Province calls for consultation on proposed PPS changes

(Gazette file photo)

JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

Changes are coming to Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and the province is looking for input from municipalities.

Minster of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark notified Ontario’s 444 municipalities on Monday his government was launching a consultation on proposed changes to the PPS, an important part of Ontario’s land use planning system that sets out land use policy and direction.

Municipalities play a key role in implementing these policies through local official plans, zoning bylaws and other planning decisions and Ontario’s Planning Act requires decisions on land use planning matters be “consistent with” the PPS policies.  

In the letter, Clark indicates the government is consulting on draft policy changes to:  Encourage the development of an increased mix and supply of housing; Protect the environment and public safety; Reduce barriers and costs for development and provide greater predictability; Support rural, northern and Indigenous communities; Support the economy and job creation.

“We are proposing changes to provincial policies that would spur and speed up the construction of more and different types of housing that can meet the needs of people in different stages of life,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “I encourage people to give feedback during this 90-day consultation.”

Municipal consultation in advance of changes to the PPS is likely one of the final pieces that will allow the province’s More Homes, More Choices Act to be fully implemented. 

While proponents of Bill 108 call it a much needed cutting of the municipal red tape that’s binding the creation of housing stock, some municipalities have already voiced their concerns.

Among other changes, Bill 108 will drastically alter the development fee process, diminish the input period when citizens, public interest groups and municipalities could speak to planning proposals and as well as give more oversight and decision making authority to the  Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), an entity outside the local community and thereby causing local planning control to be reduced.

The consultation is open for 90 days and closes on Oct. 21, 2019. 

County of Prince Edward Communications person Mark Kerr told the Gazette staff were still in the process of reviewing the proposed changes and it was too early to make a determination on how an altered PPS would fully impact municipal operations.