Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) and Bill 257
Environmental Defence has done a lot of work to map the record-setting number of MZOs issued over the past year. Some of them are being used for projects that increase affordable housing options without increasing suburban sprawl. The rest are questionable at best, and environmentally-damaging at worst.
Bill 257 is an unrelated bill (Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act) but the provincial government is using it to pass an amendment to the Planning Act which would make MZOs unrestricted by the provincial policy statement on planning - retroactively - meaning that legal challenges to MZOs would be useless. Bill 257 will be voted on any day now and the window of opportunity to voice concerns to MLAs is closing. Here's a quick way to reach your MLA, courtesy of Environmental Defence.
Municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region are under pressure to amend their Official Plans to forecast housing and employment requirements up to the year 2050 - and get those plans in to the provincial government by July 1, 2022. 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.
It's also forcing them to make decisions that fundamentally impact the health of their citizens and the climate crisis, while public, in-person consultation isn't possible.
Municipalities in the GGH have started to react in two ways:
- Delay motions: municipal councils are considering motions to delay submitting official growth plans until a proper in-person public consultation process can be implemented. Here's the motion passed by Hamilton City Council March 29. Halton passed a similar motion in February, and support is growing among councillors, prompted by their constituents, throughout the region.
- Fixed urban boundaries: bringing this scenario to the table as part of a comparative analysis of options for municipalities.
Are you living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe? Find out how to bring this to your municipal council.
Land-use planning policies and processes are famously complex and hard to find at the municipal level, even though they impact every aspect of our lives. How about holding an info session in your community to make it more understandable and transparent? We can help! You can contact Stand for the Land at lella [at] forourkids [dot] ca
What issue do you have on your plate? Join this collaborative effort so we can have a greater impact, together.