Council considers which lands to include in urban expansion

We don’t want any urban expansion, because climate change.

In May 2019, we proposed a No Expansion scenario, with 63.5% of projected growth to be achieved through intensification, the balance by building out the remaining vacant greenfields already inside the urban area.

The City concedes that: “This scenario represents the greatest extent to which growth management can contribute to achieving policy directions where most growth occurs through intensification, growth uses existing infrastructure most efficiently, and GHG emission reductions are maximized.“

The City instead adopted what they now call a hybrid scenario: a 1281 ha urban expansion, with 51% of projected growth achieved through intensification, the balance on vacant greenfields inside the urban area and new urban expansion lands.

It also decided to exclude Agricultural Resource Areas as potential expansion lands. This reduced the stock of land from which to choose additions to the urban area. As a result, they only found 1011 ha of land that was suitable for expansion.

At the January 23, 2021 Joint Meeting of Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committees, staff recommended adding these 1011 hectares to the urban area immediately, and setting up a study, to conclude no later than Q4 2026, on where to locate the additional 270 needed to fill their quota. They provided three general options that would be studied.

Instead Committee removed 175 ha from the recommended 1011, and reassigned them to one of the study options, the Tewin lands proposed by the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Investments, with a direction to include all 445 ha immediately as well, without study.  Many other Algonquin communities, who had not been consulted, have now opposed this recommendation.

This is a mess. We call on the City to adopt staff recommendation and conduct the required studies.

PRESS RELEASE – urban expansion lands, February 9 2021