In 2019, Environment Hamilton, along with other community organizations and residents, urged the City of Hamilton to declare a CLIMATE EMERGENCY.  City Council stepped up and unanimously declared the emergency. 

As part of our campaign to urge the city declare a CLIMATE EMERGENCY, Environment Hamilton set out a list of actions we believe the City of Hamilton must commit to in order to transition to a post-carbon world.  A core action is the call for the city to focus new urban growth within the existing urban area - in other words, to FREEZE Hamilton's urban boundary.   

Why FREEZE the urban boundary?    
- A firm boundary means that we are not continuing to gobble up prime agricultural land and rural natural areas in order to build more residential developments on the outer edges that are costly to service with good transit, water/wastewater and other required amenities.
- Freezing the boundary facilitates Hamilton's ability to intensify the downtown and other growth centers, making these areas that can support higher order transit service - like LRT - that will help people shift from cars to transit.
- Firm boundaries facilitate other forms of intensification - including gentle density (laneway homes and other second dwelling units), missing middle (3 to 6 storey residential buildings along major arterials like Upper James or along an east-west LRT system), and greyfield redevelopment (like transforming Eastgate Square - the eastern terminus of the proposed LRT route - into a high density residential/commercial complex).
- All of the above outcomes will ultimately help to create a city that is capable of accommodating growth in a manner that is far more sustainable, climate resilient and inclusive than the sprawling, car-dependent, high carbon output alternative.
-Firm boundaries combined with good municipal policy can also work to increase the availability of more affordable housing options in the city - a critical goal to achieve right now with so many people struggling to find affordable places to live in our city.   

What is at stake right now?
The City of Hamilton is currently undertaking a 'land needs assessment' (LNA) to determine how much land it needs to accommodate urban growth to the year 2051.    The draft LNA puts forward two scenarios for accommodating that growth - both of which gobble up substantial amounts of prime agricultural land (1300 to 1600+ hectares).  Despite the call from community, and despite the CLIMATE EMERGENCY declaration, city planning staff and consultants did not offer a 'no boundary expansion' option for the public to consider; we are in danger of losing huge tracts of prime agricultural land to urban expansion. 

The final staff recommendation regarding the LNA will go to Planning Committee and Council in March of this year.  

Meanwhile we know from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that climate action needs to be swift and significant over the next decade if we have any hope of averting extreme climate impacts.   This is why Environment Hamilton is calling for Hamilton City Council to FREEZE Hamilton's urban boundary. 

PLEASE join our call for Hamilton City Council to FREEZE Hamilton's urban boundary.   This action is essential if we have any hope of building a sustainable, climate resilient, inclusive future for Hamilton!   
                                       SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!

*NB - Signing this petition DOES NOT register your formal vote in the City of Hamilton's Growth Management survey. Please go to and select the 'Click Here To Choose Option 2' button to register your vote.  Deadline to vote is midnight on Friday, July 23rd.  

We the undersigned residents of Hamilton call on Hamilton City Council to FREEZE Hamilton's urban boundary and focus on accommodating future growth within the existing urban area. 

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  • Hanna Schayer
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