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Halton Growth Plan Sparks Debate within Council Members - Halton Growth Plan on Pause

On November 17th, 2021, the Regional Council received a growth plan concept that outlined how Halton will grow over the next 30 years. According to Councillor Clark Somerville, “Halton has to plan to be 1.1 Million people in 2051 with employment land for 500,000 jobs. No greenbelt or Niagara Escarpment lands included. The final decision on which lands will be used is by the Province of Ontario.” This means that Halton Hills will have to expand by about 350 hectares; within this expansion, there would be housing and employment in the south of Georgetown. A new hospital campus based on the Halton healthcare system is also in development within the growth plan concept. However, not everyone on the council is for this plan. Local and Regional Councillor Jane Fogal is against the current growth plan for Halton, Fogal comments,

“I am opposed to the Preferred Growth Concept because it consumes 5,000 acres of prime agricultural land. The Halton Federation of Agriculture and Halton’s own Rural Agricultural Strategy, adopted by the Regional Council, call for protecting all prime agricultural land in Halton because the soils are class 1, 2 and 3; the best there is.” Councillor Fogal continues,

“We also know that sprawling growth has a negative impact on taxes and the ability of the municipality to provide services. In Halton Hills, we are 15 years behind in building phase 2 of the Gellert, and we are very short in parkland. Despite the growth in the past 15 years, we haven’t been able to catch up. We currently have enough land in Halton designated for growth, but undeveloped to last until 2036, according to the Chief Planner. Planning now to accommodate growth to 2051 means that we must think about what our community will look like 3 decades from now. There is no doubt that we will have to adapt to a new reality including accepting more gentle density within our current urban boundary.”

Although Councillor Fogal believes that the growth plan is potentially dangerous for Halton Hills, Councillor Clark Somerville disagrees, for he believes this plan is essential for the positive development of Halton. Councillor Somerville comments,

“This would hurt us in areas like housing types in Halton Hills, jobs, parkland but also land for a potential new hospital site. It would add about 30,000 people to Halton Hills within the present urban boundaries. We have seen some industries relocate now as we don't have enough employment land available.”

Halton Hills Mayor since 2003, Rick Bonnette is for the need to expand the Urban Boundary, for it will accommodate the estimated 1.1 million individuals and 500,000 jobs by 2051. According to Mayor Bonnette,

“The Growth Plan directs municipalities to use the Land Needs Assessment Methodology approved by the Minister. The Land Needs Assessment Methodology requires the Region to ensure to the extent possible that sufficient land is designated to accommodate the full range of market housing types while adhering to the objectives of the Growth Plan.”

Ultimately, it is hard to say whether or not it is too early to plan ahead as Councillor Fogal puts it, “that we must think about what our community will look like 3 decades from now.”

Currently, no decision has been made to put the Growth Plan in motion, for there are members of the council who are not pushing for it. Councillor Somerville comments,

“I represent the area that the growth in Halton Hills would occur and took the time to meet with the landowners and others who will be affected by this. If any resident wants to chat with me about this I hope they will reach out.”

If anyone has questions or concerns regarding the Halton Growth Plan please click on the following links below:

Halton Contact Information-

Correction: A correction was made to this article as we had mistaken Halton Hills for Halton Region in paragraph 1.


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