BWG says no to Bill 66 – plus update from Adj-Tos, Collingwood
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.
Scroll down for the texts of resolutions
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 unanimously, Keffer said, noting that all nine incumbent councillors were re-elected. “We know each other. We know the process,” he said.
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) firstname.lastname@example.org
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.