Why the Vision Georgetown Development Has Been Delayed

Construction on Vision Georgetown Lands Pushed Back Another Two Years at Best

The Georgetown and Halton Hills area has been waiting for the Vision Georgetown development for many years now, but the first phase of construction still hasn’t begun. The reason behind this delay? The Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

The History of the Ontario Land Tribunal

Before the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) was an independent adjudicative tribunal that conducted hearings and made decisions on land use planning issues and other matters. Before the LPAT, the OMB was Ontario’s first independent, quasi-judicial administrative tribunal. In 2017, the OMB was continued as the LPAT. On June 1, 2021, LPAT was amalgamated and continued into the OLT.

The OLT is a provincial decision-making body that conducts hearings to resolve disputes arising under the Planning Act. It also reviews most applications for official plan amendments, zoning bylaw amendments, and minor variances made by municipalities.

Ontario’s Building Approval Process Is Notoriously Slow

The Ontario Building Approval process is notoriously slow. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, for example, only approves about 1 in 10 permit applications submitted to it. This means that if someone applies for a building permit on January 4th, they will not have received a decision from the Ministry until November 30th. In order to fix this problem, we need to establish a more efficient process.

The History of the Project

In our first Vision Georgetown update all the way back in 2017, we noted that the Town of Halton Hills had released its Draft Preferred Land Use Plan for Vision Georgetown: a 1000-acre development between 10 and 15 Side Roads, Trafalgar Road, and Eighth Line. The Plan stated its aims to accommodate approximately 19,000 residents in 3,478 detached homes, 1,950 townhouses, and 1,207 apartments. The Plan also detailed aims to introduce around 1,700 new jobs in Georgetown and a wealth of schools.

In 2018, the Town of Halton Hills held its fifth Vision Georgetown Public Open House. The Town confirmed new changes to its Plan, including a new combined Catholic elementary school/secondary school, the relocation of another elementary school, locations for stormwater management ponds and heritage resources, and new positioning for the north-south road to accommodate a stormwater management pond in the core.

A year later, the council passed the Vision Georgetown Secondary Plan. They made final changes, including plans for a new linear north-south corridor and a stormwater conveyance corridor to replace a planned stormwater drainage area. The council then passed the Official Plan Amendments (OPA) to the Region of Halton for approval.

Last year, the Region issued a Notice of Decision, approving the Town of Halton Hills OPA. The Town then received six letters of appeal to modify the OPA, which the OLT must now help resolve.

The Current State of Development

It was rumoured that there was a dispute over municipal water supply — whether it would come from Brampton or Milton. However, we have confirmed with the Town of Halton Hills that water is coming from lake Ontario through Milton. The Town also offered insight into the range of issues that require the OLT to be involved. The landowners have many concerns including how certain natural features are required to be protected, the orientation of the road network, and how the community core is positioned within the new community. These issues collectively result in a very different land use pattern than that approved by the Region. The OLT has yet to schedule a date for a resolution hearing. It’s now looking like construction might be pushed back another two years at best.

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