Sustainable Development

Row of Houses

Our Sustainability Plan

In April 2009, the Town of Penetanguishene in partnership with Severn Sound Environmental Association and partner municipalities adopted a Community Sustainability Plan. Our Plan includes processes to create a Healthy Community, Strategic Directions and Actions that will ensure the sustainability of Penetanguishene for generations to come.

Our Goals

Goals and strategies have been developed under the plan. The three "Pillars" include:

  • Environmental Sustainability;
  • Economic Prosperity and;
  • Community Well-Being.

Environmental Sustainability

EN1: Protect, restore and enhance natural heritage


  • Protect, restore and enhance open spaces, forested areas, and natural corridors.
  • Preserve, protect, and restore wetlands, and shoreline habitats.
  • Identify, protect and enhance special natural heritage features and functions.
  • Reduce the number of contaminated sites in the watershed.

EN2: Protect and enhance biodiversity


  • Protect native species and habitat from invasive plants, animals and pests.
  • Protect rare (threatened) and endangered terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal species from development.

EN3: Reduce consumption of natural resources


  • Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Energy Consumption
  • Water Quality
  • Air Quality and Climate Change
  • Develop alternative energy plans that consider using solar, wind, and geothermal sources.
  • Implement conservation initiatives.
  • Inventory data on energy consumption and monitor progress towards goals.
  • Protect surface and ground water from contaminants through the watershed’s Source Water Protection Plan.
  • Minimize contaminants to surface and ground water from storm water collection and discharge systems.
  • Ensure sufficient sustainable sewage treatment plant capacity and treatment to accommodate the growing population.
  • Develop a coordinated plan to reduce our impact on climate change and develop adaptation strategies.
  • Improve air quality within the watershed to ensure compliance with provincial air quality standards.

EN4: Design efficient public facilities in harmony with natural systems


  • Transportation Facilities
  • Water Quantity and Supply
  • Urban and Rural Development
  • Ensure a reliable potable water supply for all residents and visitors.
  • Reduce water consumption through water conservation measures.
  • Develop a water and wastewater plan based on growth targets.
  • Decrease urban sprawl and encourage more compact development patterns.
  • Continue to protect natural areas, parkland, agricultural lands and woodlands (both urban and rural) from encroaching development.
  • Promote and encourage "green building" design, development and construction through the achievement of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the Canada Green Building Council or equivalent programs.

EN5: Promote environmental education programs to encourage respect for natural areas and habitats

Community Well-being

C1: Promote wellness of mind, body and soul


  • Safety
  • Health & Health Services
  • Recreation Services
  • Healthy Community Design
  • Improve overall health of residents.
  • Promote safe and healthy work environments.
  • Continue preparedness for Pandemic and Emergency Planning.
  • Provide a variety of structured and unstructured recreational services and facilities that are physically and financially accessible for all ages and abilities.
  • Develop policies to promote the design of communities that are livable, attractive and healthy.
  • Develop a community whose citizenry has a strong sense of personal and spiritual well‐being.

C2: Provide safe, healthy, diverse and affordable housing


  • Provide alternative housing types and sizes to meet the needs of all demographics, all income levels at all stages of life.
  • Reduce homelessness within watershed communities.

C3: Protect and enhance a network of active living activities for all ages and abilities


  • Create a network of interconnected trails and walkways throughout the watershed.
  • Increase awareness of wilderness opportunities in the watershed.
  • Increase collaboration between municipal governments and other organizations to provide active living, leisure and educational services.

C4: Recognize and protect cultural identity and local arts and heritage


  • Promote art, culture and heritage in the Watershed.
  • Conserve natural and built heritage facilities and landscapes.
  • Implement heritage conservation guidelines.

C5: Retain and build diverse social networks

Economic Prosperity

E1: Create a sustainable, diverse and balanced economic base that provides quality employment and sustainable wages for residents


  • Economy
  • Employment
  • Improve/increase availability and awareness of employment opportunities.
  • Improve wages/affordability of living to keep people in the community.
  • Improve the number of opportunities for green businesses.
  • Improve educational apprenticeship programs in the watershed.

E2: Improve the watershed’s communications and infrastructure


  • Access funds to increase availability of high speed/wireless Internet.
  • Promote awareness of Internet capacity to support business development and expansion.

E3: Strengthen tourism and recreation development in a low-impact manner


  • Expand, enhance and promote eco-tourism.
  • Expand, enhance and promote cultural tourism.
  • Expand, enhance and promote culinary tourism.
  • Work with industry professionals to re-evaluate the direction of tourism given the stressors indicated.
  • Work with tourism operators to identify opportunities to improve operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impact.

E4: Revitalize downtowns and main streets for residents and visitors


  • Maintain vibrant downtowns as the commercial, cultural and social focal points of the communities in the watershed.
  • Support retention and development of local farmers’ markets (Orillia).
  • Promote initiatives that support local purchasing.
  • Support beautification efforts.
  • Promote pedestrian space and friendliness.
  • Promote downtown festivals and activities.

E5: Enhance the economic viability of sustainable agriculture

Town Sustainable Community Initiatives - Top Priorities

  • Have engineered projects ready for grant applications;
  • Direct capital investments into key infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and sewer/watermains;
  • Set aside adequate funds to maintain and enhance existing infrastructure and facilities;
  • Partner on infrastructure and projects that support urban growth, community development and cultural tourism in a sustainable manner;

Employment Lands

  • Redevelopment and/or intensification of existing Industrial Park (GMS);
  • Complete planning process for New Employment Land Areas (GMS) in Main West and Business Park;
  • Promote redevelopment and intensification Corridor along Main Street;

Town owned vacant land holdings

  • Review of Lands to determine what is surplus, what should be sold for Development and what should be retained for future, including Rolling Sands subdivision and Ojibwa Landing.

Growth Management

  • Employment Lands OPA Review (2005)
  • Comprehensive Growth Management Study (2007-2008)
  • Urban Woodlands Study (2007)
  • Engineering Review & Options Report (2007)
  • East Secondary Plan Engineer Review (2008)
  • Development Charges Study (2008/2009)
  • Official Plan Update to implement GMS and County OP (2009- ongoing)
  • Water & Sewer Rate Review (2008/2009)
  • Financial Plan for Water & Sewer (2010)
  • Request for Joint Urban Node under Growth Plan (2010-2011)
  • Main Street STP Expansion (2011-2013)
  • Main Street Engineering (2010-2011)