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Small Urban GTHA Area Mayors Meet with Premier Ford & Minister Calandra to Discuss Continued Collaboration on Key Municipal Issues

Small Urban GTHA Mayors Meeting_May 10 2024

*Please see below a news release by the Small Urban Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Mayors caucus.

May 15, 2024 — The Small Urban Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Mayors (SUM-GTHA) convened in Aurora on May 10 for a roundtable discussion with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Paul Calandra. The meeting featured discussion on opportunities to continue collaborating on key municipal issues. Emphasis was placed on:

Illegal Land Uses: The mayors raised concerns about illegal land uses, particularly the construction of truck depots and event spaces on lands not zoned for commercial or industrial purposes. They emphasized the importance of the ability to enforce zoning bylaws and regulations to protect community interests and maintain land use planning integrity. The group also discussed the financial challenges of enforcement given incommensurate fines and the cost and scheduling challenges associated with pursuing legal action through provincial courts.

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure: The group expressed interest for increased federal funding for water and wastewater infrastructure to accommodate the growing needs of their communities. They also emphasized the importance of local autonomy in the design of federal infrastructure programs. The Premier acknowledged that one size does not fit all with regards to the infrastructure needs of communities.

Funding for Subsidized Housing: The mayors highlighted the need for reliable funding sources to support subsidized housing initiatives. They underscored the role of affordable housing in ensuring inclusive and sustainable communities. Minister Calandra highlighted the Province’s recent achievements in affordable housing renovations and the creation of new units

Growing Non-Residential Tax Bases: Residential taxes comprise the largest proportion of property tax revenue as compared with industrial and commercial sources in many small urban communities. It was noted that maintaining sufficient zoned employment land is important for balanced municipal tax revenue. The Premier and Minister acknowledged that encouraging business investment is desirable.

The mayors expressed appreciation to the province for listening to municipal concerns and implementing change through the delivery of Bill 185 (Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024).

SUM-GTHA looks forward to continued collaboration opportunities with the provincial government to support growth and enhance the quality of life for residents in their communities.

About Small Urban GTHA Mayors

The Small Urban GTHA Mayors caucus includes mayors of 13 Ontario urban towns with a population under 100,000 and chaired by Aurora Mayor Tom Mrakas. The Small Urban GTHA Mayors advocate for issues and policies important to Ontario’s small urban municipalities.

The current Chair for the Small Urban GTHA Mayors caucus is Township of King Mayor Steve Pellegrini.

**Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward attends Small Urban GTHA Mayors caucus meetings as a liaison to larger municipalities in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area.

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