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Guelph chapter concerned about water in provincial Land Use Planning Review

Photo by Guelph Politico.

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter was at a Good Growth Guelph town hall meeting on September 8.

The promotion for the town hall noted, “On Thursday September 8th, 7:00 – 9:30PM, in the Guelph City Hall meeting rooms, we will discuss how the province’s proposed Growth and Greenbelt Plans will affect Guelph-Wellington. This is our last chance to speak up and tell the Province to preserve the natural heritage and character of our communities, while still accommodating the growth they attract.”

It adds, “Under their Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review, the province is seeking input about their proposed changes to the Growth and Greenbelt Plans until October 31st, 2016. This event will provide opportunity to refine comments for the consideration of city staff and councillors.”

Guelph Politico reports, “On [September 8], a group of about 50 people took part in the Good Growth Guelph town hall at City Hall. The event, which was really more a working group, drew many different types of people including activists, teachers, architects, developers, various business people and a even couple of city councillors. The intent: to collaborate on the ways and types of growth they want to see in the Royal City before a council meeting at the end of the month on the subject, and before public comment is due at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs by the end of October.”

That blog also notes, “The areas of discussion were water; climate change; culture and community; agriculture; neighbourhoods and homes; jobs, employments and business; and infrastructure, policing, transit and waste management.”

Chapter activist Lin Grist tells us, “The town hall was based on our concern that Guelph will grow by 56,000 without thinking about how this will affect our infrastructure  – especially water.”

In September 2015, the Guelph Mercury reported, “Guelph can accommodate 175,000 residents by 2031 [it now has a population of about 121,000 people]. The city is planning on it. But can the city handle 191,000 by 2041? The province thinks so, but the city is less certain. Water and waste water capacity may be the one impediment to the province’s long-term population aspirations for Guelph. Originally the province identified water and sewer serving capacity in the Region of Waterloo and County of Wellington as potential restraints to population growth… It appears those earlier concerns have been relaxed somewhat, but officials in Guelph believe water and sewer capacity need to be thoroughly studied to better understand future population limits.”

In February 2015, the Government of Ontario embarked on a 10-year review of land-use plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

A Government of Ontario media release further explains, “An advisory panel – led by former federal Cabinet minister and former mayor of Toronto David Crombie – was asked to provide advice as part of the province’s co-ordinated review of land use plans in southern Ontario. The panel’s report [released in December 2015] is informed by public and stakeholder feedback from 17 town hall meetings, written submissions, research and by meetings with stakeholder groups and municipal officials.”

For additional background on the provincial Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review, please click here.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be speaking about her new book “Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis” in Guelph on September 22. More on that here.