Better planning will mean stronger communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Archived Release

Better planning will mean stronger communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Ministry of Infrastructure

Government Targets Intelligent Growth Management In Canada's Fastest Growing Region TORONTO, July 12 - The McGuinty government is planning for strong communities and a prosperous economy with the release of a discussion paper outlining its plan for growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe for the next 30 years and beyond, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan announced today. "Years of poor planning and leadership have left a legacy of uncontrolled urban sprawl, traffic congestion, environmental decline, and loss of greenspace and farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe," said Caplan. "The McGuinty government's vision for growth signals a new era in community planning, which incorporates land use, economic and environmental considerations." The discussion paper, Places To Grow: Better Choices. Brighter Future, outlines proposed provincial decisions on a range of issues, including urban planning, land use, economic development, and investment in public infrastructure like roads, public transit, schools, healthcare facilities and water and sewer systems, and solicits public comment. "Working with municipalities, we will manage growth, support economic development and reinvest in public infrastructure," said Caplan. "With this strategy for building stronger communities and improving the quality of life for the people of Ontario, we are bringing real, positive change that will lay the foundation today for how we live tomorrow." The discussion document was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from other levels of government, the private sector, and environmental and community organizations. "This vision goes a long way in making growth a benefit to all," said Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. "When implemented, the plan will protect the future of our communities and will be well received by the public." A key goal of the growth plan is creating the right conditions for greater economic growth, investment, job creation and economic competitiveness in the Golden Horseshoe region. "This visionary plan comes at a critical point in time for the economic prosperity of the region," said Bob Onyschuk, Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Urban Institute. "If we want Toronto and the GTA to achieve first- tier status amongst North America's successful city regions in the 21st century, then this is the plan and we need to do it now." "The draft growth plan reflects a good fit with the goals of the Greenbelt Task Force. The plan shows comprehensive thinking and long-term planning," said Robert MacIsaac, Mayor of Burlington and Chair of the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt Task Force. "I am extremely encouraged by the direction that the government has shown with this discussion paper," said Michael Roschlau, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Urban Transit Association. "Public transit has to be a top priority if we want to ensure future quality of life in the Golden Horseshoe." Over the next 30 years the area is expected to grow by almost four million people - roughly the populations of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton combined - with about two million new jobs created. "This plan will provide the clarity that we are all looking for," said Jim Faught, Executive Director of Ontario Nature and a member of the Greenbelt Task Force. "We need to grow better so that we can protect our natural environment. The plan will help us get there." The government is seeking input from municipalities, community groups and the public on the discussion paper through public information sessions, correspondence, or online. This input will help shape the final plan which will be developed in the fall. "This is an historic document," Caplan said. "For the first time in our history, we have the basis of a plan to manage population growth and economic expansion in a rational, intelligent way, instead of trying to catch up to it after the fact. This is our chance - maybe our last chance - to build the future we want." Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- July 12, 2004 MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT RELEASES PLAN TO BUILD STRONGER COMMUNITIES IN THE GREATER GOLDEN HORSESHOE Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal David Caplan today released a discussion paper on the province's plan for growth and economic expansion in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, from Peterborough to Barrie to Kitchener- Waterloo to Niagara Falls. The document, entitled Places to Grow: Better Choices. Brighter Future, outlines a strategy and identifies the necessary tools for managing growth in the fastest-growing region in Canada. Over the next 30 years almost 4 million people will settle in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Kawartha Lakes; the regional municipalities of Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Waterloo and Niagara; and the counties of Haldimand, Brant, Wellington, Dufferin, Simcoe, Northumberland and Peterborough. This projected growth places intense pressure on the region's resources and infrastructure. If current patterns of development continue, by 2031 commute times will increase by up to 45 per cent, automobile related emissions will increase by 42 per cent, and new development will consume more than 1,000 sq. km of valuable farmlands - about double the present size of the City of Toronto. The projected increase in population in the region is about equal to the existing population of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton combined. The discussion paper provides a comprehensive framework for managing economic and population growth in Ontario in a way that promotes vibrant communities, a strong economy, and enhanced environmental sustainability. It provides direction for provincial and municipal decisions on a range of growth- related issues, including: - Urban development and land-use planning; - Capital investment planning; - Housing, transportation and environmental infrastructure; and, - Economic development. The document was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including all levels of government, the private sector and environmental and community organizations. The Ontario government is seeking public input and response to the discussion paper to help shape the content of the final plan. Overview Places to Grow: Better Choices. Brighter Future addresses four key issues that are critical to ensuring that growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe is managed in a way that is good for communities and our quality of life. Where and how to grow The discussion paper sets out a vision and strategies for focusing future development within existing urban boundaries. Efficient land use, intensification and compact development are the cornerstones of sound growth management. By directing growth to areas that can best support it - priority urban centres - the discussion paper provides a framework for building on existing investment and infrastructure, containing urban sprawl, and protecting the areas that provide food, greenspace and natural resources. The overall goal is to develop a network of well-managed urban centres that can strengthen the economy of the entire region, form the building blocks of future growth, provide a framework for future infrastructure investments and reduce pressures on the region's environment. Infrastructure to promote growth The discussion paper outlines a new approach to infrastructure planning and investment that will optimize the use of existing infrastructure, identify priorities over the next 10 years, focus investment on priority urban centres, and coordinate long-term plans across regions and with other levels of government. While the paper addresses all aspects of infrastructure investment, it gives special focus to two key areas: transportation and water. The discussion paper ensures that investment in transit and transportation infrastructure will support the convenient and accessible movement of people and goods throughout the region. The paper also identifies the strategies for planning, financing and maintaining sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure that it can support development in priority areas and steer growth away from areas that provide food and natural resources. Protecting what's valuable Building on government initiatives such as the Greenbelt Task Force, the Planning Reform initiative, and the Rural Strategy, the discussion paper outlines directions and a range of strategies for accommodating growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, while protecting and enhancing the region's valuable resources, including natural areas, agricultural land, and water and mineral resources. This approach of linking decisions on growth with the protection of our resources, greenspaces and natural systems will ensure that planning and investment decisions reduce pressures on our environment. Maximizing the efficient use of our infrastructure and promoting compact development will reduce the pressure on our resources and provide a better balance between economic expansion and the protection of our natural systems. Implementation The discussion paper identifies a number of key actions to ensure the plan is implemented effectively, including: - Provincial policies must be aligned and strong partnerships established with municipal governments and other stakeholders to ensure the government's investments and decisions help manage growth wisely; - Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined through a legislative framework; - The right mix of fiscal and regulatory tools must be identified and promoted to create real incentives, remove barriers and provide strong direction to facilitate more compact form, stronger urban centres and better transportation choices; and, - Monitoring must be done regularly to assess implementation efforts and review the impacts on our communities and quality of life. How to have your say The discussion paper is available for download at www.placestogrow.pir.gov.on.ca. Ontarians are invited to submit written comments through the web site, located at www.placestogrow.pir.gov.on.ca, or by regular mail to: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, Smart Growth Secretariat, 777 Bay Street, 16th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5. To contribute to the final version of the plan, input must be received by September 24, 2004. Public Information Sessions The discussion paper will also be the subject of public information sessions in communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe during the last two weeks of July. Information Sessions - Locations and Schedule Date City Location Tuesday, July 20 Kitchener Victoria Park Pavilion 80 Schneider Avenue Wednesday, July 21 St. Catharines Pond Inlet Room Mackenzie Chown Complex Brock University 500 Glenridge Avenue Thursday, July 22 Oshawa Northview Community Centre 150 Beatrice Street East Monday July 26 Barrie Victoria Village Activity Centre Multi-purpose Room 146 Toronto Street Tuesday, July 27 Hamilton Liuna Station Banquet & Convention Centre 360 James Street North Wednesday, July 28 Toronto J.J.R. MacLeod Auditorium Medical Sciences Building University of Toronto 1 King's College Circle Thursday, July 29 Markham Scandia Ballroom Radisson Hotel Toronto-Markham 50 East Valhalla Drive Structure of Information Sessions 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Informal drop-in open house. Copies of Places to Grow: Better Choices. Brighter Future will be available and staff will be on hand to answer your questions. 7:00 p.m. Presentation followed by a question and answer period. Disponible en fran├žais. www.placestogrow.pir.gov.on.ca /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on the Canadian Press Photo Network/For further information: Ross Parry, Minister's Office, (416) 325-1657; Peggy Stewart, Communications, (416) 325-4827