Are Big Changes in Store for Mississauga and Peel?
The Region of Peel is conducting a review of its Official Plan to update it for the year 2041. The Ontario Planning Act requires municipalities to update their Official Plan every five years to ensure official plan policies stay current, meet provincial plans and policy statements, and achieve the Region's goals and objectives.
Mississauga and Brampton have their own official plans in regards to policies pertaining to land use, transportation, recreation and housing. So does the upper tier level of government, and with any plan comes updates and changes as the population and social needs change within the community.
For those of you who may have seen the Region's logo around, say on a tax bill or on social media, the Official Plan is just one area of what the upper tier level of government does. The Region's Official Plan Review will focus on a number of key areas, with the corresponding policy directions adopted by Regional Council:
Encouraging local municipalities to develop policies that support seniors so they can age in place (stay at their home if it is their preference).
The promotion of universal design principles to create safer, barrier-free and inclusive environments in Peel Region.
Work with local municipal staff to assess the built environment, including public facilities in existing neighborhoods where there is a significant senior population.
Ensure conformity with the direction provided for the protection of agricultural lands in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).
Identify prime agricultural lands through a Land Evaluation and Area Review.
Identify if there are policy revisions needed to support new agriculture and agri-food opportunities in the Region
As indicated in the draft PPS, planning authorities are required to consider potential impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation when planning for infrastructure and public service facilities. From a planning perspective, this means planning to encourage transit-friendly, compact form development, such as this plan for revising Elm Drive in Mississauga:
More information on the Region of Peel's climate change strategy
"Greenland Systems Planning"
Ensure conformity with PPS.
Identify actions that are needed to achieve the Region’s natural heritage objectives.
Develop a Greenlands System Strategy to update the Region’s natural heritage system policies and identify a Regional Natural Heritage System.
Efficient utilization of existing and planned Regional infrastructure.
Supporting the concept "growth pays for growth" to minimize financial impacts to existing residents and businesses.
The protection of environmental and agricultural resources.
Densities that support transit, affordable housing and complete communities.
Planning for a range of employment over the long-term to adjust to market cycles.
More information can be found here on the Region's growth management strategy.
Health and the Built Environment
Requiring regional and municipal planners to integrate the elements of the Healthy Development Framework (HDF) into relevant planning policies and guidance documents.
Requiring new development applicants to complete a health assessment as part of the development application process and that the results be reported to local council.
Require health assessments for all Regionally or municipally owned and operated public facility project applications.
As part of the current Regional Official Plan Review, the housing focus area involves proposing policies with the key objective of increasing affordable housing supply. These proposed policies will respond to drivers such as Planning Act changes resulting from the Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011 (Bill 140) and Promoting Affordable Housing Act, 2016 (Bill 7), execution of Regional Council's September 11, 2014 resolution (2014-721), and implementation of the Provincially mandated Regional Official Plan (OP) Annual Minimum New Housing Unit Targets.
There is also an Affordable Housing Background Paper being used in the Region's consultations with the community and stakeholders, focusing on these areas:
Results of measurement and monitoring of housing stock, including affordability thresholds and estimation of second units in Peel.
An overview of legislative and policy frameworks and tools.
Best practices and case studies for affordable housing.
Analysis and housing policy directions for Peel.
The Transportation component of Peel 2041: Regional Official Plan Review will take into account recently adopted studies, including the Regional Road Characterization Study, the Strategic Goods Movement Network Study, Freight TDM Study, and Active Transportation Study.
The project will take input from the Region's Growth Management Strategy work, and also involve the review and revision of current policies to ensure conformity with Provincial Plans and reflect regional initiatives including the Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan.
Key deliverables for this project include:
A revised set of transportation policies for the Official Plan.
Revised transportation Schedules and Figures.
An updated Long Range Transportation Plan.
Ensure consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS);
Incorporate the policies contained in the applicable source protection plans as required under Clean Water Act.
Conform to the policies contained in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, as required through the Lake Simcoe Protection Act.
Ensure that policy guidance contained in the watershed plans for the Oak Ridges Moraine are addressed in the ROP.
Acknowledge the approved Ontario Great Lakes Strategy and Great Lakes Protection Act, if needed.
Update and strengthen policy direction in the Regional Official Plan for stormwater management.
As if things may get confusing enough, next year residents will be asked to vote for someone to serve in the role of Chair of the Region of Peel; basically a position akin to a super mayor on top of the mayor of your respective city within Peel. Your city, whether that'd be Mississauga or Brampton, and the Region handles different responsibilities.
Maybe it's just easier to have both cities operate their own independent official plans without another layer of government complicating things.
What do you think of the Official Plan Review?
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