Official Plan

The Township of West Lincoln Official Plan is a document containing goals, objectives, and policies to manage and direct future growth and development of the municipality. The policies outlined in the Official Plan relate to the goals and guide land use to ensure that future growth is managed in a way that preserves, protects and enhances the irreplaceable attributes of the Township. The local Official Plan must also implement the broader policies of the Regional Policy Plan and Provincial Policy.

It should be noted that the majority of the lands in West Lincoln are designated as Agriculture in the Township’s Official Plan.  The Official Plan also provides specific designations for residential, commercial and industrial lands within Smithville, as well as the many Hamlet Areas of the Township of West Lincoln.  The policies promote Smithville as the appropriate location to focus non-agricultural development (new residential, commercial and industrial growth).  Hamlets can accommodate infill growth and development opportunities that serve agriculture.

Official Plan Amendment 15 (OPA #15) received Regional approval in June of 2014, while Official Plan Amendment 21 (OPA 21) was rewritten as a requirement of the Region. OPA 21 was replaced with two Official Plan Amendments, OPA 37 & 38, as part of the swap/exchange process and was approved by Regional Council in June 2014, and came into full force and effect on June 30, 2015.

Consolidated Official Plan – October 2018


Secondary Plan for the Northwest Quadrant

Through the Township’s Official Plan Amendment 37, which was approved in 2015, additional lands were brought into the Urban Boundary of Smithville.  Approximately 34 hectares (84 acres) of additional residential land was added to the north-west boundary of Smithville.  In 2015, the Township retained MHBC Planning to create a Secondary Plan for these lands to identify how the lands should be developed.  Public Meetings were held in early 2016 and in early 2017 to consider public input.  On June 26, 2017, the Council of the Township of west Lincoln approved the Secondary Plan for the Northwest Quadrant.  The Secondary Plan has identified areas for low, medium and high density development; local commercial development; parks and trails; storm water facilities and road networks. You can find the policies for the Secondary Plan in Section 6.11.5 of the Township’s Official Plan.

Emergency Planning

Are You Prepared?

Emergencies can strike anywhere, at any time.  It’s important to be prepared—by having a plan, assembling a survival kit, and by staying informed.  Everyone must take responsibility for their own safety.  During an emergency, the things we take for granted every day, such as power, heat and access to food and clean water, can be disrupted for an extended period of time.  You need to be able to take care of yourself for three days should an emergency strike.

Click here to visit the Emergency Management Ontario website where you can learn about emergency management, how to plan for an emergency and how to prepare a survival kit.

Township of West Lincoln Emergency Plan

Emergencies are defined as situations, or the threat of impending situations, abnormally affecting the lives and property of our society which by their nature and magnitude require a controlled and coordinated response by a number of agencies, both governmental and private, under the direction of the appropriate elected officials, as distinct from routine operations carried out by an agency or agencies, e.g. firefighting, police, and normal public works and health service activities.

In our increasingly complex and technological society, peacetime emergencies of a man-made nature are on the increase to add to the natural disasters which we have always faced.

Whenever a disaster occurs, which affects the lives and property of citizens, the initial and prime responsibility for providing immediate assistance rests with the local municipal government.  An Emergency Plan is designed to ensure the co-ordination of Municipal and Regional services in an emergency to bring the situation under control as quickly as possible.

It is realized that it may not be possible to follow procedures exactly as laid down and that it might prove necessary to modify arrangements to suit particular circumstances.  However, the procedures should be followed as closely as possible.

All municipal officials of the Township of West Lincoln, whether elected or appointed, must be fully conversant with the contents of the Emergency Plan and be prepared at all times to carry out the duties and responsibilities allotted to them.

The Emergency Plan is reviewed annually and, where necessary, revised by the Emergency Operating Group.

Each time the Emergency Plan is revised, it must be forwarded to Council for approval.  However, revisions to the annexes and minor administrative changes can be made without resubmitting the plan to Council each time.

It is the responsibility of each person, agency, service or department named within this emergency plan to notify the Emergency Co-ordinator forthwith of any revisions to the annexes, or administrative change.

Click here to view the Township’s Emergency Plan



The Planning & Development Division of the Planning & Development and Building & By-law Department is responsible for policy planning and development review in the Township.

The Township’s Official Plan, Zoning By-law, the development application review process and the Committee of Adjustment are also under the umbrella of the Planning & Development Division. The goal of the department is to help the community grow and develop while enhancing the social, economic and environmental aspects of the community.

Our planning services include:

  • Policy planning;
  • Administering and reviewing development applications such as:
    • Subdivisions and Condominiums;
    • Land Severances
    • Site Plans
  • Assessing and recommending appropriate land use changes in accordance with our Official Plan and Zoning By-law;
  • Considering requests for Minor Variances;
  • Regulating land use (zoning compliance);  Please Note:  Zoning Compliance documents require a ten day processing period from the date of receipt of a request.
  • Special projects (Community Improvement Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, etc.)

Information Brochures

Official Consent brochure

Official Minor Variance Brochure

Official Rezoning Brochure

Official Site Plan Brochure


Planning Fees

Please be advised of the increase to the Planning fees which become effective October 1st, 2017.

2017-101 Planning Fees

Please see Report PD-110-17 below for further information:

PD-110-17 Change to Planning Fees

Planning Applications

1. Official Plan & Zoning By-law Amendment Application (09.16)

2. Subdivision & Condominium Application 09.16

3. Site Plan Control Approval 09.16

4. Exemption From Part-Lot Control – Application 09.16



Notice of Public Meeting and Open Houses – New Zoning By Law


Get involved with your input. The Township of West Lincoln will hold Public Open Houses and a Public Meeting in accordance with the Planning Act, to provide an opportunity for public input in relation to a proposed new Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Details of these sessions are below: 

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE #1 – Caistor  

DATE:  Tuesday, September 22,   2015

TIME:   4:00 PM TO 8:00 P.M.

Caistor Community Centre, Abingdon, 9184 Regional Road 20

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE #2 – Wellandport

DATE:  Thursday, September 24,   2015

TIME:   4:00 PM TO 8:00 P.M.

Wellandport Community Hall, 5042 Regional Road 63 (Canborough Road)


PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE #3 – Smithville

DATE:  Tuesday, September 29,   2015

TIME:   4:00 PM TO 8:00 P.M.

Council Chambers, Township Office, 318 Canborough Street, Smithville

Purpose and effect of proposed by-law The Planning Act requires a municipality to update its zoning by-law within three  years of revising the Official Plan. The Township has recently completed an Official Plan update, and the zoning by-law must conform with the revised Official Plan. The purpose and effect of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law is to repeal and replace the current zoning by-law 79-14 which was passed in 1979, and all other zoning by- laws now in effect within the Township. The new Comprehensive Zoning By-law will:

• Address provincial requirements

• Implement the Regional and Local Official Plans

• Replace the current zoning by-law with an updated, user-friendly and streamlined zoning by-law

• Update defined terms, general provisions, parking standards and provide new zone categories

• Reduce exceptions / special provisions

• Include new mapping

Land affected

The new Comprehensive Zoning By-law will apply to all land within the Township of West Lincoln. For this reason, a map is not provided with this notice illustrating the land affected by the by-law. How to provide comment Any person may attend the Public Open Houses and the Public Meeting to provide written or verbal representation regarding the proposed by-law. No registration is required to attend these sessions. Written submissions will be accepted by the Township Clerk, Carolyn Langley up to TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2015.

At the Public Open Houses, information will be available on display for public review with Municipal staff and the project consultants present for discussion and questions. There will be no formal presentation or meeting of Township Council at the Open Houses. At the Public Meeting, a presentation will be given by the project consultants followed by an opportunity for questions and comments by the Planning/Building/ Environmental Committee and the public.

Important information about making a submission If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at a public meeting or make written submissions to the Township of West Lincoln Planning/Building/ Environmental Committee before the bylaw is passed, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the Council of the Township of West Lincoln to the Ontario Municipal Board.

If a person or public body does not make oral submission at a public meeting,  or make written submissions to the Township of West Lincoln Planning/Building/ Environmental Committee before the bylaw is passed, the person or public body may not be added as a party to the hearing of an appeal before the Ontario Municipal Board unless, in the opinion of the Board, there are reasonable grounds to do so.

Other applications For a complete list of active Planning Applications within the Township, please consult the Township of West Lincoln Website.

For more information Additional information and material about the proposed by-law is available for viewing during regular office hours at: Planning Department 318 Canborough Street, Smithville Call: 905-957-3346 E-mail: Website: Copies of the proposed draft Comprehensive Zoning By-law will be available on or before MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2015.

If you would like to be notified of Township Council’s decision with resect to the proposed by-law, you must make a written request to:

Carolyn Langley Township of West Lincoln, 318 Canborough Street, Smithville, ON L0R 2A0 

West Lincoln Draft Comprehensive Zoning By-law 09.15

List of Active Planning Files 09.15

Draft Zoning Maps 09.22


Zoning By-Law

All lands within the Township are subject to the regulations provided in the Township Zoning By-law. The Zoning By-law regulates the use of land throughout the Township and for example, more specifically, states:

  • How land may be used;
  • Where buildings and structures can be located on a lot;
  • The types of buildings and structures that are permitted and how they may be used;
  • How and when the Minimum Distance Separation Calculation (separation of livestock barns and houses and other non-agricultural uses) will be implemented; and
  • The number of parking and loading spaces, in addition to other amenities.

The purpose of the Zoning By-law is to implement the policies of the Official Plan. The regulations found in the Zoning By-law are more specific than those found in the Official Plan. The Zoning By-law provides a legally enforceable way of implementing the Official Plan and managing land use and future development.

On June 26, 2017, the Council of the Township of West Lincoln passed a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law 2017-70.  This has replaced Zoning By-law 79-14.  Copies of the new Comprehensive Zoning By-law can now be purchased or viewed at the Township Office, or reviewed online.




Municipal Election 2018

OFFICIAL List of Candidates for 2018 Election – July 30, 2018 Revised

Declaration of Acclamation to Office (DSBN) – 2018 (Form EL 20)

List of Certified Candidates (Form EL 07)

The 2018 Municipal and School Board Election is being held on October 22, 2018 from 10 am to 8 pm. For Polling Locations and Advance Poll dates, please click on the Voter Information tile below. There were a significant number of important changes to the Municipal Elections Act which were enacted for the 2018 Municipal Election. Please click here for highlights of the changes.

Nomination period for candidates opened on May 1, 2018 and will close at 2:00 pm on July 27, 2018. All Candidates will be required to complete Form 1 (Nomination Paper). Candidates for Mayor, Ward Councillor and Regional Councillor will be required to obtain at least 25 endorsement signatures which must be done using Form 2 (Endorsement of Nomination). These forms can be acquired by clicking here. For all other information pertaining to candidates, please click on the Candidate tile below. If you are interested in running for Regional Chair, please click on the Regional Chair tile below. … Read more →

Ward Boundary Review 2016

Ward Boundary Review Notice of Passing of By-law Establishing Revised Wards In West Lincoln

Ward Boundary Review By-law 2016-123 To establish revised wards in the Township of West Lincoln

Ward Boundary Public Consultation Sessions:

Please consider attending one of the sessions that begin at 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm.

  • Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 – Caistor Community Centre, 9184 Regional Road 65 (Silver Street), Caistor Centre, ON L0R 1E0
  • Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 – Wellandport Community Centre, 5024 Regional Road 63 (Canborough Road), Wellandport, ON L0R 2J0
  • Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 – Township of West Lincoln Admin. Office, Council Chambers, 318 Canborough Street, Smithville, ON L0R 2A0

The three public engagement sessions are planned to include an Open House format with a brief presentation at the outset followed by an opportunity for comment on preliminary conceptual maps that will be available for viewing.


On January 18, 2016, Township Council received the Clerk’s Report RFD-C-02-2016 – Ward Boundary Review containing a recommendation to retain an independent consultant to conduct a Ward Boundary Review under approved Terms of Reference attached to that Report. 


Electors in the Township of West Lincoln elect a Mayor, and six Councillors. The Mayor is elected at-large (in what is termed “a general vote”) across the entire Township. The six Councillors are elected in three electoral districts called wards with each ward electing two Councillors. The seven officials constitute the Township Council that is responsible for all powers and duties assigned to the Township under provincial legislation. A three-ward configuration has been used since the Township was established as part of the Region of Niagara in 1970; the wards follow the boundaries of the pre-amalgamation municipalities (the former Townships of South Grimsby, Caistor, and Gainsborough).

Township Ward Map

By the time of the 2014 municipal election, there was a significant disparity in the distribution of eligible electors in West Lincoln:


Total   Eligible Electors














Information provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in January 2016 shows approximately 1075 additional voters, although the distribution remained essentially the same.

What is a Ward Boundary Review?

In Ontario, the Municipal Act, 2001 assigns the authority to the municipal council

  • to determine the composition of council (that is, the size of the council);
  • to determine the method by which members of council are elected (that is, in wards or at-large); and
  • to divide, redivide or dissolve existing wards.

Any by-law passed by a Council that changes ward boundaries can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). A Ward Boundary Review (WBR) is a task conducted on behalf of the municipality to assess whether the present wards constitute an effective and equitable system of representation and, if not, to propose alternatives.  Given the political importance of the ward boundaries, a review that would be considered acceptable by the community and by the OMB should be conducted for the municipality by someone who is not a member of Council nor a municipal employee.

Why is West Lincoln conducting a WBR in 2016?

The electoral boundaries used in federal and provincial elections in Canada are reviewed on a pre-determined cycle; for example, seats in the House of Commons are subject to redistribution after each Census (that is, every ten years) to take account of population changes. A review of the electoral arrangements in Ontario municipalities is discretionary; the obligation to undertake a review of municipal electoral districts is entirely absent from legislation.

The Township of West Lincoln’s ward boundaries were established at the time of amalgamation in 1970 – that is, over 45 years ago.  The Township has not considered a review of its ward system and composition of Council since 1997 – nearly 20 years ago.  At that time, a proposal was put forward to create 4 wards and reduce the size of the Council to 5 (including the Mayor); however, the motion was lost and no further action was taken.

Given that the population of the Township continues to increase and that the growth has tended to cluster in certain parts of the Township, there is an imbalance in the population of the three wards as noted above. With the recent confirmation by the OMB of the urban boundary at Smithville, most residential development in the Township will occur in the present Ward Three – which is already the largest ward in terms of population.  It is therefore appropriate that the issue of representation be revisited now.

The Municipal Act stipulates that municipal elections be conducted under provisions in place on January 1 of an election year. Since 2018 is the next municipal election year in Ontario, any changes to the Township’s ward boundaries must have been agreed upon by mid-year 2017 at the latest to allow time for an Ontario Municipal Board hearing, should any decision to revise the ward boundaries be appealed.

The Review Process

A consultant will direct the ward boundary review process for the Township and as a start will gather background information on West Lincoln’s present ward system and projected population growth from municipal records and from interviews with Township staff and elected officials. Based on that research, the consultant will assess the present ward boundaries and develop a discussion paper that includes alternative designs consistent with the guiding principles for the review. The discussion paper will serve as the basis for public consultations.

While the only statutory notice requirement of a ward boundary review is to give notice to the community that an implementing by-law has been adopted, public consultation is essential for the review process to be legitimate and effective and will be undertaken through a number of mediums and forums.

The primary goal is to ensure that members of the public are provided with opportunities to offer suggestions or new alternatives and to consider and provide comments on the options presented. The current members of Council should not be seen as having complete control over the development of alternative systems.

Therefore, as part of West Lincoln’s Ward Boundary Review, three public consultation sessions will be held, at the following locations:

  1. Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 – Caistor Community Centre, 9184 Regional Road 65 (Silver Street), Caistor Centre, ON L0R 1E0
  2. Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 – Wellandport Community Centre, 5024 Regional Road 63 (Canborough Road), Wellandport, ON L0R 2J0
  3. Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 – Township of West Lincoln Admin. Office, Council Chambers, 318 Canborough Street, Smithville, ON L0R 2A0

A survey that seeks information and opinion from citizens on the present and future ward boundaries for the Township will be available on this website.  Completed surveys may be returned at the public consultation sessions or at the Township Offices during business hours. Surveys could also be mailed to the Office of the Clerk, 318 Canborough Street, P.O. Box 400, Smithville, ON L0R 2A0. You may also contact the consultant to convey your perspectives on the ward boundary review at Dr. Robert Williams

See Township’s Web Site updated information on the public consultations and other materials about alternative ward designs. 

Guiding Principles

The West Lincoln Ward Boundary Review should be conducted in consideration of the following principles in order to provide an effective and equitable system of representation:

  • representation by population,
  • protection of communities of interest and neighbourhoods;
  • use of natural physical features or natural barriers as boundaries where possible;
  • variations in population density;
  • future population growth projections;
  • development of a ward structure that will accommodate growth and population shifts for at least three (3) Municipal Elections (2018, 2022, 2026).

Who is Responsible for Conducting a Ward Boundary Review in West Lincoln?

The Township has retained Dr. Robert J. Williams to conduct the 2016 Ward Boundary review in West Lincoln. Dr. Williams is an independent consultant who had been a faculty member in the Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo until his early retirement at the end of 2006.  He has extensive research and teaching experience in the fields of municipal government and Ontario politics, and has participated in ward boundary reviews in about twenty Ontario municipalities, his most recent in the City of Hamilton and the Town of Milton where he partnered with Watson and Associates.

Biography – Dr Robert Williams – Township Consultant for Ward Boundary Review

The consultant will have the assistance of a Township working group comprised of the Clerk, Deputy Clerk and elections staff along with representation from the Planning Department. He will prepare and conduct interviews with Members of Council and staff as part of his research and will prepare a discussion paper that will evaluate the status quo and consider options for ward boundaries including an increase or decrease in the size of Council.

Dr. Williams will conduct three public consultation meetings to receive community input on alternative designs addressed in the discussion paper and will present a final report to Township Council with recommendations based on the guiding principles set by Council, relevant research, and public discussion and input.

 Proposed Timetable

Stage in Process


Conduct research on present electoral system in West Lincoln Collect data on present and future population

March 2016

Conduct interviews with elected officials and senior Township staff

April 2016

Prepare discussion paper and circulate to Council for information

May – June 2016

Conduct public meetings

June 2016

Prepare report to Council with alternative ward configurations and recommendation

August – September 2016

Council approval of final report and adoption of by-law

October 2016

Possible OMB appeal process (includes time for appeals, notifications, and hearings by the Board)

November 2016 – April 2017



Ward Boundary Final Report

Advertisement for Ward Boundary Review Open House Meetings

Township of West Lincoln – 2016 Ward Boundary Review – Discussion Paper

FEEDBACK FORM for input regarding 2016 Ward Boundary Review


Committee of Adjustment


The Committee of Adjustment is an independent body appointed by Council, under authority granted by the Province through the Planning Act, the Statutory Powers and Procedure Act and various Provincial Regulations. The Committee of Adjustment is composed of five members of the public who are appointed by the Township of West Lincoln Council. The role of the Committed of Adjustment is to consider applications for minor variance and consent.


The members of the Committee of Adjustment (2018-2022) are:

  • Bonnie Baarda
  • Deborah Coon-Petersen
  • Kim Willis
  • Dick Van Dyke
  • Peter Forsberg

Only three members of the Committee of Adjustment sit at any given meeting.

What are the Hearing Schedule and Cut-off dates for the Committee of Adjustment?

Hearing/Comments Cutoff Dates
For both Consents & Minor Variance
January 29 2020
December 18 2019
February 26 2020
January 24 2020
March 25 2020
February 21 2020
April 29 2020
March 27 2020
May 27 2020
April 24 2020
June 24 2020
May 22 2020
July 29 2020
June 26 2020
August 26 2020
July 24 2020
September 30 2020
August 28 2020
October 28 2020
September 25 2020
November 25 2020
October 23 2020
December 16 2020
November 13 2020

 What you need to know about applying for a Minor Variance  Official Minor Variance Brochure

  • Applications can be picked up at the Township Office or click on “Minor Variance Application”.
  • The Minor Variance application fee is $1690.00.
  • There may also be a fee payable to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority as well to the Region of Niagara  where the application is on a Regional road or there is a Regional or Provincial Interest identified.
  • Public Notice must be circulated to land owners within 60 metres of the subject property ten (10) days prior to the hearing date. A Public Notice sign is required to be posted on the subject lands ten (10) days prior to the hearing date.
  • An appeal period of twenty (20) days is required after making a decision on a minor variance application.
  • The Committee of Adjustment convenes public hearings normally the third Wednesday of each month.

What you need to know about applying for a Severance (Consent)  Official Consent brochure

  • Applications can be picked up at the Township Office or click on “Consent Application”.
  • The fee for a Severance is $2320.00 The fee for a Minor Boundary Adjustment is $1165.00.
  • There may also be a fee payable to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority as well as to the Region of Niagara where the application is on Regional Road or there is a Regional or Provincial interest identified. There may be a Township Health Inspection Fee required where a new lot is created outside of the urban area ($200 per new lot + remnant).
  • Public Notice must be circulated to land owners within 60 metres of the subject property fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing date. A Public Notice sign is required to be posted on the subject lands fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing date.
  • An appeal period of twenty (20) days is required after making a decision on a consent application.
  • The Committee of Adjustment convenes public hearings normally the last Wednesday of each month (except in December).


For more information on the Committee of Adjustment or how to apply for a minor variance or severance (consent), please contact:

Alexa Cooper, Secretary/Treasurer
Committee of Adjustment
318 Canborough Street
P.O. Box 400
Smithville, ON L0R 2A0
Tel: 905-957-5140
Fax: 905-957-3219