On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the Region of Durham's council adopted Report #2020-P-14: Durham Region's response to Proposed Amendment 1 to A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (ERO Posting #019-1679) and Proposed Land Needs Assessment Methodology for A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (ERO Posting #019-1679).
The staff report recommended:
It is recommended to Regional Council:
A) That Report # 2020-P-14 be endorsed and submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as Durham Region’s response to Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) Postings #019-1680 and #019-1679 regarding Proposed Amendment 1 to A Place to Grow, 2019 and proposed changes to the Provincial Land Needs Assessment Methodology. Key comments and recommendations are that the Province:
i) update Schedule 3 of A Place to Grow to implement population and employment forecasts as proposed in the Reference Forecast that includes a 2051 population forecast of 1,300,000 and a 2051 employment forecast of 460,000.
ii) include only a 2051 total population and employment forecast in the updated Schedule 3 of A Place to Grow (referred to as “Mock B”) and not provide the interim forecasts for 2031 and 2041.
iii) not proceed with the amendment to A Place to Grow that allows municipalities to develop their own higher growth forecasts, which could result in the siphoning of growth from other municipalities across the GGH and exacerbate the challenges for underperforming municipalities.
iv) not proceed to delete Policy 184.108.40.206 a) ii of A Place to Grow, as this change could erode environmental protection of habitat of endangered and threatened species, particularly in communities that are outside the boundaries of the Greenbelt Plan.
v) amend its municipal comprehensive review conformity date from July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2023 to account for the impacts caused by the continued changes to Provincial Policy and the remaining outstanding Provincial decisions.
vi) expand the proposed Land Needs Assessment Methodology to include detailed steps, assumptions, data sources and processes that will align with the latest amendments to A Place to Grow.
vii) remove the requirement under subsection 17 (17.1) of the Planning Act which requires municipalities to provide a copy of the proposed Regional Official Plan (or Amendment) to the Minister 90 days before notice is issued of a public meeting and/or open house to help expedite the completion of the Region’s municipal comprehensive review.
viii)reconsider, as part of Amendment 1 to A Place to Grow, the existing hard cap of 10 hectares for Settlement Area Boundary Expansions within the Greenbelt Plan Area. Instead, municipalities should be permitted to consider larger Settlement Boundary Expansions to support the long-term viability of small urban settlements, subject to the completion of a servicing capacity study, and provincial approval through an MCR process.
ix) reconsider, as part of Amendment 1 to A Place to Grow, additional permissions to expand rural employment areas to accommodate new employment opportunities and provide the ability to establish new rural employment areas, subject to certain conditions such as availability of servicing, protection of the natural heritage system and ensure compatibility with surrounding uses.
B) That a copy of this report be forward to Durham’s area municipalities for their information.