Minor Revisions that would Increase Greenbelt Size Recommended as Part of City`s Response to Provincial Plan Review

Submitted: December 02nd, 2015

Minor Revisions that would Increase Greenbelt Size Recommended as Part of City’s Response to Provincial Plan Review
Special Planning Committee to Discuss Recommendations – December 3

HAMILTON, ON – December 1, 2015 – As the City of Hamilton prepares for significant growth over the coming decades – an additional 120,000 people and 50,000 jobs by 2041 – a special Planning Committee on December 3 will consider the municipality’s proposed recommendations for changes to the Province’s Greenbelt Plan.

In early 2015, the Province of Ontario announced a coordinated review of four provincial plans that have guided the region’s growth and protected its environment:

1. Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
2. Greenbelt Plan
3. The Niagara Escarpment Plan
4. Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan

The Province called on municipalities to provide feedback on the above plans to determine what changes may be required in light of the expected growth. In response, Hamilton City Council directed staff to conduct consultations and obtain landowner, resident and business input on the plans that directly impact Hamilton (the first three bolded above).

Hamilton was the only municipality to follow up with extensive public consultation ranging from a stakeholder workshop to open houses across the city. After hundreds of comments were submitted and compiled, City of Hamilton staff will now present City Council with its recommendations for the province’s consideration.

The Province of Ontario will ultimately have final decision-making authority on whether the recommendations will be incorporated into the final provincial plan changes.

“There is very strong support for the Greenbelt in Hamilton, and that was evident in the public consultations that the City hosted over the past few months,” says Jason Thorne, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Hamilton. “We also heard from many in the community who were concerned that some lands in the City were inappropriately added to the Greenbelt when it was created by the Province ten years ago.”

A consulting report commissioned by the City that accompanies the staff report also noted that the City may not have sufficient, developable land outside of the Greenbelt to accommodate projected growth to 2041.

“What staff is recommending to Council is that the City request a few minor changes to the Greenbelt boundaries now, that we believe would result in a more efficient urban area without losing any valuable agricultural lands. These recommended changes would result in a net increase in the size of the Greenbelt in Hamilton.”

The staff report recommends that any consideration of more significant changes to the Greenbelt boundary be deferred until the City has undertaken a municipal comprehensive review that considers issues such as future growth, potential for greater intensification in the existing urban area, servicing capacities, natural heritage system, and agricultural viability.

In addition to the Greenbelt Plan, staff are also recommending that the Province consider some amendments to the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Review the complete report in advance of the December 3 Planning Committee.