Oakville Mayor supports Province's goal of a more sustainable GTA

Wed, 11 May 2016

Greenbelt expansion welcomed, but OMB reform needed for real change

The provincial government announced this week that it would be introducing new rules meant to protect the Ontario Greenbelt and curb urban sprawl in the Greater Toronto Area.

The proposed changes came as a response to the findings of the Crombie Report, which provided 87 recommendations to combat increased urban sprawl in the GTA. Among these were significant expansion and protection of the Greenbelt.

“It’s important that we protect the livability of communities by controlling growth only to what fits economically and environmentally,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “The protection and expansion on the Greenbelt is vital to creating livable, sustainable communities.”

Along with the Province’s plan to protect and expand the Greenbelt are a number of new requirements placed on municipalities to curb urban sprawl. The new rules would mandate 60 per cent of development to be within pre-existing “built-up” areas, require densification of employment lands and force municipalities to “pre-zone” denser developments along transit corridors.

However, the announcement did not include any plans to reform the Ontario Municipal Board, an unaccountable body that often overrides local Council decisions in favour of large developments.

“Promoting local decision-making and flexibility for municipalities is the best way to curb urban sprawl,” said Mayor Burton. “Reforming the Ontario Municipal Board is essential to ensuring that these local decisions are implemented.”