Help Fight Sprawl

Stop Sprawl Sign

The Ontario government has recently proposed changes to the Growth Plan for
the Greater Golden Horseshoe
– the provincial plan that provides a framework for growth management in the region. The Ford government argues the proposed changes will “address policies seen as potential barriers to the development of housing, job creation and business attraction.” However the changes will weaken and/or eliminate important provincial planning rules that were put in place to prevent urban sprawl. Sprawl is costly for municipalities and taxpayers because it requires new infrastructure and transit that has to be maintained. Sprawl also eats up precious farmland, puts more cars on the roads and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

The deadline is February 28, 2019 at 11:59PM to send comments to the Province on these proposed changes. Read more to find out what you need to know and what you need to do.

Proposed Changes to the GGH Growth Plan

The following changes will result in sprawl – low density development – and eat up precious farmland

  • weakened (lower) population growth targets
  • lower density targets
  • weakened Development Land Needs Assessment rules that municipalities must follow
  • allow municipal urban boundary expansions onto farmland without strong evidence of need
  • allow employment land to be rezoned for other uses, including residential
  • allow farmland to be taken and rezoned as employment land (when in fact farmland is employment land)
  • remove all references to climate change, no longer to be an issue municipal plans must consider

There is no need to extend municipal boundaries or use up precious farmland to build new houses The Neptis Foundation has determined that municipalities already have enough land set aside to accommodate the anticipated growth through 2031, possibly well beyond. Population growth studies completed by the Ministry of Finance since the original GGH Growth Plan was introduced show that the population is not growing as quickly as predicted.

The move to rezone employment lands is an indicator that there is already an excess of employment lands available. There is no need for emergency measures (such as the Open for Business Zoning By-law proposed in Bill 66 Schedule 10). Because municipalities already have sufficient land set aside (per Neptis Foundation) there is no need to rezone employment lands.

No new affordable housing will be constructed unless it is mandated. There is nothing in the proposed changes to the Growth Plan that mandates affordable housing construction.

Take Action:

  • Attend the County of Brant Corporate Development Committee meeting Monday, Feb. 11, 2019
    • Brant County Council Chambers, 7 Broadway St. W., Paris.
    • Ella Haley is presenting on behalf of Better Brant. Read her submission here.
  • Attend our Teach-In Sessions
    • Session 1 in LANGFORD
      Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 at 6:30PM

      Langford Schoolhouse, 1694 Colborne St. E, Brantford
        Proposed Changes to the Growth Plan – Joan Telfer Faux, Ella Haley, Better Brant
      Land Protection Tools – Heather Reid, Ontario Farmland Trust
        Bonus! Accessing Farmland Meet & Greet, New Farmer/Landowner Mixer
    • Session 2 in PARIS
      Monday, Feb 25, 2019 at 6:30PM
      St Paul’s United Church, 48 Broadway St. W, Paris

      Panel: Responding to Proposed Changes to the Growth Plan
           Heather Reid, Ontario Farmland Trust
           Victor Doyleformer Planning Manager, Ministry of Municipal Affairs
      Tools to Help New Farmers Access Farmland – Ayla Fenton, Young Agrarians
        Bonus! Accessing Farmland Meet & Greet, New Farmer/Landowner Mixer
  • Connect with your MPP and voice your concern about the proposed changes and let them know the changes are not necessary.
  • Connect with your local municipal council. Muncipal Councils currently have this proposal on their agenda for discussion. Reach out to your Mayor and Council members to let them know the proposed changes are not necessary. Councils can pass resolutions to oppose the proposed changes.
  • Submit a comment to the Environmental Registry of Ontario. We have posted detailed instructions here
  • Let other people know about your concerns. Talk about this with your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, send emails to your friends and share the link to this page, post concerns on social media. Visit our Facebook page and share posts.