Innisfil is still being punished for its opposition to provincial growth plans, says councillor Rod Boynton.
“Innisfil and the surrounding communities have cooperated and done their jobs,” he said. “It’s not like we’ve done anything wrong, (but) we’re being punished. We’ve played well with our partners, we were asked by the province to provide projections, and millions of dollars were spent. They came back and totally changed everything anyway; now it’s like we’re being punished and have to have everything approved by them.”
Last month, the town was issued a letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, calling on the municipality to provide notices of meetings, open houses or other Official Plan related items by November 5, 2011.
Basically, any plans to alter existing settlement areas or urban boundaries, or establish new growth nodes, must be submitted. All subdivision application or decisions should also be sent, if they have been filed after June 6, 2006.
Under the plan, notice of all new development applications and municipal planning initiatives must be submitted to the ministry for the next year.
“The province and municipalities have shared responsibility to ensure the building of complete and strong communities, the efficient use of infrastructure and the preservation of natural and agricultural resources for the future needs of residents and businesses,” said the ministry’s regional director, Larry Clay, in a letter to council.
Several provincial policies have taken planning authority away from municipal governments over the last few years, said councillor Lynn Dollin.
“We should take (Clay) for his word and send him every little bit of correspondence and send a truck down there every week,” she said. “The province should be careful what they wish for. With Places to Grow and the Green Energy Act, we’ve had to give up a lot of our own planning decisions. When people are upset about houses built too close together or wind turbines, they come to us to complain. We have to do what the province says. This is just another over control, or way we know we’re being watched. I found it a little distasteful.”
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