Urban boundary expansion debate on Wednesday’s Hamilton Council agenda

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Published November 21, 2023 at 8:06 pm

Hamilton_City_Hall_

Hamilton councillors will be looking at no less than 45 items of correspondence on the provincial government’s urban boundary expansion reversal at Wednesday’s council meeting.

A few represent developers who still believe urban expansion is required for Hamilton and other Ontario communities to meet their housing targets – Phil Pothen of Environmental Defence said it was “no surprise” builders are still “peddling an approach to development that puts the interests of a few big land speculators ahead of housing supply and affordability” – but the vast majority are of a mind that sprawl is not the answer.

Hamilton Council is already on record saying the boundary expansions were not needed to meet those housing targets, with Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson even calling on the RCMP to investigate the decision-making process, which was only reversed by new Housing Minister Paul Calandra after a series of scandals forced the government’s hand.

Last November, the province announced it was extending Hamilton’s urban boundary by 2,200 hectares, resulting in the loss of 1,630 to 2,190 hectares of largely prime agricultural lands, as well as impacting the area’s natural heritage and water systems.

The expansion was part of changes to the Greenbelt that led to a pair of scathing reports and the resignation of several key members of Premier Daug Ford’s cabinet, including Calandra’s predecessor, Steve Clark

The reversal, announced last month by Calandra, was hailed as a “big victory” by Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath

The Alliance for a Liveable Ontario released its Housing Needs Assessment Report Tuesday, with founder David Crombie, the former Toronto Mayor who oversaw massive housing construction in the 1970, calling on all levels of government to “make it a priority” to get different housing types built and keep them affordable. “Unfortunately, this isn’t happening in Ontario.”

“The Province is still pushing for more sprawl style housing that is too expensive and not suited to meet Ontario’s real housing deficit,” he added. “Every big house that gets built out in the suburbs diverts labour and construction material from building the types of housing we need where people already live.”

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