Whitby, Ont. – The following statement is issued on behalf of John Henry, Regional Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Municipality of Durham:
“For years, municipal leaders across Ontario have worked together to address issues of increased housing supply and affordability in our communities. We have made investments; propose innovative solutions; and carefully considered available land options for future developments that help meet the specific needs of our communities.
While we welcome potential changes to help streamline processes – while increasing the availability of housing, rental and affordable housing – provincial Bill 23 (The Getting More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022) raises concerns .
He has proposed numerous amendments to the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act which, if passed, will have a significant impact on how municipal governments plan and recover costs associated with the growth. It has unintended consequences and far-reaching implications that have an economic, social and environmental impact on all Ontarians.
Housing has been a priority for Durham Regional Council for some time. First and foremost, we know housing is a basic human right. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.
But successful urban planning also requires a vision, an overview. It’s about shaping communities that balance growth, services and protecting our environment for our residents. We need to protect our wetlands to mitigate flooding; and caring for the forests that sustain the air we breathe. We were elected to ensure a secure, prosperous and healthy future.
It is the foundation of our official regional plan and the basis of Envision Durham, our vision for growth to 2051.
We welcome growth. It strengthens our communities and we have planned it thoughtfully and strategically. We have a vision of transit-centric development, with transit at the heart of future communities. We must provide all services to our communities in the most cost-effective way possible, so that they can grow and prosper.
And we believe that growth must pay for growth. Development charges have traditionally been levied to fund large infrastructure projects needed for new construction. Without them, municipalities are forced to cover the costs by raising property taxes and water and sewer rates, a burden on existing residents and businesses.
Managing growth remains an important regional responsibility, including regional major infrastructure planning.
We encourage the province to continue the dialogue with municipalities and residents to help ensure that the environment, and the health and safety of all Ontarians, remain top of mind.
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