Proposed redesignation of land under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan

ERO number
019-6218
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001
Posted by
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
November 4, 2022 - December 4, 2022 (30 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
December 4, 2022

Proposal summary

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is seeking feedback on proposed changes to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (Ontario Regulation 140/02) that would redesignate lands in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan area.

Proposal details

The government introduced the More Homes Built Faster plan, which takes bold action to advance our plan to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. The government is taking further action to support this goal by launching a consultation on proposed changes to the Greenbelt that would support our municipal partners to plan for responsible growth and help build housing faster and in a targeted manner, while leading to an overall expansion of the Greenbelt.

Ontario is expected to grow by more than two million people by 2031, with approximately 1.5 million people living in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region. To accommodate that growth and support the building of more homes, our government is proposing to remove or redesignate 15 areas of land totaling approximately 7,400 acres from the edge of the Greenbelt Area that are serviced or adjacent to services and will be used to build housing in the near term​.

Should these lands be removed from the Greenbelt, the landowners will be expected to develop detailed plans to build housing and move forward with the project quickly. It is the government’s expectation that construction of these new homes will begin on these lands by no later than 2025, and that significant progress on approvals and implementation be achieved by the end of 2023. It is the government’s expectation that the proponents would fully fund necessary infrastructure upfront.

If these conditions are not met, the government will begin the process to return the properties back to the Greenbelt.

If this proposal is adopted, it would result in the construction of approximately 50,000 or more new homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is seeking feedback on proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Plan, Greenbelt Area boundary regulation (O. Reg.59/05), and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (O. Reg.140/02) that would:

  • Remove lands from the Greenbelt Area that could be suitable for residential development in the near term 
  • Add lands in the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt Area, designated as Protected Countryside with a Natural Heritage System
  • Redesignate lands in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Area that could be suitable for residential development in the near term

The proposed strategic removal of lands from the Greenbelt Area was considered in the context of the objectives and policies of the Greenbelt Plan and the requirement in the Greenbelt Act, 2005 that the total amount of land within the Greenbelt Area shall not be reduced (See ERO 019-6216: Proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan).

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing previously consulted on adding 13 Urban River Valley (URV) areas to the Greenbelt in April 2022 (see ERO Posting 019-4485: Growing the size of the Greenbelt). The area of the proposed Paris Galt Moraine lands would be in addition to these Urban River Valley areas, totalling 9,400 acres for an overall expansion to the Greenbelt of approximately 2000 acres. The total lands proposed to be added would be greater than or equal to the area of the lands proposed for removal from the Greenbelt Plan under this proposal.

While this ERO posting relates specifically to the proposed amendment to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (O. Reg.140/02 ), there are two related ERO postings regarding proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Plan and Greenbelt Area boundary regulation:

See supporting materials below for a map of the area proposed for redesignation under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. Maps of the areas proposed for removal or redesignation through amendments to the Greenbelt Plan can be found here:

Description of Regulation

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) was approved as a Minister’s regulation (O. Reg.140/02) on April 22, 2002 under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001.

The proposed regulation would amend the designation of the land described below from Countryside to Settlement Area under the ORMCP.

  • Land located in the Township of King east of Dufferin Street, south of Miller’s Sideroad and west of Bathurst Street

See Map 1 in supporting materials below for a map of lands proposed for redesignation.

These lands are also subject to policies under the Greenbelt Plan–please see ERO 019-6216 Proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan for more detail on proposed amendments.

Purpose of Regulation

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) is an ecologically-based plan that provides land use and resource management direction for the 190,000 hectares of land and water within the Moraine. Together with the area covered by the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the ORMCP area is part of the Greenbelt which identifies where urbanization should not occur in south-central Ontario in order to provide protection to environmental and agricultural lands.

There are four land use designations under the ORMCP. In addition to policies for each of the designations, the Plan also includes specific-land use policies, general policies that apply across the Plan area, and policies intended to protect ecological and hydrological integrity.

The four land use designations are:

Natural Core: Areas with a high concentration of key natural heritage features, key hydrologic features, ecological functions or landform conservation areas.

Natural Linkage: Areas forming part of a central corridor system that support or have the potential to support movement of plants and animals among the Natural Core Areas, Natural Linkage Areas, river valleys, and stream corridors.

Countryside Areas: Areas of rural land use such as agriculture, recreational, Rural Settlements, residential development, mineral aggregate operations, and parks and open space.

Settlement Areas: Areas designated for urban development, permitting a range of residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional uses.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan does not permit the expansion of Settlement Area boundaries into Natural Core Areas or Natural Linkage Areas. Land also cannot be removed from these designations through the 10-year review process.

Analysis of Regulatory Impact:

The anticipated regulatory impacts of the proposal are positive. The proposed removal or redesignation of 15 areas of land and adding lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area is intended to remove regulatory burdens for municipalities in order to effectively direct growth, optimize investments in infrastructure and support needed housing. Lands to be removed would no longer need to comply with the prohibitions and requirements of the Greenbelt Plan. There would be some additional burden placed on the lands proposed to be added, though some of these lands are already constrained by existing requirements. While there are no direct administrative costs associated with this proposal there would be a small burden on municipalities to update their official plans to reflect the new boundaries of the Greenbelt Plan.

Supporting materials

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