Clr. Brad Clark was the province to give Hamilton more time to prepare a Land Needs Assessment to give the city s chance to consult with rural residents who will be most affected by the changes. The Ford government has reduced the density levels that had been in pace under Places to grow and Clark is worried the changes will mean more pressure to build housing on prime agricultural land
Wrote Clark in a communication to constituents, “dramatically increasing the amount of prime agricultural lands that are to be used for urban boundary expansions across the province runs contrary to the climate change (municipalities) to establish housing needs until 2051, I can safely predict that the demand for additional prime farm land to be used for urban boundary expansions will be even more intensive.
Consultation process misses rural taxpayers
Clark says the city has a virtual planning consultation process but it does not adequately serve rural residents. “. While it has been a broad-based process, we are still relying on residents seeing an advertisement in local papers, on cable TV and/or on social media platforms to participate, limiting our reach. Unfortunately, this process does not capture the opinions of most rural residents as they may not have internet or cable service in their neighbourhoods. Also, there are many others who may also have limited access to internet or cable services due to excessive costs or lack of interest. So, while the virtual consultation has been broad, I would argue that many residents have been unintentionally omitted from the process. Rural residents have some of the strongest opinions about losing more prime agricultural lands to urban development.”
Said the ward nine councillor, “I am not opposed to development. Rather, I would like to see us plan for a reasonable, sustainable, efficiently serviceable urban boundary expansion while encouraging more intensification along our transit corridors.
Notice of motion requiring direct mail
He has filed a notice of motion to delay the decision on the LNA and to direct staff to conduct a mail-in survey, with postage-free replies to all Hamilton residents. “Given the magnitude of these planning decisions, I sincerely believe that it is incumbent on the City to notify every household and give them an opportunity to provide their feedback,” he added.