No financial benefit to Peel split but ‘efficiencies’ could speed up new housing projects: Brampton Mayor Brown

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Published December 8, 2023 at 12:12 pm

patrick brown brampton mayor budget
Mayor Patrick Brown spoke with reporters at Brampton City Hall on Nov. 29, 2023.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is standing by his position that breaking up Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon has no financial upside, but says removing duplicate departments could fast-track housing.

The comments come following rumours that Premier Doug Ford is considering walking back the controversial legislation that would separate the three municipalities from their regional framework – news that’s been welcome for Brampton’s Mayor while Mayor Bonnie Crombie, his counterpart in Mississauga, has doubled down on her support of the plan.

Brown said Friday that there are no financial benefits to the split which he says would saddle residents with a 38 per cent tax increase and cost at least $1.3 billion, but says removing Regional departments that have a municipal equivalent is a step in the right direction.

“I don’t think we need to have a regional planning department and a local planning department,” Brown told Insauga.com publisher Khaled Iwamura on Friday.

“The commenting periods at a Regional level are too long, and if we truly wanted to make it easier to build new housing, I think if you take the region out of the planning process, that would be helpful,” he said.

The province has billed the potential dissolution as a way to reduce red tape and speed up housing development but Brown has said the uncertainty around the split has actually slowed projects down.

Brown and a paramedics union have also raised concerns about a “mass exodus” of first responders due to job insecurity related to the split. Regional Council passed a motion on Thursday asking the province to leave Peel Paramedics Services intact if the break-up does come to pass.

The region had previously passed a similar motion requesting Peel Regional Police remain whole.

Brown reaffirmed his stance that the financial cost of the split will be “catastrophic” for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, urging the province to backtrack on “a pending disaster” for taxpayers.

“I’m happy that we passed this motion for paramedics but, at the end of the day, this entire proposal is a train wreck and I believe that province is going to have to walk it back,” he said.

Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra said on Wednesday he had not made any decisions on the break up of Peel Region but called the dissolution “potential.”

A five-person transition board has been appointed by the province to oversee the split, which has not yet publicly reported on any findings.

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