Earlier this week, the province released proposed revisions to
four of its land use plans in effect within the Greater Golden
Horseshoe: the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the
Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the
Niagara Escarpment Plan.
The release of these proposed revisions comes following a year-long
co-ordinated review of the plans which included extensive public
consultation and the appointment of an Advisory Panel which
released its report containing 87 recommendations in December
The general themes of the proposed revisions are: building
complete communities, supporting agriculture, protecting natural
heritage and water, growing the greenbelt, addressing climate
change, integrating infrastructure and improving plan
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Proposed revisions to the Growth Plan would introduce a number
of new policies and directions for supporting growth. These
revisions centre around increased intensification, promoting
transit, protecting and enhancing employment areas, goods movement,
stormwater management, protecting natural heritage systems and
Although there are numerous proposed revisions, highlights
include an increase in the minimum intensification target from 40
per cent to 60 per cent, minimum density targets for "major
transit station areas" and new policies to increase the
minimum density target for "designated greenfield areas"
from 50 to 80 residents.
Revisions to the Greenbelt Plan focus predominately on growing
the Greenbelt, encouraging opportunities for economic activities on
agricultural lands, watershed planning and preserving cultural
Highlights of the proposed revisions to the
Greenbelt Plan include the province's proposal to add four new
parcels of land to the Greenbelt Plan's "Protected
Countryside" designation and the designation of 21 major river
valleys and seven associated coastal wetlands as "Urban River
Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
Proposed revisions to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan
("ORMCP") focus on protecting natural areas, supporting
agriculture, conserving cultural heritage resources, encouraging
opportunities for economic activities on agricultural lands and
planning for stormwater and watersheds.
Highlights of the proposed revisions to the ORMCP include
greater flexibility for "on-farm diversified uses" and
"agricultural related uses," a requirement that
applications for major development not be approved unless the
applicant can demonstrate there is sufficient assimilative capacity
to deal with the sewage from the development and prohibiting the
approval of applications for small-scale commercial, industrial and
institutional uses in prime agricultural areas.
Niagara Escarpment Plan
The Niagara Escarpment Plan's policies and land use
designations would be updated and streamlined to better harmonize
and align with the rest of the planning framework in the region,
including the Provincial Policy Statement. Land use designation
mapping in the Niagara Escarpment Plan, some of which dates back to
1985, would also be updated to ensure it is accurate and
In response to the Advisory Panel recommendations and feedback
from public consultations, the province is in the process of:
considering possible expansion of the
Greenbelt outside of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area where
important water resources are under pressure from urban
obtaining detailed technical
information from municipalities, conservation authorities and
landowners in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to determine if
further refinements to the Greenbelt are required; and
producing guidance documents and
mapping of natural heritage and agricultural systems outside the
The province will be hosting public open houses on the proposed changes to
the four plans across the Greater Golden Horseshoe from late May
until early July 2016. Comments and feedback may be provided until
September 30, 2016.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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