Proposal for Changes to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan

Returning Ontario to outdated planning strategies…

More than one hundred amendments to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe were posted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on January 15, 2019 for 45 days of public comment. This plan reduces growth targets in order to increase the amount of affordable housing in Ontario. It is one of many announcements that the Province has released recently that have raised concerns and objections from municipalities, organizations and environmentalists – cutting the position of the Environmental Commissioner, introducing omnibus Bill 66 and a consultation on Increasing Ontario’s Housing Supply. The proposed changes include substantially lower density requirements, reduced protection of agricultural lands, forests and watersheds and the removal of social justice and climate change objectives from the plan. Organizations such as Environmental Defence, Environment Hamilton, CATCH and well respected individuals like Victor Doyle have issued statements of concern with regards to these proposed changes. In a Globe and Mail article, Mr Doyle said “the new targets, when implemented, will see densities as low as those built in the 1990s, long before the Growth Plan. It’s a big sop to the greenfield [developers], a big step back.”

We are currently working on drafting our statement on this proposal. On February 4, 2019 we had representatives at the Roundtable Consultation that was held for the regions of Brant, Brantford, Hamilton, Haldimand and Niagara. We will share what we learned here soon. Better Brant is organizing evening sessions later on in February to educate about the proposed changes, the possible impacts of these changes.