Significance of the Review
Last year the Province published an updated Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (https://www.ontario.ca/document/place-grow-growth-plan-greater-golden-horseshoe). It represents an evolution from the earlier plan, not a radical change. All municipalities must now adjust their official plans to conform to the new Provincial Plan by July 1, 2022 (Halton) and July 1, 2023 (Oakville).
For the Halton municipalities, the first step is the Regional Plan. Of significance to the municipalities, working to realize their local visions and manage their growth, is that policy that is not supported in the Regional Official Plan cannot be adopted locally. Since 2017, Ontario has directed public input into planning decisions to the “front-end” processes of Official Plan adoption and amendments and Zoning By-Law adoption and amendments (noting that Zoning must conform to Official Plans).
There is an impressive quantity of information on the Region’s website on the Review (https://www.halton.ca/The-Region/Regional-Planning/Regional-Official-Plan-(ROP)-(1)/Halton-s-Regional-Official-Plan-Review-(ROPR)) . The entire review has been subdivided into five themes for simplicity of understanding. If we can only deal with one theme, Mayor Burton recommends that we focus on the Integrated Growth Management Strategy https://www.halton.ca/The-Region/Regional-Planning/Regional-Official-Plan-(ROP)-(1)/Halton-s-Regional-Official-Plan-Review-(ROPR)/Regional-Official-Plan-Review-Integrated-Growt-(1)and its related discussion paper https://www.halton.ca/Repository/Regional-Urban-Structure-Discussion-Paper.
Some Key Issues for Oakville
Mayor Burton has circulated a link (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/10XhN9wPK9VRPPkc-52vY8UBYwh3WBwfn) to a Google Drive Folder with the core documents and containing two transcripts of exchanges between the Mayor and Halton’s Chief Planning Official, Curt Benson. The transcripts capture some of the Mayor’s priorities for updates to the new Regional Plan:
Mayor Burton hopes that Oakville residents will endorse these priorities (given Ontario’s shift to public input at the front-end of the Official Planning process, and this being the front-end).
Importance of Public Input
There is an opportunity right now to clarify and strengthen policy important to Oakville’s vision. We must take it. The deadline for public feedback to the Region is September 28, 2020.
The more public feedback the Region receives, the more attention it will pay to the public will. Informed feedback is best, of course, but even less-than-expert comment matters. It shows that people care and are paying attention and have expectations.