Growth Plan Proposed Changes

On 2/25 Council agenda there is a staff report reviewing the proposed submission to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as a response to proposed changes to several pieces of legislation including  the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and several others. As I write this post there is much that I do not fully understand.  The potential changes are significant and may happen fairly quickly; hence I want to give you some comments.  You can do your own research and ask questions and/or submit comments on the Environmental Registry.

I have many questions one the section of the report dealing with Intensification and density targets.  One thing I do understand is that it is proposed that for some municipalities both of these targets are being reduced versus what had been established in 2017.  This very concerning as this will likely trigger requests to expand urban boundaries; and indeed this is anticipated as the Province is providing an easier methodology to expand urban boundaries.  This is a problem as the latter leads to sprawl which is more expensive for municipalities, discourages public transit which in turn contributes to climate change.

Staff reviews that the changes include targets for major transit areas.  Even though King City has a GO train station I did not think it was identified as a “major” one.  But if it is a major one the density targets defined in the 2017 Growth Plan are indeed impossible for us to achieve.  Our GO is almost surrounded by established traditional residential housing which is far from being in a state of re-development and environmentally sensitive features.  I agree that we need a new criteria for determining density.  And I applaud the feedback from Staff that development needs to happen in the right order:  building increased densities in advance of increased transit service will result in more residents being auto-dependent.

I have many questions about the comments in the report about employment zones.  As someone who is concerned about sprawl (see comments above) I am particularly concerned with sprawl in to the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine.  It is somewhat satisfying to hear that sprawl into ORM or GB will not be allowed outside the Municipal Comprehensive Reviews BUT indeed, such may be allowed during a MCR.  (YR is in process of such right now.)

As indicated boundaries of rural settlement areas are being carefully assessed.  Those settlement areas within the Greenbelt will not be permitted to expand.  I need more clarity on this.


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