Historic Act Supports Planning For Economic Growth

Archived Release

Historic Act Supports Planning For Economic Growth

Ministry of Infrastructure

Places To Grow Act Promotes Infrastructure Renewal; Helps Meet Regional Needs QUEEN'S PARK, ON, June 14 - The Places to Grow Act, the McGuinty government's framework for long-term growth planning and infrastructure renewal across the province, is now law. "This is groundbreaking legislation," said David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. "For the first time, we will be able to plan for the kind of growth Ontarians want - the kind that creates jobs, attracts investment and protects the environment." The legislation responds to municipal and stakeholder calls for provincial leadership to address the negative effects of urban sprawl and encourage population growth where it is needed. It allows the government to designate geographic growth areas and work with local officials to develop growth plans that meet specific regional needs, while respecting the greenbelt. The first growth plan under the new legislation would be for the greater Golden Horseshoe and is expected later this year. By identifying where development can occur, the growth plan will complement the recently approved Greenbelt Plan that protects valuable agricultural lands and natural systems around the greater Golden Horseshoe area. This comprehensive approach puts Ontario at the forefront of growth planning and environmental protection. "An estimated four million new people are expected to move to Ontario over the next thirty years, most of them to the greater Golden Horseshoe," said Minister Caplan. "With long-term planning and the greenbelt, we can create strong, sustainable communities that are more respectful of the environment and enhance our quality of life." www.pir.gov.on.ca Disponible en français Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLACES TO GROW ACT 2005 - Bill 136 The McGuinty government is taking a leadership role in planning for population and economic growth in Ontario. The Places to Grow Act 2005, provides a framework for the government to coordinate planning and decision-making for long-term growth and infrastructure renewal in Ontario. It gives the province the power to designate geographical growth areas - and to develop growth plans in collaboration with local officials and stakeholders to meet specific needs across the province. The Places to Grow Act will facilitate: - Decisions on growth that will accommodate future population increases, support economic prosperity, make efficient use of existing infrastructure and promote a healthy environment - An integrated and co-ordinated approach to growth-related issues that cross municipal boundaries - A long-term vision that emphasises the economic benefits of planning effectively for growth and the natural environment. Growth plans may include: - Population projections and allocations - Policies, goals and criteria relating to issues such as intensification and density, land supply, expansions and amendments to urban boundaries, location of industry and commerce, protection of sensitive and significant lands (including agricultural lands and water resources), infrastructure development, affordable housing and community design. Municipalities will be required to bring their official plans into conformity with the growth plan for their area. Decisions taken under the Planning Act and Condominium Act will also be required to conform with applicable growth plans. The need for effective growth planning is particularly urgent in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which stretches around Lake Ontario from Peterborough to Niagara and north to Barrie. A draft growth plan for this area was released in February 2005. Based on extensive consultations with key stakeholders a proposed plan is now being revised. The government anticipates that a final growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe will be released later this year. This growth plan will complement the Greenbelt Plan, which was approved in February 2005. The Greenbelt Act, 2005 and Greenbelt Plan permanently protect 1.8 million acres around the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Greenbelt: - Protects thousands of acres of prime agricultural lands and tender fruit lands so farmers can continue to grow the foods we eat - Preserves our watersheds, rivers and forests to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe - Promotes recreation, sports and tourism by encouraging the development of a trail system, open spaces and parklands - Sets strict limits on where urban boundaries can and cannot expand. To view the Places to Grow Act, visit www. pir.gov.on.ca Disponible en français www.pir.gov.on.caFor further information: Contacts: Wilson Lee, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8735; Jim McPeak, Communications Branch, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, (416) 212-7499