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We’re facing a massive issue when it comes to growth management: do we protect our established neighourhoods by following a plan developed by experts over many years of extensive consultations and research, or do we follow feel-good political buzzwords that every expert calls unworkable and end up ruining our community.

One leads to creating healthy, viable, livable communities. The other, not so much.

By the way, I am not always right. Please feel free to tell me I am wrong, but it’ll be helpful to know where and what the correct path forward is. So far I’ve been called a “climate-change denier” (I am not), “pro-sprawl” (ironic), “pro developers” (the developers actually prefer fewer restrictions), “anti-farmers” (ironically, the farmers in the affected area are in support of this plan) and a number of racially-charged statements that I prefer not to repeat.

Also keep in mind that “no boundary expansion” does not mean “no growth” (that misconception is also out there). The GTA is growing regardless and much of that growth will happen in Halton, Peel, York and Durham regions. The question we’re dealing with is how to plan for that growth, not whether that growth happens or not.

Table of Contents


You know it’s bad when I have to add a table of contents!

Introduction


Growth planning is complex and must balance a lot of issues. Every option is a tradeoff and the ideal plan balances these tradeoffs. Any plan that focuses only in one area and repeats its pros while calling out everything else’s cons does not see the full picture and is bound to fail. Worse, plans that are simply based on hopes and dreams, and ignore the reality on the ground, are bound to make things worse.

In these complex matters, every decision has consequences. Nothing is “free”. Anyone that presents an alternative without any cost or downside is inevitably missing pieces. While these long-term plans are multi-decade wrong for a whole host of reasons that’ll require another long post, the actual implementation happens in 5-year plans and heavily controlled phases. We only expand when we must and when the previous phase is substantially completed.

Our current growth plan takes us to 2031 and we’re still functioning off the Official Plan made in the 90s ~25 years ago when the world was a different place. It’s embarrassingly outdated and completely indefensible when we get challenged. We desperately need a new plan, but that too is another post for another day.

Background


Ontario municipalities, including Halton, are tasked by the Province with planning growth over the next 20 year period from 2031 to 2051. For Halton it means showing how it is going to accommodate a population growth from 621,000 people to 1.1 million people, and a job growth of 500,000 jobs (up from 281,000 now). There are a lot of other requirements to meet (population density, intensification, climate resiliency, balanced growth, freezing the boundary unless there’s no other option, etc).

The final decision belongs to the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing and the Minister’s decision is not subject to appeal. That means our options are: 1) we come up with a plan to manage our own growth that satisfies the requirements and the Minister approves it, or 2) the province will make a decision for us that becomes the law, whether it makes sense for us or not.

There is no exception to this.

enter image description here Existing settlement area in Milton. All “boundary expansion”, if it happens, will happen in the ‘whitebelt’ towards Mississauga and Oakville’s urban areas.

One more thing:

This final plan was made by the input from each of the four local municipalities (their staff and their council, as well as independent planners in some cases), plus a lot of public consultation. The overall cost of the entire process easily runs into many millions of dollars and includes a lot of experts and professionals in the field dealing with land needs assessment, GHC emissions assessment, agriculture impact, natural heritage and water resources protection, infrastructure needs and fiscal impact.

It’s an extremely complex process that balances a very complex set of tradeoffs that must be in sync, or else the plan falls apart.

Finally, the question of whether to expand the urban boundary only involves Milton and Halton Hills as Oakville and Burlington already added all their available land to the urban boundary in the previous rounds.

Goals


There are two overly simplistic extremes when dealing with growth that are both wrong:

1) Keep Sprawling. That’s how cities grew in North America after WWII. If we allow that process to continue, we’ll have no green space left from here to Niagara Falls.

2) Assume we have no space to grow and instead keep growing up no matter what. An additional half a million people will not fit within the existing urban boundary of Halton, unless we go very tall (we will need 5-7 Mississauga City Centre type development scattered across Halton. Even if we wanted to, we don’t have the room for it)

I will not go in details of why these approaches are wrong. Instead, let’s just agree on these two goals (in reality, we have a long list of goals and requirements, but I am reducing them down to just two goals):

1) We want to eliminate sprawl. In urban planning, unrestricted growth of urban development outside of the developed area is generally called sprawl (or urban encroachment). (As an aside, it should be mentioned that that’s a provincial requirement anyway. The GTA boundary is fixed and cannot grow (the “Places to Grow” act). Expanding inwards to take up empty space in the GTA requires demonstrating why intensification wasn’t possible. Even then, much of growth has to be via intensification).

2) We want to protect established neighbourhoods. Growth should enhance our lifestyle, not destroy it.

This brings us to the actual question that caused a massive debate: should our plan include a boundary expansion or should we accommodate all growth until 2051 within the existing boundary.

Phoenix, AZ: An example of sprawl and a lesson on how not to do things

Not taking growth is not an option. Either we plan growth or growth happens anyway and we will be stuck with poor planning, poor infrastructure, high taxes and … yes, sprawl.

So what happened?


In October 2016 the region and its four local municipalities started the phase 1 (‘directions report’). After a lot of work, we arrived at different growth scenarios (2019) and discussion papers (2020). After a lot of additional work at each level with our own planners, local municipalities and their staff as well as an army of consultants, we got to different proposals (2021). We also looked at a ‘no boundary growth’ option that regional staff, local staff and independent land economist all found to be impossible and unworkable.

So essentially we had a plan that was 8 years in the making.

The Halton Hills council took their vision and merged it with the region’s plan to come up with a compromised plan that they unanimously endorsed. In their case, the boundary expansion is even more sensitive as their extremely out-dated hospital cannot be expanded unless there is new land (or the existing hospital is shut down for the construction of the new hospital, which isn’t possible).

Milton staff did the same exercise and endorsed a plan (with Colin Best as the only councillor arguing against it, although Councillor Kristina Tesser-Derksen also voted against it saying she did not have enough information).

Unfortunately, the Region (the entire Oakville council, along with some Burlington councillors and 1 councillor each from Halton Hills and Milton [Colin Best]) overrode Milton and Halton Hills councils on the growth of their own communities. Instead, they voted for a plan that does not meet the provincial requirements and will not meet our goals of reducing sprawl and protecting existing neighbourhoods within Milton. It will also lead to higher taxes due to moving jobs and industries out of Milton.

I will not talk about the hypocritical nature of the vote considering how Oakville rightfully complains when the province overrides its decisions, arguing that the local planning is paramount, and yet they had no issues with overriding the Milton council on the Milton decision (one Oakville councillor even said since Oakville pays regional taxes then Oakville has a say over what happens in Milton). Keep in mind that Oakville calls North Oakville “good planning” and yet called south Milton “sprawl”, even though they are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Why are we discussing it if the Region already voted?


That’s because the politically-inspired, arbitrary and ad-hoc vote (it’s not a “plan”) the Regional council approved does not meet the provincial requirements. As a result, it will be rejected by the province and we’ll have to make the decision: do we follow a well-throughout, fully vetted plan that a lot of experts evaluated it, or do we go with another politician-gut-feel-driven “this feels nice” political-grandstanding vote that gets the province to impose something on us!

In case it’s not apparent by now: I prefer a made-in-Milton solution that protects our established neighbourhoods over the insane buildings-everywhere plan or whatever developer-driven plan the Province imposes on us if we don’t have a plan.

Our Preferred Growth Concept (PCG)


The Preferred Growth Concept the experts came up with achieved the following:

1) Plans for an additional 120,500 new housing units between 2031 and 2051 for the additional 333,000 people who’ll move to Halton, putting 86% of these units in the existing urban boundary! The remaining units – 16,700 units or 14%– are accommodated in new areas in Milton and Halton Hills.

2) Plans for a very aggressive shift to apartments (49% of all new units) and rows (25% of all new units). Singles and semis will be reduced to only 23% of all new units.

3) On the jobs front, 20% of new jobs (31,500) will need boundary expansion. To quote the report: “these are largely jobs associated with employment uses that by their nature locate on employment lands”

enter image description here The balanced preferred growth option that is “too aggressive” according to independent experts, but we like aspirational plans

Every expert that looked at this plan (including independent planners and land economists) arrived at the same conclusion: this plan is too aggressive already with a very aggressive shift to apartments. Anything additional is impossible to achieve.

enter image description here Milton’s preferred plan that protects rural Milton and our farming community. Yellow shows new community areas (homes, retails, mixed use). Blue shows new employment areas.

There is a difference between an aspirational plan that seems out of reach and an impossible plan that only feels good but will not meet any of the goals.

The Colin Best Plan


I struggled with the naming of this option but among everyone whose job is to read all the reports (the final package was over 2,000 pages and took many years, that’s how rigorous the entire process was), Colin Best is the only one from Milton who opposes the staff plan and presented his own alternative: arguing for a boundary freeze that drives away tens of thousands of jobs and pushes everyone new into apartments which will need to pop up in every available space (and no, contrary to the claim and ask, “old Milton” cannot be special. That’s not how things work).

According to our Planning department’s calculations, our preferred plan would need 65 25-storey apartment buildings (or 130 12-13 storey buildings, or 260 6-storey buildings. You got the idea).

Colin’s plan would require an additional 62 25-storey buildings. There isn’t any room for them because all possible available room is already taken up by intensification in the staff plan. Squeezing in an additional 62 buildings in Milton means:

1) each building will be taller, and

2) we won’t be able to protect any area from towers. The claim that “old Milton will be protected and new parts can accommodate all growth” is a fallacy because in reality, the newer parts don’t have much room for intensification. It is the older parts of Milton that have empty spaces and old projects that will be intensified.

Across the Halton region, this plan calls for 570-780 apartment buildings (equivalent of 7-9 Mississauga City Centres). There just isn’t room for it and trying to get there is irresponsible and not good planning.

This goes against my goal of protecting established neighbourhoods and what I believe our residents want. New growth should not destroy our existing neighbourhoods.

Other Arguments and Questions by Colin and other supporters of his plan


Claim: The Province’s growth projection is too aggressive because Ontario has only been growing at 2%

Verdict: FALSE.

This one frustrates me a lot because I have called Colin out on it a few times in public council meetings, but he continues making this bait-and-switch claim nevertheless.

Ontario’s population growth is irrelevant. Ontario could be shrinking but the GTA could still be growing. We’re dealing with the GTA’s population growth and historically, it has been underestimated (thus the shortage of housing supply and sky-high prices. Talk to a realtor).

In addition, the Federal government is increasing immigration, which further increases population. There is no expert (not one) that thinks that the population forecast is incorrect. Colin’s claim is completely unsubstantiated and not supported by any expert.

Still, if by some miracle the GTA population growth stalls then our plans are still fine because we phase growth. A new phase of growth does not start until the previous phase is substantially completed. That’s why you see empty land that cannot be touched even though it’s in the growth area because the previous phase is not finished yet. Keep in mind that the area around Metro (Thompson and Louis St Laurent) is only now starting to develop now even though it’s been in the urban boundary for a long time, because the previous phase was not substantially completed.

So if the population grows slower than expected, then our plan covers a longer timeframe. But if the population does not grow slower than projected then Colin’s plan leads us to an unsustainable situation with tall towers occupying every available space and driving small businesses out of Milton.

Claim: We have more than enough land to accommodate growth - Colin Best

Verdict: FALSE.

I won’t write much about it except this: our local staff, our local planners, the regional staff, the regional planners, independent planners and independent land economists all came up with the exact same conclusion: we cannot accommodate all new growth within the existing boundary and we will very soon be out of land for employment growth!

As I mentioned, doing so requires 127 25-storey towers that there just isn’t any room for (plus it drives away 24,000+ jobs).

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The land that’s empty and is within the urban boundary is what’s needed to accommodate growth until 2031, or whenever we finish with the existing growth plan.

Claim: Sprawl drives up taxes, so we should reject the plan

Verdict: Misleading.

Reality: our preferred growth concept is not sprawl. It keeps the taxes low whereas freezing the boundary will drive up taxes, substantially.

The issue in new Milton is over-development and over-crowdedness. Not one expert considers the newest subdivisions in Milton an example of “sprawl”. That could be why none of the dozens of delegates were from the urban area south of Derry in Milton, even though that’s where the majority of our population lives. I know only about 10 of the people who contacted us and all of them (every single one) that I know lives in large sprawled house themself while arguing everyone ‘new’ should live in apartments. Ironically, one actually got in his gas guzzling SUV and drove to his cottage for the weekend after telling us we shouldn’t build single-family homes for anyone else.

(Aside: I won’t call this hypocrisy because I believe being hypocritical requires intent and I think people mean well. They are genuinely concerned about the climate, but they’re being misled by overly simplistic and unachievable claims.)

Our staff organized two bus tours for councillors (Colin did not attend either). They also had 3-4 different meetings with regional councillors that Colin did not attend. I can understand having multiple conflicts that prevents a councillor from meeting experts, but then the said councillor shouldn’t keep confusing the public by repeating points that the experts demonstrated to be false.

I still have an open invitation out to tour the new neighbourhoods of my ward with me so we can see that the challenge is that houses are too close together, the buildings are too tall, the driveways are too small and the free space is nearly non-existent. Calling that “sprawl” and calling for “only buildings, no single family home” isn’t going to do anything except drive people further away from Milton.

Claim: We don’t need single-family homes

Verdict: FALSE.

On the contrary, the Town of Milton alone cannot change the overall market demand (keep in mind that both Peel and York Regions are expanding their boundaries to add a mix of housing). If Milton follows Colin’s plans of only growing through buildings and allow no single-family home then people who wish to purchase a single or semi will just bypass Milton and live elsewhere. They won’t arbitrarily move to an apartment.

That, not surprisingly, contributes to sprawl by moving people out of the GTA. This is why people moved to Etobicoke when Toronto ran out of single family homes and then to Mississauga and then to Milton. If we arbitrarily stop then they’ll just move further west, creating sprawl.

In fact, the market forecast expects 22-25% of housing to be apartments in the 2031-2051 period. The Region - after the push from the council - is planning for 49% apartments (which other planners called almost unrealistically aspirational).

  Market-based Forecast The Region’s Plan
Singles & Semis 50% 23%
Rows 25% 25%
Apartments 23% 49%
Accessory Units 1% 2%

As you can see from the table above, our plan is already way out of line compared to the market forecast. Calling it “sprawl” is a massive exaggeration.

enter image description here Preferred Growth Concept (PGC) directs most growth to high-density

To recap: we are building fewer singles than the market forecast and more apartments than the market forecast. If anything, we’re going for too much density, not too little density. Colin’s plan for increasing it even more is not going to work.

Claim: If Hamilton can do it then so can we

In my political career Colin has invoked Hamilton as an example to follow many times (other times are with taxes). Hamilton is not an example to follow when it comes to taxes and urban planning. I’d say the exact opposite actually.

That said, Hamilton’s political vote is already rejected by the province that has asked Hamilton to offer an actual plan or accept whatever the Province imposes on it. There is no “Hamilton did it”. Hamilton didn’t do anything except a political vote (that is not a plan) and being called out on it.

Peel and York have a healthier approach and yes, they’re both expanding their urban boundaries (because they need to). Milton has better examples to learn from. Hamilton is not it.

Claim: We can accommodate all job growth within the existing boundary

Verdict: FALSE.

This is another area where Colin Best’s argument frustrates me because in the past he voted to convert office land to warehouses (I argued and voted against it). Those decisions is why Milton’s employment land is quickly disappearing (since these massive warehouses take up a lot of space but create very few jobs). Our staff predicts completely running out of employment land by 2031.

We’re already nearly out of small-light-industrial space and need a boundary expansion to meet the demand. Lots of autobody shops, mechanics, gyms and other local small businesses are being forced out of business or out of Milton because they cannot find space in Milton or afford the exorbitant rent charged due to the shortage of supply. Freezing the boundary does not solve their challenge, it makes it worse.

enter image description here We cannot meet our employment demand without expanding the boundary

All this means that we will have a shortage of a minimum of 24,000 jobs that must locate on employment lands. These companies will not disappear, they will just locate elsewhere, requiring longer commutes (and more greenhouse gas emissions). And no, they cannot be accommodated in existing areas (because there’s no space).

That’s another fallacy in Colin’s approach: it assumes that Milton has its own climate. In reality, Milton is a small part of a very large metropolitan area. In reality, his approach will just rejig where people locate: we’ll get more apartment dwellers and people looking for single-family-homes will go elsewhere, taking jobs with them.

Claim: Sprawl will cost us more in taxes

Verdict: MISLEADING (because our plan is not “sprawl”, the alternative is)

Residential taxes don’t cover the bill. They are subsidized by businesses because these businesses pay taxes at a much higher rate. Fewer business (see the previous point) means a higher reliance on residential taxes, meaning higher taxes for you.

enter image description here Much of the expansion in Milton and Halton Hills is actually for jobs, not homes

According to our staff (not me), this will result in hundreds of dollars in additional taxes on each household to make up for the shortfall.

To be totally clear, since we run out of employment land in 2031, our non-residential assessment growth will freeze at that point. Therefore, all additional expenses must be covered by residential assessment. 24,000+ jobs represents millions of square ft of businesses that pay property taxes at a much higher rate, taxes that will now go to other communities.

Claim: Milton is sprawling and cannot afford it!

Verdict: FALSE.

This is another infuriating argument because Colin has been voting to approve these very developments he suddenly decided are “sprawl”. In fact, I don’t recall a single time where Colin voted against a development in newer parts of Milton, no matter how inappropriate they were. Heck the Milton council approved a building in the middle of a park in ward 4 (the Sunny Mount park).

Milton’s new neighbourhoods are at a population density of 65 people+jobs per hectare, which is considered a good density that allows for transit and small, walkable communities.

Our major nodes as well as the education village is developing at 150 people+jobs per hectare, which is at the level Mississauga City Centre is now.

In addition, we have multiple growth areas that are planned at 200 people+jobs per hectre, which is higher than the Mississauga City Centre and a level the Mississauga City Centre aspires to be when all their towers are fully up in a decade or so.

No planner - not one - calls this sprawl (because it isn’t sprawl). In fact, I’d argue it’s almost too intense and too much over-development. Calling it sprawl doesn’t make it so no matter how many times it’s repeated.

enter image description here Notice how most of the growth is directed within the Delineated Built-Up Area (DBUA) and Designated Greenfield Area (DGA). This is already more aggressive than what independent planners think is achievable.</small>

Milton did have sprawl and ironically, people calling new growth “sprawl” continue to live in sprawled single family homes with large land in those sprawled subdivisions. Our own councillor arguing against single-family homes continues to live on a cul-de-sac on what today is considered a large land-property, all while arguing everyone else should live in apartments. If they are so bad then why not lead by example and move into an apartment first to lead by example?

Claim: Freeze the boundary to support affordable housing

Verdict: FALSE.

This one requires some serious mental gymnastic. Restricting supply increases prices. The one advantage of sprawl (it’s still not good) is that it creates cheap housing. That’s why housing in Houston and Phoenix and Vegas etc. are so cheap (because they have uncontrolled sprawl).

A good mix of housing supply that meets the market demand creates affordable housing. Artificially restricting the supply against the market demand decreases affordability.

Claim: Protect farming to save the climate

I won’t talk much about it, but keep in mind that a simplistic “farming good, housing bad” is a completely incorrect position to take. Housing can be sustainable or unsustainable. Farming can be sustainable or unsustainable. In fact, unsustainable farming practices have contributed heavily to the climate change, destruction of species and the disappearance of bees. It is the conversion of the Amazon forest in Brazil to farmland that’s contributing heavily to the climate change.

Claim: We are destroying farmland by doing this

Verdict: Misleading.

This argument actually has some credibility.

There are 495 properties in the expansion area. Out of these 495, 91 are owned by farming companies, representing 25% of the land. The other 75% are in non-farm ownership.

Also contrary to the belief, they don’t grow food. They generally grow corn for ethanol, hay for horses or other non-food produces that are mostly exported out of the country. That’s not a bad thing, but there’s no issue of food security because we don’t grow food in these farms in question.

enter image description here Notice the new growth areas are adjacent to Mississauga and Oakville. The big chunk of our prime agriculture area that is on the other side of the development is completely protected. Also notice how much of the growth is for employment and not homes.

The argument - and it’s true - is that once these farmlands are developed, they’ll be gone forever. That is very valid. However, the alternative is not that homes will disappear. The alternative is that these homes will be developed in other cities, replacing other farms.

Another argument is that we should protect farmland everywhere and only develop homes in land that cannot be farmed. The challenge there is that it’s exactly what sprawl is. We cannot have a bunch of disconnected developments around southern Ontario.

Claim: Milton is not protecting farmland

71% of Milton’s landmass is completely protected from development. The other 22% is in the settlement area. That leaves 7% that’s been discussed. We are not trying to develop all 7% either, we’re dealing with a subset of that 7%.

We have numerous letters from farmers in this area explaining how it’s not good for farming (due to being surrounded by urban developments) and they cannot find other farmers to buy their land to continue farming. One actually said “if this group loves these farms then why don’t they buy it and farm it forever. Don’t force me to not retire because there’s no one to replace me as a farmer after I die. My children have moved on and no other farmer wants to farm here.”

Claim: We can meet all targets using gentle density

The argument here is that we can meet all our population targets by using “gentle density” (they mean 4-6 stories, I am told). No planner or land economist has found this to be a valid argument. The numbers don’t add up. I’ve already shared enough that I don’t have to go on. A resident of an older part of Milton got very upset at me because I (correctly) said that Colin’s plan will create a lot of buildings in her neighbourhood. She said it would protect old Milton, its green space, fairground and put all the buildings in forms of “gentle density” of 4-6 stories in new Milton.

(Aside: “new” Milton residents are also taxpayers that require the same representation. I am very annoyed that even 20+ years later, the majority of our population is called “new” that can be thrown under the bus while only the “old” Milton should receive care and protection).

Claim: Why do we have to take in new population, let the other areas take it

This is a valid question. If you’re within a GTA, you don’t get to say “not in my backyard” because people have to live somewhere. If they don’t live within the already built areas then they’ll move further out, causing sprawl, destroying farmland and so on.

Within the urban GTA, we don’t get to check out (legally). We do not have the legal authority to say “not here”. We can, however, have our plan to handle the growth or we can let the developers via the Province run the show. Those are the two legal options. “Not here” isn’t it.


There are a lot of other claims that are unsubstantiated, but this covers most of it.

FAQ:


I had some xenophobic and anti-immigrant comments. I’ll skip those. But here are some questions that Colin and others asked

Q. Why can’t we re-open our secondary plans?

Secondary Plans are a product of several years of careful planning, study and public engagement. They implement the land use policies in force and effect at the time they are developed. They are often litigated by parties who feel they’re not getting what they want out of it. It’s a very long process that takes a very long time to settle. We can’t just arbitrarily restart and somehow finish in 3 months (when the deadline is).

And that won’t do anything. That won’t magically give us new answers.

Q. Why can’t we prioritize intensification?

That is precisely what we’re doing. In fact, the major criticism we get is that we are intensifying “too much”. People rightfully expect their established neighbourhoods protected from over-development. Colin’s plan calls for growing only through intensification and that will ruin all established neighbourhoods. We must balance intensification with the rightful ask to protect the character of existing neighbourhoods (all existing neighbourhoods, not just the ones in “old Milton”).

Keep in mind that according to our plan, 86% of all units will go in the existing boundary and only 14% will be built outside of the boundary. So we are prioritizing intensification well beyond the point of market demand and almost at the point where it’s starting to become overly ambitious and almost unrealistic. Anything more is impossible according to every single expert.

Q. Why can’t all growth be accommodated in existing areas?

This would require accommodating planned 15,500 units within the existing boundary, on top of everything else. That can only be done theoretically by eliminating all single-family homes and only building apartments. That is not supported by the market. In this hypothetical scenario, people who were interested in single-family homes will not arbitrarily decide to raise families in apartments. They’ll just move elsewhere (Cambridge, Kitchener, Guelph and a lot of other places that are still building single-family homes.

Our goal is to build complete communities and that requires a mix of housing.

Q. Why can’t we build more 3-bedroom apartment units?

3-bedroom apartment units are actually not practical. Many municipalities have unsuccessfully tried to require them, all have failed. A simple reason is that as condo size increases, so do condo fees.

At some point it makes much more sense to use the condo fee money and apply it towards the mortgage to buy a ground-level housing (townhome, semi-detached or single).

Some people do purchase 3-bedroom condos for lifestyle reasons, but they are almost always more expensive than the alternative.

Q. Why can’t we create jobs in mixed-use areas?

We are and we’ll continue to. But there are still industries that must locate in employment areas (think about the issues with the CN proposal). There is a very high demand in Milton from these industries and if we don’t meet that demand then they’ll just move elsewhere. It’s not an either/or situation. No matter how you slice it, we’ll be short a minimum of 24,000 jobs if we freeze the urban boundary.

I should mention that behind the statistics there are a lot of businesses - many small local businesses - that are driven out simply because we refuse to accommodate them.

Q. We should prevent sprawl and create 15-minute neighbourhoods?

That is precisely what we’re doing. Look at our actual plans!


There is a general misconception that expanding the boundary means that we don’t care about the climate change. One individual - upon being told that we need the boundary expansion to accommodate companies that cannot find land in Milton - said “what good are jobs when the planet is dead”.

It bears repeating that Milton is not killing the planet and Milton arbitrarily banning single family homes and throwing towers everywhere (even if it somehow worked) will not save it. On the contrary, our plan controls sprawl and is good for the climate change. The alternate feels good but creates sprawl and is bad for the planet.

We have two choices


1) Protect our established neighbourhood by following the advice of regional staff, Milton staff, Halton. Hills staff, independent planners and land economists who gave us a balanced and sustainable growth option,

or

2) accept buildings everywhere and add to the sprawl - and no, “gentle density in new areas only” doesn’t work - by listening to unsubstantiated buzzwords-laden-statements that call for banning single family homes and growing only via intensification.

I prefer listening to experts. If you do as well then shoot me an email and let me know: zee.hamid@milton.ca. I’ll share it with the rest of the council.