February 23, 2006

York Region to raise awareness of growth management choices at sustainability symposium and open houses

Province’s increased population forecasts to accelerate urbanization
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York will engage stakeholders and the public in a vital discussion regarding future growth management decisions.  On Friday, March 3rd, a symposium on sustainability will be held with York Region’s partners and stakeholders to identify key issues and develop an action plan for sustainable growth management in York Region.  The results of that symposium will serve as a basis for discussions at five open houses for the public throughout March and April.
“A primary goal of Regional Council is to encourage lively discussion on a variety of public policy options that need to be decided over the coming months and years,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We want people to be aware of the opportunities we have to pursue economic growth, healthy urbanization and environmental protection so that we preserve and enhance the quality of life for York Region residents.”
Nearly 200 invited representatives of stakeholder groups and partner organizations from across York Region will attend the symposium entitled "Towards a Sustainable Region," to be held at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in the City of Vaughan.  Bob Willard, authour of The Sustainability Advantage and The Next Sustainability Wave, will deliver the keynote address.  A panel of five private and public sector executives will discuss how government, companies and other organizations can put sustainability into action.
All members of the public are invited to learn about these growth issues, discuss them and provide feedback by attending one of the five open houses (see chart below).  Entitled “Planning for Tomorrow,” this series of broad discussions will serve as public consultation and input into Regional Official Plan Amendments in late 2007.
These open houses and discussions will be focused on the major growth management decisions that face York Region, including:
• Managing significant population and employment growth
• Addressing traffic congestion
• Ensuring that both Human Services and infrastructure keep pace with growth
• Protecting our natural heritage as a legacy for existing and future residents
• Maintaining our high quality of life
 “York Region has successfully implemented a variety of sustainability priorities, ranging from the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt initiatives to Viva Rapid Transit, the Centres and Corridors Strategy and the Water for Tomorrow Program,” said the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair James Young, Mayor of the Town of East Gwillimbury.  “York Region is taking a comprehensive and innovative approach to long-term growth management, infrastructure implementation and human services investment.” 
This public information and engagement 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.
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.
“York Region’s $33-billion economy represents 12.5 per cent of Ontario’s total economy,” added Chairman Fisch.  “A prosperous economy is vital to building a sustainable city-region that contributes significantly to our quality of life, just as healthy urban communities and a beautiful natural heritage are vital.  These priorities cannot be neglected or we risk endangering the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.”


Meeting Room Location

Street Address

Tuesday, March 21

Training Room, York Region South Services Centre

50 High Tech Rd., Richmond Hill

Thursday, March 23

Canada Room, Town of Markham Civic Centre

101 Town Centre Blvd., Markham

Tuesday, April 4

Council Chambers, Vaughan Civic Centre

2141 Major Mackenzie Dr., Vaughan

Thursday, April 6

Committee Room, 2nd Floor, Georgina Civic Centre

26557 Civic Centre Road, Keswick

Wednesday, April 12

Seminar Room, York Region Administrative Centre

17250 Yonge St., Newmarket

The format includes displays from 5 - 7 p.m., presentations from 7 - 7:30 p.m., and a discussion from 7:30 - 9 p.m.
York Region’s Web site – www.york.ca – will provide information on these meetings and issues as well as opportunities to submit online feedback.  Click on the “Planning for Tomorrow” icon on the main page for more information, or email your comments or questions to futureyork@york.ca   To speak with a Regional staff person, please call (905) 830-4444, Ext. 1570, 1532 or 1526.
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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
Members of the media are encouraged to attend the Sustainability Symposium on Friday, March 3rd, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kortright Centre for Conservation.  Please pre-register as a media participant.
Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
 (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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