• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

BWG says no to Bill 66 – plus updates from Adj-Tos, Collingwood, Oro-Medonte

In Adjala-Tosorontio
Jan 10th, 2019
Mayor Rob Keffer at 2018 campaign launch -BradfordToday photo

Bradford-West-Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer at his 2018 election campaign launch. -Bradford Today photo

Updates: On January 14 2018, the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio unanimously approved a resolution to reject any aspect of Bill 66 that circumvents provincial protection of the environment and natural heritage and an open and transparent planning process.
Also on January 14, the Town of Collingwood stated it does not support Bill 66 in its current form. Collingwood Today report: Council comes out against Bill 66. 
On January 16, the Township of Oro-Medonte called on the minister not to approve any bylaws unless they have “due regard for the protection of the environment,” to require municipalities to develop a protocol to protect community interests, and to ease the threshold and definition for employment uses.
Scroll down for the texts of resolutions passed by Simcoe County municipalities.

Correction: BWG Deputy Mayor James Leduc abstained from the vote on his council’s motion. An earlier version of this story stated it was passed unanimously. AWARE Simcoe regrets the error. A comment from Leduc has been added.

1,700 acres of employment lands available that fit town’s planning guidelines

By Kate Harries AWARE News Network January 10 2019

Bradford West Gwillimbury has no need of Bill 66, says Mayor Rob Keffer.

The town has plenty of employment land – 1,700 acres, of which 1,100 acres are serviced and ready to go – as well as a good planning process that ensures applications don’t get bogged down.

“Our position is we don’t really need Bill 66 in BWG,” Keffer said in an interview today. “We have lots of employment land…. The land that’s available now has gone through the proper process and follows the environmental standards that have to be met.”

BWG council passed a resolution on Tuesday stating in effect that it would not use the Bill 66 provisions that override environmental protection and government transparency. Keffer said there was no inclination on council to change the way it deals with planning applications.

“Certainly some of the overrides seem to go too far,” he said. “They’re not necessary to still have areas of employment – there’s lots of areas available that fit in the guidelines that we have now as part of the planning process.”

The motion passed without any opposing vote, Keffer said, noting that all nine incumbent councillors were re-elected. “We know each other. We know the process,” he said.

In an email, Deputy Mayor James Leduc said he abstained because he didn’t see a need for this resolution in BWG. “Bill 66 will not affect Bradford as we already have plenty of employment lands available in our community. We have, as a council in the past and in the future will continue to plan appropriately for our community and will always consider environmental, issues as a priority, when it comes to considering any planning application.

Leduc added: “We have and always will be a strong advocate for proper planning. We protect our strongest assets in every way we can.” However, he noted, “the province has and will always have the right to overturn anything we decide, we are creature of the province.”

Concerns about ‘shutting the door’ on the province

Other municipalities to have passed a resolution (or have one in the works) stating they will  not be using Bill 66 include Burlington, Oakville, Aurora, Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton, Guelph and Waterloo Region.

Keffer said he is not in favour of the process proposed under Bill 66, whereby a council can deal with an application behind closed doors and send it to the province for approval without having had any public input. “That’s different than what our municipality or I think any municipality has done in the past,” he said. “The municipal governments are the grass-roots governments – they’re the closest to the people. It’s good to let everybody know if there’s an application in progress.”

Keffer said he’s aware of problems arising in the past because the public was not made aware of what was happening. And in any case, “some good ideas come from members of the public and will lessen issues into the future. It’s good to have more people with ideas of how to move things forward.”

As for the argument that public consultation slows things down, Keffer disagreed. Timelines can be put in place to prevent undue delays, he said.

Keffer said he worked with his CAO on the wording of the Bill 66 resolution. He said he knew he wanted to deal with the matter right away after receiving a letter with a sample resolution from Rescue Lake Simcoe and the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition.

“The resolution that we passed was not as aggressive as the sample motion – but we thought that it stated our position. We didn’t tell the province what to do, I guess, we’re sort of minding Bradford West Gwillimbury’s business. And our resolution says what we’re able to do and how we’ll proceed.”

Text of the Bradford-West-Gwillimbury resolution

WHEREAS, the Government of Ontario has introduced Bill 66, An Act to restore Ontario’s competitiveness by amending or repealing certain Acts; and WHEREAS, Schedule 10 of Bill 66 would amend the Planning Act to allow municipalities to pass “open-for-business planning by-laws”; and

WHEREAS Bill 66 would allow open-for-business planning by-laws to override important planning, drinking water, agricultural and other environmental protections contained in the Clean Water Act, 2006 , the Provincial Policy Statement, and other provincial policies, plans, and legislation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT notwithstanding the future adoption of Bill 66, the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury will continue to make sound decisions regarding growth management and resource preservation that are consistent with the Clean Water Act, 2006, the Provincial Policy Statement, and other provincial policies, plans, and legislation.

Text of the Adjala-Tosorontio resolution

1. The Township of Adjala-Tosorontio is supportive of the general intent of Provincial initiatives to achieve all feasible efficiencies geared toward granting municipal and provincial approvals for economic development and job creation in Simcoe County; and further,
2. That the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio does not support all matters in omnibus Bill 66 that relinquish collective provisions that would allow any Open-For-Business Bylaw (OFB-ZBL) to circumvent existing Provincial legislative provisions and existing Provincial Plan policy provisions enacted and approved by the Province to protect all environmental matters and natural heritage related resources and functions; and further,
3. That the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio does not support all matters in omnibus Bill 66 that relinquish collective requirements that would allow any Open-For-Business Bylaw (OFB-ZBL) to circumvent existing Provincial legislative provisions and existing Provincial Plan policy provisions enacted and approved by the Province to ensure an open and transparent planning process, including public enquiry, commenting and appeals procedures; and further,
4. That the Resolution, if adopted by council, be submitted to Michael Helfinger, Senior Policy Advisor Intergovernmental Policy Coordination Unit (Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade) michael.helfinger@ontario.ca

Text of the Collingwood resolution

The Town of Collingwood supports any legislation that, in principle, supports the economic development in our community. However, in light of the unanswered questions raised by Schedule 10 of Bill 66, relative to its impacts on future planning applications and the ability of council and the public to maintain our commitment to protecting our shared environment and the safety of our residents for future generations, the Town of Collingwood does not support Bill 66 in its current form.
Further that, council requests that these comments included in the proposed Schedule 10 be amended from its current form to ensure that municipalities should be obligated to set their own rules should they wish to utilize the enabling legislation to ensure that best planning principles, environmental practices and public consultation as well as principles of other legislation for investments that are complimentary and compatible to our respective municipality.

Text of the Oro-Medonte resolution 

1. That Report No. DS2019-3, Derek Witlib, Manager, Planning Services and Andy Karaiskakis, Senior Planner re: Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act and Proposed Open-for-Business Planning By-law (OFB-ZBL) be received and adopted, as amended.
2. That Council authorize Planning staff to submit the comments as outlined in Report DS2019-003 through the Environmental Registry (013-4125) as the Township’s submission on the Provincial Consultation on the proposed Open-For-Business Planning Tool.
3. That the following additional comments be reflected in the Township’s submission: (a) That the Minster require all municipalities to develop a local municipal protocol for the consideration of an OFB-ZBL to ensure that community interests remain protected within the context of good planning;
(b) That the Minister consider permitting other uses that create jobs and that are not
more traditionally defined employment uses and that the threshold of the numbers of jobs created be reduced to 25 for a municipality with a population under 250,000 with an ability for these jobs to be phased in;
(c) That the Minister not consider endorsing any OFB-ZBL submissions unless they have due regard for the protection of the environment.
4. That staff be directed to prepare for the Development Services Committee’s consideration a protocol for consideration of development in context to an OFB-ZBL.

2 Responses to “BWG says no to Bill 66 – plus updates from Adj-Tos, Collingwood, Oro-Medonte”

  1. Ann says:

    Good for Mayor Keffer for doing the right thing and standing up to Rob Ford’s insane Bill 66!

  2. Anna Romano says:

    Unfortunately the communities that lack this type of leadership will be exposed to potential health hazards. Some think that economic development trump the health and safety of your family and your environment.

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