News from the Hamilton, Ontario-based Citizens At City Hall (CATCH)
Posted September 12th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Hamilton, Ontario – The City of Hamilton is still pushing for lands to be removed from the Greenbelt and it is also opposing higher densities in new developments and greater intensification targets proposed by the province.
It has submitted more than three dozen objections to the growth plan and Ontario foodland protection policies to a provincial review that concludes next month after nearly two years of public consultations.
Foodland protection advocates celebrated in May when the province released its draft changes to the Greenbelt boundaries without removing 104 hectares in lower Stoney Creek and 28 hectares in Waterdown that had been pushed by a majority of councillors. But there’s one more kick at the can before the revised Greenbelt Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe are finalized so the city is trying again – and groups like Environment Hamilton are continuing to offer assistance to residents to keep pushing in the opposite direction.
The long list of recommendations sent to the province in mid-August by planning staff were only made public last week as the report heads to council for rubber-stamping.
In addition to pushing again for Greenbelt cuts, the city submission objects to anti-sprawl measures unveiled in the May provincial report to require more growth to be accommodated in the built up area, and substantially higher densities to be achieved for greenfield development. The new provincial rules would require cities ensure at least 60 percent of their new growth occurs inside the built-up area, while any development outside this area would need to accommodate a minimum of 80 persons per hectare in order to make it dense enough to support transit service.
“The City of Hamilton is not in a position to support the increase in the intensification target from 40% to 60%, the increase in the persons and jobs per hectare for greenfield areas from 50 pjh to 80 pjh, and the static built boundary,” declares the submission, “until such time as the province evaluates the impact on housing mix and demand in Hamilton”.
Recognizing that the province may be unlikely to agree with Hamilton’s demands to change the 60 percent target, the submission asks that the built boundary be redefined “to include developed ‘greenfield areas’, since they are more appropriate to be included”.
Similarly, if the minimum greenfield densities are increased, the city recommends “that this target shall not apply to greenfield areas which have already been developed or undeveloped land in a council-approved secondary plan.” It also wants the province “to add cemeteries, landfills, infrastructure (stormwater management ponds, roads) and public parks to the features to be excluded from the greenfield density calculation.”
The city also wants to be given the right to decide what constitutes “major transit station areas” where higher density development will be required and to let the city determine the frequency of the transit service. Both issues could affect the way Hamilton deals with Light Rail Transit.
Other city demands seek the exclusion of rural communities from the provincial requirement for developing complete communities. The submission also reiterates a council request to include Coldwater Creek (aka Ancaster Creek) to be added to the Greenbelt river valley designation, but again does not support inclusion of Red Hill and other larger Hamilton stream valleys.
The deadline for the public to provide their comments to province has been extended to October 31. Environment Hamilton is offering a workshop on Wednesday, September 14 at the citizen group’s offices to help residents prepare and submit their input to the province.
The group is also co-hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, October 5 where the Neptis Foundation will make a presentation on how the Greenbelt Plan and the Growth Plan “interact to manage growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”
In late August, Environment Hamilton organized a Greenbelt awareness cycling trip to a farm in Brant County just outside the provincially protected area. The group wants the countryside protection extended to preserve more farmland and block leapfrog development pressures in Brant.
CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) updates use transcripts and/or public documents to highlight information about Hamilton civic affairs that is not generally available in the mass media. Detailed reports of City Hall meetings can be reviewed at hamiltoncatch.org. You can receive all CATCH free updates by sending an email to http://hamiltoncatch.org/newsletter/?p=subscribe. Sharing links are available on the hamiltoncatch.org.
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