Halton leaves urban boundary as is till 2041; push led by Oakville and Burlington mayors
Published February 16, 2022 at 10:03 pm
Scoring one for biodiversity and food security, Halton regional council voted tonight to leave the region’s urban boundary alone until at least 2041.
On Wednesday evening (Feb. 16), regional council voted 15-9 in favour of a no-expansion motion co-sponsored by Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. The decisive margin came through Burton and all seven Oakville councillors voting as a bloc.
There was a split among the other three communities’ elected reps: 4-3 in favour from Burlington; 4-1 and 2-1 opposed from Milton and Halton Hills, where the expansion would have happened.
The motion asks staff to develop a regional official plan amendment (ROPA) that fits the projected population and employment growth within the existing approved urban boundary to 2041, with no urban boundary expansion. The growth plan that was originally generated by regional staff proposed to open up 2,120 hectares (5,200 acres) of mostly agricultural land near Halton Hills and Milton for commercial and residential development.
Just passed 15-9! Motion from @MayorRobBurton & myself amended by @JanieFF @Colin1Best no urban boundary expansion @RegionofHalton Recorded vote in favour: Carr, Adams, Bentivegna, Best, Burton, Duddeck, Elgar, Fogal, Gittings, Knoll, Meed Ward, Nisan, O’Meara, Parmar, Stolte
— Marianne Meed Ward (@MariannMeedWard) February 16, 2022
Under terms set by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, cities and regions must have a plan to accommodate provincially set population and job targets 30 years into the future. In Halton’s case, the region has to show it is ready to be home to 1.1 million people and 500,000 jobs by 2051.
The amendments passed on Wednesday will apparently give regional staff 19 years’ worth of runway to create a growth plan to be carried out from 2041 to ’51 is more space-efficient.
Climate change concerns
Growing public sensitivity about the acceleration of the climate change has led to citizen groups calling on elected leaders to draw a line in the dirt, as it were, with letting urbanization take arable farmland. In neighbouring Hamilton, citizen-led groups advocated for arable-land protection for months last year. Ultimately, that led to a landslide vote not expand the urban boundary of Hamilton.
Similarly, Halton councillors from the four towns heard 58 delegations on Wednesday about the issue.
After the vote, an area chapter of GASP (Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet) sent out a celebratory tweet.
The public has spoken!
with leadership from Climate Champions on Council✅
We ALL won *No Urban Boundary Expansion* in Halton
— GASP4Change (@Gasp4Change) February 16, 2022
On Twitter, Hamilton city councillor John-Paul Danko also suggested that the votes are a challenge to the Ontario PC Party government, which faces a re-election campaign in the spring.
“#stopsprawlhalton is a HUGE win for #stopsprawlHamilton & all Ontario,” Danko wrote.
“The rejection of an urban boundary expansion by Burlington, Halton Hills, Oakville, Milton…& Hamilton with many @OntarioPCParty ridings & thousands of votes in the June creates a solid foundation!”
The rejection of an urban boundary expansion by Burlington, Halton Hills, Oakville, Milton…& Hamilton with many @OntarioPCParty ridings & thousands of votes in the June creates a solid foundation! https://t.co/ilR6rXpNxY
— John-Paul Danko (@JohnPaulDanko) February 17, 2022
Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz sent a letter on Wednesday to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, outlining his town’s need for a boundary expansion.
Regional Chair Gary Carr voted with the majority. Here is how the vote broke down in each Halton community.
For (4): Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Couns. Angelo Bentivegna (Ward 6), Rory Nisan (3) & Shawna Stolte (4)
Against (3): Couns. Kevin Galbraith (Ward 1), Lisa Kearns (2) & Paul Sharman (5)
For (1): Wards 3-4 Coun. Jane Fogal
Against (2): Mayor Rick Bonnette, Wards 1-2 Coun. Clark Somerville
For (1): Ward 1 Coun. Colin Best,
Against (4): Mayor Gordon Krantz, Couns. Mike Cluett (Ward 3), Zeeshan Hamid (4) and Rick Malbouef (2)
For (8): Mayor Rob Burton, Couns. Tom Adams (Ward 6), Cathy Duddeck (2), Allan Elgar (7), Dave Gittings (3), Jeff Knoll (5), Sean O’Meara (1), Pavar Parmar (7).
— with files from Jeffrey Allen and Lucy Mazzuccoinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising