If not clear before, it certainly is now. Halton Region has no intention of extending municipal water and wastewater services, nor will it permit urban expansion, beyond what is already approved for North Aldershot.
The Region’s long held position is confirmed in Appendix “J” of its latest Integrated Growth Management Strategy Discussion Paper, which is part of the Official Plan review.
The twenty-six page Appendix plus an additional technical analysis was released for public comment following Regional Council’s February 17th meeting. Interested parties have at least ninety days, followed by a public meeting, in order to comment on the proposed Official Plan Amendment Number 48 which will confirm the urban boundaries.
The “North Aldershot Policy Area Urban Expansion Assessment (Appendix “J”) acknowledges the 1990s North Aldershot Interagency Review allowed intensification and servicing in the central sector of North Aldershot, and minor building elsewhere, but it does not support any more growth or servicing.
In essence, the report concludes that the Region’s original decisions, made during Official Plan reviews in 2006 and 2016 were correct when they directed new development to existing urban areas only, consistent with the Province’s Places to Grow Plan. North Aldershot IS not considered part of the urban area.
Recommends no extension of urban area
“Extending the urban area into North Aldershot was not a consideration because lands in NA would not have been a logical extension of the Burlington urban area and were not contiguous to the existing urban areas. (Also) Many of the elements of what makes up compact built form are not achievable because of the fragmented nature of proposed development areas, its lower density and its distance from goods and services and public service facilities such as schools.”.
This latest report sites a variety of other reasons to continue to restrict development and servicing in North Aldershot but, primarily the reason is the protection of the environment.
Appendix “J” points out that the Region’s Natural Heritage Designation (NHS) for land in North Aldershot has significant implications on development potential.
“It establishes a general prohibition on development and site alteration within key natural heritage features and key hydrologic features that are included within the NHS. (It) requires a 30-metre wide minimum vegetation protection zone……..In recognition of the presence of a number of environmentally sensitive areas……about 44% of North Aldershot was subject to restrictions on the type of development that may occur”.
To further support its position the Report cites a study by GM Blue Engineering. The engineers conclude that development beyond what is already allowed in the central sector would be extremely difficult to service with water and sewer lines.
Acknowledging that there are small areas of North Aldershot which already have water supplied by Hamilton it says that; “Extension of water servicing to other remaining areas or pockets within the North Aldershot Policy Area will carry environmental risks due to proximity to environmental sensitive areas with potential adverse effects to water features and resources”.
Servicing would be difficult
There are also technical problems. “New infrastructure will be required to service the areas which would lie within multiple water pressure zones. Watermains, valves and potentially new facilities may be required to extend servicing to currently un-serviced areas. …… Due to several factors such as topography, proximity to environmental features and the general sparse and uneven distribution of each pocket of potential development, extending servicing can be costly, inefficient and technically challenging”.
The same is true for new sewers. “Similar to the findings of the water system review, extending municipal wastewater services to other pockets of lands within the remaining North Aldershot Policy Area may be technically challenging and costly due to the topography of the area with potential for environmental risks.”
In an accompanying memo Regional Staff concluded: “Expanding the urban area into the North Aldershot Policy Area as a whole is not supportable”
The Region’s position will be welcomed by environmentalists but North Aldershot landowners hoping to develop may be disappointed. By Rick Craven