Official Plan & Zoning By-law

GRIDS 2/MCR Urban Growth Survey

Urban Growth Survey - Results

A mail-out survey was distributed to households in Hamilton in late June/early July 2021 to ask for opinions about how the City of Hamilton should grow to the year 2051. A total of 18,387 survey responses were submitted to the City through mail and email up to the survey deadline of July 23, 2021. Thank you for your participation!

The results of the mail and email survey submissions are:

  • Option 1 - ‘Ambitious Density’ scenario = 1,088 responses (5.9%)
  • Option 2 - ‘No Urban Boundary Expansion’ scenario = 16,636 responses (90.4 %)
  • Option 3 - Other Suggestions = 663 responses (3.6%)

The final Staff report and appendices for the Urban Growth Survey will be presented to the General Issues Committee on November 9, 2021. The Urban Growth Survey staff report and appendices are available in advance of this meeting:

What you need to know...

The City is planning for a significant amount of growth over the next 30 years to the year 2051.The Province of Ontario provides the growth forecasts that the City must plan for:

  • An increase of 236,000 people (total population of 820,000 by 2051)
  • An increase of 110,000 housing units
  • An increase of 122,000 jobs

Through the update to the City’s growth strategy, known as GRIDS 2 and the Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR), the City must determine if all this forecasted growth can be planned within the existing urban boundary through intensification and redevelopment, or if an expansion to the urban boundary is required to plan for a portion of this growth in new greenfield communities.

Chart showing Population Growth increasing from 584,000 in 2021 to an additional +87,000 to a total of 820,000 in 2051

Key Question: Should the City of Hamilton expand its urban boundary to plan for new housing and job growth to the year 2051 on lands that are currently rural, or should the City plan for more intensification and redevelopment in the existing urban area?

Here is an explanation of the different terms that describe where and how the City can plan for growth to the year 2051 which you will see referenced on the survey and on the GRIDS 2/MCR website and supporting documents:

  • Urban area – the area of the City inside the urban boundary where most of the City’s development will occur. A range of uses are permitted in the urban area including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional uses. See map (PDF, 515 KB)
  • Rural area – the area of the City outside of the urban boundary which is primarily comprised of agricultural and natural areas. Development is highly restricted in the rural area. See map (PDF, 515 KB)
  • Urban boundary – the line that separates the urban area from the rural area.
  • Urban boundary expansion – the addition of new greenfield lands to the urban area.
  • Whitebelt lands – the portion of the City’s rural area that is not within the Greenbelt Plan Protected Countryside. Urban boundary expansion may be considered within the whitebelt lands.
  • Greenbelt lands – the portion of the City’s rural area that is within the Provincial Greenbelt Plan Protected Countryside. Urban boundary expansion is not permitted within the Greenbelt Plan area (with a minor exception from Binbrook and/or Waterdown).
  • Land Needs Assessment – a technical study that is completed in accordance with the Provincial Land Needs Assessment Methodology which determines how much of the City’s forecasted growth can be accommodated within the existing urban area, and how much may need to be accommodated through urban boundary expansion.
  • Greenfield land – undeveloped land at the edge of the City, outside of the urban boundary. It is currently a mix of rural, farmland and open space uses.
  • Density of development –  the number of units that can be built on a hectare of land.
  • Intensification – the development of new residential units in the City’s existing developed area.
  • Employment Areas – areas of the City that are planned for a range of industrial and manufacturing uses.

Why is the City sending out this survey?

In March 2021, staff presented the results of the City’s Land Needs Assessment to 2051 to the General Issues Committee.Staff recommended that the City adopt the Ambitious Density scenario, as identified in the Land Needs Assessment, which would require the City to expand its urban boundary by approximately 1,340 ha to accommodate population growth to the year 2051. More details on the Ambitious Density Scenario. Staff did not make any recommendations on where the urban boundary should be expanded. That evaluation would take place through a future phase of GRIDS 2/MCR.

To ensure that all residents of the City of Hamilton have an opportunity to voice an opinion on the important questions related to planning for growth to the year 2051, Council directed staff to undertake additional public consultation on the question of urban boundary expansion, through a mail-out survey to each household in Hamilton.

In March 2021, Council provided the following direction to staff:

“That staff be directed to conduct a city-wide mail consultation with a survey on the Land Needs Assessment and the Municipal Comprehensive Review that includes the Ambitious Density Scenario, a “no boundary expansion” scenario, and that also allows residents to submit their own alternative scenario…”

What are the survey options?

In accordance with the Council direction, the survey is requesting that you select from these options:

Option 1. "Ambitious Density" Scenario Option 2. "No Urban Boundary Expansion" Scenario Option 3. Other Suggestions

Plan for 81,520 new housing units through development in the existing urban area, for an average Intensification rate of 60% between 2021 and 2051.

Plan for 28,660 new housing units through development of new greenfield lands beyond our current urban boundary.

Plan for 110,180 new housing units through development

in the existing urban area, for an average Intensification rate of 81% between 2021 and 2051.

Plan for 0 new housing units through development of new greenfield lands beyond our current urban boundary.

Do you have other suggestions? 

A different intensification rate, higher or lower density?

Please tell us your ideas on the survey card or email us at [email protected]

Result:
Urban Expansion Land Need 1,340 ha (3,300 ac)
Result:
Urban Expansion Land Need 0 ha
 

What if you didn’t get a paper survey?

If you didn’t receive a mailed copy of the survey, you are still welcome to provide your feedback about your preferred growth option to City staff. Send via email to [email protected] and state your preferred urban growth option (Option 1, 2 or 3), any additional comments you may have, and provide your postal code. View a copy of the survey that was mailed out (PDF, 896 KB). This is for reference only, please do not print this at home and mail it, it will not withstand mail processing.

What information can be reviewed prior to filling out the survey?

The City’s decision on whether or not to expand the urban boundary to accommodate growth is an important one that can have many impacts but urban expansion area is only one potential impact. All scenarios will also have impacts on:

  • servicing
  • housing distribution
  • housing mix
  • transportation
  • growth potential
  • rural lands
  • climate change

The decision on whether or not to expand the urban boundary can have many impacts but urban expansion area is only 1 potential impact. All scenarios will also have impacts on servicing, housing distribution/mix, transporation, etc.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact [email protected]. Staff would be happy to provide more information by phone or email.