‘All good theatre’: Niagara-on-the-Lake council defers speaking to Bill 23: Councillor’s motion deferred until Dec. 20 council meeting – Dec. 16, 2022, Hamilton Spectator
An excerpt reads:
A councillor’s attempt to have Niagara-on-the-Lake’s town council clearly state its position on the province’s Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, was deferred after it became evident there was no consensus around the horseshoe.
During the Dec. 13 committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Sandra O’Connor introduced a motion that would see the town request a pause on Bill 23 until there has been meaningful consultation with the municipalities in Ontario on what she described as the many short- and long-term impacts expected as a result of the act.
She said the town, for example, would see a reduction in development charges revenue of more than $1.3 million over a five-year period should this move forward.
“I think that the Greenbelt is threatened, our agricultural land is threatened. Whether or not changes can be made, I think we can stand up and defend that,” she said.
Bill 23 was introduced by the Ontario government in late October as a way to support the province’s housing supply action plan and increase the amount of available housing in the province. It was passed on Nov. 28 and received royal assent.
The province has faced a lot of criticism regarding the act from municipalities across Ontario, conservation authorities, wildlife and heritage associations, as well as advocates for the Greenbelt.
Coun. Adriana Vizzari questioned whether they needed to vote that evening, while Coun. Wendy Cheropita said she felt “ill equipped” to make a decision.
Meanwhile, Coun. Gary Burroughs expressed concerns about making waves with the province.
The larger picture here is that Ontario legislation of decades ago positions municipalities as creatures of the province. Currently a political party getting one-third of the votes cast in provincial elections runs the show. This sums up the current state of affairs with reference to what passes for democracy in Ontario.