After our Halton Regional Council meeting last week, the City of Burlington has decided to prepare some comments in response to the provincial legislation tabled on Dec. 6, 2018, referred to as Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. 2018.
If it is passed, this legislation would allow local municipalities to — with the Minister’s consent — pass “Open for Business” zoning bylaws, which would not be bound by existing legislation (such as the Clean Water Act, 2006 or the Greenbelt Act, 2005).
For a city like ours, where half of our land is rural and located within the Greenbelt, the language and tools proposed in Bill 66 is greatly concerning and don’t address the barriers Burlington is facing with economic development.
Burlington is already “open for business” with more than 400 acres of employment land available.
Since Bill 66 was tabled, staff at Halton Region and the City of Burlington have been reviewing it to better understand the implications of what is being proposed. A resolution (available online in the meeting minutes from Jan. 16) was approved at Regional Council detailing:
- the Region does not support provisions in Bill 66 that amend, repeal or override the Clean Water Act, 2006 and Greenbelt Act, 2005;
- the approval of a Bill 66 bylaw for a lower municipality must require the review and approval of the upper tier municipality (Halton Region) and protects the integrity of the Greenbelt and source water protection; and
- this resolution be distributed to: the leaders of all parties represented in the Legislature, Halton MPPs; the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; all Halton MPPs; all Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
I will be bringing a similar resolution as the one passed at the Region and in the Town of Oakville to Burlington City Council at the Jan 28 meeting.
Residents have overwhelming expressed support to protect our Greenbelt and public safety in the Clean Water Act. We will do that. We have sent a clear message to the province; I have written to Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Halton Regional Council already unanimously approved a resolution confirming that we won’t compromise public safety or our Greenbelt to be open for business. We have a large supply of suitable land available and are ready to work with businesses.