing choice for people to live (including staying within the same community but maybe downsizing). No comment on the “scrupulousness” of developers.

Question 19: Will the revenue generated go into general revenues, or will funds be kept in reserve for the benefit and use of the community where the land is located?

It has been noted that one of the purposes of the County Land Review project is to generate revenue to improve the County’s financial position. Recommendations will be provided to Council about which reserve fund(s) any land sale proceeds could be directed towards and also potential investments in community infrastructure such as park improvements.

Question 20: Will all the steps of the process of the sale, the price asked, the price received, who the purchaser is etc., be transparent to the community?

When Norfolk County’s Realty Services staff complete a sale or purchase, including the sale of a road allowance, an information memo to Council (in open session) is prepared that provides Council with the details of the disposition, including the closing date, the sale price and the purchaser. Staff would follow this process for any of these properties.

Question 21: Is the plan for all the lands being considered the same? For example, will all the proceeds from all the land sales be used to offset the tax rate across the board?

Please see the answer to question 19.

Question 22: How much will the tax rate be offset approximately [due to the property sales]?

Potential savings to the tax levy will depend upon a number of things, including the amount of funds generated by the sale of the property, where those funds are directed (ie: reserves, community improvements), the future use of the land and associated increased revenue due to additional property tax assessment.

What does that translate to for each ratepayer approximately?

Please see the answer to question 22.

Question 23. If Lands were not sold, what would be the impact on the tax rate, and what would that translate to for each ratepayer approximately?

A: Each year the County prepares budgets for capital, rate (water and wastewater) and operating expenses. Capital projects might be funded from reserves, debt, grant funding and/or the property tax levy. The rate budget is supported by the water and wastewater users. The main source of funding to support the County’s operating budget is the property tax levy. Property tax requirements are determined every year through the Council budget discussions based on the needs for the specific year. For this reason, it would be difficult to say how much more or less property tax would be paid if land was sold or not sold.

Question 24: Issues around fairness and equity between communities are a big concern - how will the decisions be made around parcels in each community?

The batch of properties that are being considered now are in a range of locations throughout the County. Decisions will be made by Council about specific land parcels in each community.

Question 25: Have you considered the water, waste, etc.

The preliminary review of properties considered if there was municipal or private water and wastewater. Should any parcels of land be considered at the next steps, any future development would have to consider water and wastewater for any lots (and no impact on the surrounding area).

Question 26: What is the yearly cost of each property’s tax and maintenance?

County-owned land does not contribute towards property tax. While the County has an overall maintenance budget for park operations, each individual property does not have a specific yearly maintenance figure associated with it. Should specific land parcels be considered moving forward, a yearly maintenance estimate can be provided for the property to assist in the consideration.

Question 27: Could it be possible for businesses to choose to sponsor the properties in terms of providing financial assistance in order to keep the properties as is? We have a lot of amazing businesses that may offer to help foot the bill for some of the expenses if a clear guideline was given.

One of the reasons for the County Land Review project is to look at areas where ongoing maintenance of some of the County’s lands, such as parks, could be reduced. The project also aims to repurpose potentially underutilized lands to help meet the County’s needs for additional land for employment and housing purposes. The sale and redevelopment of lands can generate funds to improve the County’s financial position through one-time reserve contributions (from proceeds of sale) and ongoing increased property tax assessment (from new development). If the decision was made to retain a parcel of land and explore operating partnerships, it would be important to consider ways to ensure that the partnership was efficient to maintain and ongoing/long-term in nature.

Question 28: I would also like to know if any of the parcels of land need to be sold as deemed by Norfolk County would the county be willing to give a tax break to a community group who chooses to purchase?

Any tax implications for any future owners of the properties, if they are eventually declared surplus and sold, would be in keeping with applicable legislation and in the spirit of consistency and fairness to all property owners.

Question 29: I’d also like to know if they could be gifted back to those who gifted them or transferred the land in the first place.

The County has and continues to review how the property may have been dedicated or come into the County’s ownership. If land was officially “gifted” and there is something that is registered on the title of the land that it should remain a park or green space in perpetuity, that is an important factor. In many cases, the green space or parkland was transferred to the municipality as part of the park dedication within a registered plan of subdivision (e.g. not necessarily a gift but a development requirement).

Question 30: I would also like to know where the money from the property that was sold on Fishers Glen Road for 65,000 was spent.

Proceeds from the sale were distributed in a manner that was in keeping with the spirit of the original trust and with the approval of the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee.

Question 31: I would also like to address, if any properties are sold, what would be able to be built there? It appears that many of our sidewalks are ripped out. Many of us are now having problems with our sewer beds.

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above. Any future development would need to conduct a technical analysis of septic and water systems.

Question 32: Is there an objective system utilized to rank potential surplus lands, and is there a report available for the parcels under consideration?

As outlined in the public presentation and open house materials, the preliminary review of the 511 County-owned land parcels included initial “categorization”. This included parcels to retain (e.g. cemeteries), parcels that would require extensive work/further review/low priority from the initial review and those parcels that are shortlisted to potentially consider now. The preliminary review included several rounds of objective (and some subjective) criteria with technical staff from areas such as Engineering, Infrastructure, Realty, Operations, Forestry, Parks, Planning, Economic Development, Housing, etc.

The system used to categorize and rank land was Geographic Information System (GIS)-based along with spreadsheets. Several rounds of preliminary review were undertaken to categorize and shortlist properties. From the shortlisted properties, additional criteria were utilized, including:

  • Property location and description
  • Property size
  • Property frontage and does it meet minimum lot width requirements (zoning)
  • On an Open and Maintained Road
  • Infrastructure availability / Serviceability (municipal, private)
  • Requirements for retaining for existing or future infrastructure, easements, parking
  • Land Use status (official plan, zoning)
    • Would any “development” contravene the Official Plan / Provincial Policy Statement
  • Potential for affordable housing and other housing options
  • Level of technical study that may be required if to be developed
  • Level of change to potentially make saleable
  • Useability of site and amount of park and green space in the surrounding area
  • Context of adjacent lands
  • Ability to create jobs
  • Potential for partnerships
  • Potential for financial return
  • Public engagement potential
  • Specific comments
  • Additional actions required

Following the public engagement, and comments from utilities and agencies, there will be additional review by staff and depending upon the next steps could be further analysis, ranking and future report(s).

At this point in time, there is not a specific report available regarding the parcels under consideration as that is expected as a future step after the engagement and further review.

Question 33: [Have the park] areas been surveyed, for example, by the County regarding the use of the area?

The preliminary review of all of the County-owned lands included staff members from the Operations and Parks areas and their knowledge and input of the sites. The County does not regularly conduct “usage surveys” of each park space. Should any of the lands move forward to the next step, additional investigation and reviews, along with notification, will be provided.

Question 34: Could the Hawtrey Road property be a burial site?

In looking at properties in question, staff used the GIS system in order to identify significant items. The review did not show anything related to a burial site, but staff will do more investigating before a recommendation goes to Council. Staff have followed up to walk the property and searching for any additional information.

Question 35: When did the Hawtrey road site zoning get changed to residential?

The residential zoning has been in place since at least 2014, if not earlier.

Question 36: If these lands get sold for development, if these lands are owned by the County and provided by the developer for Park purposes, is selling the land a disservice to the developer and area residents?

Parkland was often dedicated to the municipality as part of the registration of a plan of subdivision. In the future, the municipality can consider whether the full amount of parkland is still required. At this point, Council has made no decision on any property. Staff will be presenting a comprehensive report and considering all options before making recommendations for future Council decisions.

Question 37: Would an archeological study be done regarding the Hawtrey site to determine if remains are on site? Has one been done in the past?

An archeological study has not been done on the site as part of the preliminary review of County land; however, that is something that could be considered should the property be determined to move forward to the next step. Typically, where flagged, that is the type of study that is done prior to development, such as a subdivision. Additional review could be undertaken by staff to determine if an archeological study was done with the original Hawtrey Rd subdivision.

Question 38: Why consider cutting down trees that provide so many benefits to surrounding properties?

Natural heritage areas, including trees and other vegetation, provide many benefits. The potential implications of any tree removal will be identified for each property as part of the review and considerations moving forward. In the case of Hawtrey Rd site, it is noted that this location currently provides a “buffer” between the industrial uses to the west and the residential area.

Question 39: How many privately-owned properties are for sale in the Delhi area right now?

This is something that would need to be addressed by the local Real Estate Association. According to Realtor.ca as of Dec. 13, 2023, there were 50 properties for sale within Delhi including 9 in a proposed apartment and several single detached dwellings in new or existing subdivisions. Staff's scope for the project was to look at Norfolk-owned lands.

Question 40: Why is Hawtrey Road being considered given its location near woodland?

There are many factors that were reviewed for all of the County-owned lands, including the various provincially and locally significant natural heritage features (e.g. environment). can deem a property a “significant woodland”. This is one of the few treed properties that the County owns that does not include any provincially significant wetlands, areas of natural scientific interest, water bodies, no Conservation Authority hazard land or regulated area, not classified as County Woodlot and is in an Urban Area. Having said that, if there is limited vegetation/wooded areas within the overall area, even a smaller treed location could be important for that immediate vicinity.

Question 41: What do we do when parkland is all gone?

At this point in time, overall there is a sufficient supply of park and green space within Norfolk. Each community and neighbourhood area should be reviewed within its own context as well to ensure that an appropriate amount of park and green space remains. It is not the intent to declare all parkland surplus.

Question 42: What is the long-range plan for park development? Could there be more?

The long-range plan currently is guided by the Parkland, Recreation and Facilities Master Plan (2016). The intent is to conduct a 10-year review by 2026. At this time, parkland is listed as part of Norfolk County’s surplus land policy as a type of land that can be considered. That doesn’t mean that any park in question will be deemed surplus, but they can be part of reviews currently and in the future.

Question 43: Are there restrictions on Percy Ryerse Park (and other vacant lands) to be a park in perpetuity?

Staff has reviewed the situation, including a title search, and did not find any restrictions on the land in question. However, staff will continue to investigate further. If any residents have official documents pertaining to the property, staff will be happy to review them.

Question 44: Can the public view the ownership transfers and conditions of lands in question?

Yes, all title documents for the property are public record and can be found at Onland.ca.

Question 45: What documentation needs to be provided so that green space remains green space that is used every day by the community?

Over 500 properties were looked at as this process began and numbers were narrowed as it went along. Any feedback from the public will be noted in the report and brought to Council – that possibly parkland is not considered surplus going forward. A more detailed review of each green space may be conducted if the land in question is to be considered in the next steps.

Question 46: How long will the survey be open for?

The feedback survey closed on December 7, 2023.

Question 47: What is the county doing in terms of affordable housing, and how does it relate to this project?

Affordable housing, as defined by the province, is housing that is at or below the average market cost for the area. None of the properties in question are currently being considered by the County for “affordable” housing. Should any of the lands be deemed surplus and sold, the purchaser may propose any “tenure” (rental, ownership) and price. The County could consider restrictions on the sale of the property. The County may be reviewing or setting aside other parcels for potential consideration or partnership on “affordable” housing as part of something that the municipality can provide. Should any lands move forward in that regard, it would typically involve a public process (especially if any rezoning development application would be required).

Question 48: What is the review process for the survey? How can we be assured this will be a proper review process?

This process will include a number of experts and staff at the County. Answers are being provided to all questions, and the Q&A will be considered in the next steps of the review and in any future report to Council on this project.

Question 49: Will the possibility of selling each of the parcels be put forward to Council?

The feedback report will share all of its findings with Council. At that point, Council can decide which properties they may want to deem surplus, which would start the surplus property process. That would trigger another council report and further opportunities for public feedback.

Question 50: Who has the final say on the parcels of land?

Norfolk County Council will ultimately decide on whether a portion or all a property is declared surplus. Should any of the lands require a rezoning to allow for any development, that is a public process that involves another Council decision and includes appeal rights.

Question 51: What is the effect of severing a lot near a pumping station and spring water?

As part of the review process, staff worked with our GIS Department to identify what’s under the ground on each property to ensure there weren’t any water or sewer pipes on location. Any possible development would be reviewed again, this time by our Environmental Services Team, to ensure no further work would impact local drinking water.

Question 52: Can the By-law be provided for the zoning change on Hawtrey Road of parkland to residential along with any notification to the owners of the abutting land?

The Hawtrey Road lands do not appear as if they were ever zoned for parkland. County records indicate that the land (what is now the subdivision and the wooded area) was zoned for Development in Regional Zoning Bylaw 1-DE-80 (1980) and amended through Zoning Bylaw 12-DE-83 (1983) to Residential Type 1 (see bylaw). This was related to a draft plan of subdivision from 1979 to develop all of the lands (including the wooded area) with residential lots. Several Bylaw amendments occurred related to holding provisions, special provisions and to facilitate the residential lots that were eventually created fronting Hawtry Road in 1988 (Bylaw 22-DE-88), 1993 (Bylaws 2-DE-93 and 22-DE-93) and 1998 (Bylaw 12-DE-98). In 2007, a Zoning By-law was passed to remove the holding provision to permit the subject lands (all of them) to be used for residential purposes (see bylaw). When lands in Norfolk were consolidated in Zoning Bylaw 1-Z-2014, the subject lands were updated from R-1 zone to the comparable R1-A zone.

The notifications for the regional or county-wide Zoning Bylaws would have been conducted as part of a comprehensive process, including any statutory public notifications under the Ontario Planning Act, such as the newspaper. The site-specific Zoning Bylaw Amendments noted above would have followed the statutory notifications to surrounding properties under the Ontario Planning Act. The notifications could be researched; however, given retention periods of archived material from former townships/region/county and given that the zoning existed as residential prior to the residential lots being built/occupied, additional work is not being conducted at this time.

Update: February 12, 2024

Answers to questions 6, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 52 from the November 2023 County Land Review public engagement activities have been added to the Questions and Answers section below.

The Land Monetization Project Status Update from July 13, 2021 (PDF) has also been posted.


Update: November 28, 2023

Recordings of the County Land Review in-person engagement sessions have been posted below. Staff are working on providing answers to questions raised at each session. Answers will be posted to this page when available.

Langton Community Centre, November 22, 2023


Vittoria & District Community Centre, November 22, 2023


Talbot Gardens in Simcoe, November 23, 2023

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Project overview

Norfolk County owns over 2,500 acres of vacant land, parkland, and woodlots. The operating costs to maintain this land include grass cutting and tree maintenance, as well as indirect costs such as insurance and administration.

During previous budget deliberations, Council directed staff to review underutilized land identified as not significant for present or future needs that could be sold. Proceeds would help fund Council-approved priorities and further solidify Norfolk’s financial foundation.

Selling vacant land will also add more land supply for future housing and employment opportunities and reduce annual maintenance and operating expenses.


How land was selected

Staff established a comprehensive process to review all County-owned vacant land. Based on this review, staff have shortlisted the first group of vacant land to conduct public engagement and further review before making any recommendations on whether portions or all the land should be considered as potentially surplus and sold.

During the review process, staff used criteria to do a preliminary evaluation of the vacant land, including location, size, usability, and access to roads, infrastructure, and services. The adjacent land, potential future use and marketability of the site were also examined.

Read more about the standard process for selling surplus land in Norfolk’s CS-60 Land Purchase and Sale Policy.

What was not included in this review?

Only vacant land was included in the County Land Review project, and specific types of properties, including cemeteries, roads, trails, and parking lots, were excluded from the shortlisting after the preliminary evaluation. Land with significant natural features, including waterways, wetlands and woodlands, along with waterfront land, were also excluded. In one instance, land with a small, closed infrastructure facility was included.

All County buildings and facilities will be reviewed during the upcoming Facility Review Project.


Land under review

View the County Land Review story map to see all land under review, or access a PDF map for each using the links below:

There are two additional vacant lands in Vittoria that have also been shortlisted as part of this review process:

A public engagement session for the land in Vittoria was held on November 22, 2023, at the Vittoria and District Community Centre. Read more about the public engagement opportunities for the locations in Vittoria at EngageNorfolk.ca/Vittoria-Properties.


Community feedback

Norfolk County is committed to creating opportunities for the public to learn more about this project, ask questions, and provide feedback about the proposed land sale before Council makes a final decision.

The current feedback period has ended. Further update will be shared on this page.


Questions and Answers

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback, asked questions, and attended the in-person engagement sessions. The following questions were asked by residents online. Additional questions are currently in review and will be shared on this page soon.

Question 1: [A family has] lived next to this park since the street was created and have and continue to use that side of the property as access to the back yard for yard maintenance. To arbitrarily take away that access would make it difficult to get machinery needed in the back for that purpose.

While typically public land isn’t necessarily for private use, the County does have a process to allow machinery or other maintenance access to private yards through parks via operations@norfolkcounty.ca. In this case, the access may have to go around one lot if it is created.

Question 2: Eroding away our parks to make a quick buck will permanently change our green spaces for generations to come. This is a quick cash grab that will not fix Norfolk's' financial woes. The money will be spent, and then what? More selloffs? I expect this will continue. What will our parks look like in ten years? I bet you know and are not sharing.

Thanks for the comment and questions. Green space is important for a healthy and sustainable community. Norfolk continues to investigate opportunities each year to manage our financial position and minimize the impact on the tax base where possible. The amount that would be contributed to reserves or strategic priorities has not been determined at this time and would be part of any future decision on any sale or monetization of any portion of lands. The County may continue to review its land inventory from time to time in the future.
Regarding what our parks will look like in 10 years, the County does plan on updating the existing 2016 Parks, Facilities and Recreation Master Plan as part of a future10-year update which sets out the vision and strategy for parks and recreation facilities. Norfolk does have a strong provision of parks and green space. At this time, the existing Master Plan is the guiding document for what our parks will look like.

Question 3: How is this information distributed to people who may not be on a social media platform? I have great concern that despite "following" Norfolk County on Facebook I didn't receive this news until someone sent it to me personally. There is the potential for many residents to NOT be informed about something that impacts their neighbourhood tremendously. The lack of informed citizens would potentially bias your data collection. Also, those who are not fully computer literate or lack accessibility to the internet would be disadvantaged in learning or commenting on this information. Please let me know how Norfolk County will ensure that no one is missed in this information-seeking strategy.

Yes. Paper copies of the survey are now available at our ServiceNorfolk locations, the Simcoe Recreation Centre, and Norfolk County Public Library branches.

At this point in the process, the public engagement was broad and community-wide, using the County’s social media channels and our Engage Norfolk online platform.

If Council decides to go down the route of potentially declaring the property surplus, then we will follow the Public Hearing process which includes notification to adjacent property owners and a Public Hearing Committee meeting of Council where people can speak regarding the proposed declaration and disposal of surplus land.

Question 4: I have been looking through the lands under review in order to provide some input but have a couple of preliminary questions. Obviously, the county would like to receive the highest possible value for these parcels in addition to shedding the ongoing costs for maintenance, insurance, etc. A much better price would be achievable on all parcels if a residential zoning was already in place.

4.1: Does the county have the ability to change the zoning of the parcels prior to sale?

If Council decides to declare the lands surplus, then prior to sale, the County could go through the required processes for any lands where a rezoning or other development process needs to occur (note: this would increase the value of land for a sale). Another option is that any potential purchaser could go through the rezoning process.

4.2: Does the county have the ability to divide the blocks into smaller pieces prior to sale?

The county could look to divide the blocks into lots via a Reference Plan (most efficient process), severance (via the Committee of Adjustment process) or plan of subdivision (if roads, infrastructure or other requirements are needed via the development process) as necessary (note: this would increase the value of land for a sale). Similar to the above, better prices would be achievable if the land parcels were already divided into residential lots.

Question 5: What Method of sale will be used? CS-60 lists six or more possible methods. Public tender in accordance with the County’s Purchasing Policy EBS-02. Call for proposal • Listing with a real estate firm or broker. Land exchange. Negotiation with County staff, ratified by Council. Auction. Such manner as Council deems appropriate.

There are some smaller parcels of land that have already been declared surplus by the County, and it is being determined whether they can be sold to the adjacent property owners in accordance with Norfolk County policy. The County currently has an RFP in the marketplace to develop a roster of real estate brokers to list and assist with the sale of surplus lands.

Question 6: Please publish the original agreement ceding this land [Percy Ryerse Park] for use as a park in perpetuity. If this land was not originally gifted to Norfolk County, how did Norfolk County acquire this land?

The Corporation of the Township of Woodhouse acquired the lands on October 16th, 1958, by Instrument Number NR263289. This document did not contain any covenants or restrictions regarding the use of the lands nor any requirement to retain the lands in perpetuity. There are no other documents registered on title to the property that restrict the use or ownership of the lands.

Question 7: I want to review all the infrastructure reports of the expansion in Waterford as part of legal disclosure.

The scope of the County Lands Review project does not include any “expansion” of facilities or land in Waterford. Perhaps the question is related to another proposed initiative. If it is related to the Lingwood Park lands in Waterford, there is a water main along the frontage of the entire property along with sanitary and storm under the road to near the end of the existing pavement (fully serviced). Utilities are in the vicinity.

Question 8: Percy Ryerse Park is a monument to the man who so generously donated the land to the county with the caveat that it be used as parkland in perpetuity. The land is not "under-utilized" as it's used spontaneously by residents throughout the year. My kids have played soccer, volleyball, had picnics, climbed the trees, played with their dog in the park. Did the County document this? Likely not. My mother-in-law skis in the park, with her friend, who also lives in the subdivision. More houses will bring no added value to the community. It's unlikely any new houses would be single level bungalows, as is the current architectural style. Consideration must also be given to the added traffic in a neighbourhood without street lighting or sidewalks. I urge council to reconsider this very bad decision.

Yes, there is some use of the park. Under-utilized does not necessarily mean it is not utilized and may refer to portions of the land. The County does not document each time a park is used.

Thank you for the information about various uses of the park space throughout the year. For clarity, no decision has been made or needs to be reconsidered. Norfolk is conducting public engagement to gather information and feedback along with continued review before anything is brought forward in a future report to Council

Should any portion of lands be considered and ultimately declared surplus, additional work would be required to identify what could be done with any surplus lands. In many cases, this would involve a rezoning process, which is public. That process would look at items such as building types, heights, setbacks, traffic, services, etc.

Question 9: If this is a park, how can it be zoned residential - was the zoning changed and if so, by whom?

The land is currently zoned Open Space. It is not currently zoned to allow residential and has not been changed.
Should any portion of lands be considered and ultimately declared surplus, additional work would be required to identify what could be done with any surplus lands. In many cases, this would involve a rezoning process, which is public. That process would look at items such as building types, heights, setbacks, traffic, service, etc.

Question 10: Regarding Hawtrey Road Woodlot. Am I correct in thinking that the County would be looking into the Ontario Heritage Act since there are provisions related to "resources of archaeological value"? There were at least two wooden grave markers there years ago. Jack Ungar built one of the first homes there and, being employed as a horticulturalist, walked the woods many times. He told me there were graves back there and at least two wooden grave markers from the late 1800's early 1900s. Unfortunately, in those days, the poor were not always buried in designated cemeteries, and church records were not always adequate or even found. I believe there were maybe the same issues with Indigenous people across Canada. I feel that there should be equal due diligence for everyone, no matter the colour of our skin or nationality or ability to purchase a cemetery lot. This may not be much different from the Poor House Cemetery in Simcoe behind the condos.

Nothing related to a burial site was identified; however, staff appreciate that this has been identified through public engagement and will research further to confirm prior to bringing forward a recommendation to Council related to this property.

Question 11: I would also like to point out the fact that there are already likely over a thousand privately owned vacant lots for sale with the various new subdivisions throughout Delhi, which would be more desirable than a lot on Hwy 59 that would be basically across the road from a fertilizer factory (Scotts) with many transports coming and going on a busy highway, not to say there would be also the air quality factor.

A: As of the end of 2022, there were 58 vacant lots in registered subdivisions in Delhi, 65 lots in draft-approved subdivisions in Delhi and 157 proposed lots or blocks under review in circulated plans. Since that time, there have been two new large subdivision proposals, one stage of a draft-approved subdivision that is now registered and one plan that was under review that is now draft-approved. There may be other vacant land on the market from private landowners outside of these subdivisions. Although the land on Hawtrey Rd is zoned residential, introducing new residential development near existing industrial is something that should be further considered along with the potential driveway access requirement.

Question 12: As for selling the additional land at the back of the Hawtrey properties, it would not be advantageous to the homeowners since the increased land would increase MPAC assessments which in turn increases the property taxes as well as making them liable for maintenance on the trees behind their houses. The County increase in taxes would be minimal for the staff resources to make this happen.

A: Any potential sale of County land that may result in a future development would increase the tax assessment for that property – this is one of the advantages of this process and initiative. Given there are many factors in MPAC’s assessment process, it is not known at this time whether this would have a resulting effect on the implications to the assessment of adjacent properties. It is unclear regarding the statement about maintenance liability for the trees behind houses. If the parcel of land was sold, the maintenance liability for the trees would shift from the County (taxpayers) to the new owner.

Question 13: The trees definitely need to stay as a buffer zone for noise created by Scotts. Otherwise, the complaints will never be resolved. Again, Staff time is tax dollars.

The comment regarding the trees as a buffer area to the nearby industrial area is a consideration.

Question 14: For the vacant land in Vittoria, what will the process look like for the sale of the properties - will the public be allowed to know when the property will be on the market?

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued to the marketplace to establish a roster of real estate brokers to assist with the sale of any lands that are declared surplus. The process to declare a property surplus and sell it is a public process so yes, the public will know if a property is going up for sale.

Question 15: Will the properties in question be surveyed into lots prior to sale?

Please see Question and Answer 4.2 above. The land could be sold as one parcel (or portion), and then in the future, the owner could create lots prior to selling, or the County could create the individual “lots” prior to selling.

Question 16: Regarding all three properties - if sold, would there be any restrictions as to what - if any - could be built on the existing property?

The use of a property would first be related to zoning. The existing or proposed new zoning would identify the permitted uses, such as a single detached dwelling (a house) or a townhouse, etc. The County could limit what those uses are and the size, height, and building setbacks of that in the zoning. Another option is with the sale of property; the County could consider putting other limitations or requirements within a purchase and sale agreement. If there are specific ideas or suggestions, we would be open to feedback, and it may be different for each property’s situation and neighborhoods.

Question 17: What sorts of uses will be permitted for the land?

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above.

Question 18: Will the proposed uses blend in with the existing land uses around the properties in question? What sorts of restrictions will go along with the sale of the land - will there be safeguards in place to protect the community from unscrupulous land speculators/developers?

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above. In considering each site that may move forward to the next step, there are a few scenarios. In some cases, there may already be zoning for the property that is in place that allows certain uses, such as a single detached dwelling. In those instances, the sale of the land could potentially proceed under the existing zoning standards, although the County could consider adding “restrictions” to any purchase and sale agreement (which may impact the price/sale amount). In other cases, the property would need to be rezoned (which is a public process with Council decision). Through that process, the uses and zoning provisions to ensure that any new development is compatible with the surrounding area could be considered and put in place. “Compatible” doesn’t necessarily mean “exactly the same.” Another scenario is that the surrounding area may entirely be made of the same housing type (e.g. only single detached dwellings), and there may be a desire to consider permitting other housing types to be built (e.g. semi-detached or townhouse dwellings) to provide a range of housing choice for people to live (including staying within the same community but maybe downsizing). No comment on the “scrupulousness” of developers.

Question 19: Will the revenue generated go into general revenues, or will funds be kept in reserve for the benefit and use of the community where the land is located?

It has been noted that one of the purposes of the County Land Review project is to generate revenue to improve the County’s financial position. Recommendations will be provided to Council about which reserve fund(s) any land sale proceeds could be directed towards and also potential investments in community infrastructure such as park improvements.

Question 20: Will all the steps of the process of the sale, the price asked, the price received, who the purchaser is etc., be transparent to the community?

When Norfolk County’s Realty Services staff complete a sale or purchase, including the sale of a road allowance, an information memo to Council (in open session) is prepared that provides Council with the details of the disposition, including the closing date, the sale price and the purchaser. Staff would follow this process for any of these properties.

Question 21: Is the plan for all the lands being considered the same? For example, will all the proceeds from all the land sales be used to offset the tax rate across the board?

Please see the answer to question 19.

Question 22: How much will the tax rate be offset approximately [due to the property sales]?

Potential savings to the tax levy will depend upon a number of things, including the amount of funds generated by the sale of the property, where those funds are directed (ie: reserves, community improvements), the future use of the land and associated increased revenue due to additional property tax assessment.

What does that translate to for each ratepayer approximately?

Please see the answer to question 22.

Question 23. If Lands were not sold, what would be the impact on the tax rate, and what would that translate to for each ratepayer approximately?

A: Each year the County prepares budgets for capital, rate (water and wastewater) and operating expenses. Capital projects might be funded from reserves, debt, grant funding and/or the property tax levy. The rate budget is supported by the water and wastewater users. The main source of funding to support the County’s operating budget is the property tax levy. Property tax requirements are determined every year through the Council budget discussions based on the needs for the specific year. For this reason, it would be difficult to say how much more or less property tax would be paid if land was sold or not sold.

Question 24: Issues around fairness and equity between communities are a big concern - how will the decisions be made around parcels in each community?

The batch of properties that are being considered now are in a range of locations throughout the County. Decisions will be made by Council about specific land parcels in each community.

Question 25: Have you considered the water, waste, etc.

The preliminary review of properties considered if there was municipal or private water and wastewater. Should any parcels of land be considered at the next steps, any future development would have to consider water and wastewater for any lots (and no impact on the surrounding area).

Question 26: What is the yearly cost of each property’s tax and maintenance?

County-owned land does not contribute towards property tax. While the County has an overall maintenance budget for park operations, each individual property does not have a specific yearly maintenance figure associated with it. Should specific land parcels be considered moving forward, a yearly maintenance estimate can be provided for the property to assist in the consideration.

Question 27: Could it be possible for businesses to choose to sponsor the properties in terms of providing financial assistance in order to keep the properties as is? We have a lot of amazing businesses that may offer to help foot the bill for some of the expenses if a clear guideline was given.

One of the reasons for the County Land Review project is to look at areas where ongoing maintenance of some of the County’s lands, such as parks, could be reduced. The project also aims to repurpose potentially underutilized lands to help meet the County’s needs for additional land for employment and housing purposes. The sale and redevelopment of lands can generate funds to improve the County’s financial position through one-time reserve contributions (from proceeds of sale) and ongoing increased property tax assessment (from new development). If the decision was made to retain a parcel of land and explore operating partnerships, it would be important to consider ways to ensure that the partnership was efficient to maintain and ongoing/long-term in nature.

Question 28: I would also like to know if any of the parcels of land need to be sold as deemed by Norfolk County would the county be willing to give a tax break to a community group who chooses to purchase?

Any tax implications for any future owners of the properties, if they are eventually declared surplus and sold, would be in keeping with applicable legislation and in the spirit of consistency and fairness to all property owners.

Question 29: I’d also like to know if they could be gifted back to those who gifted them or transferred the land in the first place.

The County has and continues to review how the property may have been dedicated or come into the County’s ownership. If land was officially “gifted” and there is something that is registered on the title of the land that it should remain a park or green space in perpetuity, that is an important factor. In many cases, the green space or parkland was transferred to the municipality as part of the park dedication within a registered plan of subdivision (e.g. not necessarily a gift but a development requirement).

Question 30: I would also like to know where the money from the property that was sold on Fishers Glen Road for 65,000 was spent.

Proceeds from the sale were distributed in a manner that was in keeping with the spirit of the original trust and with the approval of the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee.

Question 31: I would also like to address, if any properties are sold, what would be able to be built there? It appears that many of our sidewalks are ripped out. Many of us are now having problems with our sewer beds.

Please see questions and answers 4 and 16 above. Any future development would need to conduct a technical analysis of septic and water systems.

Question 32: Is there an objective system utilized to rank potential surplus lands, and is there a report available for the parcels under consideration?

As outlined in the public presentation and open house materials, the preliminary review of the 511 County-owned land parcels included initial “categorization”. This included parcels to retain (e.g. cemeteries), parcels that would require extensive work/further review/low priority from the initial review and those parcels that are shortlisted to potentially consider now. The preliminary review included several rounds of objective (and some subjective) criteria with technical staff from areas such as Engineering, Infrastructure, Realty, Operations, Forestry, Parks, Planning, Economic Development, Housing, etc.

The system used to categorize and rank land was Geographic Information System (GIS)-based along with spreadsheets. Several rounds of preliminary review were undertaken to categorize and shortlist properties. From the shortlisted properties, additional criteria were utilized, including:

  • Property location and description
  • Property size
  • Property frontage and does it meet minimum lot width requirements (zoning)
  • On an Open and Maintained Road
  • Infrastructure availability / Serviceability (municipal, private)
  • Requirements for retaining for existing or future infrastructure, easements, parking
  • Land Use status (official plan, zoning)
    • Would any “development” contravene the Official Plan / Provincial Policy Statement
  • Potential for affordable housing and other housing options
  • Level of technical study that may be required if to be developed
  • Level of change to potentially make saleable
  • Useability of site and amount of park and green space in the surrounding area
  • Context of adjacent lands
  • Ability to create jobs
  • Potential for partnerships
  • Potential for financial return
  • Public engagement potential
  • Specific comments
  • Additional actions required

Following the public engagement, and comments from utilities and agencies, there will be additional review by staff and depending upon the next steps could be further analysis, ranking and future report(s).

At this point in time, there is not a specific report available regarding the parcels under consideration as that is expected as a future step after the engagement and further review.

Question 33: [Have the park] areas been surveyed, for example, by the County regarding the use of the area?

The preliminary review of all of the County-owned lands included staff members from the Operations and Parks areas and their knowledge and input of the sites. The County does not regularly conduct “usage surveys” of each park space. Should any of the lands move forward to the next step, additional investigation and reviews, along with notification, will be provided.

Question 34: Could the Hawtrey Road property be a burial site?

In looking at properties in question, staff used the GIS system in order to identify significant items. The review did not show anything related to a burial site, but staff will do more investigating before a recommendation goes to Council. Staff have followed up to walk the property and searching for any additional information.

Question 35: When did the Hawtrey road site zoning get changed to residential?

The residential zoning has been in place since at least 2014, if not earlier.

Question 36: If these lands get sold for development, if these lands are owned by the County and provided by the developer for Park purposes, is selling the land a disservice to the developer and area residents?

Parkland was often dedicated to the municipality as part of the registration of a plan of subdivision. In the future, the municipality can consider whether the full amount of parkland is still required. At this point, Council has made no decision on any property. Staff will be presenting a comprehensive report and considering all options before making recommendations for future Council decisions.

Question 37: Would an archeological study be done regarding the Hawtrey site to determine if remains are on site? Has one been done in the past?

An archeological study has not been done on the site as part of the preliminary review of County land; however, that is something that could be considered should the property be determined to move forward to the next step. Typically, where flagged, that is the type of study that is done prior to development, such as a subdivision. Additional review could be undertaken by staff to determine if an archeological study was done with the original Hawtrey Rd subdivision.

Question 38: Why consider cutting down trees that provide so many benefits to surrounding properties?

Natural heritage areas, including trees and other vegetation, provide many benefits. The potential implications of any tree removal will be identified for each property as part of the review and considerations moving forward. In the case of Hawtrey Rd site, it is noted that this location currently provides a “buffer” between the industrial uses to the west and the residential area.

Question 39: How many privately-owned properties are for sale in the Delhi area right now?

This is something that would need to be addressed by the local Real Estate Association. According to Realtor.ca as of Dec. 13, 2023, there were 50 properties for sale within Delhi including 9 in a proposed apartment and several single detached dwellings in new or existing subdivisions. Staff's scope for the project was to look at Norfolk-owned lands.

Question 40: Why is Hawtrey Road being considered given its location near woodland?

There are many factors that were reviewed for all of the County-owned lands, including the various provincially and locally significant natural heritage features (e.g. environment). can deem a property a “significant woodland”. This is one of the few treed properties that the County owns that does not include any provincially significant wetlands, areas of natural scientific interest, water bodies, no Conservation Authority hazard land or regulated area, not classified as County Woodlot and is in an Urban Area. Having said that, if there is limited vegetation/wooded areas within the overall area, even a smaller treed location could be important for that immediate vicinity.

Question 41: What do we do when parkland is all gone?

At this point in time, overall there is a sufficient supply of park and green space within Norfolk. Each community and neighbourhood area should be reviewed within its own context as well to ensure that an appropriate amount of park and green space remains. It is not the intent to declare all parkland surplus.

Question 42: What is the long-range plan for park development? Could there be more?

The long-range plan currently is guided by the Parkland, Recreation and Facilities Master Plan (2016). The intent is to conduct a 10-year review by 2026. At this time, parkland is listed as part of Norfolk County’s surplus land policy as a type of land that can be considered. That doesn’t mean that any park in question will be deemed surplus, but they can be part of reviews currently and in the future.

Question 43: Are there restrictions on Percy Ryerse Park (and other vacant lands) to be a park in perpetuity?

Staff has reviewed the situation, including a title search, and did not find any restrictions on the land in question. However, staff will continue to investigate further. If any residents have official documents pertaining to the property, staff will be happy to review them.

Question 44: Can the public view the ownership transfers and conditions of lands in question?

Yes, all title documents for the property are public record and can be found at Onland.ca.

Question 45: What documentation needs to be provided so that green space remains green space that is used every day by the community?

Over 500 properties were looked at as this process began and numbers were narrowed as it went along. Any feedback from the public will be noted in the report and brought to Council – that possibly parkland is not considered surplus going forward. A more detailed review of each green space may be conducted if the land in question is to be considered in the next steps.

Question 46: How long will the survey be open for?

The feedback survey closed on December 7, 2023.

Question 47: What is the county doing in terms of affordable housing, and how does it relate to this project?

Affordable housing, as defined by the province, is housing that is at or below the average market cost for the area. None of the properties in question are currently being considered by the County for “affordable” housing. Should any of the lands be deemed surplus and sold, the purchaser may propose any “tenure” (rental, ownership) and price. The County could consider restrictions on the sale of the property. The County may be reviewing or setting aside other parcels for potential consideration or partnership on “affordable” housing as part of something that the municipality can provide. Should any lands move forward in that regard, it would typically involve a public process (especially if any rezoning development application would be required).

Question 48: What is the review process for the survey? How can we be assured this will be a proper review process?

This process will include a number of experts and staff at the County. Answers are being provided to all questions, and the Q&A will be considered in the next steps of the review and in any future report to Council on this project.

Question 49: Will the possibility of selling each of the parcels be put forward to Council?

The feedback report will share all of its findings with Council. At that point, Council can decide which properties they may want to deem surplus, which would start the surplus property process. That would trigger another council report and further opportunities for public feedback.

Question 50: Who has the final say on the parcels of land?

Norfolk County Council will ultimately decide on whether a portion or all a property is declared surplus. Should any of the lands require a rezoning to allow for any development, that is a public process that involves another Council decision and includes appeal rights.

Question 51: What is the effect of severing a lot near a pumping station and spring water?

As part of the review process, staff worked with our GIS Department to identify what’s under the ground on each property to ensure there weren’t any water or sewer pipes on location. Any possible development would be reviewed again, this time by our Environmental Services Team, to ensure no further work would impact local drinking water.

Question 52: Can the By-law be provided for the zoning change on Hawtrey Road of parkland to residential along with any notification to the owners of the abutting land?

The Hawtrey Road lands do not appear as if they were ever zoned for parkland. County records indicate that the land (what is now the subdivision and the wooded area) was zoned for Development in Regional Zoning Bylaw 1-DE-80 (1980) and amended through Zoning Bylaw 12-DE-83 (1983) to Residential Type 1 (see bylaw). This was related to a draft plan of subdivision from 1979 to develop all of the lands (including the wooded area) with residential lots. Several Bylaw amendments occurred related to holding provisions, special provisions and to facilitate the residential lots that were eventually created fronting Hawtry Road in 1988 (Bylaw 22-DE-88), 1993 (Bylaws 2-DE-93 and 22-DE-93) and 1998 (Bylaw 12-DE-98). In 2007, a Zoning By-law was passed to remove the holding provision to permit the subject lands (all of them) to be used for residential purposes (see bylaw). When lands in Norfolk were consolidated in Zoning Bylaw 1-Z-2014, the subject lands were updated from R-1 zone to the comparable R1-A zone.

The notifications for the regional or county-wide Zoning Bylaws would have been conducted as part of a comprehensive process, including any statutory public notifications under the Ontario Planning Act, such as the newspaper. The site-specific Zoning Bylaw Amendments noted above would have followed the statutory notifications to surrounding properties under the Ontario Planning Act. The notifications could be researched; however, given retention periods of archived material from former townships/region/county and given that the zoning existed as residential prior to the residential lots being built/occupied, additional work is not being conducted at this time.

Page last updated: 13 Feb 2024, 08:43 AM