Ontario’s Growth Plan is moving in the right direction

Blog - May 19, 2016 - By Dianne Zimmerman

Mayor Bonnie Crombie, with Ministers Del Duca, McMeekin, Sousa and Mauro at the announcement last week. Photo: Dianne Zimmerman, Pembina Institute

Last week at the release of the Land Use Planning Review, I was impressed to see this type of collaboration, with four provincial ministers and Mississauga’s mayor, making a joint announcement. David Crombie and his expert panelists, who made several recommendations in this coordinated land-use review in what is known as the Crombie Report, were also present. It was especially exciting to have the announcement happen in Port Credit – my home and an excellent example of how to build a complete community.

The level of commitment from the provincial government to have a coordinated approach to land-use is what is necessary to ensure we are building communities that will support our future populations and protect our environment. It was encouraging to see the proposed changes where more development is being pushed to existing built-up areas rather than greenfields.  This demonstrates that the province recognizes that we can direct most of our growth to urban areas, while slowing sprawl.

Connecting transit with density

I was pleased to see that some of the recommendations the Pembina Institute submitted last May have been included in these amendments. We recommended the province strengthen density targets around transit corridors. The province took strides in this area by requiring municipal official plans to set minimum density targets around major transit station areas and corridors. At the event, Minister Del Duca drew applause at his suggestion that the ministry of transportation is looking at linking transit investments with zoning along transit corridors to provide adequate density.

We are also pleased to see the proposed amendments directing municipalities to set aside land based on Metrolinx plans. However, the proposed amendments should more clearly direct municipalities to refer to Metrolinx's regional transportation plan, the Big Move, in order to identify transit priority corridors or major station areas in their official plans, which is important for assigning appropriate development densities to future transit investments.

This summer, the Pembina Institute will be doing a more in depth review of the proposed changes and preparing our feedback. Things we will be looking for include strong alignment and coordination with the Big Move review, a focus on employment hubs and finding ways to ensure municipalities meet their new density targets and minimum intensification rates.


Dianne Zimmerman

Dianne is director of the Pembina Institute’s transportation and urban solutions program. She is based in Toronto.


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