Ottawa/Queen's Park




Dear Rick Byers, MPP BGOS

Re: Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Plan 2022

We all want the same thing – a safe, inclusive and healthy community in which to live and raise our children and our grandchildren. We want a community that is vibrant and will meet the challenges of increasing growth and accelerating climate impacts. We want a community that protects its wetlands and natural areas to reduce flooding, improve biodiversity and provide respite from the hectic pace of modern life.

That community will be one that emphasizes high density mixed housing and easy access to shopping, schools and facilities. It is a community that reduces greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and a transition to renewable forms of energy. We want a “complete community.”

Members of the Grey Bruce Climate Action Network have been working with our local councils and staff in recent years to build resilience to climate impacts. In part, we are working to build complete communities, as directed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs  and Housing. A complete community is a planning concept that strives to meet the basic needs of all residents through integrated land use planning, transportation planning and community design. It is a planning concept that integrates both built and natural infrastructures necessary for a resilient and sustainable community.

The Ford government is one that revels in overreach. Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO) already override careful and responsible planning by our municipalities. Premier Ford and his ministers seem to think they know what is best. Their position supports developers over the science-based recommendations of our Conservation Authorities.
The Ford government proposed grabbing Greenbelt lands in November 2018 but backtracked due to a strong public outcry. Ford said, “The people have spoken…we won’t touch the Greenbelt.” But now, in 2022, he is back wanting 7,400 acres of protected green space and farmland for housing development.

This government appears intent on eliminating the important role of our Conservation Authorities to ensure responsible and safe development within our watersheds. Flooding is the number one climate related disaster in Canada, costing each home owner an average $40,000 in flood damages. A home that was flooded has a reduced future value of 9%. For the average home in Grey County that is more than $50,000 in lost value.

In 2020, the Ford government made its first attack on our Conservation Authorities. Nestled deep in Bill 229 were changes that undermined the agencies ’ability to ensure development in flood-plains did not endanger people and properties. The minister of natural resources could simply override a Conservation Authority in favour of a developer. But who picks up the tab on those properties when they flood, as they most surely will? Not the developer.

Further urban sprawl engulfing our natural areas and farmland is not the solution we need for the 21st Century. With the proposed Bill 23,

➢ Gutted – Municipal green building standards.
➢ Wiped Out – Municipal planning to enable development while protecting social and environmental concerns.
➢ Reduced – Affordable housing will decline due to the elimination of the requirement for rental units to be replaced when rebuilding.
➢ Decimated – Conservation Authorities science-based advice on land use planning.
➢ Autocratic – MZOs override the Planning Act of Ontario with impunity and no right to appeal by municipalities or citizens.

But it gets worse. Much of the More Homes Built Faster plan will be done on the backs of existing municipal tax payers. Our municipalities already struggle with limited resources. Bill 23 will significantly impact how municipal governments recover the costs associated with growth. The proposed legislation will largely place the burden of carrying the costs associated with development onto municipalities. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) believes the proposed changes may contradict the goal of building more housing in the long term as it merely shifts the financial burden of growth-related infrastructure onto existing taxpayers. Gone is the longstanding notion that growth pays for growth.

Cleverly, the Ford government has set an unrealistic timeline for passing Bill 23. The deadline to submit an oral presentation was November 9, 2022; that time has already passed. The deadline for written submissions is November 17, 2022. Many councils, most with first-time councillors, will not even have met for their first session by then. Clever? Maybe not. Not if the public will not stand for this overreach. Maybe people reading this will give you a call or send you a letter. But do not delay, time is short.

Mr. Byers, we implore you to withdraw Bill 23 in its current form and revise your development strategy. Do not erode the ability of our municipal councils to responsibly and safely plan for our future.

John Anderson, Danuta Valleau, Ann Schneider
Georgian Bluffs Climate Action Team (GBCAT)
MPP Rick Byers [email protected]
Cc: Premier Doug Ford [email protected] Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: [email protected] David Piccini, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks: [email protected] The Hub: [email protected]


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