In one of the first legal tests of Ontario’s new provincial land-use planning regime, several groups appeared before the Ontario Municipal Board yesterday concerning a proposed 2,430 hectare expansion of the City of Brampton’s urban boundary, consisting primarily of prime agricultural lands.
The groups, including Sierra Club of Canada’s Peel Region Group and legal watchdog Sierra Legal Defence Fund, are challenging the Region of Peel’s 2005 decision to extend Brampton’s urban boundary by 2,430 hectares, including lands designated under the province’s new Greenbelt legislation.
“Ontario’s new land-use planning laws are supposed to promote better and more sustainable urban planning,” said Peter Orphanos, Sierra Club of Canada Peel Region Group. “The controversial Northwest Brampton expansion will be the first opportunity to test the mettle of these regulatory changes.”
The case represents the first legal test of the new provincial land-use planning regime, including the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement, Greenbelt Act and Greenbelt Plan, Places to Grow Act and the recently adopted Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Sierra Club of Canada’s Peel Region Group, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, a brick company and developers are all disputing the proposed boundary expansion.
Sierra Club plans to bring forward issues relating to whether the decision to expand Brampton’s boundary is “consistent with” the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement and “conforms to” the Greenbelt and Growth Plans.
“We are concerned that this proposed expansion will promote urban sprawl, gridlock and the resulting air pollution. It will also convert prime agricultural lands to urban uses and threaten the integrity of the Greenbelt,” continued Orphanos.
Yesterday’s first pre-hearing conference took place in Peel Region Council’s Chambers. The next pre-hearing conference will be September 22, 2006 and the hearings have been set to begin November 14, 2006.