Municipalities opposing Bill 66 won’t affect relationship with Ontario government, says Mulroney
MPP Caroline Mulroney
Towns like Bradford West Gwillimbury need to follow good planning, environmental rules, “so we don’t pollute the bejesus out of Lake Simcoe,” says executive director of Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition
by: Jenni Dunning Bradford Today Jan 18, 2019
York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney said the door between municipalities and the Ontario government will “never be shut,” even if they vote to ignore Doug Ford’s Bill 66.
“My job is to work on behalf of the people of this area. The door will never be shut,” she told BradfordToday.
Bradford West Gwillimbury council recently approved a resolution to continue making “sound decisions” about growth management and environmental protection, but it does not condemn Bill 66.
The bill would allow open-for-business bylaws to override planning, drinking water, agricultural and other environmental protections in the Clean Water Act and other legislation.
The resolution still concerned BWG Deputy Mayor James Leduc, who was the only council member to vote against it at a Jan. 8 meeting.
“It’s something we just don’t need to do here. This (resolution) is pretty well shutting the door on the provincial government,” Leduc said at the time.
Since BWG has employment land available, “we don’t have the issue here” of developers wanting to use water, farmland and green spaces instead, he said.
Other council members argued at the time the resolution was just a way to show the town cares about local resources and it does not mean the town will not follow Bill 66.
The resolution originally came about after council received a letter from the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition and Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, which requested it “publicly commit not to use Bill 66.”
Several communities around Ontario have come out against Bill 66 or are in the process of deciding whether to recognize it.
Mulroney said that is their right.
“Communities should be voicing their opinions,” she said. “There will be an opportunity for consultation and review.”
Claire Malcolmson, executive director of Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, said she hopes more municipalities will come out against Bill 66.
If communities use Bill 66, they will have little control over how it develops, she said.
“It’s a bit of a pandora’s box of planning.”
Malcolmson said it is “very good” to see municipalities pledging to making sound decisions about environmental planning like BWG did, but she suggested it would be safer for them to commit not to use it.
“If a municipality is waiting for manufacturing jobs… I don’t think there’s as many opportunities as municipalities hope. I would hate to see greenspace torn up … for employment that is not coming,” she said.
Rising phosphorus levels are a big problem in Lake Simcoe, she added, and new developments are a cause of that.
“That’s why we need to follow those rules and regulations, so we don’t pollute the bejesus out of Lake Simcoe.”