Intervenor: Volume 24 No.1 January - March 1999

Ontario Policy 1999: Land Use

Water supply pipelines that cross watershed boundaries cause ecological problems both for the supply watershed and for the receiving watershed. They also promote sprawl and allow development in agricultural and ecologically significant lands. Sewer lines and water treatment systems in river, stream and creek valleys are extremely damaging to the ecosystem and functions in those valleys.

The 400 series highways are of particular concern because they enable and promote additional urban sprawl, and because they are the source of substantially increased air quality problems and the resulting health impacts that follow. A moratorium must be established in order to prevent these long lasting and devastating impacts, while land use and transportation patterns are reconsidered and revised. Additional four land highways also promote increased urban sprawl and inefficient landuse. All such proposals, such as the Red Hill Creek Expressway in Hamilton and Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph must be immediately halted in order to reconsider land use patterns and promotion of public and alternative transit.

Protection of lands as wildlands within 100 metres of river, stream and creek banks will substantially improve water quality throughout the province. Water and air quality objectives must be established by municipalities.

Much of the responsibility for the impacts on water and air quality, especially from land use decisions has been downloaded to municipalities. With this increased responsibility comes the necessity to make public decisions about local air and water quality and to implement those decisions.

It is essential that alternative transit and public transit be completely revitalized in imaginative and sustainable patterns. Funding for alternative transit and public transit, at least in the immediate term, must come from automobile use and from automobile infrastructure.

These land use proposals demonstrate the interconnectedness of land use decisions, agricultural land and natural heritage protection, air quality, water quality, and infrastructure. A livable, high quality future requires a comprehensive response by the provincial government as recommended below.

Recommendations

  • Require all official plans to develop water quality objectives (biological and chemical) for all lakes, rivers, streams and creek valleys within their boundaries, along with plans to meet those objectives, monitoring as to whether those objectives are being met, and adjustments to landuse in case of objectives not being met, within the next two years.
  • Require all official plans to develop air quality objectives for all air sheds within their boundaries, along with plans to meet those objectives, monitoring as to whether those objectives are being met, and adjustments to landuse in case of objectives not being met, within the next two years.
  • Impose fuel taxes, parking taxes, automobile use taxes and any other necessary revenue sources and supply those revenues directly to municipalities solely for public transit support.
  • Establish a moratorium on new water supply pipelines that cross watershed boundaries.
  • Prohibit new sewer lines and water treatment systems in river, stream and creek valleys.
  • Establish a moratorium on all 400 series highways, including extension, lane additions, or new 400 series highways.
  • Establish a five year moratorium on any new four lane highway construction, municipal or provincial.
  • Establish a moratorium on all urban boundary extensions and annexations.
  • Require all official plans to prohibit development, including golf courses, within 100 metres of all river, stream and creek banks.
  • Require all official plans, within the next two years, to develop water quality objectives (biological and chemical) for all lakes, rivers, streams and creek valleys within their boundaries, along with plans to meet those objectives, monitoring as to whether those objectives are being met, and adjustments to landuse in case objectives are not being met.
  • Require all official plans, within the next two years, to develop air quality objectives for all air sheds within their boundaries, along with plans to meet those objectives, monitoring as to whether those objectives are being met, and adjustments to landuse in case objectives are not being met.
  • Impose fuel taxes, parking taxes, automobile use taxes and any other necessary revenue sources and supply those revenues directly to municipalities solely for public transit support.

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Theresa McClenaghan is a lawyer at CELA