Oakville Council Has Concerns Regarding Province’s Bill 108

Published August 7, 2019 at 9:32 pm

Oakville city council members are having concerns regarding Bill 108; the province’s plan to introduce more affordable housing.

Oakville city council members are having concerns regarding Bill 108; the province’s plan to introduce more affordable housing.

“Not enough information to provide comprehensive comments; the commenting periods have been too short; and, it still remains unclear how Bill 108 will deliver more affordable housing and ensure that growth will pay for growth,” are all comments the Town of Oakville has shared with the province regarding a recently released set of proposed regulations related to Bill 108.

“In May, when the town’s comments and concerns on Bill 108 were forwarded to the province, we requested more consultation before the province took any further steps,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Despite the serious concerns raised by municipalities and citizens across Ontario, on June 6, the Provincial Legislature passed Bill 108 into law.”

On June 21, the province posted four proposals seeking comments on draft regulations related to Bill 108 including the forthcoming Community Benefits Charge, and transition matters about changes to the Planning Act, the Development Charges Act and the LPAT Act.

On Tuesday night (Aug 6), the Council endorsed a staff report outlining the town’s position on the proposed regulations. The staff was then told to submit it to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The council claims that Bill 108 will have a severe impact on Oakville.

It will change the financial tools available to the town to fund parks, libraries, recreation centres and other community infrastructure.

It will also change where the town can require new affordable housing, how heritage buildings are conserved, and how development applications are reviewed by the city and at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

These changes could result in reduced service levels or a property tax increase for Oakville residents.

“Once again, the province is not listening to municipalities and has even adjourned the Provincial Legislature’s summer break to almost five months,” said Burton. “The timeframe for the review of these proposed regulations, coupled with the lack of detail or consultation, completely undermines our ability to conduct a comprehensive analysis of their impact on the town’s financial position and our Official Plan, and our ability to protect the character of our existing neighbourhoods.”

The town’s concerns are:

Bill 108 reduces timelines for municipalities to make decisions on “complete” development applications:

The town’s position is that the decreasing timeframes should only apply to complete applications submitted after Bill 108’s Planning Act provisions come into force. Municipalities should also be permitted to deem a development application incomplete for qualitative reasons.

Bill 108 effectively reinstates the former powers of the Ontario Municipal Board:

The Local Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT) will determine the “best planning outcome” in development disputes, potentially ignoring a municipal council’s planning decision. Proposed regulations would require most unresolved appeals to be decided under the new rules, and also revoke existing prescribed timelines for the LPAT to dispose of appeals. 

Bill 108 significantly changes how the municipalities will finance development-related services: 

Currently, development charges (DCs) – the fees collected by municipalities on new developments – pay for “hard services” such as roads and water infrastructure, and “soft services” such as libraries, community centres and parks.

Under Bill 108, soft services would be removed from development charges and financed through a new “community benefits charge” (CBC) based on land value. A CBC formula has yet to be proposed by the province. It is unclear how any CBC methodology based on land value could ensure revenues are maintained among Ontario municipalities so that complete communities are delivered in response to growing needs.

Bill 108, is a result of the province’s interest in increasing housing supply in Ontario.

It became law on June 6 and will amend 13 different statutes, significantly impacting municipal land use and financial planning.

The changes that Bill 108 makes to the Development Charges Act, Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) Act, Planning Act and Ontario Heritage Act, among others, will come into force by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor as the related regulations are finalized.

What do you think about the town’s concerns?

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