“The legislation will create serious risks to the environment and human health at a time when the impacts of climate change are evident and urgent,” warns the submission The proposed changes to how municipalities approve development and manage where and how growth occurs signal a move away from environmental protection when it is needed most.” – A Statement from the Association of Ontario Municipalities representing Niagara Regionand 443 other municipal governments across Ontario
News from the Hamilton, Ontario-based group Citizens at City Hall (CATCH)
Posted November 21st. 2022 on Niagara At Large
In a highly unusual move, the Association of Ontario Municipalities have been refused permission to speak to the committee examining Bill 23.
Not allowed to speak –
Municipalities are particularly affected by Bill 23 changes being pushed forward by the provincial Progressive Conservatives. But in a highly unusual move, the Association of Ontario Municipalities (AMO) have been refused permission to speak to the committee charged with detailed examination of the legislation.
AMO’s purpose is to represent the province’s 444 municipalities. It has a memorandum of understanding with the provincial government to provide “input and reaction to provincial policy ideas.” More specifically, the province is to consult with it “on matters that are of a federal-provincial nature that could affect municipal services and finances.”
AMO Board member Robert Foster) the rejection a “substantial surprise” because of the impacts on municipal governments. He said the Standing Committee on Heritage and Culture “chose not to invite AMO to discuss Bill 23 which I think is almost unheard of at the provincial level”.
Foster is a Niagara regional councillor from Lincoln who is chair of the region’s Corporate Services Committee and also head of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority at whose November 18 meeting he made these comments. He has been continuously since 2001 and was acclaimed in last month’s election.
AMO’s website confirms that they “were not provided an opportunity” to address the standing committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy . In response, the NDP set up a virtual meeting on November 17 to allow AMO “to present its submission to interested members” of the provincial legislature.
In the submission, AMO calculates that Bill 23 will result in “the transfer of up to $1 billion a year in costs from private sector developers to property taxpayers without any likelihood of improved housing affordability.” That’s on top of the costs to the public of the Bill’s slashing of environmental protection rules.
“The legislation will create serious risks to the environment and human health at a time when the impacts of climate change are evident and urgent,” warns the submission. “The proposed changes to how municipalities approve development and manage where and how growth occurs signal a move away from environmental protection when it is needed most.”
AMO candidly to the real problems with residential development in Ontario. “For decades, Ontario’s housing supply in high growth regions has been determined by developers and land speculators managing supply to optimize price, and those who view housing units as solely an investment.”
Bill 23 and the accompanying provincial moves to expand urban areas onto farmland and open up the Greenbelt and Conservation Areas to development have been widely denounced as a gift to developers and land speculators.
One of the most controversial provisions of Bill 23 is to ban Conservation Authorities from providing ecological and other planning advice to municipalities. AMO says (https://hamiltoncatch.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8ffda5515733a1dd97a7b21fa&id=825a10f12d&e=a31ab29d46) their member municipalities “rely on [CA] expertise to undertake watershed-based programs to protect people and property from flooding and other natural hazards, and to conserve and protect natural resources for their economic, social, and environmental benefits.”
Bill 23 also eliminates some CA permitting roles and forbids them from considering the impacts of either “pollution” or “conservation of land” in the remaining ones.
Out of 36 across the province NPCA was one of only two Conservation Authorities allowed to delegate to the standing committee. They were limited to seven minutes. CEO Chandra Sharma noted that “almost every Conservation Authority has issued public statements”.
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.You can unsubscribe at http://hamiltoncatch.org/newsletter/?p=unsubscribe
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