San Grewall in the Toronto Star writes about an announcement by the Province of Ontario of impending legislation intended to curtail sprawl and its inherently crippling cost.

With 3.5 million people set to move into the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next 25 years, the province is promising sweeping changes to manage smart growth and curb urban sprawl that’s crippling the region.

“There are challenges that have been before us for the last number of years,” said Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, who was joined by three other ministers at an announcement in Mississauga to outline broad new measures the province is taking to properly manage future growth. “It was neglected for far too long in previous regimes.” . .

  • Requiring “pre-zoning” along transit corridors to guarantee dense development if cities want to get future transit funding.
  • Ensuring that at least 60 per cent of all new residential developments in municipalities are in existing “built-up” areas.
  • Substantially increasing employment density so greenfield spaces within cities can’t be eaten up by things such as sprawling warehouses.

Let the pearl-clutching begin, as a precedent for density increase city-wide looks like it has been set in Ontario.

Of particular interest to me is Ontario’s tie-in between transit planning, land use and infrastructure investments, given the narrow transit funding tussle now in play in Metro Vancouver. Not to mention Ontario’s Greenbelt protection, in the light of BC’s apparent intention to enable good ol’ sprawl onto our ALR and elsewhere with a 1950’s debate-free program of building freeways and massive bridges.  BC may have some sort of plan, but I’m not sure what it is.

A broader look at the Ontario Gov’t material is HERE, and it pertains to shaping land use in the entire “Greater Golden Horseshoe” around Toronto. Driven, it seems, by Ontario Prov gov’t plans for some $31.5 B in transit investments, this represents steps towards a green and livable region, while making best use of the money.

Building Complete Communities

Whether they are urban, suburban or rural, complete communities share many common characteristics. They are places where homes, jobs, schools, community services, parks and recreation facilities are easily accessible. Complete communities encourage active transportation, like walking or biking, support public transit, and provide opportunities for people to connect with one another.

Complete communities are more compact, occupy less land, reduce the costs of infrastructure and offer access to healthy local food. They also provide a range of employment opportunities and a mix of housing that offers a range of affordability. With all of these characteristics, complete communities contribute significantly to a high quality of life.