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Burlington Council Unanimously Approves Housing Pledge to Meet Province’s 2031 Target, While Reaffirming the Protection of Greenbelt & Niagara Escarpment Planning Area Lands

Council Approved - Housing Pledge - TW_

At our March 21 meeting, Burlington City Council unanimously approved endorsing the City of Burlington 2031 Municipal Housing Target Pledge in support of our commitment to meet the Province of Ontario’s 2031 housing target for our city of 29,000 homes.

This was done as a result of the City of Burlington being asked by the Province to demonstrate our commitment to doing our part to accelerate housing supply by developing a Municipal Housing Pledge and taking necessary actions to facilitate the construction of 29,000 units by 2031 — we currently have 23,000 units under review (the latest update from staff).

For a copy of the complete package sent to the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Wendy Ren, Executive Lead, Municipal Policy/Program Collaboration, that includes the City of Burlington resolution related to the Burlington Housing Pledge passed March 21, 2023, and our pledge and a background report (PL-24-23), please click/tap the link here: Burlington Housing Pledge Letter Package.

*ADMINISTRATOR’S NOTE: On April 26, 2023, we received a letter from Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing, the Hon. Steve Clark acknowledging receipt of Council’s pledge endorsement.

MY TAKE:

We have always been willing to do our part to accommodate new residents, and have endorsed the housing pledge of 29,000 homes by 2031 assigned to Burlington by the Province. We already have 23,000 currently under review — as staff have recently updated that number with new applications that have come in. Our new Official Plan and the work we have done to set a vision for population and job growth at our three GO stations, major corridors, and aging retail plazas will accommodate new housing, while protecting the Greenbelt, our urban boundary and established neighbourhoods.

I’m grateful to Ward Councillors Rory Nisan and Kelvin Galbraith for bringing a motion during council to make it absolutely clear that our pledge to build more homes in Burlington must not be used as a rationale for opening up Greenbelt, or Niagara Escarpment Planning Area lands for development.

We also stress this pledge is not just about attaining a specific number of units of housing; it’s about quality of life. We must ensure that we get complete communities with parks, amenities, transportation and other essentials for new residents, as well as a range of housing types, sizes and ownership – from rental to co-op and ownership. Additional work needs to be done by all partners involved in addressing the housing crisis.

We can’t do any of this alone. Our role is to put in place policies and permits to encourage housing. The industry must build housing, and the Province must keep us whole dollar-for-dollar on infrastructure costs to support new housing. Our pledge requires a similar one from all levels of government, the development community and construction industry to take all the necessary actions needed to be successful in meeting this ambitious goal and ensuring we have attainable and affordable housing in our city — not just an increase in supply.

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Click/tap here to view the:

Below is the full recommendation Council unanimously approved:

Endorse the “City of Burlington 2031 Municipal Housing Target Pledge”, included as Appendix B to community planning department report PL-24-23, to support Council’s commitment to accelerating the supply of housing to meet the 2031 Municipal Housing Target of 29,000 new housing units, subject to the following conditions:

That the City not be penalized financially or otherwise, for failing to meet the identified housing target; and

That the housing target be recognized as an aspirational target and that the City be permitted to continue to utilize the applicable population and employment forecasts from the Growth Plan, 2020 and/or municipal growth allocations assigned to and/or developed by the City, for the purposes of creating development related studies, plans, and by-laws; and

That the Province continue to work with municipalities to provide new opportunities for municipalities to generate stable revenue and grant opportunities, such as the Streamline Development Approval Fund, to aid in the rapid delivery of the identified municipal initiatives and growth-related infrastructure; and

That the Province consult and engage with municipalities on recent and future legislative changes and initiatives to find mutually beneficial ways to streamline approvals and enable municipalities to collect growth-related charges to deliver infrastructure and community needs quickly.

Approve Attachment A to memorandum PL-29-23 to form part of the Burlington Housing Pledge.

Direct the City Clerk to submit to The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing before March 22, 2023, the following documents to fulfill the Province’s request for a Council approved Municipal Housing Pledge:

  • Council Resolution for PL-24-23 – Burlington Housing Pledge
  • Covering letter signed by Mayor Meed Ward, and Shawna Stolte, Deputy Mayor for Housing, as attached to Memorandum PL-29-23
  • Appendix B to Report PL -24-23 the Burlington Housing Pledge
  • Report PL-24-23

An amendment to the main motion above from Councillors Rory Nisan and Kelvin Galbraith included the following clauses:

  1. Add the following to the recommendation for PL-24-23 – Burlington Housing Pledge, to add after paragraph 2
    • “That the City reaffirms our position outlined in the council approved Strategic Plan Vision to Focus to maintain the current urban/rural boundary and take every opportunity to advocate for the Greenbelt Plan, and that our pledge to build more homes in Burlington must not be used as a rationale for opening up Greenbelt, or Niagara Escarpment Planning Area lands for development.”
  2. Modify the following in the letter to Minister Steve Clark, Attachment A to memorandum PL-29-23 be amended to reflect the following change:
    • Current: “Burlington Council is committed to maintaining a minimum of half the City’s geography as protected rural lands within the Greenbelt Area”;
    • Change to: “Burlington Council has made clear through our unanimously-supported Housing Pledge Report, that any additional homes built must not be built in the Greenbelt or Niagara Escarpment Planning Area, both of which are environmentally-sensitive areas and include a World Biosphere Reserve. These areas must be protected for future generations and are not needed to accommodate housing goals. The City reaffirms our position outlined in the council approved Strategic Plan Vision to Focus to maintain the current urban/rural boundary and take every opportunity to advocate for the Greenbelt Plan. As such, our pledge to build more homes in Burlington must not be used as a rationale for opening up Greenbelt, or Niagara Escarpment Planning Area lands for development.

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1 thought on “Burlington Council Unanimously Approves Housing Pledge to Meet Province’s 2031 Target, While Reaffirming the Protection of Greenbelt & Niagara Escarpment Planning Area Lands”

  1. Just wondered how many of the 29,000 new ‘housing units’ are affordable and well under the $1,000,000.00 price tag so medium income and low income families can buy where they work. Even better, how many of these ‘new housing’ developments are purpose built, affordable rental housing (and NOT just in accommodation for new immigrants). I see a lot of expensive (small) condo’s with hefty monthly fees. These prices are out of reach for the medium income (even with dual annual income of $175,000) and totally out of reach for lower income (minimum wage). The ‘plan’ shows much of this new housing to be ‘near’ GO Stations. It seems to assume that ALL these people work in Toronto and take the GO. I doubt that more than an 1/8th of the people who live there will be daily GO users. The bulk will own one or two cars and that will add to the congestion of the Plains Road area and highway access ramps. I DO appreciate that Burlington City Council has identified that conserving the GreenBelt and Niagara Escarpment is a priority. DON’T let the Ontario Government (FORD) and the City of Toronto Mayor push force you into bad space decisions. Their panic is NOT our priority.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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