Oakville provides feedback to province on Bill 108

Wed, 29 May 2019

Town Council has serious concerns about Bill 108

Proposed extensive changes to the Development Charges Act, the Ontario Heritage Act, the Planning Act would all have significant and potentially negative implications for the town and its residents. That’s the feedback Oakville is sending the provincial government regarding Bill 108 – the proposed More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019.

“Bill 108 will not achieve the stated objective of increasing housing supply at more affordable prices. In fact, Bill 108 will unfairly shift a significant amount of development costs from the developers to existing and future residential taxpayers. Bill 108 reverses previous legislation that was passed with all-Party support that stopped the Ontario Municipal Board from reversing sound Council-approved planning decisions. These proposed unjustified changes are happening without sufficient consultation and at a speed that completely undermines our ability to conduct a comprehensive analysis on the town’s financial position and ability to acquire parkland, provide community facilities and protect heritage resources,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “We are requesting more consultation before the province takes any further steps regarding Bill 108.”

After receiving a report from staff outlining the town’s position on the province’s proposed changes, Council endorsed the report and directed staff to submit it to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport by the commenting deadline of June 1, 2019.

The Province’s Bill 108, More Homes, More Choice Act, passed First Reading in the Ontario Legislature on May 2, 2019. It is anticipated that on Friday, May 31 there will be public hearings with Third Reading on June 4.

This Bill seeks to amend 13 different statutes that seriously impact municipalities and land use planning processes.

One of the most significant areas of change in Bill 108 is how the town collects development charges. Development charges are fees collected by municipalities on new developments to pay for services that support population growth and create complete communities. Currently, municipalities can charge for “hard” and “soft” services. Hard services, such as roads and water infrastructure, make up the largest share of development charges. Soft services include community infrastructure such as libraries, community centres, arenas, playgrounds, or sports fields

Bill 108 would see those soft services no longer eligible for inclusion under development charges. Instead, the province is requiring municipalities to create another type of charge to contribute to these services, called a “community benefits charge” that would result in significant reduction in the ability of a municipality to make growth pay for growth.

Some of the other considerable changes proposed through Bill 108 would significantly impact municipal heritage conservation.

Changes to the appeal process for heritage designation, new procedures for objecting, and limitations on the timing of a designation, are all changes which will contribute to our inability to work with a landowner to find the best solution to conserve our heritage.

In addition, Bill 108 would alter how development applications are reviewed by the town and at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) – an adjudicative tribunal that hears cases in relation to a range of municipal planning, financial and land matters.

The Bill would effectively reinstate the former powers of the Ontario Municipal Board whereby the LPAT would determine the “best planning outcome” in development disputes and could once again overturn a municipal council’s planning decision. Currently, the LPAT is restricted to reviewing such decisions and remitting the matter back to council for a new decision when consistency and conformity to Provincial policies and plans are not met.

As directed by Council, staff will be making their concerns known to the province, as well as communicating to the public the effects Bill 108 could have on our community. 

To learn more, read staff report item #3.