Here is a statement from me regarding a letter my office received last week from Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark on the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan.
Burlington, Ont. — February 22nd, 2019 — My office recently received a letter from Minister Steve Clark of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding their work on the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan.
Minister Clark outlined their desire “to take swift action to streamline the development approvals system” and “speed up the time it takes to get the right kind of housing built in the right places.” He further explained “land-use planning and development approvals are critical to achieving housing and job-related priorities” in our communities.
I agree with these assertions and am glad to see their continued commitment to expediting these processes. As part of the new Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force that my office has initiated to support local business attraction and growth, I am committed to cutting red tape for development applications that are supported by council and the community.
The Minister’s office continues to consult on proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and review the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement as well, with the intention to bring forward legislation and policy changes in the coming months.
While Minister Clark’s letter advises local municipalities to consider pausing on activities that may be impacted, such as Official Plan reviews, I want to reinforce that until we get more specific details from the Province related to the municipal land-use planning process, the City of Burlington will continue to move forward as planned with our review of the Official Plan as per the motion approved by City Council on Feb. 5.
On a related matter, I am disappointed to learn today the province has announced the June 30th closing of the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre (LPASC), a resource that offers support to the public in navigating both land-use planning matters and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Public participation, a vital part of democratic community planning, should not be sacrificed in the name of ill-defined or non-existent efficiencies.
The best way to save time and money is to eliminate the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal altogether. The tribunal, like the Ontario Municipal Board it replaced, provides unelected and inefficient involvement in planning matters that are best left to local councils, unnecessarily slowing down the development process. Leaving planning in local municipal hands would not only speed approvals and remove red tape, but also provide more incentives to the development industry to work with municipalities and their residents to plan full communities rather than just build housing.