‘Way, way, way too far’: Barrie mayor speaks out against Ontario’s Bill 66
Proposed legislation aims to cut red tape but grants municipalities the ability to bypass some environmental regulations
by Chris Simon Barrie Advance
Barrie is open for business — just not at the cost of the environment, the city’s mayor says.
Mayor Jeff Lehman has added his name to the growing list of those expressing concern with a portion of the Progressive Conservative government’s recently tabled Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. The proposed legislation aims to cut red tape, stimulate business investment and create good jobs.
But Bill 66 also grants municipalities the ability to obtain provincial approval to use a new open-for-business zoning bylaw that bypasses some existing environmental regulations. The bylaw would only be available if the municipality could prove a development creates 50 jobs for places with populations under 250,000 — or 100 jobs in larger municipalities.
While cutting red tape makes sense, the omnibus bill goes about reducing regulations in a way that could be detrimental to local waterways and green spaces, Lehman said.