Growth is (Always) the Thing in Milton

By: Laura Steiner

The Legislature is looking at two pieces of legislation that could have a significant impact on Milton.  The first is the decision to replace the Ontario Municipal Board (O.M.B.), the appeals body for planning disputes. Their plan is to put the decisions back in the hands of the municipalities.

The idea is to form a “Local planning development Tribunal” with increased weight on the decision making processes.  They would plan to set up an “appeals centre” to make it easier for people to access materials needed for an appeal.  If the tribunals decide in favour of the appeal, it gets turned back to the municipality.  The legislation would set out guidelines as to how many times an appeal can be made.

Milton currently has 14 different cases before the O.M.B including the Sunny Mount Park development.  Under the new system that appeal would be heard by a tribunal.  If the decision is in favour of the appeal, then it would go back to the municipality for changes.

The second piece of legislation deals with growth within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).  They’ve updated 4 land use plans they say will help area growth, while creating sustainable communities, and protecting the environment.  They’re giving larger municipalities such as Halton Region until 2022 to bring their plans in line, and smaller communities such as Milton until one year after Halton’s growth plan takes effect.

Both make some mention of transit.    Specifically, both mention the necessity of “supporting growth in major transit areas.”  That’s the problem for Milton.  The major transit hub is the GO Station; municipal buses are based there.  To get anywhere outside Milton, that’s where you go.

There isn’t enough transit.  Metrolinx’s recent decision to push full-day beyond the 2041 deadline spelled it out in the Big move has dealt a huge blow to Milton’s growth.  There’s already issues with parking around the area.

Residential development around the GO Station would take cars off the road, and maybe help with overcrowding in the parking lot.  But there’d be more than enough with people driving from Guelph, Georgetown, Cambridge to take their place.  Without more transit, residential development will be stunted.

The “not enough” theme continues on through schools.  Milton should be getting at least 2 new schools/ year to keep up with growth.  Milton District High School has no room for more renovations.  The town could use at least one more high school.

It’s a government’s job to put growth plans on paper.   Municipalities need proper infrastructure to achieve the targets.  Without it, a plan isn’t enough.