If you live in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, your city, town, or county falls under the provincial government's official growth plan for the region. While each municipality is responsible for its own growth plan, right now they are under pressure to update their plans to accommodate an expected substantial increase in demand for housing and employment in the area. The provincial government is requiring municipalities to forecast how they will deal with that growth up to the year 2050, and to submit their plans by July 1, 2022.
That deadline, combined with the demands municipalities are facing from the pandemic, is unrealistic. It doesn't leave enough time for proper public consultation or consideration of options. Under that kind of pressure, the easiest route for municipal councils to take is to overestimate the land needed, using the same formula and expectations that have created suburban sprawl, vehicle-dependent communities, and loss of prime agricultural land for local food production. For a good overview of this issue, check out this blog from Environmental Defence.
That's prompted some municipalities in the GGH to push back with motions to delay submitting official growth plans until a proper in-person public consultation process can be implemented.
- In Hamilton, City Council ratified a delay motion on March 31. More than 200 letters were sent in support of the motion, and more than 60 delegates spoke at the meeting.
- In Halton Hills, Councillor Jane Fogel led the delay motion which was passed unanimously by Council on Feb. 17th. Read Councillor Fogel's article about the need for action. Council will now consider a motion to bring the option of a fixed urban boundary to the table as one scenario for consideration.
Other municipalities in the GGH are considering their own delay motions. Find out how to support a motion in your community:
- If you're in Halton Hills, check out the Halton Hills Climate Action website and Facebook group
- If you're part of a group working on a delay motion, let us know so we can promote it through Stand for the Land
- If you'd like to start the process in your region, let us know that too - we can help direct you to a group that's working on it
- Check out this toolkit from GASP - Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet - it has extensive resources and templates to use
- Follow Stop Sprawl Ontario on Facebook
For inspiration, here's a compelling video by Hamiltonian Akira Ourique - feel free to share widely.