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Halton mayors sound off on Ford government’s sweeping housing bill

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Jun 12th, 2019
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Burlington’s Marianne Meed Ward, Rick Bonnette of Halton Hills, Oakville’s Rob Burton and Gordon Krantz of Milton

By Roland Cilliers InsideHalton.com

Bill 108 the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019 was passed by the Ontario government June 6. Described by the provincial government as its plan to tackle Ontario’s housing crisis, the bill includes extensive legislative, policy and regulatory changes across multiple ministries.

Municipal leaders specifically took issue with the changes to development charges and the return of a new body that will handle the appeals process around development disputes. The complete bill has legislation over 13 different acts — including the Endangered Species Act, Ontario Heritage Act, Cannabis Control Act, Development Charges Act, Environmental Assessment Act, Planning Act and the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act.

Rob Burton — Oakville

Oakville’s Mayor Rob Burton summarized the bill as reducing local planning authority.

“Planning is being turned over to the (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal), whatever we say that an applicant doesn’t like, they can go to LPAT and say ‘I don’t care whether it conforms to the local official plan, I’ve got a better idea’ — and in the name of better ideas, so much for local planning,” said Burton.

He also took issue with the speed it was rolled out.

“The bill came out of nowhere with no consultation and I am willing to expect the regulations will descend upon us similarly,” said Burton.

Gordon Krantz — Milton

Milton’s Mayor Gordon Krantz is less opposed to Bill 108.

“There’s good things in there and bad things in there that negatively impact on a community, but keeping in mind I think the only reason the province is doing this, of course, the province is bankrupt and they have to do something to get their house in order with regards to the economics of the province. I’m fully supportive of that, but not on the backs of the property tax base at local municipalities.”

Milton recently passed a motion opposing the bill.

Marianne Meed Ward — Burlington

Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Meed Ward swiftly denounced what the bill would mean for her community.

“Bill 108 will have a devastating impact on municipal finances and local land use planning control,” said Meed Ward. “Changes to development charges will mean growth will pay even less of the cost of growth, leaving taxpayers to make up the difference. This will unnecessarily add costs at a time when local governments are being asked to find savings.”

Rick Bonnette — Mayor of Halton Hills

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette said the bill shows that municipal leaders were not listened to.

“Municipalities have always encouraged that new growth should be paid for by developers, not on the backs of existing taxpayers. This bill will mean new growth will pay even less of its true costs and you, the existing taxpayer, will have to make up the difference,” said Bonnette.

“Bill 108 will have negative impacts on municipal finances and local planning. It’s going to be an interesting fall as we watch the trickle-down effect of this legislation.”

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