Toronto, ON – Today Ontario announced important changes that will help create vibrant, transit-friendly communities – the kinds of places more of us actually want to live. Unfortunately, at the same time, the province missed an opportunity to introduce a critical mechanism to recover the full cost of sprawl development.
On the positive side, allowing municipalities to increase development charges to recover full costs for transit will help fund improvements to local and regional transit services – a key component of tackling congestion and addressing climate change. Increased transparency and accountability around development charges are also positive moves. Knowing where the development money is going in our communities is essential for accountability and to help us understand the true costs of development. New rules also mean that there will now be two years before municipalities’ official plans can be appealed, giving municipalities a fighting chance at implementing plans that prioritize efficient growth, such as revitalizing downtowns.
However, we are disappointed that sprawl continues to be subsidized across Ontario. Sprawl developments cost more to provide with services like water, hydro and roads. Existing taxpayers will continue to pick up the cost until changes are made that address the inequity. Ontario values smart growth, but today it missed the chance introduce a development charge framework that would incentivize smart, efficient growth. As a result, the burden for sprawl will continue to fall on taxpayers, rather than on the developers building outdated sprawl subdivisions. We are hopeful that these gaps will be addressed through the recently announced coordinated review of the Growth and Greenbelt Plans.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information, or media requests, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258, 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca