Designated greenfield areas

The minimum density target of 50 people and jobs per hectare combined for development in designated greenfield areas may be difficult to monitor. There is no requirement to achieve the target annually, and the Growth Plan states that new developments “will be planned to achieve”[1] the minimum density. In other words, municipalities do not need to demonstrate that the intended densities have actually been achieved.

Since the target is measured over the entire designated greenfield area of each upper- or single-tier municipality, some greenfield areas may be planned for densities higher than 50 people and jobs per hectare, and some will have lower densities.[2] Moreover, lower minimum density targets are permitted in Outer Ring municipalities that do not contain an Urban Growth Centre.[3]

Table 3.7 at the end of this section lists the minimum designated greenfield area density targets for municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The following observations summarize the main points.

First, all Inner Ring municipalities (upper- and single-tier) have adopted the 50 people and jobs per hectare minimum target. As with the intensification targets, the minimum greenfield area density target is irrelevant in the City of Toronto because there is no remaining supply of greenfield land (see Figure 3.4).

Second, of the 15 upper- or single-tier municipalities in the Outer Ring, five have adopted the required minimum, nine have chosen to use lower alternative density targets (ranging from 29 to 39 people and jobs per hectare), and only one (Waterloo Region) has proposed to exceed the minimum requirements of the Growth Plan (55 people and jobs per hectare), the only municipality to do so.

Third, as with intensification targets, there is no obvious connection between the minimum designated greenfield area density targets and growth rates or population and employment forecasts (see Table 3.6). For example, Simcoe County is forecast to add 162,000 people by 2031 and has set a greenfield area density target of 39 people and jobs per hectare, even though Simcoe County has similar growth characteristics to Hamilton, Barrie, Waterloo, and Niagara, each of which used the 50 people-and-jobs-per-hectare target.

Fourth, decisions about targets at the lower-tier level are very much controlled by upper-tier municipalities, and those municipalities exhibit a range of perspectives and attitudes toward the density of greenfield area development. The differences result in a patchwork of targets. Figure 3.5 summarizes the differences among the lower-tier municipalities.

Figure 3.4: Adoption of minimum designated greenfield area density targets by upper- and single-tier municipalities

Table 3.6: Minimum designated greenfield area density targets and population and employment forecasts for single- and upper-tier municipalities

Upper- and Single-Tier Municipalities

2001 Population Forecast1

2031 Population Forecast1

Forecast Population Increase 2001-2031

Forecast Population Increase 2001-2031 (%)

2041 Population Forecast2

Forecast Population Increase 2001-2041

Forecast Population Increase 2001-2041 (%)

Minimum Greenfield Area Density Target3

City of Toronto

2,590,000

3,080,000

490,000

19%

3,400,000

810,000

31%

Not Applicable4

Region of Durham

530,000

960,000

430,000

81%

1,190,000

660,000

125%

50 p+j/ha

Region of York

760,000

1,500,000

740,000

97%

1,790,000

1,030,000

136%

50 p+j/ha

Region of Peel

1,030,000

1,640,000

610,000

59%

1,970,000

940,000

91%

50 p+j/ha

Region of Halton

390,000

780,000

390,000

100%

1,000,000

610,000

156%

50 p+j/ha

City of Hamilton

510,000

660,000

150,000

29%

780,000

270,000

53%

50 p+j/ha

County of Northumberland

80,000

96,000

16,000

20%

110,000

30,000

38%

30 p+j/ha

County of Peterborough

56,000

61,000

5,000

9%

76,000

20,000

36%

35 p+j/ha (40 p+j/ha by 2015)

City of Peterborough

74,000

88,000

14,000

19%

115,000

41,000

55%

50 p+j/ha

City of Kawartha Lakes

72,000

100,000

28,000

39%

107,000

35,000

49%

40 p+j/ha

County of Simcoe

254,000

416,000

162,000

64%

497,000

243,000

96%

39 p+j/ha

City of Barrie

108,000

210,000

102,000

94%

253,000

145,000

134%

50 p+j/ha

City of Orillia

30,000

41,000

11,000

37%

46,000

16,000

53%

42 p+j/ha

County of Dufferin

53,000

80,000

27,000

51%

85,000

32,000

60%

44 p+j/ha

County of Wellington

85,000

122,000

37,000

44%

140,000

55,000

65%

40 p+j/ha

City of Guelph

110,000

175,000

65,000

59%

191,000

81,000

74%

50 p+j/ha

Region of Waterloo

456,000

729,000

273,000

60%

835,000

379,000

83%

55 p+j/ha

County of Brant

35,000

47,000

12,000

34%

57,000

22,000

63%

35 p+j/ha (40 p+j/ha by 2021)

City of Brantford

94,000

126,000

32,000

34%

163,000

69,000

73%

50 p+j/ha

County of Haldimand

46,000

56,000

10,000

22%

64,000

18,000

39%

29 p+j/ha

Region of Niagara

427,000

511,000

84,000

20%

610,000

183,000

43%

50 p+j/ha

1 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, Office Consolidation, January 2012, Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure.
2 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, Office Consolidation, June 2013, Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure.
3 Upper- and single-tier municipal official plans and correspondence between the Minister of Infrastructure and upper- and single-tier municipalities, See Table 3.7
4 The City of Toronto contains no designated greenfield area lands.

 

In the Inner Ring, York and Durham Regions, and in the Outer Ring, Waterloo Region and Wellington and Peterborough Counties have elected to apply a uniform density target across all their constituent lower-tier municipalities that is identical to the upper-tier target. All other upper-tier municipalities in the Inner and Outer Rings have elected to apply non-uniform targets to their lower-tier municipalities.

Figure 3.5: Minimum designated greenfield area density targets assigned to lower-tier municipalities

Table 3.7 illustrates some anomalies in the targets assigned to lower-tier municipalities. For example, within Peel and Halton, different density targets have been determined for each of the lower tiers. Peel has set the highest target for its largest and most developed municipality, Mississauga, which seems logical, even though its designated greenfield area is only 189 hectares. Halton has set the highest density for its second-smallest municipality (Milton), which is surprising, given the small size, low density of historical development, and more rural character of the community. Also surprising is the fact that the well-established Inner Ring cities of Oakville and Burlington in Halton Region are permitted to grow on designated greenfield lands at levels below the stated minimum of 50 people and jobs per hectare, while the more rural Townships of Wainfleet and West Lincoln in Niagara Region in the Outer Ring are expected to achieve the minimum of 50 people and jobs per hectare. Taken together, these upper-tier decisions do not constitute a consistent approach to regional growth management.

It is not clear what factors the Minister used to justify the decision to permit lower minimum designated greenfield area density targets for certain municipalities. The correspondence from the Ministry of Infrastructure to the affected municipalities provides no explanation or justification.

Table 3.7: Minimum designated greenfield area density targets, by municipality

Municipalities

Minimum Designated Greenfield Area Density Target

(people + jobs per hectare)

Source

City of Toronto

Not Applicable

-

Region of Durham

50

Regional Official Plan Amendment No. 128, Annotated Consolidation (as approved by the OMB on January 9, 2013 Board Order)

City of Pickering

50

City of Ajax

50

City of Whitby

50

City of Oshawa

50

Town of Clarington

50

Township of Uxbridge

50

Township of Brock

50

Township of Scugog

50

Region of York

50

York Region Official Plan, 2010, Annotated Version Showing Policy Status, Office Consolidation January 14, 2013

City of Vaughan

50

Town of Richmond Hill

50

Town of Aurora

50

City of Markham

50

City of Newmarket

50

Township of King

50

Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville

50

Town of East Gwillimbury

50

Town of Georgina

50

Region of Peel

50

Peel Region Official Plan, Working Draft Office Consolidation, February 2013

Town of Caledon

42

City of Brampton

51

City of Mississauga

77

Region of Halton

50

Halton Official Plan (2009), ROPA 38, December 16, 2009

Town of Halton Hills

39

Town of Milton

58

City of Oakville

46

City of Burlington

45

City of Hamilton

50

Urban Hamilton Official Plan, March 16, 2011

County of Northumberland

30

Letter from Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid to County of Northumberland Warden, Peter Celanty, August 13, 2010

Town of Brighton

25

Town of Cobourg

35

Municipality of Port Hope

35

Town of Trent Hills

25

Township of Alnwick/Haldimand

Not Applicable

Township of Cramahe

25

Township of Hamilton

Not Applicable

County of Peterborough

35 (40 in 2015)

Letter from Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Gerry Phillips to County of Peterborough Warden, Ronald Gerow, November 12, 2009

Township of Asphodel-Norwood

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Cavan-Monaghan

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Douro-Dummer

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of North Kawartha

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan

35 (40 in 2015)

Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield

35 (40 in 2015)

City of Peterborough

50

City of Peterborough Official Plan, Office Consolidation December 31, 2009

City of Kawartha Lakes

40

Letter from Minister of Infrastructure, Bob Chiarelli, to City of Kawartha Lakes Mayor, Ric McGee, Mar. 30, 2011

County of Simcoe

39

Letter from Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli to County of Simcoe Warden, Cal Patterson, July 9, 2012

Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury

35

Town of Collingwood

50

Town of Innisfil

32

Town of Midland

50

Town of New Tecumseth

50

Town of Penetanguishene

50

Town of Wasaga Beach

32

Township of Adjala–Tosorontio

32

Township of Clearview

32

Township of Essa

32

Township of Oro-Medonte

32

Township of Severn

32

Township of Springwater

32

Township of Ramara

32

Township of Tay

32

Township of Tiny

32

City of Barrie

50

City of Barrie Official Plan, April 2010, Office Consolidation March 2011

City of Orillia

42

Letter from Minister of Energy & Infrastructure, Brad Duguid to City of Orillia Mayor, Ron Stevens, Apr. 20, 2010

County of Dufferin

44

Letter from Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid to County of Dufferin Warden, Allen Taylor, August 13, 2010

Town of Mono

Not Applicable

Town of Orangeville

46

Town of Shelburne

41

Township of Amaranth

Not Applicable

Township of East Garafraxa

Not Applicable

Township of East Luther-Grand Valley

44

Township of Melancthon

Not Applicable

Township of Mulmur

Not Applicable

County of Wellington

40

Letter from Deputy Premier, George Smitherman to County of Wellington Warden, Joanne Ross-Zuj, Aug. 21, 2009

Township of Centre Wellington

40

Wellington County Official Plan, February 24, 2011

Township of Erin

40

Town of Guelph/Eramosa

40

Township of Mapleton

40

Township of Minto

40

Town of Puslinch

40

Township of Wellington North

40

City of Guelph

50

Official Plan Amendment 39: Conformity with the Planning Framework of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, March 17, 2010

Region of Waterloo

55

Waterloo Region Official Plan, January 24, 2011

City of Waterloo

55

City of Kitchener

55

City of Cambridge

55

Township of Woolwich

55

Township of Wellesley

55

Township of Wilmot

55

Township of North Dumfries

55

County of Brant

35 by 2012

(40 in 2021)

Letter from Minister of Infrastructure, Bob Chiarelli to County of Brant Mayor, Ron Eddy, March 31, 2011

City of Brantford

50

City of Brantford Official Plan, Consolidation Sept. 2011

County of Haldimand

29

Letter from Minister of Infrastructure, Bob Chiarelli to County of Haldimand Warden, Ken Hewitt, Mar. 20, 2011

Region of Niagara

50

Region of Niagara Sustainable Community Policies: Places to Grow/2005 Provincial Policy Statement Conformity and Niagara 2031 Amendment, Amendment 2-2009 of the Official Plan for the Niagara Planning Area as approved on May 28, 2009 by Regional Council and amended through the addition of Policy 4.6.6.

City of Niagara Falls

50

City of Port Colborne

50

City of St. Catharines

50

City of Thorold

50

City of Welland

50

Town of Fort Erie

50

Town of Grimsby

50

Town of Lincoln

50

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

50

Town of Pelham

50

Township of Wainfleet

Not Applicable

Township of West Lincoln

50

Figure 3.6 indicates those municipalities that were eligible to use alternative minimum intensification and greenfield area density targets and those that have requested and been permitted to do so. The figure also indicates the forecasted population and employment growth (2001–2031) for each municipality.

Figure 3.6: Upper- and single-tier municipalities eligible to use alternative targets and using alternative targets

 

[1]  Growth Plan, Section 2.2.7.2.
[2] For example, the densities planned for designated greenfield areas in Brampton range from a low of 3.8 p+j/ha to a high of 93.3 p+j/ha. The combined average density planned for all designated greenfield areas across Brampton is 54.5 p+j/ha. Hemson Consulting Ltd., Assessment of Planned and Potential Growth in Designated greenfield Areas, Discussion Paper for Public Review, City of Brampton, February 2009.
[3] Growth Plan, Section 2.2.7.5.