HELP US TO FIGHT SPRAWL DEVELOPMENT IN ONTARIO!
Ontario’s Ford Government is at it again, proposing to weaken important provincial planning rules designed to prevent urban sprawl in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.
The government is proposing changes to A Place to Grow – Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe – the provincial plan that ‘provides a framework for growth management in the region’. This current proposal builds on harmful changes made in 2019, adding to the dismantling of effective growth management in Ontario.
Ontarians have until July 31stto comment on the proposed changes through the Environmental Registry of Ontario.
CLICK HERE to access all of the information you need to prepare and submit comments on these proposed changes through the Environmental Registry of Ontario.
CLICK HERE to access the slide deck used in the July 22nd virtual workshop.
CLICK HERE to watch the video of the July 22nd virtual workshop.
APPLICATION for a City-wide Amendment to the Urban Hamilton Official Plan respecting Urban Boundary Expansion Policies & an Area-specific Amendment for Lands Located in the Twenty Road West area of Glanbrook (Ward 11)
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT COMMENTS IS JULY 10TH, 2020
CLICK HERE to access the information sheet we have put together to help community members prepare and submit comments.
What you need to know about this application:
-It is NOT an actual urban boundary expansion, it is an application to amend policies in the Urban Hamilton Official Plan - The application, submitted by Corbett Land Strategies on behalf of the 'Upper West Side Landowners Group', is meant to bring the City of Hamilton's existing Urban Official Plan into conformity with provincial planning policy changes brought in by Bill 108 - the ''More Homes, More Choice Act, passed in June of 2019. These changes included enabling private landowners to initiate urban boundary expansions of less than 40 hectares in size - a problematic change given that, prior to Bill 108, urban boundary expansions could only be initiated by municipalities themselves and as part of a comprehensive, big picture assessment of if and where urban expansion is needed. Many municipalities, including the City of Hamilton, have expressed deep concern about this change, arguing that it will make it extremely difficult to plan for complete communities when private landowners can pursue boundary expansions in between the comprehensive, municipally driven process.
Why you need to be concerned about this application:
-Any effort to pave the way to expanding the urban boundary into rural Hamilton is cause for concern. In this instance, the provincial policy change is what is driving the Upper West Side Landowners Group to apply for this policy change. While the City of Hamilton's Urban Hamilton Official Plan ultimately must conform with provincial policy - including the change that enables private landowners to initiate urban boundary expansions of up to 40 hectares, municipalities are NOT obligated to approve these applications.
Are you interested in preparing and submitting comments on this application?
CLICK HERE to access the information sheet we have put together to help community members prepare and submit comments.
CLICK HERE to view the 'Notice of Complete Application & Preliminary Circulation'
CLICK HERE to view the Planning Justification Letter
CLICK HERE to view the draft Official Plan Amendment
AT RISK! The future of Ontario's Conservation Authorities
DEADLINE TO TAKE ACTION IS MARCH 13th, 2020
Ontario's Conservation Authorities (CAs) play a critical role in protecting natural areas and controlling development in floodplains and ravine systems - a role that is becoming that much more essential in light of the climate crisis.
The Ontario government has put out a survey, through the Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks, seeking public input on the role that CAs should play. There is fear that the role of conservation authorities may be drastically weakened, with some even fearing that the province may eliminate CAs altogether.
We are urging community members to complete the on-line survey! Below you will find a link to the survey along with some basic resources to help you to respond in support of our conservation authorities. Please not that you only have until March 13th to complete the survey!
CLICK HERE to access the provincial Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Park's on-line survey
CLICK HERE to access Ontario Nature's extremely helpful guidance for responding to the survey.
CLICK HERE to view the slide deck we are using in our workshops on March 10th.
Please feel free to contact Lynda at (905) 549-0900 or at email@example.com if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Provide your feedback on Bill 108 - the More Homes, More Choice Act
DEADLINE - JUNE 1, 2019
The latest omnibus bill from Ontario’s Ford Government is Bill 108 - the More Homes, More Choice Act. Bill 108 includes 13 schedules that set out proposed amendments to various pieces of provincial legislation including the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act, and the Endangered Species Act, to name a few. The provincial government has put this bill forward with the claim that it will help to address current challenges with the lack of affordable housing in Ontario. But many stakeholders - including municipalities - argue that the proposed changes do little, if anything, to address our on-going affordable housing challenge. If anything, many of the proposed changes will facilitate more sprawl development at the cost of current municipal taxpayers.
The One Good Thing:
IT WILL BE EASIER TO BUILD SECONDARY DWELLING UNITS
- Development charges will no longer apply to secondary dwelling units under the Development Charges Act. As well, restrictions on the development of secondary dwelling units are removed under the Planning Act
- This may be a good thing, as it will promote urban densification and may provide more affordable housing options
Schedule 11 - Ontario Heritage Act:
IT WILL BE HARDER FOR COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT WHAT IS CULTURALLY AND HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT TO THEM
- Property owners will now be able to appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) if their property is included in the registry due to cultural heritage value or interest if the property is not yet formally designated as a heritage building
- Emergency designations may be limited as municipalities will now be constrained by a timeframe for when they are able to designate a property
- It is unclear whether properties on a list for potential designation are protected from development while they are being put through the process of designation
CLICK HERE to acess the Environmental Registry of Ontario webpage where you can submit comments on proposed Ontario Heritage Act changes.
Schedule 3 - Development Charges Act:
COMMUNITIES WILL SUFFER IN QUALITY AND ACCESS TO SERVICES
- Schedule 3 makes it so that municipalities cannot include services such as libraries, parks, gardens, and recreational facilities when calculating development charges and allows developers to use early “trigger points” in the development process to secure a low development charge. This undermines the concept that “growth pays for growth” and current residents will likely directly pay for some of the expenses that are not covered.
CLICK HERE to access the Environmental Registry of Ontario webpage where you can submit comments on proposed Development Charges Act changes.
Schedule 12 - Planning Act:
COMMUNITY CONTROL OVER DEVELOPMENT WILL BE DRASTICALLY LIMITED
- The time council has for planning decisions and community input is drastically reduced - this could actually slow down development through increasing the number of appeals that come forward due to the lack of a proper planning process
- Reduces the control of the municipality to manage their own development and ensure that development fits into official community plans by returning to old appeal rules that gives power to developers and individual, unelected adjudicators – most housing delays were caused by developers appealing Official Plans, so this change to the appeal process is unlikely to speed up development
- Third party appeals on plans of a subdivision will be removed, meaning the community will have no say into plans they do not agree with
COMMUNITIES WILL HAVE DIFFICULTY SECURING “SOFT SERVICE” AND PARKLAND
- A municipality's ability to secure non-essential services such as libraries, parks, gardens, and recreational facilities is dramatically reduced through linking the costs developers pay to the value of the land they are developing. Land value is not a proxy for community need. This structure will create inequitable neighbourhoods where high density neighbourhoods with low land value will struggle most to secure the services they need.
- Communities will now need to choose between securing funds for public infrastructure or parkland, which reduces the ability to create complete communities.
- The parkland requirement from a developer is based on land-size, which favours sprawling developments, as high-density areas will be able to secure extremely minimal parkland.
CLICK HERE to access the Environmental Registry of Ontario webpage where you can submit comments on proposed Planning Act changes.
- Bill 108 contains minimal evidence that its central objective - to make it easier and faster to provide housing - will be achieved (in fact, it may actually slow down development due to a potential increase in appeals of new development).
- It is unlikely that Bill 108 will increase housing affordability as there are no mechanisms provided to ensure that reduced development costs are passed on to buyers/renters.
- Sets the conditions for two tiers of neighbourhoods in Ontario municipalities – those completed before Bill 108 where people enjoy community infrastructure and those completed after Bill 108 where residents have limited access to facilities and parks that support daily life.
- Bill 108 does not recognize parks as critical green infrastructure for municipalities (clean air, recharge groundwater, clean watercourses, limit damage from flooding and soil erosion, and maintenance of physical and mental health) which is especially concerning with the rise of extreme weather events.
IF YOU'VE NEVER USED THE ENVIRONMENTAL REGISTRY OF ONTARIO BEFORE CLICK HERE for a step-by-step guide to getting your on-line account set up.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE ACTION
USE YOUR RIGHTS UNDER OUR PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS
Did you know that Ontario has an Environmental Bill of Rights? Environment Hamilton regularly comments on postings on the provincial Environmental Bill of Rights Registry - and we encourage other community members to do the same!
KEEP CHECKING HERE FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO COMMENT ON ENVIRONMENTALLY SIGNIFICANT PROVINCIAL ISSUES!
Attend a Workshop or a Volunteering Event
See our Events Page for upcoming events. Past events have included:
- nature workshops (e.g. bees, trees, lichens),
- tours of eco-friendly buildings or local farms,
- green space clean-ups and planting events,
- biking or walking air quality audits,
- Hamilton industrial pollution crawls, and
- extreme weather resiliency workshops.
We are grateful for the financial support we receive from partners and individuals. It allows us to further expand our efforts towards a healthier Hamilton, whether it's increasing the number of air-cleaning trees in the city, beautifying and increasing safety in your neighbourhood alleys, or advocating for reducing pollution. Click on the Donate Button to the left.
Join our membership. We are a community of passionate like-minded people. Click the Join button to the left to stay informed of current issues in Hamilton and receive invitations to participate in specific Environment Hamilton events or projects via facebook, twitter, or email. The more people who know about the issues in their city and neighbourhoods, the greater the strength we have for change and improvement.
We can't do our work without you! We have opportunities for you to volunteer at events, on field projects, or in the office. Apply by clicking on the Volunteer button to the left. Feel free to invite a friend to volunteer with you! We welcome high school students needing to complete service hours and other service projects too.
Get involved in our current projects:
- Energy Benchmarking for Faith Communities
- Friendly Streets Hamilton
- Good Food Box
- Mind How You GROW
- Pollinator Paradise Project
- Trees Please
In all the ways you choose to participate, your support is vital to working towards a city that is a carbon-neutral community with secure local food sources, sustainable transportation, and healthy, clean air, water and land.
Thank you for being part of Environment Hamilton. Together we will work to make Hamilton a cleaner, greener, healthy place to live!
Lynda Lukasik, PhD
Executive Director, Environment Hamilton
And the Environment Hamilton Staff and Board of Directors