On June 16, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing posted to the Environmental Registry (019-1679 and 019-1680) a series of proposals related to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that responds to key advocacy positions of OHBA and the 11 local home builders' associations impacted by the Growth Plan (Durham Region, Niagara, West End, Brantford, Haldimand-Norfolk, Waterloo Region, Guelph & District, Greater Dufferin, Simcoe County, Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and BILD).
The proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan and the Land Needs Assessment have each been posted for a 45-day public consultation to July 31, 2020. OHBA is looking for feedback from members as they will prepare a submission to respond to the amendments and they will be working with BILD on an upcoming webinar (date TBA) for members regarding the proposed amendments.
OHBA, DRHBA, BILD and a number of members from other impacted local HBAs participated during the Fall of 2019 and Winter of 2020 on Ministry established stakeholder working groups regarding the Schedule 3 population and employment forecasts as well as the Land Needs Assessment. With respect to improving the LNA methodology, OHBA submitted recommendations on October 22. Tuesday's Growth Plan proposals also responds directly to OHBA Resolution #7 passed at the OHBA Annual Meeting of Members on September 23, 2019 that specifically recommended that the Growth Plan Schedule #3 be updated with 2051 forecasts and that the Ministry update the Land Needs Assessment methodology.
Key highlights from the Environmental Registry postings (019-1679 and 019-1680):
- Policy 18.104.22.168 of the Plan requires upper- and single-tier municipalities to use the Methodology issued by the Minister to assess the quantity of land required to accommodate forecasted growth to the horizon of this Plan. The government is consulting on a proposed new Land Needs Assessment Methodology for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Environmental Registry 019-1679)
- The proposed Methodology outlines key steps for assessing community and employment land need to the Plan horizon year. Municipalities must follow the steps of this methodology as part of the municipal comprehensive review to ascertain the amount of land required to accommodate the amount and type of additional housing units and jobs required to meet market demands in conformity with the Plan and determine whether there is a need for a settlement area boundary expansion for employment area or community area, which is all other settlement area land outside of employment areas.
- Schedule 3 is the baseline to be used by municipalities. Lower forecasts for population, dwellings by type or employment are not permitted as this would lead to land supply issues which would lead to housing affordability issues and land shortages.
- The Minister has initiated a review and update of the Distribution of Population and Employment for the GGH (Schedule 3), in accordance with policy 22.214.171.124 of A Place to Grow. The forecasts are being updated and extended to 2051 through a proposed amendment to the Plan.
- For more detailed background information about the proposed updated growth forecasts and the methodology behind them, please view “Greater Golden Horseshoe: Growth Forecasts to 2051” available at: https://www.hemson.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/HEMSON-Schedule-3-Forecasts-FINAL-16JUN20.pdf.
- In addition to the updated forecasts, a related policy change is proposed to specify that municipalities would use the forecasts in the Plan or higher forecasts determined through the municipal comprehensive review as part of their long-term planning work.
- Another proposed change is an extension of the Plan horizon from 2041 to 2051 to ensure municipalities have sufficient land to support the fostering of complete communities, economic development, job creation and housing affordability. The new horizon is consistent with the long-range planning approach of previous growth plans and better aligns with the land supply requirements of the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020.
- Under the Reference Forecast, the GGH is forecast to grow to close to 15 million people and 7 million jobs by 2051.
- Proposed Amendment 1 also includes a proposed change to A Place to Grow policies related to mineral aggregate resources. The proposed changes would make it easier to establish new mineral aggregate operations closer to market throughout the GGH outside of the Greenbelt.
- In light of the unique nature of each zone and to address the government’s objective of intensification around major transit station areas MTSA(MTSAs), Proposed Amendment 1 proposes to change an employment policy within A Place to Grow with respect to the planning of MTSAs within a Provincially Significant Employment Zone (PSEZ). Notably, the policy amendment would allow conversions of employment areas to non-employment uses within a provincially significant employment zone that is located within a MTSA. This proposed change would allow for mixed-use developments to be initiated faster around MTSAs.
- Given the most recent changes to the Provincial Policy Statement, 2020, (PPS)proposed Amendment 1 proposes to change A Place to Grow policies to ensure continued alignment with the new PPS, which came into effect on May 1, 2020.
- The date by which municipalities must conform with the policies in A Place To Grow will remain July 1, 2022.
OHBA would like to thank our members from DRHBA and BILD that volunteered on the various working groups including Tiago Do Couto, Matthew Cory, Jeannette Gillezeau, Gary Gregoris, Robyn Brown and others that have provided support, advice and assistance. With over 5 million more #homebelievers forecast to join Greater Golden Horseshoe communities by 2051 – we are going to need approximately 2 MILLION new homes to make their #homebeliever dreams a reality. There is still work to be done on the Growth Plan file, and OHBA looks forward to consulting with members to respond to these Ministry proposals.