Hamilton getting a second opinion on contentious urban boundary review

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Published June 24, 2021 at 11:53 pm

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The City of Hamilton will have a “land economist” pore over the studies that have recommended expanding its urban boundary.

On Wednesday night, Ward 11 City Councillor Brad Clark initiated a motion, which was carried, to get a second opinion on Hamilton’s lands needs assessment and municipal comprehensive review (MCR). Those reports are part of the ongoing urban boundary review, where Hamilton will have to decide whether to permit residential expansion on to 1,300 hectares of farmland that are within the city limits, or to leave the boundary untouched. The debate has riven both developers and climate activists, since Hamilton has both an affordable housing crisis and a climate crisis. 

Clark’s motion directs city staff to engage an independent third-party land economist with land use planning experiences to look at both documents. Clark, who represents upper Stoney Creek, said he was acting on questions that delegates to city committees raised about a city consultant’s interpretation of provincial policies.

The land economist’s review would be included in future reports. The city’s general issues committee is expected to vote on the urban boundary question on Oct. 25.

Hamilton residents are currently being surveyed for their opinions on the debate. A mail-out survey, which went out this week, asks residents whether they support expanding the urban boundary, want it left as is, or have a third option.

Hamilton is going through this MCR process under an Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs mandate for all cities to develop a plan to handle provincially-set population and job growth projections through to the year 2051. 

Climate activists have said they are against expanding the boundary and have coined the phrase, “Don’t let the sprawl take it all.”

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