Posted by & filed under News.

Originally wrote this as a reply to something on a local Facebook group but I think it is worth sharing here too with some added info:

Folks in our community should check out the County of Brant YouTube video at the bottom of this paragraph. There was some good news in the draft provincial plan and the new official plan we are putting together. If you watch for about 5-7 minutes from this point you’ll see some positive:

Our places to grow target dictated by the province a long time ago had us at about 57k people by 2041 but now that timing has been extended by the province to 2051 which means that we can do more to slow, phase in and stage the growth. 600-700 people per year for the next 30 years is essentially the target now.

Also, we unfortunately (from a growth point of view) had record building permits issued in 2018 which was before the 2018 election and there are still a lot of homes in the pipeline pre – “Tap The Breaks” but we have adapted to the breakneck demand for development that was happening here pre-2019 and changed course as a council, we are doing a new official plan which sets the rules for development (including amount, kinds and quality of development with public input) and most don’t know this but we are in the appeal process with numerous developments (double digits) that were put into the pipeline before “Tap The Breaks”.

That is the provincial process which tends to favour developers but we have been pushing back and normally get a number of concessions in the process. It’s a lot with the system set up the way it is but we push to get fewer units mandated, to have the developers pay for infrastructure, protect land for parks and public use etc.

It is a fight against a very slanted system (in my opinion) where the development side is very well resourced and with a lot of lawyers who are very experienced in protecting the interests of the development community and most of the provincial policy (from multiple provincial governments) favours them. That’s just the reality of it and not a condemnation of developers and all development.

You do want some growth but it needs to be balanced by a number of factors. With that said the province deserves A LOT of credit for listening to what we have been saying about the growth plan and that the previous pace was untenable and unable to help us create complete communities and keep up with infrastructure etc.

We have also been having some success outside of that process too. Last night for example the developers ended up coming in with a low parking ratio, then came back with one that exceeded the local standard and put in larger than required garages and driveways which help put more cars on private property instead of public property. We also approved a new brewery operation and an expanded concrete operation in the county last night which is a good sign in a tough economic time.

But yes it is sometimes literally a “game of inches” to quote a movie.

It is great to see some more support from the province on what we were saying when we voted on the “Tap The Breaks” motion which is we need the opportunity to slow down for the best planning results.

A highlight of some council/community activities I was able to participate with in the month of July:

  • Virtual Canada Day Celebrations in Paris
  • A number of online council meetings
  • Supporting the masking by-law which only won by 1 vote for the next month but also moving some amendments around loosening restrictions for very young children and having regular votes scheduled to amend, revoke or continue the bylaw.
  • Meeting re: Grand River St N and traffic calming options
  • Volunteering for Connect2SKILLS logistics and education program