March 3, 2006

The Regional Municipality of York sustainability symposium discusses growth challenges and options

Towards a Sustainable Region kicks-off public debate about options for urbanization
NEWMARKET – Nearly 200 invited representatives of stakeholder groups and partner organizations from across York Region attended a symposium entitled "Towards a Sustainable Region," held at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in the City of Vaughan today.
“Over the coming months and years, the Region faces a variety of important public policy decisions,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Today, we put the challenges and issues on the table and now we’re going to discuss them with residents and obtain a sense of directions that people want to take.”
Bob Willard, authour of The Sustainability Advantage and The Next Sustainability Wave, delivered the keynote address.  A panel of five private and public sector executives discussed how government, companies and other organizations can put sustainability into action.
“Our goal is to create healthy urban communities integrated with a beautiful natural heritage and a prosperous economy,” said the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair James Young, Mayor of the Town of East Gwillimbury.  “All three of these priorities must be part of our plans if we are to protect and enhance the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.” 
The Regional Municipality of York will host five open houses for the public throughout March and April.  Members of the public are invited to learn about growth issues, discuss them and provide feedback.  These open houses will be focused on the major growth management decisions that face York Region, including:
• Protecting our natural heritage as a legacy for existing and future residents
• Managing significant population growth
• Creating jobs to match population growth
• Addressing traffic congestion
• Ensuring that both Human Services and infrastructure keep pace with growth
• Maintaining our high quality of life
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 almost 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 is taking a comprehensive and innovative approach to long-term growth management, infrastructure implementation and human services investment.  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.
“One of our challenges is to obtain public acceptance of more compact development,” added Chairman Fisch.  “In 2005, more than 1,100 high-rise units were started in York Region.  Clearly, the market for compact development is becoming stronger across York Region.”
Entitled “Planning for Tomorrow,” the series of open houses will serve as public consultation and input into Regional Official Plan Amendments in late 2007.
Date 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 – – 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  
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:
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

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