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County’s MZO issues for projects in Springwater

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In Agriculture
May 3rd, 2020
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Freele Tract

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AWARE Simcoe note about MZOs (Ministerial Zoning Orders): The Planning Act gives the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the authority to zone any property in the province. Zoning orders were used in areas of Northern Ontario where there was no local municipality or local zoning bylaw and it was deemed that a provincial interest needed to be protected. MZOs were rarely used where municipalities had existing zoning by-laws and well-constituted planning regimes. These days, some municipalities are trying to sidestep the safeguards and democratic process instituted by decades of careful planning in Ontario and calling on the Minister to take this extreme measure. Scroll down. 

Springwater News April 30 2020 page 19

News release from Simcoe County: County Council Highlights – Committee of the Whole: March 10 & April 14, 2020 County Council: April 14, 2020

2020 Tax Ratios and Tax Rates

Upper-tier municipalities have the responsibility of establishing County wide tax ratios, tax rate reductions and County tax rates. All properties are valued based on a valuation date of January 1, 2016. These updated Current Value Assessment (CVA) values as adjusted under the Province’s assessment phase-in program, will have formed the basis of taxation for the 2016 through 2019 taxation years and continue to apply to 2020. Every year, the County is required to establish tax ratios for multi- residential, commercial, landfill, industrial and pipeline classes, within guidelines prescribed by the Province.

Council voted to implement a multi-resident class and an industrial class ratio reduction to address inequities and stimulate growth, while having little impact on other taxpayers.

MZOs for Elmvale Active Seniors Residence and Environmental Resource Recovery Centre

On January 29, 2020, a non-profit corporation called the Elmvale Active Seniors Residence (EASR) submitted a letter to Warden Cornell and members of County Council, requesting the County’s support for their application for a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to facilitate the development of a seniors retirement campus on the border of Elmvale.

Council was also asked to consider an MZO for the County’s Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC), which will provide the necessary waste management infrastructure for our next curbside collection contract in 2022 and support the Province’s long-term waste goals.

The County is currently awaiting its fourth LPAT case management conference and a hearing date has not been established. The current path for obtaining approvals is likely to take another two years or more without the MZO and has already cost the taxpayer more than $1.5 million.

Section 47 of the Planning Act gives the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the same authority as municipal councils to make decisions on certain land use planning matters. An MZO is a very specialized planning instrument given to cover projects important to the public that meet very important and urgent municipal and provincial goals and establishes land use permissions and sets specific requirements for a new development. However, unlike municipal decisions, MZOs are non- appealable.

In keeping with County and Provincial plans, Council voted to support both MZOs to encourage development and significantly reduce the time and cost to bring these projects to reality.

Emergency Licensed Child Care

On March 17, 2020, the Province directed closure of Licensed Child Care Centres, under Ontario’s declared State of Emergency. On March 21, the Province announced that select Licensed Child Care Centres could be approved as exempt from closure, in order to support health care and other frontline emergency workers in securing care for their children.
Council received a report on County efforts to reach out to licensed childcare operators to develop additional child care spaces for parents who qualify for emergency child care, particularly parents working in front line health care settings. At this time, Licensed Family Home Child Care continues to be available and staff anticipates that one Licensed Child Care Centre, located in Barrie, will be operational by early to mid-April. Similar centre based opportunities continue to be explored for other geographical areas.

Social Services Relief Fund and Reaching Home Funding

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Province has created a $200-million Social Services Relief Fund (SSRF) for services to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people. The SSRF will include two components: funding to individuals for current and non- social assistance clients ($52 million across the province); and funding to Service Managers to keep frontline critical social services operating ($148 million across the province).

On April 1, 2020, the Warden received a letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, allocating $2,440,500 to the County under SSRF, which is the County’s portion of the $148 million. Additionally, the federal government has provided funding $157.5 million to support people across Canada experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. The 2020-2021 incremental funding allocation for the County of Simcoe under the Designated Communities Funding Stream is $1,641,353, which is in addition to current Reaching Home funding amounts.

Council approved staff entering into service agreements and providing any other documentation to give effect to the allocation of Social Services Relief Fund and Reaching Home Funding.

To view the full Committee of the Whole or Council Agenda visit: https://simcoe.civicweb.net/Portal/

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