The Town of Milton has developed its response to proposed changes to the Province’s Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan. Many of the policy directions are intended to support building complete, sustainable communities, protect agriculture and natural heritage and address climate change. However, more flexibility to tailor solutions to local needs and circumstances is required.
Some of the key proposed changes that will have implications for the Town of Milton include:
- Intensification targets: increased to 60 per cent (from the current 40 per cent);
- Density targets in designated greenfield area: increased to 80 people & jobs per hectare (from the current 50);
- Transit Corridors and Station Areas: minimum density targets for major transit station areas (e.g. 150 people & jobs per hectare for areas served by express rail);
- Prime Employment Areas: requirements will be set for upper-tier municipalities (i.e. Regional governments) to identify and designate prime employment areas near major goods movement facilities/corridors;
- Natural Heritage and Water Systems: requirements will be set to identify and protect a “water resource system” through watershed and subwatershed planning;
- Agriculture: the types of uses that would be permitted in agricultural areas are identified.
“We strongly recommend that the Province listen to the responses of municipalities when finalizing these plans, and provide municipalities with greater flexibility to plan according to their communities’ individual needs,” said Barb Koopmans, Commissioner, Planning and Development. “We see challenges in meeting some of the growth and intensification targets when, for example, new interregional transit initiatives are not being planned, funded and delivered at the same time as these areas are developing or redeveloping. It is also difficult to assess some of the impacts that these changes may have until we understand how much of the forecasted growth directed to Halton Region will be distributed to Milton and what the specific intensification and density numbers will be.”
Milton’s population is expected to grow to 230,000 by 2031. Their response will be forwarded to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry before October 31, 2016.