February 16, 2006

York Region will require additional residential lands to keep pace with Province's new growth forecast


Current housing lands enough for 13 years


NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today received a staff report that confirms the current supply of housing lands across York Region will be sufficient for approximately the next 13 years.  Council directed staff to circulate the “York Region Vacant Residential Unit Supply Inventory” to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, local municipal Councils and the Urban Development Institute. 


This initiative is part of a comprehensive Growth Management Review being undertaken by the Regional Municipality of York to respond to the Province’s increased population forecasts and provide input into a process to update the Regional Official Plan.

“The vacant residential land inventory provides information that is important to determine whether there is a need for additional residential lands outside of existing settlement areas,” said York Region Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “This report tells us the supply of land for single detached, semi-detached and row house units must be addressed soon or York Region will not be able to accommodate the increased population forecasted by the Provincial growth plan.”


There is a medium to long term supply concern for ground-related units.  The report indicates there is a 12.2-year supply for single detached, a 10-year supply for semi-detached, and a 12.8-year supply for row house units.


“The planning process can take up to 10 years before new communities are built,” said the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair James Young, Mayor of the Town of East Gwillimbury.  “It is necessary to address the need for urban expansions now even though the total supply is adequate at this time.”


The Province’s proposed Places to Grow - Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe includes an updated forecast for York Region of 1.5 million people by 2031, an increase of approximately 600,000 people from the current population of 920,000. 


Similarly, by 2031 employment is anticipated to increase by approximately 340,000 jobs from the current level of 440,000.  Places to Grow also requires 40 per cent of new growth to occur within a municipality’s existing built-up urban area, an approach known as intensification.


To meet these new forecasts, additional Greenfield lands may be required for development.  The Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, in consultation with upper-tier municipalities, will determine what additional lands are required, if any, to accommodate growth.  Settlement Area boundary expansions will only be permitted as part of a comprehensive municipal review. 


York Regional policy requires a minimum 10-year supply of land designated for housing; a three to seven-year supply of registered and draft approved lots; and an average of 8,000 housing units brought into production annually.


The Province’s new population forecast anticipates 10,150 new housing units will be required annually over the next 10 years.


“The provincial forecasts impact on the land development policies in our Regional Official Plan,” said the Region’s Planning and Development Commissioner Bryan Tuckey.  “The increased rates of development will consume the land supply faster than in the past, and within about 13 years our current designated supply will be all but exhausted.”


The vacant residential land inventory is one part of the Region’s Growth Management Review that also includes:

 The distribution of the total supply of vacant residential land by structure type is:

While the supply of vacant land for apartments is enough to satisfy demand for the next 18 years, apartment-type structures, including condominiums in Regional centres and along major transportation corridors, will help York Region meet the minimum intensification requirement – that 40 per cent of new growth will occur within existing urban areas.


Staff will consult extensively with the general public to seek their views on how to manage growth over the next 25 years.


Future work includes the establishment of a land budget exercise to determine how much land will be required to accommodate the future population and employment growth.  Regional Council directed staff to refine and update the vacant residential land inventory on a regular basis in collaboration and consultation with the local municipalities.


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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and the services our Region offers, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca


Media Contact:        Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region

                                 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 Ext. 1238,

                                              (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675

                                 After hours pager: (905) 830-3302

                                 Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca
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