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Mayor’s Monthly Column - February 2021

At our last council meeting Councillor Jane Fogal brought a resolution that everyone should take note. Her resolution requests the Region of Halton delay its final report on its Official Plan Review until there is proper, in person, informed consultation with the public. Also, it is asking the Region to suspend the timetable for the conformity to the Provincial Growth Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement to ensure the public can fully participate in the process of planning their communities. You see folks, the Planning horizon has been moved out to 2051 by the Province. Council must approve plans to accommodate population to 2051. This means designating rural land now to provide housing up to 30 years in the future. We haven’t even seen a shovel in the ground for Vision Georgetown to take us to 2031. Your council is being asked to make these decisions in the middle of a world pandemic as to how much growth we plan to have to the year 2051 without, in our view, any proper community consultation. Sure we have zoom meetings but they are not the same as having in person conversations. I remember the last go around where we were getting over 200 people out to public meetings that were held at CTK, Gellert and other locations. The Province has made significant changes to a number of Provincial policies all aimed to assist the development industry. I chaired a citizen/council committee that brought in a Halton Hills Charter of Public Engagement. Now this is being compromised as the Province has given marching orders to complete the plan in 2022. Needless to say, Council unanimously supported Councillor Fogal’s resolution. Council is continuing its advocacy efforts for local businesses calling on the Provincial and Federal government to further invest in the Digital Main Street Program. This program assisted local businesses to enhance their online presence whether it is through a new or improved website, online payments or just using technology promotion. The pandemic has certainly driven home the fact that this is the world we live in now. Our businesses need our help.

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