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Halton Regional Council discusses proposed changes from Province on its Growth Plan

Places to Grow Regional Council discussion

At the Halton Regional Council meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 16, we received a presentation from staff detailing the background and details surrounding the proposed changes the Province of Ontario announced, on Jan. 15, to its Provincial Growth Plan.

The changes apply to six categories: Employment Planning; Settlement Area Boundary Expansions; Small Rural Settlements; Natural Heritage and Agricultural Systems; Intensification and Density Targets; Major Transit Station Areas.

In a general sense, the Province has stated its goal for the changes is streamline growth management planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to achieve:

  • a more streamlined process;
  • more land for housing;
  • more housing and jobs near transit; and
  • greater local autonomy and flexibility for municipalities.

To get more details around the changes, click the link to the PDF here: Proposed Changes to the Provincial Growth Plan

The Province has also posted details on the proposed changes on the Environmental Registry of Ontario and the Ontario Regulatory Registry websites. It will be gathering comments until Feb. 28.

Next steps:

  • Proposed changes posted for review and comment until Feb. 28, 2019;
  • Series of small workshop discussions being planned by the Province with municipalities and other stakeholders; and
  • Staff review and report back to Regional Council with comments.


My initial thoughts on the proposed changes are cautiously optimistic that municipalities will have more flexibility to plan and direct growth where Council and the community want it to go. However, we need to review the document more carefully to ensure we get the right amount of growth that can be supported by our residents and our existing and planned infrastructure.

While the changes won’t reduce the intensification targets, it appears that municipalities will have more flexibility to distribute density as we see fit, particularly in mobility hubs. However, Burlington Council will have an opportunity to advocate for more appropriate intensification targets during this year’s Regional Official Plan review. Growth targets allocated by the province will be divided up among the municipalities, so we will have an opportunity to advocate for what we believe our share of growth should be during those discussions.

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