Bill 66 Section 10: why its bad for communities

Since my first post about Bill 66 which, if passed as currently written, enables municipalities to pass an “open-for-business” by-law, I have been learning more.  I am now even more concerned.  As written this Bill can impact every municipality in Ontario if the local Council so chooses; and those Councils who decide to implement such a by-law can do so without any notice to their citizens.  This by-law enables development in areas currently forbidden because of threat to drinking water and environment; and it allows disregard for  sustainable land use planning criteria.   Many people are already voicing their opposition to current Bill 66 by signing petitions prepared by Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Ontario Nature.  I encourage you to consider adding your voice.

Schedule 10 of Bill 66 provides that section 39 of the Clean Water Act, 2006 (CWA) does not apply to an open-for-business planning by-law. The CWA was passed in response to the Walkerton tragedy; section 39 requires provincial and municipal decisions to conform to policies in CWA-approved source protection plans that address significant drinking water threats.  Bill 66 Schedule 10’s exclusion of section 39 of the CWA means that those municipalities with an open-for-business by-law can approve development in vulnerable areas that may threaten surface water and groundwater used by municipal drinking water systems.  80 per cent of Ontarians are serviced by the latter.

Section 10 of Bill 66 enables the 32 municipalities in Ontario (8 upper tier and 24 lower tier) which are on the Oak Ridges Moraine to make isolated decisions to not comply with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP.)  As the introduction to the ORMCP says “the ORMCP is an ecologically based plan established by the Ontario government to provide land use and resource management direction for the 190,000 hectares of land and water within the Moraine.”  Section 10 sets the stage for individual municipalities to not comply to the ORMCP and hence to jeopardize its ecological and hydrological functions.  Such decisions are not just a risk to that specific municipality but rather to all those who are dependent on the ORM for the quantity and quality of its water and its other resources.  Furthermore, it is not just a risk for today, the impact will be felt by future generations.

Section 10 of Bill 66 enables the many municipalities who are fortunate to have Protected Countryside within their jurisdiction to make isolated decisions to not comply with the Greenbelt Plan in order to create new employment lands.   Given the dynamic growth of the Greater Golden Horseshoe this does not make sense.  Employment lands should be located within an urban or town boundary close to infrastructure that can support businesses such as water, sewers, internet and a good road network. Allowing employment uses (like factories or big box stores) anywhere in the province, as the open for business by-law would allow, will put a huge burden on municipalities and utilities to provide services and upgrade roads in addition to the potential loss of farmland, and environmental impacts. These services are expensive and building them will cause property tax increases and make it even harder to build public transit.

In summary:  Bill 66 Section 10 (page 31 of 35 page PDF) represents significant risk.   And the fact that a decision to implement an open-for-business by-law would be made without public consultation guarantees that the risk will never be assessed and that it will never be weighed against potential financial/economic benefit.

Sign a petition, write to your local MPP; educate your friends and network to do the same.

4 Responses to “ “Bill 66 Section 10: why its bad for communities”

  1. Ann Murray Livingstone says:

    Thank you Debbie for letting me know more about this terrible decision this provincial government wants to impose upon the province. As it stands now we have already lost much farmland between Toronto and King Township. Now when I drive those rods it is all about of the glut of huge homes on former farmlands. This has occurred in the last 20 years.

  2. James Bruce Craig says:

    Bill 66 serves to undermine four decades of hard work and the cooperation of countless governments, staff members and citizens in achieving progressive, forward-looking planning for south central Ontario. In my opinion we all need to voice our concerns and stand together in protecting and maintaining the many sound planning and ecological principles contained in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Greenbelt Plan, Places to Grow Act, Lake Simcoe Protection Act, Clean Water Act and others.

  3. Angela Rose says:

    Lord help us all if this is allowed to pass. Never have I been more scared and worried for all of us. Tell us what we can do. Even if our wonderful Mayor and Councillors are responsible, clear thinking, we would be helpless to do anything if our neighbouring municipalities are not so inclined.

    • Debbie says:

      AT bare minimum Angela sign one of the petitions. Write your MPP. Tell your Mayor and Councillor what you expect from them.

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