What is Bill 66
I know that most people who live in King Township care about protecting the environment. They care about clean drinking water, strong self-sufficient communities and effective public involvement in government decisions that affect them. Bill 66 (Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act), a Bill that is being proposed by the Provincial government, opens the door to undermine all of these things. Under the pretext of supporting business and job creation, this Bill grants Municipalities the option to designate lands for employment purposes anywhere, ignoring the requirements of the Greenbelt Act, the Oak Ridges Moraine Act, the Clean Water Act, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, the Planning Act and the Places to Grow Act, without any requirement or recourse for public input or appeal
So what is the Provincial government trying to do
- Providing Employment – So let’s examine this more closely. I live in Schomberg. This is a tight-knit community of residential neighbourhoods and commercial and light industrial businesses that provide services and jobs. It is functionally walkable and provides opportunities for both outdoor and indoor recreation. It meets many of the requirements for a “sustainable” community. Included in the Village of Schomberg is a large area east of Highway #27 designated as employment lands. Much of this land has been left vacant for years. In fact every community in the GTA, through public consultation and the desire to build strong communities, has already designated employment lands … there is no shortage. Instead of opening up lands arbitrarily, effort needs to be made to develop the existing employment lands where services and infrastructure are already provided or planned for and where there is a local employment pool.
- Cutting Red Tape – The government is trying to stream-line the development process by cutting red tape. I don’t know about you, but the Acts that safe-guard our drinking water, protect our right to effective public consultation and protect agricultural land and important environmental services and areas, do not seem like red tape to me.
- Downloading the development process to the Municipalities – On the surface it looks like the Provincial government is giving Municipalities more authority … and in some respects they are. However it also gives Municipalities more burdens and responsibilities. Let’s say the Township decides to designate industrial lands adjacent to the 400. Makes sense … until they are required to take on the burden of building and maintaining services and infrastructure and start getting complaints about increased traffic, noise and pollution. Bill 66 forgoes all checks and balances and promotes only a single consideration in the planning process. Where is the vision? And if something goes wrong or there is public back-lash, the Province gets to wash their hands of it.
I have to ask this question. Who is the Provincial government listening to? The only people who benefit from this legislation are developers, who own large chucks of land throughout the GTA, and big business. I doubt if many of the jobs created would go to existing local residents. There may be some tax benefit but will that be off-set by the new costs? In the end it will push our villages closer to bedroom communities and farther from the sustainable communities that we want.
Are you concerned? Not everyone has time to get involved in large picture planning considerations like this one, but there are a few things you can do. Contact your councillor … mine is Bill Cober (firstname.lastname@example.org), the mayor Steve Pellegrini (email@example.com) or the Township CEO Susan Plamondon (firstname.lastname@example.org). And you can contact your MPP Stephen Lecce (email@example.com). Ask questions. Let them know what you think. For more information or to sign a petition you can go to https://act.environmentaldefence.ca/page/35250/action/1environmentaldefence.ca.
What a privilege it has been to meet so many new people in Lloydtown and Schomberg. After living in Schomberg since 1985, you would think I would already know everyone. The people of Lloydtown and Schomberg are both concerned and excited about the future of the Hamlet and Village. They value the heritage character and small town feel, and want to balance that with limited growth including opportunities for job creation, affordable housing and transit options. With development pressures on the horizon people have raised several concerns:
What a beautiful pastoral neighbourhood. This was the first time I have explored it and I heard lots about the history of the area. Members of this neighbourhood seem fairly content. Two new projects have addressed two major issues – upgraded cell phone and internet access and an acoustic barrier along Highway 400. There are still a few concerns that I heard at the door.
more “Carrying Place”
I have been knocking on doors in Pottageville and have had the pleasure to meet many of you and listen to your ideas for the future, and your concerns. The conversations have been varied and interesting but there are three main themes that kept recurring:
Several weeks ago a small group of us met at 66 Main Street to view the house and discuss any changes in the development proposal. The owner expressed a sincere interest in the protection and restoration of the house which was very encouraging. At that point they were still in consultation with the Township Planning Department and Conservation Authority.
Since then two things have happened. The first is the purchase of 72 Main Street. My understanding is that this property, which is immediately west of 66 Main Street, was purchased by the developer. This will likely mean that there will be more townhomes proposed, but it also means that there is an opportunity to reconfigure the proposal, saving more trees, eliminating the crowding of houses and roads at Main Street and removing all proposed development from the floodplain.
more “66 Main Street – Part 2”
I attended the Council meeting on June 25 where Council considered the development proposal to extend Roselena and build 51 new single family homes. There was a presentation given by staff and the developers’ representative and several presentations by concerned neighbours. One person representing the existing residents on Roselena talked about the issue of traffic and suggested that only emergency access link Roselena Dr. between the existing and proposed development. A resident living downstream of the site expressed serious concerns about the extent of the development and filling in the floodplain and how it will impact flood levels up and downstream of the site as well as impact the sensitive environmental features. A third resident pointed out the failing wells in the area and was concerned that this new development may exacerbate the problem.
more “Roselina Development Part 2”
I have been thinking about the proposed development at the end of Roselena and what it will offer to the people who will live there and who already live nearby and how it will impact the natural spaces. Fifty -one homes will change this area forever so how do we make sure that people are given an attractive and safe place to live and the natural features are protected as much as possible?
more “Roselena Drive Extension and Subdivision Development”
North of Dr. Kay Dr. on the east side of Main Street is a row of heritage homes extending past the intersection at Western Ave. These homes include the historic train station.
In the new draft Official Plan the first eight properties have been identified as Special Development Area 2 (SDA -2) .A Special Development Area designation identifies an area for future redevelopment. It requires a comprehensive plan for roads, services and structures. SDA – 2 also allows for mixed use with a generous allowance for commercial use.
more “Official Plan—Part 3”
I thought I would update you on what is happening at 66 Main Street. A group of us met with the developer yesterday to discuss the protection of the heritage home. He took us on a tour of the house which is currently full of trash. He will be inviting the Heritage Advisory Committee and the Museum to tour the place as well. There are some beautiful interior features but the restoration will be a lot of work. The developer is not only happy to do the restoration but is eager to see the house assume its former grandeur.
more “66 Main Street”
I remember in 1989 the people of Schomberg were really engaged in the review of a community plan for Schomberg. The process resulted in a great plan for the future of the village. This plan was instrumental in recognising historic Main Street and protecting the Dufferin Marsh.
I have seen many changes in our Township since 1989. The population in Schomberg and the adjacent area has grown dramatically and the once rural character has been overpowered by fast cars, noise, light and the detritus of modern human existence.
more “King Township Draft Official Plan November 2017”