Latest News

One size will not fit all

cartoon_oct122016Wherever you look in Durham Region, there are signs of growth. New homes, new businesses, new roads.

Yet at the same time, wherever you look, there are areas of improvement. Traffic congestion, public transit issues, ailing infrastructure.

For that reason, it makes sense for the province to update its multitude of growth plans to not only accommodate the new levels of growth, but to also come up with ways that municipalities can deal with these issues without having to take any more cash from the wallets of tax payers.

And while the proposed changes look good on paper, and will make the environmentally conscious residents happy with plans for “greener communities”, there is a lack of foresight when it comes to intensification.

Currently, the province sets targets for municipalities on how much they should be building up within their boundary and for how many people and jobs should be in each hectare.

As staff in Oshawa’s planning department have stated, they are already struggling to meet Ontario’s existing targets, barely coming up with the current 50 people and jobs per hectare inside the sweeping Kedron Part II plan. If the province increases that target to 80, those numbers will need to be made up elsewhere in the city, and instead of curbing urban sprawl, as these intensification plans are said to do, it will in fact do the exact opposite by pushing more development to the further reaches of the city.

In this edition of the Express, a collection of concerned residents are reading between the lines and fear that the lovely section of old growth forest behind their homes could soon fall under the development axes as the space could be a perfect match for an infill project in Clarington, and they aren’t wrong.

Yet it wouldn’t work. The province wants cities to use the space they already have, and to build up and intensify to create vibrant communities. However, by shoehorning apartment buildings into people’s backyards, the only vibrant thing they are creating is the glowing red faces of the angry residents nearby.

There needs to be a compromise. The province needs to realize that when it comes to development, one size definitely does not fit everyone.