Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Growth plan targets Halton Hills
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 21 Feb 2007, p. 3

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So, you think Halton Hills has grown too big, too fast in the last 25 years? How about doubling, tripling or even quadrupling that growth in the next 25 years? That's the scenario that could happen if the Provincial Places to Grow Plan evolves as it's currently laid out. "Make no mistake, the bull's-eye is on us for growth," said Mayor Rick Bonnette at Monday's council while pushing the Fairness for Halton resolution, asking for provincial money to pay for infrastructure improvements resulting from new population growth. In the last 25 years, Halton Hills grew by close to 20,000 people-- an average 780 people per year. In the next 15 years to 2021, another 15,000 people-- about 1,000 people/year-- will be added when Halton Hills builds out to its full capacity of 70,000. But now Province has come along with its Places to Grow Plan-- telling Halton it must take another 312,000 people, mainly from immigration, in the next 25 years-- and most of those people will be coming to Halton Hills or Milton. Mayor Rick Bonnette says while it's hard to predict precise numbers now, and "I don't want to panic people," but about 100,000 to 150,000 could be divvied up between the two municipalities. He explained by 2021 both Oakville and Burlington, at 250,000 and 205,000 respectively, will be almost completely built, Halton Hills will have reached its Official Plan projected capacity of 70,000 and Milton will be at 145,000. "That gives us 670,000, there's still roughly 150,000 people that will still have to be dispersed," said Bonnette, adding Burlington Mayor Cam Jackson has already expressed concerns that Burlington taxpayers will be paying for infrastructure improvements in Halton Hills. "So, it's affecting each and every municipality in different ways. Burlington won't get the growth but they will still be paying for a lot of the infrastructure and then you're getting wars among yourselves at budget time," Bonnette said. Last fall, Halton Region's Manager of Long Range Planning Ho Wong told Halton Hills council that, while Places to Grow designates Oakville, Burlington and Milton town centres as major growth areas targeted for intensification, the majority-- six of every 10 new developments by 2015-- will be located in expanded urban boundaries within the 30,000 hectares of prime soils in south Halton Hills and Milton. Many developers have already bought most of those lands-- in Halton Hills they are from 10 Sideroad to Steeles Ave. and from Tenth Line to Trafalgar Rd. No urban expansion (for example in Acton) can occur above the Niagara Escarpment due to the restrictive polices in the Province's Greenbelt Plan. "Basically growth will be Halton Hills (Georgetown) versus Milton," Wong told Halton Hills councillors. The percentage of division depends on what unfolds with the Durable Plan, a planning exercise that will involve the Region, Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington, developers, and residents. Depending on the density chosen, he said, one quarter to one-third of those hectares would be needed to accommodate the additional people, depending on the densities chosen. While the Durable Plan process has already begun, the decision-making year will be 2008. For more information about the Durable Plan go to Halton Region's website, www.halton.ca

Gamble, Cynthia
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Date of Publication:
21 Feb 2007
Personal Name(s):
Bonnette, Rick ; Jackson, Cam ; Wong, Ho
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Halton Hills ; Milton ; Oakville ; Burlington ; Niagara Escarpment ; Georgetown
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Growth plan targets Halton Hills