December 17, 2007
Media Release

York Regional Council endorses workplan to develop new standards for future communities

Discussion paper provides 42 examples of best practices in other jurisdictions
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council has endorsed a workplan to develop a New Communities Strategy to guide the development of future communities in The Regional Municipality of York.
The workplan requests a symposium and charrette to be held in 2008 for stakeholders to consider ideas and options outlined in a white paper entitled, Best Practices for New Communities Discussion Paper, which accompanied today’s staff report.
“We must accommodate significant growth within very limited areas where development can occur while balancing competing economic, community and environmental objectives,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “This comprehensive workplan will cultivate innovation and enable York Region to make new community planning and development a cornerstone of our successful city-region.”
According to Provincial forecasts contained in the Places to Grow, York Region is expected to have 1.5 million residents by 2031, as well as 800,000 jobs and 500,000 households.
However, 69 per cent of York Region consists of protected lands in both the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Greenbelt.  The provincial plan states 40 per cent of new households are to be located in existing built areas.  To accommodate the growth forecasted by the provincial plan, York Region will have to consider creating new communities outside of existing built areas.
“We need to build compact communities that reflect smart urban design, a sustainable infrastructure and a linked natural heritage system,” said the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair James Young, Mayor of the Town of East Gwillimbury.  “Our street configurations should support walking, cycling and the early integration and sustainability of transit service.  Our communities should include residential and employment lands as well as high-quality open spaces.”
The Best Practices for New Communities Discussion Paper will stimulate discussion on fresh approaches to develop new communities.  It provides 42 best practices, representing some of the best examples in sustainable community development, under the following themes:
1. Sustainable Community Planning
2. Energy
3. Water Management
4. Green Buildings
5. Creating Liveable, Vibrant Communities
6. Sustainable Transportation
7. Green Space
8. Natural Heritage System
9. Sustainable Community Economics
 10. Measuring and Reporting Progress
Examples of best practices from within York Region are:
• Markham Centre District Energy
• Vaughan Earth Rangers Centre
• Newmarket Eco-Logic Subdivision
• East Gwillimbury Energy Star Policy
• Vaughan Energy Star Subdivision requirement
• Markham Centre Performance Measures
• Urban Design in the Cornell Community, Markham
Many of the ideas are beyond the jurisdiction of York Region.  Many require a Regional role in partnerships, advocacy and education.  Some examples are:
• Toronto Deep Water Lake Cooling
• Drake’s Landing Solar Community, Okotoks
• Marshall Homes Geothermal, Oshawa
• Greater Vancouver Region U Pass Program
• Halifax Active Transportation Plan
• Calgary Alternative Transportation Cooperative
• Sustainability Checklist, Port Coquitlam
• False Creek Urban Agriculture, Vancouver
• Seattle Green Factor, Seattle, Washington
• Biofuels and Wastewater, Dockside Green, Victoria
• Grey Water Reuse, Rouse Hill, Sydney, Australia
“It is not intended that York Region undertake each item listed, but rather the desire to stimulate meaningful discussion on how our Region’s new communities can develop,” explained Mayor Young.  “We can learn from other jurisdictions where new ideas have been tried and tested.”
The Best Practices for New Communities Discussion Paper will be circulated to local municipal staff for review and comment.  All local municipalities are invited to participate in the New Communities symposium and charrette and will continue to be consulted in the creation of criteria for new communities.
Informed by the best practices discussion paper, the charrette will be an active session for stakeholders to provide ideas on integrating best practices into the new communities of York Region.
Following the symposium and charrette, Regional staff will draft proposed criteria for a New Communities Strategy and present them to Committee and York Regional Council for consideration as updates to the Regional Official Plan.
York Region’s website – – provides more information on the Region’s Sustainability initiative.  To view a copy of the Best Practices for New Communities Discussion Paper, click on the “Planning for Tomorrow” icon on the main page and then choose “Reports & Presentations.”  To submit online feedback, click on “Contact Us” or email your comments or questions to
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit
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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:

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