County of Brant Council has endorsed the draft new Official Plan, but they are awaiting comments from the provincial government.
The Official Plan addresses issues including where new housing, industry, and businesses will be located, what services like roads, sewers, parks and schools will be needed and what parts of the community will grow and in what order.
“The Official Plan helps the County to evolve, improve and realize its full potential in areas such as land use and the environment,” said Pam Duesling, General Manager of Development Services. “The draft new Official Plan took two years to develop and consulting with the public was an incredibly important part of the process to learn how the community wants to improve and grow now and into the future.”
The Plan was submitted to the Province on August 17, 2021 for comment. The County has yet to receive comment from the Province and their 90-day period to provide comment has lapsed.
“The government has many competing priorities to address,” said Mayor David Bailey. “However, the County has invested a lot of time and resources into the Official Plan and we are disappointed that the Province has not provided comment so we can finalize and complete this project.”
Once the County receives formal comments from the Province on a draft Official Plan, these comments will be incorporated into a final version along with the many comments from the public, development industry, stakeholders and Indigenous communities.
“The County is eager to receive comments from the Province and to work with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on responsible managed growth in Brant,” said Duesling. “The draft new Official Plan provides new policies related to affordable and attainable housing opportunities which is a need in the County. The Plan will allow additional flexibility in designing complete communities to ensure our community builds attainable, affordable housing for all income levels and ages.”
County Council has recently expressed concerns to the Province regarding their ‘More Homes for Everyone Plan’ and Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022. The legislative changes respond to recommendations from the Report of the Housing Affordability Task Force.
This new Provincial legislation focuses on streamlining the development process to create more homes, faster in Ontario. Specifically, the Bill focuses on:
- Delegated authority of site plan control,
- Ministers approvals and orders on all or parts of Official Plans to the Ontario Land Tribunal and
- Suspension of approval of Official Plans.
County Council has expressed concerns to the Province about limiting the local municipality’s ability to make development decisions and the need to continue soliciting valuable public input. County Council believes that development decisions should continue to be made by local Councils and Committees which recognize community priorities.
“We want growth to occur in a thoughtful manner. We do not want to fast track development beyond what is responsible,” said Duesling. “We need to ensure the preservation of agricultural lands and natural heritage and we are dedicated to working with neighbouring First Nations communities.”
The County of Brant currently has a 15 year supply of residential housing in the pipeline and staff continue to work daily with developers to ensure a mix of housing options will be available to the community.