On Dec. 3, the Ontario government passed legislation that intends to give the province’s residents more say in how the land in their communities will be used and provide municipalities with more funding for community services such as transit and recycling, according to the government of Ontario.
The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act, 2015 reforms the Development Charges Act and the Planning Act. According to the government, it will help municipalities recover more money to pay for community services; give residents a say in how the land in their communities will be used; promote and protect green spaces by helping municipalities develop plans to determine the need for parkland in regions; help municipalities resolve planning disputes at the local level; make the planning and appeals process more predictable by extending the review of new plans to 10 years; make the development charges system more transparent; and make the collection and use of money paid by developers more transparent and accountable.
The act is based on input from across Ontario, from over 20 public workshops, stakeholder meetings and over 1,200 submissions on the land use planning and appeal system and the development charges system, which are used in approximately 200 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities.
“We want to grow Ontario’s communities in a way that creates vibrant towns, cities and regions,” said Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a press release. “The Smart Growth for Our Communities Act provides the people of Ontario with a transparent and predictable system for planning and managing growth within their communities.”