Provincial Plan Review

Potential revisions to the Greenbelt Plan Boundary

The Province has asked us about potential revisions to the Greenbelt Plan Boundary. In addition to the City of Hamilton’s June 2015 submission to the Province, the City hosted Open House Drop-In Sessions to review and provide comment on areas that should be included within and/or removed from the Greenbelt Plan. 

  • Display panels (PDF, 9 MB) presented at the sessions that identify potential areas for addition and removal from the Greenbelt Plan. 


On February 27, 2015, the Province of Ontario initiated a coordinated review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. 

How is Hamilton responding

The visions, goals and policies of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Greenbelt Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan have shaped land use planning and development approvals within City of Hamilton.

Hamilton residents, businesses and landowners are encouraged to learn more about each of the provincial plans being reviewed, and to identify opportunities and needs for improvements to the plans. The input provided will be used by the City to prepare a formal response to the Province in June 2015.

In response to the Province’s Coordinated Review, City staff will be undertaking public consultations to input on the provincial plans that impact Hamilton, specifically:

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Growth Plan) sets the direction for accommodating growth and development in the region of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Plan provides coordinated population and job growth forecasts (targets/goals) for municipalitiesto help them plan for new residents and new employment opportunities.

It requires that municipalities

  • grow in ways that use land and resources (like infrastructure) more efficiently,
  • reduce outward growth and avoid the unnecessary loss of farmland and natural areas;
  • build new developments in ways that improve new and existing infrastructure; and
  • focus new development to create complete communities where we can live, work, shop, learn and play.

Goals of the Growth Plan

  • to accommodate growth through intensification and build at sustainable, liveable densities to curb sprawl. This goal:
    • Reduces development pressures on agricultural lands and natural areas by directing more growth to existing urban areas.
    • Encourages revitalization of downtowns and city centres, making them more vibrant, people-oriented and attractive.
  • to link planning for growth with planning for infrastructure, so that the roads, sewers, schools and other services are in place to meet the needs of growing communities. This goal:
    • Encourages an integrated transit and transportation network that offers people more choices for getting from place to place
    • plans highways and highway corridors to promote efficient goods movement and to support compact built form
  • ensure appropriate land is available to accommodate future employment growth to facilitate economic development

Requirements of the Growth Plan for Hamilton

  • a minimum of 40 per cent of new residential development must occur within already developed areas (i.e. built-up areas) by 2015, and each year thereafter;
  • development in previously undeveloped areas (i.e. greenfield areas) must be planned to achieve at least 50 people and jobs per hectare; and,
  • Downtown Hamilton (i.e. urban growth centre) is required to provide a minimum density of 150 people and jobs per hectare.

Points to ponder

This list is not exhaustive – it gives you topics to think about as you answer the panel questions

Employment

  • Has the Growth Plan been successful at job creation in Hamilton?
  • Has the growth plan stimulated economic growth in multiple sectors (i.e. manufacturing, research and development)?

Targets

  • Have growth targets that are an appropriate measure for employment (i.e. industrial) and non-employment (i.e. commercial, residential) lands?
  • Are targets an appropriate measure for population and job growth?
  • Promote an appropriate level of intensification?

Boundary

  • Is the Growth Plan flexible to add/remove lands from the Plan boundaries?
  • Has the growth plan achieved its goal of curbing sprawl?
  • Should the Plan contain climate change policies?

For your information

  • The purpose of this fact sheet it to support the consultation on the City’s review of the Coordinated Provincial Plan Review, specifically the Growth Plan
  • The Growth Plan is a provincial plan created by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Renewal
  • The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was prepared and approved under the Places to Grow Act, 2005 and came into effect on June 16, 2006
  • Development in Hamilton’s urban area must conform to this Plan

For more information about the Growth Plan Review, visit: www.ontario.ca/landuseplanningreview.

The Greenbelt Plan supports agriculture as a predominant land use and seeks to prevent the loss of agricultural land by limiting the location of urban development. The Greenbelt plan also provides long-term protection for the natural environment and seeks to protect ecological features while supporting suitable rural economic activities like tourism and recreation.

The Greenbelt Plan area overlaps with lands that are included in the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) and builds upon the ecological protection provided by these plans.

Important facts about the Greenbelt

  • The Ontario Greenbelt area contains almost two million acres (800,000 hectares) of protected land.
  • It is the largest and most strongly protected greenbelt in the world.
  • Protecting these agricultural lands and natural areas supports the quality of life and health of the region’s communities and supports a wide range of recreational and cultural opportunities.
  • The Greenbelt Plan has three primary land use categories:
    • the Protected Countryside:
      • The Protected Countryside supports agriculture as the predominant land use and seeks to prevent the loss and fragmentation of agricultural land. Within the Protected Countryside, the Greenbelt Plan identifies and protects an agricultural system comprised of:
        • Prime agricultural areas;
        • Rural areas; and,
        • Tender Fruit and Grape Area (part of Stoney Creek).
    • the natural heritage system;
      • The natural heritage system identifies and protects natural heritage and water features using a systems approach; and,
      • towns (Waterdown and Binbrook), villages and hamlets (Rural Settlement Areas).

Points to ponder

This list is not exhaustive – it gives you topics to think about as you answer the panel questions
Rural Economy

  • Does the Greenbelt Plan adequately protect the City’s agricultural lands for agricultural production?
  • Does the Greenbelt Plan p rovide sufficient protection to legally existing uses that are part of the rural fabric, but are not related to agriculture?
  • Does the Plan allow for the range of agricultural uses that reflect the agriculture economy in the 21st century?
  • Does the Greenbelt Plan provide for a balance between the need for mineral aggregates and the protection of agriculture, natural heritage, water resources and the community?

Environment

  • Does the Greenbelt Plan provide protection to the natural environment while allowing agricultural uses to thrive?
  • Does the Plan adequately protect natural heritage features, water resources and the Natural Heritage System?
  • Should the Greenbelt Plan include/not include climate change policies?

Other Matters

  • Does the Greenbelt Plan provide sufficient direction related to agri-tourism uses and recreational tourism uses?

For your information

  • The purpose of this fact sheet is to support the consultation on the City’s review of the Coordinated Provincial Plan Review, specifically the Greenbelt Plan
  • The Greenbelt Plan is a provincial plan created by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources 
  • The Greenbelt Plan was established under Section 3 of the Greenbelt Act, 2005 and took effect on December 16, 2004 and is currently under review
  • Development in Hamilton’s rural area must conform to the Greenbelt Plan.

For more information about the Greenbelt Plan Review, visit: www.ontario.ca/landuseplanningreview.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP), the oldest of the Provincial Plans, is made up of policies that protect approximately 480,000 acres (195,000 hectares) of land to support a continuous natural environment along the Escarpment. It ensures that development on the Niagara Escarpment and in its immediate vicinity is compatible with protecting the natural environment and promoting responsible growth into the future.

Goals of the Plan

  • protect unique ecological and historic areas;
  • maintain and enhance the quality and character of natural streams and water supplies;
  • provide adequate opportunities for outdoor recreation;
  • maintain and enhance the open landscape character of the Niagara Escarpment by such means as compatible farming or forestry, and by preserving the natural scenery;
  • ensure all new development is compatible with the Plan;
  • provide for adequate public access to the Niagara Escarpment; and,
  • support municipalities within the Niagara Escarpment Plan area in planning functions required by the Planning Act.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan has six designated land uses within Hamilton:

The Niagara Escarpment Commission oversees the implementation of the NEP, makes recommendations for changing the NEP, and oversees decisions related to any development within the NEP area (outside of municipal settlement areas).

Points to ponder

This list is not exhaustive – it gives you topics to think about as you answer the panel questions

Environment

  • ​​Does the NEP provide the right balance between the long term protection of agricultural lands and urban lands?
  • Does the NEP adequately protect natural heritage features, water resources and the Natural Heritage System?
  • Does the NEP consider climate change?

Land Use Designations

  • Does the NEP provide enough protection to cultural heritage landscapes?
  • Are the land use areas identified in the NEP appropriate for the Hamilton Area?
  • In Hamilton’s urban area, are the needs of the Niagara Escarpment (i.e. protection and enhancement) balanced with the needs of other provincial plans (i.e. growth plan requiring intensification)?

Other Matters

  • Are there specific areas that need to be added/removed to the Niagara Escarpment Plan area in Hamilton?

For your information

  • The purpose of this fact sheet it to support the consultation on the City’s review of the Coordinated Provincial Plan Review, specifically the Niagara Escarpment Plan
  • The NEP is a provincial plan created by the Niagara Escarpment Commission, a regulatory agency of the Ontario Government in accordance with the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act
  • The Niagara Escarpment Plan was originally approved on June 12, 1985 and was revised as a result of reviews that were initiated in 1990 and 1999 and is currently under review
  • Development in Hamilton’s escarpment area must conform to the Niagara Escarpment Plan

For more information about the Niagara Escarpment Plan Review, visit www.ontario.ca/landuseplanningreview.

Contact us

Heather Travis
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4168
Email: heather.travis@hamilton.ca