On May 2, 2019 Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice was introduced by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Third reading of the bill is expected on June 4, before the house rises for the summer.
The proposed Bill includes changes to 13 pieces of legislation. Three acts were subject to comments; the Development Charges Act, 1997, the Planning Act, and the Heritage Act.
On Monday May 27, 2019, Burlington City Council approved the City Manager’s report CM-11-19, which included the City’s comments and recommendations to the proposed legislation and the following recommendations:
Receive the comments and feedback contained within this report and forward to the Province of Ontario, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport, as the City of Burlington’s comments on Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choices Act), Housing Supply Action Plan; and,
Request that the Province of Ontario continue to consult with the City of Burlington on Bill 108, (More Homes, More Choices Act), with adequate time provided prior to Royal Assent and finalization of associated regulations.
At the same meeting, City Council also approved a motion on Bill 108, with the following recommendations:
Now therefore be it resolved that the City of Burlington oppose Bill 108 which in its current state will have negative consequences on community building and proper planning; and
That the City of Burlington call upon the Government of Ontario to halt the legislative advancement of Bill 108 to enable fulsome consultation with Municipalities to ensure that its objectives for sound decision making for housing growth that meets local needs will be reasonably achieved; and
That a copy of this Motion be sent to the Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, The Honourable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier, the Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Honourable Andrea Horwath, Leader of the New Democratic Party, all MPPs in the Province of Ontario, leaders of the Green Party and Liberal Party; and
That a copy of this Motion be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and all Ontario municipalities for their consideration.
What you need to know about the changes proposed in Bill 108:
- DEVELOPMENT CHARGES WILL BE COLLECTED DIFFERENTLY, AND GROWTH MAY NOT PAY FOR GROWTH
Development charges are fees collected by municipalities on new developments to pay for services that support population growth. Currently, municipalities can charge for both “hard services” (e.g. roads, stormwater drainage, fire protection and transit) and “soft services” (e.g. libraries, community centres, arenas, playgrounds, or sports fields).
Bill 108 proposes that the funding for “soft” services be removed from the development charges. Soft services currently account for 18 per cent of our total charge for residential development charges.
Not being able to charge for “soft services” would significantly impact the City’s ability to have growth pay for growth.
- CHANGES TO THE APPEALS PROCESS
Bill 108 is proposing giving the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) the ability to overturn your elected municipal council’s planning decisions on things like new developments. The City will be required to defend decisions at LPAT based on “best planning outcome” in the context of a hearing de novo (conducting hearings as if no decision had ever been made by a Municipal Council).
The City will no longer be given the opportunity to make a new decision on a matter if LPAT determines that a municipal decision did not follow local/and or provincial policies. Final decisions on appeals will now rest with a non-elected tribunal.
- SHORTENED DECISION TIMELINES
Bill 108 is proposing shorter timelines for the processing of development applications before they can be appealed to LPAT. This would make it difficult to conduct meaningful, thorough public engagement and be able to incorporate changes to the application based on public input.
- PROVIDING FUTURE PARKS AND GREEN SPACE MAY BE COST-PROHIBITIVE
Bill 108 will remove the City’s ability to obtain land for parks within new developments to support neighbourhoods and residents within these areas. As Burlington is at full build-out, the ability to obtain parkland for community access is very important and may not be possible if the City is required to purchase land at market rate for parks.
These changes do nothing to reduce provincial costs, but do increase the costs to municipalities at a time we are all trying to find efficiencies. Please contact your local MPPs and tell them how Bill 108 will directly affect you as Burlington residents.