Places to Grow

January 13, 2011


Places to Grow has come up a couple of times in the last couple of weeks and, I am sure, will again.  I have posted on P2G in the past because of the significance of this legisation on Guelph’s growth and development.

My usual caveat with planning matters — it is way more complicated and detailed than this but…

P2G  and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe do two key things:

  • Establish population targets for each muncipality in the Greater Golden Horseshoe – Guelph’s target is 175,000 by 2031 (our target was initially over 200,000 but we were able to make a technical case that our water supply and wastewater treatment capacity could not support such a population; our population is currently a little over 120,000)
  • Require 40% of that growth to occur within the existing “built up boundary” with the remaining 60% to occur in undeveloped (greenfield) areas – the boundary was established by the Province and minimum density levels for people and jobs have been established.

The legislation also establishes (the boundary of the Urban Growth Centre (aka the downtown) for each municipality and establishes minimum density levels for people and jobs.

All municipalities were required to bring their Official Plans into conformity with the growth strategy by June 2009.  

We initiated a process with extensive public consultation in 2007 to develop a Growth Strategy that would respond to the legislation.  The results of this strategy – and again there is much more to it than this – resulted in two key directions for our city:

  • Accomodate the population target of 175,000 people within the existing city boundaries (i.e. no annexation of land from our neighbours)
  • Direct a significant amount of that growth to the Urban Growth Centre (downtown) to meet provincial targets and to four nodes in the city (north, south, east and west) and their linking corridors

This map shows the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre and Built Up Boundary.

Urban growth centre (purple), built up boundary (yellow) and greenfield

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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5 Comments on “Places to Grow”

  1. encaenia Says:

    Can you say whether the current city zoning by-laws are, in general, compatible with the OP’s vision of enacting P2G, or are they some antiquated relic of our vision of the world prior to P2G?

    I am asking without prejudice to any current or future planning request. I know there are provisions to exceed (or fail to meet) the zoning requirements. I’m interested in whether the city has to routinely grant amendments to the zoning laws due to our P2G obligations, or if, in general, our zoning laws are compatible with our obligations?

  2. RR Says:

    I would like to know how the proposed Abode Varsity Living project fall under P2G legislation. The developer is proposing an intensification project that will essentially pull students who already live in Guelph into one central and highly intensive development. With respect to the City and to the developer, it feels like we are using P2G to justify something that is not applicable. A student development project like this will house students for a few years, before they move on to start their careers, all over the country and the world. The are essentially a transient portion of our population, living in Guelph for 6 for 7 months of the year, returning to their real homes across Canada from April to September. Surely this does not meet with anyones idea of long term population growth and intensification, P2G is not relevant to the discussion of the Abode Student Development Project.

  3. kfarbridge Says:

    This application is going through a formal public process under the Planning Act. The first presentation of this proposed development to Council occurs on Monday January 17th at 7 pm in Council Chambers. I encourage anyone interested in commenting on this issue to participate in this process. I want to make it clear that this blog is not part of this formal public process. If you want your comments to be part of the record on this application you need to participate in that process. This is also not the right place for me to comment on the merits of this application – certainly not at this time in the process. Please see my earlier posting on the planning process.

  4. kfarbridge Says:

    Just some further response to your question about the Abode Varsity Living project and Places to Grow. The proposal by Abode Varsity Living has not been reviewed by staff yet so it’s too early to say. This planning application was introduced last night to Council and public comments was heard. Staff will now review the proposal and one of the criteria that planning staff will evaluate is whether the application conforms to the Places to Grow legislation.

  5. kfarbridge Says:

    On the zoning by-law:

    Amendments are frequently made to the Zoning By-law. They can be initiated by a development application or by planning staff when they identify opportunities to improve the implementation of the Official Plan. Once the current Official Plan update is completed this year, the Planning Act requires that a comprehensive Zoning By-law Review occur to ensure that the Zoning By-law is appropriately implementing our updated Official Plan. A detailed analysis will occur at that time.

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