Burlington wants more housing but tells Queen’s Park to keep its hands off escarpment
Published March 22, 2023 at 5:03 pm
Burlington says it will do its part to build 29,000 homes by 2031…but maintains that greenbelt land and the Niagara Escarpment must be protected from development.
Yesterday (March 21) City council officially pledged to do its part in facilitating growth and meeting the requirement set up by Queen’s Park to build more homes across Southern Ontario.
City officials believe the goal can be met because of the number of development applications that are already being considered — upwards of 23,000 at this point — but it has told the Ontario government there are a few stipulations before Burlington goes all in.
One of those caveats is that the Province must keep its hands off of naturalized areas that weren’t meant for high-rises and subdivisions.
An amendment to the pledge put forward by Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan states that the pledge itself must not be used as a rationale to open up the greenbelt or the Niagara Escarpment for development.
“I just want to be extremely clear to the Province…that we will not have this pledge held over our heads to open up greenbelt land in Burlington. We won’t have this pledge weaponized against us to open up greenbelt and escarpment land for development in rural Burlington,” said Nisan.
Other stipulations that City stated in the pledge concern money. Burlington does not want to face any penalties financial or otherwise if the housing target cannot be met. As well, it doesn’t want the Province to cut off funding in the form of fees collected by the City from developers. If the Province does stops the collection of such fees Burlington wants assurances that other forms of funding will flow its way to pay for the necessary infrastructure that will be needed when the new developments are built.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward also pointed out that Burlington will need the co-operation of the building industry to bring the housing goal to fruition. She said Burlington doesn’t build homes, and that it only approves applications.
“We are quite willing to do our part on housing, to make room for newcomers, to make sure the conditions are in place for a variety of housing whether that be renting or condo, and certainly housing affordability is on all of our minds…and we have enough land in our urban boundary to accommodate the growth that has been assigned to us,” she said. “But we can’t do this alone, we don’t build housing…we set the conditions and approve the permits when they come up. It’s up to the development community to action those permits and actually get the shovels in the ground.”
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