Province holds the line on Greenbelt vs. Durham

In a letter published over the weekend on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website, the ministry responded to Durham Region’s Official Plan, which does not conform to provincial legislation (a requirement under the Planning Act). This battle has been ongoing, as Durham looks to sprawl into its northern reaches, in and amongst land designated under the province’s Greenbelt. The town of Seaton, planned in conjunction with the City of Pickering, is projected by the Region to be home to 70 000 residents and 35 000 jobs. However, it looks like it is planned by Durham to be business-as-usual; that is, reckless sprawl, with 70% of the development to be semi- and single-detached homes. This proportion of low-density housing is not expected to produce the goal of compact communities. To quote:

The Ministry is concerned that the scale of the proposed urban expansion areas, resulting urban form and densities based on the above-noted assumptions will undermine the Growth Plan’s policy-objective of creating compact, complete communities for future generations. Moreover, it will also undermine the Region’s own efforts to make efficient use of existing land and infrastructure and build and sustain good transit services.

It is my hope that Ajax mayor Steve Parrish is able to convince some of the more ignorant politicians in Durham that the province’s way is the right way. Full text of the letter can be found here.

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