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Burlington Council Unanimously Passes Bill 23 Resolution Asking for Extended Commenting Periods for Legislative Changes & More Fulsome Municipal Consultations

Council Approved - Bil 23 Resolution - TW_

MY TAKE:

I have significant concerns about Bill 23. The potential consequences will be devastating to the environment, to coordinated planning and to taxpayers — downloading the costs of growth from for-profit developers to you, the taxpayer.

It is chaotic and the wrong kind of disruption. I have little doubt that this will lead to unintended consequences that will, at the end of the day, make it harder to build homes faster. As such, it works against the goal of what we all want to achieve.

We stand ready to work with the Province as an equal partner. This is not the way to go about it.

We are asking the Province to push pause and we hope they will listen to municipalities. The guiding principles in the staff report we received at our Nov. 8 Council meeting outline succinctly our concerns and that of other municipalities.

We are not the only municipality or agency expressing serious concerns over Bill 23. The Halton Mayors sitting on the Conservation Halton board penned a letter outlining concerns and asking for a pause to get it right; the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) board has expressed concerns and asked for more time; and the Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) caucus has expressed concerns and asked for more time. Halton Regional Council has also asked our Chair Gary Carr to express all of Regional Council’s concerns about this Bill, and seeking additional consultation (scroll further down this post for more on that).

I hold out hope that if enough rationale is given from Ontario communities over the most egregious parts of this legislation, the Province will push pause, walk them back and then treat us like truly equal partners with some collaboration.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to build more homes, but this is not how we do it. We don’t need strong mayors, we need strong municipalities and strong municipal councils — we know our communities and areas best. The Province’s role is to set targets; our role is to make that work on the ground. And we are. Burlington is well on our way to meet our new targets announced by the Province and have already met the 2031 targets — and we did that 12 years ago.

We stand ready to do our part to address the housing crisis. Bill 23, as it currently stands, won’t help.

•                    •                    •

At our Burlington City Council meeting on Nov. 8, we unanimously passed the below staff direction and resolution related to Bill 23 — asking the Province to extend the commenting period for feedback on potential legislative, regulatory, policy and other changes, as well as to allow for fulsome consultations with municipalities.

Click here to read the staff report: Consultations on Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 (CS-12-22).

STAFF DIRECTION:

Direct City Staff to use the guiding principles contained in CS-12-22 to respond to the various consultations related to Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022;

RESOLUTION:

Whereas Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, if passed, will make substantial changes to multiple pieces of existing legislation and supporting regulations as part of Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan for 2022-2023; and

Whereas, Ontario is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis. And the City of Burlington is committed to delivering housing options that meet the needs of current and future residents, at all stages of their life and that are attainable at all income levels; and

Whereas, the Province of Ontario through its MOU with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario has committed to prior consultation, that is informed to by the diversity of municipal governments benefits municipalities and Ontario and to cooperating with municipal governments in considering new legislation or regulations that will have a municipal impact; and

Whereas, introducing legislation that significantly affects municipal financing, infrastructure planning and funding, climate change strategies and staffing levels without meaningful consultation has the potential for unintended negative impacts to the municipalities and their ability to provide normal services; and

Whereas, both the Provincial and Federal governments have initiated conversations on how all three levels of government can collaborate to solve the housing crisis; and

Whereas, the current timing for input on these substantial changes in legislation and regulations is not adequate for the municipal sector to provide fulsome, effective, and constructive feedback or to identify the unintended consequences and serious implications that may arise from these changes that may ultimately frustrate the Provincial Government goal;

Therefore be it resolved that Burlington City Council requests that the Province of Ontario extend the comment period for all 30- and 31-day postings for feedback on potential legislative, regulatory, policy and other changes, to 66-day postings, to allow for fulsome municipal consultation; and

That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Natalie Pierre, MPP Burlington, Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP North-Burlington Oakville, the Honourable Parm Gill, Minister of Red Tape Reduction, Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Ontario Green Party and MPP Guelph, John Fraser, Interim Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and MPP Ottawa South, Peter Tabuns, Interim Leader Ontario NDP Party and MPP Toronto-Danforth, Halton Region, Town of Halton Hills, Town of Oakville, Town of Milton, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Ontario Big City Mayors Caucus, BILD Halton Chapter, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

•                    •                    •

At our Halton Regional Council meeting on Nov. 9, we approved the below staff recommendation to forward the Region’s comments and recommendations on Bill 23 to the Province and the motion to direct Chair Gary Carr to write a letter to the Province on behalf of Halton’s municipalities regarding the changes proposed in Bill 23.

Click the links below for the staff report and related appendix, as well as minutes from the meeting:

STAFF RECOMMENDATION:

THAT Report No. LPS72-22/FN-34-22 and the detailed comments in Attachment #5 be endorsed as a basis for Regional submissions on the matters posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario and Ontario’s Regulatory Registry related to ‘More Homes, Built Faster:  Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan 2022-2023’ and Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022.

THAT the Regional Clerk forward a copy of Report No. LPS72-22/FN-34-22 to the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Halton Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, the Town of Oakville, for their information.

MOTION:

THAT the Regional Chair write to the Province expressing Halton Regional Council’s concerns with the modifications to the Regional Official Plan made by the Province through amendments to ROPA 49 on November 4, 2022 and the changes proposed by Bill 23, based on the discussion regarding ROPA 49 and Bill 23 at the November 9, 2022 Council meeting.

THAT a copy of the letter be circulated to additional Provincial leaders, Halton MPP’s and other municipalities impacted by Bill 23.

•                    •                    •

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Administrator

Administrator

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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