April 19, 2007
Media Release

Planning for Tomorrow open houses to discuss growth management options

Highlights of Planning for Tomorrow reports and issues identified by the public in 2006
 
NEWMARKET – The five staff reports endorsed by York Regional Council today provide a basis for public discussion, review and evaluation, particularly during the Planning for Tomorrow open houses in early May.  The following are highlights of the first four reports.
 
Population and Employment Forecasts
• By 2031, York Region anticipates 574,000 more people and 345,000 more jobs for a total population of 1.5 million and total employment of 801,000
• This forecast represents 224,000 more people and 105,000 more jobs than are currently targeted in the Region’s official plan for 2026
• Household growth will average 10,000 to 11,000 per year during the 2006-21 period, declining to 8,000 to 9,000 per year during 2021-31
• Strategic employment lands should be identified and preserved to accommodate economic development that provides high-skilled jobs for a quickly expanding labour force in York Region
 
2031 Land Requirements
• Current supply of designated development lands will last until about 2017 for residential uses and 2020 for employment uses
• The Region will require development on approximately 66 per cent of the “whitebelt” lands (Whitebelt lands are those not currently designated urban area or town and village and not protected by Oak Ridges Moraine or Greenbelt legislation)
 
Residential Intensification Strategy
• To meet the provincial 40 per cent intensification target, the Region must accommodate 85,000 new housing units within its built boundary by 2031
• Each area municipality has a role to play in achieving the region-wide intensification target of 40 per cent and will be asked to prepare an implementation strategy
• The towns of Richmond Hill and Markham and the City of Vaughan are expected to absorb 84 per cent of the total new intensification units
• Between January 2006 and January 2007, the Region received 22 applications for medium and high-density development, which translates into 16,922 potential new units
• Quality urban design, appropriate scale, compatibility and consistency with the Region’s Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines are keys to successful implementation
 
Residential Area Analysis – Preliminary Report
• The province’s Places to Grow density standard of 50 people and jobs per hectare for new communities will be a challenge to reach
• Preliminary findings indicate that between 1971 and 2006, the proportion of registered single-detached dwellings decreased by approximately seven per cent, while the proportion of registered row housing increased by approximately eight per cent. Similarly, gross residential density for all registered plans of subdivision has increased by approximately 20 per cent
• Most recently developed areas come close to or meet the Places to Grow target of 50 people and jobs per hectare
 
Issues heard in 2006 during Phase 1
 
In addition, the topics for the Planning for Tomorrow open houses will include the input received from the public last year, during the first phase of the Growth Management Review, as outlined in the fifth report, Phase 2 Public Engagement and Consultation 2007.
 
Pace of growth – How can our human services, transit and transportation systems, water and sewer services and natural systems keep up to the demands placed on them?
 
Natural heritage – How can we protect our natural heritage system, including Lake Simcoe and ground and surface water resources?
 
Intensification – How can we ensure urban intensification is located appropriately, fits with surrounding land uses and incorporates high quality design?
 
Quality of life and urban design – How can we maintain the high quality of life we now enjoy?  The amount of time spent commuting, the quality of community design and the availability of human services are major contributing factors.
 
Agricultural lands - To help ensure that agriculture remains a viable industry within York Region, challenges relating to taxation and farmland assessment as well as diversification of the industry must be addressed.
 
Sustainability – How can future growth and development be sustainable from a number of perspectives including energy, security of food sources, water, air, the natural environment and financial resources?  In March 2007, Regional Council endorsed a draft Sustainability Strategy, which will adopt a triple bottom-line analysis (integrating economic vitality, the natural environment and healthy communities) for major decisions.  Once approved this year, the draft strategy will turn sustainability principles into practical actions in all Regional plans, operations and programs.
 
York Region’s website – www.york.ca – provides information on the Region’s Growth Management initiative 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
 
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone: (905) 830-4444 Ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
 Cell Phone: (905) 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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