STANDING COMMITTEE ON
DE LA JUSTICE
Thursday 5 November 2009 Jeudi 5 novembre 2009
The committee met at 1001 in the Simcoe County Museum, Minesing.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Good morning and welcome, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to call to order the meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. On today's agenda, we're dealing with Bill 196, Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, 2009.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): The first item on the agenda is the subcommittee report, dated October 19, 2009. Do I have a member to read the report and move its adoption? Mr. Zimmer.
Mr. David Zimmer: Your subcommittee on committee business met on October 19, 2009, to consider the method of proceeding on Bill 196, An Act respecting the adjustment of the boundary between the City of Barrie and the Town of Innisfil, and recommends the following:
(1) That the committee hold public hearings in the Simcoe county area on Thursday, November 5, 2009.
(2) That the committee clerk, with the authorization of the Chair, post information regarding the committee's business for one day in the following publications: Barrie Advance, Barrie Examiner, Orillia Packet and Times, Orillia Today, Collingwood Enterprise, Innisfil Examiner, Innisfil Scope, Midland/Penetanguishene Mirror, Midland Free Press, and Wasaga Sun.
(3) That the committee clerk, with the authorization of the Chair, post information regarding the committee's business on the Ontario parliamentary channel and the committee's website.
(4) That groups be offered 15 minutes and individuals be offered 10 minutes in which to make a presentation.
(5) That interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral presentation on Bill 196 should contact the committee clerk by 5 p.m., Thursday, October 29, 2009.
(6) That if all groups can be scheduled, the committee clerk, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized to schedule all interested parties.
(7) That if all groups cannot be scheduled, each of the subcommittee members provide the committee clerk with a prioritized list of names of witnesses they would like to hear from by 12 noon, Friday, October 30, 2009; and that these witnesses must be selected from the list distributed by the committee clerk to the subcommittee members.
(8) That the deadline for written submissions be 5 p.m., Thursday, November 5, 2009.
(9) That the research officer provide the committee with the Simcoe county growth plan.
(10) That the administrative deadline for filing amendments be 12 noon, Thursday, November 12, 2009.
(11) That the committee meet for clause-by-clause consideration on Monday, November 16, 2009.
(12) That the committee clerk, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized, prior to the passage of the report of the subcommittee, to commence making any preliminary arrangements necessary to facilitate the committee's proceedings.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. Is there any debate? Do I have a motion to adopt? Mr. Dunlop.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: So moved.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): All those in favour? Opposed? Carried.
Our first deputation is hereâÂ"
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Mr. Chair, could I? I think Mr. Zimmer had some remarks as well right now, or is it after?
I was just going to say, ladies and gentlemen, members of the committee, I'd like to welcome you to the most beautiful part of the province of Ontario, the county of Simcoe. You're in the Simcoe County Museum, certainly one of the jewels of the county of Simcoe, which sits on 325 acres. We don't really cramp it in among buildings. On top of that, the county of Simcoe took a leading role in green space many decades ago, and today, the county of Simcoe, to my colleagues here, has over 31,000 acres of forested land. I believe it's more than all the other counties in the province put together. So we're all very proud of that.
But to the general public here today, I'd like to welcome my colleagues and introduce them. First of all, David Zimmer is from the beautiful community of Willowdale, the riding of Willowdale; beside David is Ms. Liz Sandals from the riding of Guelph; Lou Rinaldi, who is the MPP for the riding of NorthumberlandÃ¢Â"Quinte West; Rick Johnson, next to Lou, is from HaliburtonÃ¢Â"Kawartha LakesÃ¢Â"Brock; next to Rick is Bas Balkissoon from ScarboroughÃ¢Â"Rouge River; our chair is Lorenzo Berardinetti from Scarborough Southwest. I'm Garfield Dunlop the MPP for Simcoe NorthÃ¢Â"a lot of you know me. We have Michael Prue, from the New Democratic Party, from BeachesÃ¢Â"East York, and my colleague from south of us, Julia Munro from YorkÃ¢Â"Simcoe. I want to welcome all of my colleagues to the beautiful county of Simcoe and I hope these deliberations go well today. And welcome, everyone else, as well.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Mr. Zimmer?
Mr. David Zimmer: I just wanted to thank the community up here in Simcoe. I've been here since 9 o'clock with some of my colleagues. We've been wandering around the museum and it really is just a first-class, informative site. I have, from time to time, driven by on the highway here going farther north. The next time I drive by I'm going to arrange to stop by with my family and take them through. This is really worth seeing. It's a lovely facility. So thank you to the community, and to you, Garfield, for getting us into this site.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you.
BARRIE-INNISFIL BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT ACT, 2009
LOI DE 2009 SUR LA MODIFICATION
DES LIMITES TERRITORIALES
ENTRE BARRIE ET INNISFIL
Consideration of Bill 196, An Act respecting the adjustment of the boundary between the City of Barrie and the Town of InnisfilÃÂ / Projet de loi 196, Loi concernant la modification des limites territoriales entre la citÃÂ© de Barrie et la ville d'Innisfil.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We will begin our presentations. We have a number of them scheduled for this morning, right up until early this afternoon. We're having 10 minutes put aside for individuals and 15 minutes for groups. That was an agreement made during subcommittee deliberations.
Our first deputation for this morning is an individual, Charlene Vanderpost. If you would like to come forward to the table, you can pick any of the microphones.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Perfect.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Good morning and welcome. There's water there for you as well. Again, there are 10 minutes. Any time that's not used up during your presentation will be split among the three parties to ask you any particular questions that we may have.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Okay. Good morning. My name is Charlene Vanderpost. Our home is located at 7750 County Road 27, Lot 1, Concession 10 in Innisfil township. We have lived at this residence for more than 20 years. At this time, I'm petitioning to have our home become a permanent part of Essa township.
Currently, our home falls in a grey area in regard to elections and emergency vehicles including fire, police and ambulance. I'm fully aware that these are municipal issues; however, I feel that I've found a viable solution for an unusual situation.
In regards to attachment 1, you will see the aerial view of our home. The gravel laneway behind our home is the old town line, which is the distinct boundary line separating the two townships of Innisfil and Essa.
As it currently stands, all of Innisfil is on the east side of County Road 27 while our property is on the west side of County Road 27. Even if we become Barrie, our home will still be the exception to the rule. Barrie will be on the east side and we'll be on the west side.
It makes complete sense to allow our request to have our home become part of Essa township. This would put all of Essa township on the west side of County Road 27Ã¢Â"clearly a very simple solution to a complicated problem.
Most people don't haveÃ¢Â"I only brought 25 copies. This is 27 and this is our house. As you can see, it's in the grey area; a little island surrounded by county land that we're talking about. Right there in the centreÃ¢Â"that's our home. It's very confusing to explain where we are, so it's easier to show.
Right now, various agencies, such as the departments named above and recreation facilities, currently assume that we're already in Essa township because of where we sit with our house.
If you put yourself into my shoes, I'm sure that you would feel much the same way if your family was being robbed or there was another policing issue and phoning 911 would not assure a speedy response for assistance.
I have previously approached the Essa township government and have their full support in becoming an Essa township resident, indicated in attachment number 2. I have also enclosed a copy of my original letter, as attachment number 3, to the minister, Jim Watson.
In closing, I'd like to also say, on behalf of Innisfil residents, that we really weren't given sufficient time to get out there and make the public aware that this was actually taking place. Maybe in the future you guys can put stuff on the radio. Everybody listens to the radio; not a lot of people get the paperÃ¢Â"or it's in our ditches because everything gets thrown away. I'm very disappointed to see that there are not a lot more residents here in support of this. It's for them as well.
So thank you for your time and consideration. I'm sure that once you've gone through the opportunity to read all my documentation, you will do the right thing where my property is concerned.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you very much. That leaves about two minutes per party to ask any kind of questions. Perhaps we'll start with the Liberal Party. Any questions? Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you. I don't have a lot of questions. Thank you for the presentation. It's certainly something thatÃ¢Â"that's what we're here for today.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: It's easier to show than to try to explain. I know it's a municipal problemÃ¢Â"where it comesÃ¢Â"but when you really look at the aerial view and you see our little house surrounded by county land and roads, it kind of makes you wonder how we even got there, but that's beside the point.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Can you maybe indicate any other residences like yours that might be impactedÃ¢Â"are impacted?
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Are there others like that in the community? I have no idea. I know that we have always been there and have always had problems in many different places. I can honestly say I've never voted for the right person in my riding.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Oops.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: We can talk to that later.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you very much for your presentation.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on to the Conservatives. Ms. Munro?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you for pointing out one of the things that happens when there is a lot of government in layers and things like that.
My question to you is very simple. You mentioned that you had the support of Essa township in your documentation. I just wondered whether or not there had been any indication given from Essa in terms of any difficulties that they could foresee in being able to include you in Essa township.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: No. When I talked to Mr. Galloway and Mr. Guergis, there were no issues whatsoever. The road behind us is the old 131, the old town line, so basically it's a gravel/dirt road for one car, and there are no issues tying us in. That would actually make everything go much more smoothly with all the other emergency vehicles in response to usÃ¢Â"and not just myself, but other homes too. We've watched fire departments go flying past our home looking for somebody and, all of a sudden, there's a whole bunch of commotion and they're going a totally different way.
Because it's a small community, in the village of Thornton we talk about different things and have noticed that there are quite a few people who are affected by this house in a not-so-good wayÃ¢Â"if they're waiting for an ambulance or their house is burning down; you know?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Absolutely. Thank you very much for bringing it to the attention of the committee.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: Yes. You wrote a letterÃ¢Â"it would be nearly two months agoÃ¢Â"to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Have you had a response?
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Yes, I did.
Mr. Michael Prue: What did he say?
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: He said that it was a municipal problem and that Bill 196 is going to go through. I felt very insulted by his letter when he sent it to me because he didn't look into the actual photograph and consider everything. He just looked at one thing and narrow-mindedlyÃ¢Â"
Mr. Michael Prue: There is a municipal boundary change being effected here. What you're simply asking is that the line be drawn straight.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: No.
Mr. Michael Prue: No?
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: No. Because 27, right nowÃ¢Â"
Mr. Michael Prue: I can see 27, yes.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Ã¢Â"comes out as a complete stop, and then it goes in front of our house again.
Mr. Michael Prue: Yes.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: So it's like a Y intersectionÃ¢Â"
Mr. Michael Prue: Yes, I can see that.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Ã¢Â"and we're on the southwest corner.
Mr. Michael Prue: What you're asking, though, is just thatÃ¢Â"
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: Ã¢Â"a boundary change be made.
Mr. Michael Prue: That he simply make a slight variation of the boundary change in order to make things easier for you, the county of Essa, perhaps Innisfil, perhaps the city of BarrieÃ¢Â"everybody. And he just says, what? "The thing's going through and I don't care about your situation"?
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: That's more or less what I got from it, that I was supposed to deal with the municipality on it. That's why I've been working closely with Essa township, Simcoe county, as well as Innisfil. They've given me great support in telling me what I should do, where I should be sending the letters and everything.
Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you.
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost: I do have another letter going back to Mr. Jim Watson after it's all said and done, voicing my opinion.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation.
TOWN OF INNISFIL
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to our next presentation. It's the town of Innisfil. I have Brent Duguid and Quinto Annibale listed.
Mr. Michael Prue: While they're sitting down, Mr. Chair, can you please tell me why, with all the bother the Ontario government goes through to tell people how good and clean our water is, we have bottled water from the United States sitting on our tables? I really do have some difficultyÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): The committee clerk is going to speak to you about that.
Good morning and welcome. If you could please identify yourselves. Hansard is present today, taking notes on everything hereÃ¢Â"so the names of the individuals. You have 15 minutes to present.
Mr. Quinto Annibale: My name is Quinto Annibale. I'm with the law firm Loopstra Nixon and I am counsel for the town of Innisfil. To my immediate right is Mayor Brian Jackson and to his right is Deputy Mayor Gord Wauchope, and in the front row are Councillor Bill Van Berkel and the CAO, Dave Weldon, all from the town of Innisfil.
Good morning, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. In the next 12 or so minutes, I'd like to make a submission on behalf of the town of Innisfil that will cover five areas: The first is a brief discussion of the history of annexations and the negotiations that have been ongoing between the town of Innisfil and the city of Barrie. The second I'd like to speak about is the financial implications that the town of Innisfil feels will fall out of Bill 196 if it's enacted by the Legislature, and to make a case for compensation to be paid to the town of Innisfil. The third is, I'd like to briefly refer to some other annexation-amalgamation agreements that have been carried out in the province of Ontario and compare them to the situation that Bill 196 puts us in. The fourth is that I'd like to suggest some alternatives to direct compensation if the committee and the Legislature determine that compensation ought not to be paid to the town of Innisfil. And then fifthly, I'd like to deal with some minor technical amendments to Bill 196, two sets of amendmentsÃ¢Â"one which I don't think is controversial and the other I think is resisted by at least the city of Barrie.
To begin with a brief history, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, as you probably know, the city of Barrie has on numerous occasions annexed lands in the town of Innisfil for growth purposes, and over the years the city of Barrie has taken thousands of acres of land from Innisfil to accommodate its continuing desire to expand beyond its boundaries as opposed to the more efficient intensification of the municipality within its own boundaries. If the city of Barrie continues this march south, the town will no longer exist or it will cease to be economically viable. It's the position of the town of Innisfil that something must be done to stop this continued expansion. So as an opening statement, we request that the Legislature amend Bill 196 to expressly provide for no further encroachment into Innisfil.
Recently, as you also know, the town attempted to negotiate an arrangement that would see the city of Barrie extend water and sewer services south to its city limits, to businesses located along Highway 400 and Innisfil Beach Road. In exchange for such services, the city pursued land from Innisfil in order to increase residential and industrial growth. Negotiations were carried on between the parties, but there failed to be an agreement that resulted from those discussions.
I've seen reported in the media, and I've heard in the Legislature itself, a suggestion that perhaps Innisfil was intransigent in those discussions. I'm appearing here to tell you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, that that suggestion is wholly inaccurate. It is misconceived. Innisfil was not intransigent. In fact, Innisfil negotiated in good faith.
The fact of the matter is that Innisfil and Barrie actually agreed on the new boundary but Innisfil sought some conditions, which it felt were fair, to accompany the transfer of land, not the least of which was compensation and services to the town of Innisfil. It's those conditions that were rejected by the city of Barrie. There was never any disputeÃ¢Â"at least early on in the discussionsÃ¢Â"about the amount of land that ought to be transferred, and those discussions took place with the assistance of the Office of the Provincial Development Facilitator.
In March 2009, the minister confirmed in a letter to all parties that the government supports a local solution. We believe that the constituents of Innisfil and Barrie prefer that their local elected representatives resolve the matter through a local solution. If you look at the submission that I've given to the committee clerk, you'll find, in appendix A, a copy of that letter from the minister.
With the introduction of Bill 196, it's the position of the town of Innisfil that the minister rejected a locally developed solution that protects the interests of Innisfil residents. The question that Innisfil has is, why has the minister imposed a solution on Innisfil without providing any financial compensation to the residents of Innisfil?
In arguing for a further boundary expansion, the city cited the need for more industrial land as one of the rationales that it gave for expanding into Innisfil. You may know, or you may not, that just last week the city of Barrie initiated a process to rezone some lands called the Bryne Drive link in the city of Barrie from industrial to commercial, which is wholly inconsistent with their position that they need more industrial land in the town of Innisfil.
Why does Barrie need to annex land from Innisfil, supposedly for industrial purposes, if the city doesn't think that they need industrial-zoned land that they already have? I pose that question to the committee.
The second heading I'd like to discuss is the financial implications that the town of Innisfil feels fall out of Bill 196, and to make a case for compensation.
The first reading version of the bill, in the current form, removed any incentive for Barrie to negotiate. Why would they? When the bill was introduced, the land transfer was a fait accompli. The province, through the municipal affairs staff who have been sitting in on the transition discussions between the city of Barrie, the town of Innisfil and the county of Simcoe, has consistently said that the province is not prepared to financially assist the town in mitigating the negative financial impacts on the residents of Innisfil.
It's the position of the town of Innisfil that this position is unconscionable. How can the province appear to say, "Here's the new boundary that we're imposing, and we don't care if there are negative financial impacts that result from it"? The fact of the matter is that the simple act of drawing a new boundary will, in and of itself, cause an increase in property taxes for the residents of Innisfil. This applies to those lands that will become part of Barrie, as well as those that remain within Innisfil after January 1.
Barrie has the ability to mitigate that tax increase, and we believe Barrie willÃ¢Â"they've told us they will mitigate that tax increase for the new residents of the city of Barrie. But if Bill 196 is approved, what you've done is taken away Innisfil's ability to mitigate the impact on its own residents of the tax increases, which I'll tell you about in a second. So Bill 196, in our view, is deficient because there are no means for Innisfil to mitigate the tax increase impact on its own residents.
On that point, the transfer of the annexed lands from Innisfil to Barrie will result in a negative fiscal impact to the town of Innisfil. It will result in higher taxes for the remaining residents of the town.
If you look at tab B of my presentation, you'll see a full analysis of the negative impacts, and I'd just like to gloss over them, if I may.
There are four ways in which residents of Innisfil will be affected. One is, there will be a tax revenue loss. Innisfil will lose over $80 million in tax assessment, which equates to 2.5% of Innisfil's current assessment base. That will result in a net revenue loss of $419,000. For a municipality the size of Innisfil, that is significant; it's 2% of its tax revenues.
There will be a fiscal impact on debt-servicing ability for the town of Innisfil. The town has undertaken three major infrastructure initiatives recently: the new town hall, the Innisfil Recreation Complex and the Cookstown library. These projects are complete but they're not yet debentured, so the full impact is not yet felt on the residents of Innisfil. The lands that are being taken away and given to Barrie would have contributed $30,000 per year towards the servicing of that debt, or almost 2% of the cost of servicing the debt. That contribution, that shortfall will have to be made up by the remaining residents of Innisfil over the next 20 years. The town's position is that it ought to be compensated for that shortfall: $30,000 for a period of 20 years.
The third financial impact is future growth-related capital costs. The 2,300 hectares that are being transferred to Barrie will no doubt be developed; Barrie has stated that position. There will be an impact on the residents of Innisfil in that the development that goes into those 2,300 hectares will use Innisfil roads, will use Innisfil services, will use Innisfil infrastructure. There will be an impact, and Innisfil has no way to recover that under the Development Charges Act; Barrie does. So Innisfil requests that the Legislature amend Bill 196 to take this into account and provide compensation to Innisfil for that financial loss.
Finally, the last impact that we feel Innisfil will feel is the loss of development opportunity, the future assessment that the lands that are being transferred would have generated in tax revenue for the residents of the town of Innisfil. Our consultants have estimated this loss at about $50 million, so it's not an insignificant amount.
The third heading I'd like to address is other financial compensation agreements throughout the province. There are three that we're aware of and members of the committee will be aware of. Granted, they were voluntary agreementsÃ¢Â"we recognize thatÃ¢Â"but the end result was that the municipality that had land taken away from it, albeit voluntarily, received compensation: the town of Tecumseh, the town of Rideau Lakes and the united counties of Leeds and Grenville to the town of Smiths Falls, and lands transferred in the township of Blandford-Blenheim to the city of Woodstock. Those were in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
In the case of the Blenheim compensation agreement, the compensation paid to the city of Woodstock was a minimum of 12% and a maximum of 24% of the tax rate. So the questions that the town has to this committee and to the Legislature are, why is it that Bill 196 does not compensate the residents of Innisfil in the same wayÃ¢Â"and that compensation can come either from the province or from the city of Barrie; we don't careÃ¢Â"and why are the residents of Innisfil not being treated equally, the same way the residents in these three municipalities were treated?
The fourth item I'd like to address is alternatives to direct financial compensation. Again, it's discussed at length in the brief. I won't go through it in detail because I'm limited in time, but if it's the will of the Legislature not to give compensation to Innisfil, then in the alternative, Innisfil is asking for three things.
First of all, Innisfil requests the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure to amend the growth plan for Simcoe county to designate Innisfil Heights as an economic district, which the vision document that the minister has put out there does suggest. But we'd like that to provide for the expansion of Innisfil Heights in the future and we'd like the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to withdraw its objection to the town's official plan amendment no. 1.
The second thing the town asks in the alternative to compensation is that the town of Alcona, which is a community that will have a population of about 25,000 people under the current planning approvals and will be the sixth-largest urban area in Simcoe county, within Innisfil be given an urban node designation within the growth plan. At the current time, the vision document does not contemplate an urban node designation for Alcona.
The third thing that the town asks for by way of alternative compensation is assistance with sewer and water servicing for both Innisfil Heights and Alcona. The vision document does make mention that the amendment to the growth plan will discuss servicing, but we'd like that clarified and we'd like some dollars attached to it as well. So those are the three alternatives.
The last thing I'd like to talk aboutÃ¢Â"and I'm just wrapping up, Mr. Chair; I know I'm pressed for timeÃ¢Â"is what I'd call the minor technical amendments to schedule 1 of Bill 196. Schedule 1, you'll know, is the legal description that sets out the boundary of the lands to be annexed. The town's asking for two changes to that. I'll deal with what I think is the non-controversial one first.
The bill sets out as the limits of the annexed area the midpoint of road allowances all the way around, and what that would result in is shared jurisdiction over the roads. We have had discussions with both Simcoe and Barrie, and I believe, although you'll hear today for certain, that there's agreement between the parties to take that boundary either to one side or the other, so that certain roads fall within the jurisdiction of one municipality or the other. I don't think that's controversial. In my brief, you'll see some description changes that we're proposing.
The second oneÃ¢Â"and the very last point, Mr. Chair. I apologize for going slightly over. The very last one is the Doral Business Park. If you turn to tab J in my submission, you'll see a map with a storm pond outlined in red, and below it you will see the Doral Business Park. It's this document here, this map hereÃ¢Â"aerial. It's the very last document in the book. So the red is a storm pond. Bill 196 proposes to put the red into the city of Barrie. It's in the town of Innisfil now. The lands to the south, which will remain in the town of Innisfil and which the storm pond services, are the Doral Business Park. So the bill is actually proposingÃ¢Â"it's quite ludicrousÃ¢Â"to take that storm pond, put it into Barrie and make it subject to Barrie's bylaws, and yet it services a business park within the town of Innisfil. It's crazy. The town of Innisfil does not want city of Barrie bylaws applying to its storm pond. It services development in Innisfil for development charge purposes, for Lake Simcoe protection purposes, and it should remain within Innisfil's jurisdiction.
Those are my submissions. The mayor and deputy mayor are available to answer questions, as well as me.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Unfortunately, the 15 minutesÃ¢Â"I'm going by this clock here, and you were almost exactly 15 minutes.
Mr. Quinto Annibale: Excellent.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): So there's no time left for questions, but you had a very thorough presentation. We thank you for your presentation, and the mayor, the deputy mayor and councillors for coming here today. We will certainly take those matters into consideration.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to our 10:30 deputation. It's the East Moratorium Landowners' Group. I have here Don Pratt and Jaime Shapiro. Good morning, and welcome.
Mr. Don Pratt: Good morning.
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: I'm Jaime Shapiro and on my right is Don Pratt.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you.
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: We represent a landowners' group known as the East Moratorium Landowners' Group. We made a written submission as well through the clerk in advance of today, of which I trust copies have been shared with the committee members, which goes into more detail on our positions. I'm going to make a few remarks first and then leave time for Don after I'm done.
The East Moratorium Landowners' Group includes long-time area residents, investors, land developers and home builders. As Innisfil property owners, we collectively own approximately 50% of the lands east of Huronia Road proposed to be annexed to the city of Barrie under Bill 196. Our group was formed to raise awareness about the serious threat posed by the Barrie-Innisfil boundary dispute to the future health and prosperity of the Simcoe region. We wish to express our strong support for Bill 196 as a critically needed response by the province to a clear call for action on this file.
The boundary impasse and resulting land squeeze continue to impact the local economyÃ¢Â"and the land squeeze I'm referring to is in the city of BarrieÃ¢Â"to undermine the objectives of Places to Grow in the region as a whole, and to sow doubts about the city's viability as Simcoe's only urban growth centre. With no expansion room in Barrie, unrelenting growth pressures are driving development activity out to the land-rich towns and villages on Barrie's periphery because there's nowhere else for it to go, and that growth pressure is not going to go away. This is a sure recipe for rural sprawl, redundant infrastructure spending and increased environmental load. Left unchecked, these forces will also divert new investment and municipal revenue away from Barrie, just as it's investing millions in new servicing infrastructure, and it will transform the city into an overburdened, fiscally challenged service centre for its faster-growing, wealthier suburbs in that future scenario I've just depictedÃ¢Â"sort of like Newark, New Jersey, in comparison to its wealthy surroundings in New Jersey, where the suburbanites come into the city to use its resources, services and infrastructure when they absolutely must, and then they go back to their homes and pay their taxes in the suburbs.
For the greater good of the Simcoe regionÃ¢Â"which I believe is something close to the county's motto, "For the greater good"Ã¢Â"maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. With the long-hoped-for local solution having failed to materialize, despite many years of trying, provincial intervention is urgently required to steer the region back on course towards a Places to Grow future. Bill 196, if enacted, will resolve Barrie's severe land squeeze as the critical first step in this process, enabling the city to go forward as a live-work community and a thriving economic hub for the whole region. In addition, Bill 196 will bring much-needed certainty for growth planning and investment decisions across the Simcoe area.
We believe that the province has struck the right balance with Bill 196, providing Barrie with sufficient additional land supply but without significantly impacting Innisfil's fiscal stability or territorial integrity. As the proposed expansion area is contiguous to Barrie's existing urban structure, it incorporates the lands best positioned to leverage transit and servicing infrastructure, to benefit from Barrie's urban services, and to meet the growth plans, policies and targets for intensification and density. In addition, these lands pose fewer environmental constraints overall than other alternative annexation areas that have been studied over the yearsÃ¢Â"and there has been a lot of study, as many people in the room are aware of.
In summary, the East Moratorium Landowners' Group supports Bill 196 as a reasonable solution that will bring closure to a difficult issue. We believe Bill 196 provides a win-win for Barrie and for the entire region. It will allow people and jobs to be concentrated in the urban growth centre while minimizing the pressure for development on Simcoe's good agricultural lands and reducing the impacts on groundwater, wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas.
Looking ahead, with boundaries settled and growth allocations clarified, Simcoe area stakeholders will finally be able to move beyond political wrangling and get on with the key decisions to be made regarding the transportation and servicing strategies and infrastructure investments that are required to support smarter growth in this important region. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank youÃ¢Â"
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Don's going toÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Go ahead. I'm sorry, sir.
Mr. Don Pratt: Thank you for allowing me to speak. I know this is a very important part of the process. I'm here today to speak also as part of the East Moratorium Landowners' Group, but also as a citizen of Simcoe countyÃ¢Â"I live in MidhurstÃ¢Â"and also as a direct employer in Barrie, Innisfil and Simcoe county.
I was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario, as well as my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, who were all born and raised in Barrie and also Simcoe county, so our family has long-term residence and business interest in this area.
I'm here to support Bill 196, and to start off, I'd like to commend Minister Watson, the Minister of Municipal Affairs; Minister Smitherman, who's the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; and also our local MPP, Minister Carroll, for having a future vision to realize what an important piece of legislation this is. It is so necessary for the city of Barrie, the town of Innisfil and also the county of Simcoe.
Simcoe county has to have a strong and vibrant regional municipality like Barrie to keep Simcoe county as strong, alive and vibrant as it is. Over the last year, there has been so much discussion back and forth in the media, and also amongst the local politicians, as to the need of Barrie getting additional land, why it needs additional land, and whether the province is the right one to enforce this legislation.
Being a local my whole life, I understand the necessity of Simcoe county having a strong municipality like Barrie to provide the necessary services that are regional in nature and best provided by the regional hub, Barrie. The most obvious example of this is the Royal Victoria Hospital and the new Simcoe-Muskoka cancer centre being built, which service the entire region, not just Barrie.
There are also a large number of regional businesses that locate in large municipalities that would not locate in outlying areas, and they provide jobs for the entire region. A recent example of this would be the new Bank of Montreal data centre, which would just not go into a small community but needs to go to a large urban centre, and provides employment opportunities for the entire area, not just Barrie. Another example is the GO train coming up to Barrie. Without Barrie being such a strong urban municipality, we would not have this GO train service, which is an excellent mass-transit opportunity to be enjoyed by everyone in the surrounding area.
I could go on and on, but I don't want to take up the committee's time with more obvious examples of the benefits of the many things that are enjoyed not just by Barrie or by the town of Innisfil, but also by Simcoe county.
It is critical for Barrie to remain the hub of the area and it cannot do this without the additional lands which are being provided in Bill 196. Barrie has been targeted as a growth centre in Places to Grow and the recently completed IGAP study. South Barrie is targeted to take much of the growth that is going to come to this area. I agree with and realize that, under Places to Grow, intensification is crucial, and growing up also is crucial, but a municipality or a county cannot grow only by going up. There must be opportunities for all levels of industrial, commercial and residential expansion. In Places to Grow, we need to plan land use more appropriately than in the past, but we also need, in addition to intensifying lands, to have new employment and residential lands to work with.
I believe the province has acted as necessary to provide Barrie with sufficient additional land to accommodate this future growth for the next 25 years, and it will still not impact the fiscal future of the town of Innisfil or Simcoe county. Almost all the lands being added to Barrie are part of the moratorium lands that were set aside over 30 years ago to provide Barrie with additional space in the future.
Bill 196 provides a solution for all three levels of government, being the province, the county and the municipalities. It will allow people and jobs to be located in the hub and 400 corridor, with its urban growth to be enjoyed by all. In the future, all three stakeholders will be able to provide transportation, service infrastructure and employment strategies required for smart growth in the entire region.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. That leaves about four minutes, about a minute or so per party, or a minute and a half. We'll start with the Conservatives. Ms. Munro?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you for joining us here today. In the first presentation you referenced the fact that you believe this was a win-win. Could you explain how it's a win-win for Innisfil?
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: Innisfil is part of Simcoe county and the broader Simcoe region. I think this really is what makes sense regionally, and that's why it is raised up to the provincial level and why the government of Ontario has been brought in, because municipal boundaries are getting in the way of rational planning and decision-making.
Everybody in the region, to answer your question, will benefit if we follow what was set out in Places to Grow, if we focus growth and concentrate it in compact urban forms and complete communities in the city of Barrie, as opposed to fragmenting it in the countryside and rural areas and putting pressure on agricultural lands, transforming villages into something that won't be recognized, where people still have to get in their cars and where there are no sewers and no transit. It just doesn't make sense for anybody in the region to push the growth out to the periphery.
Mrs. Julia Munro: I have a further question: You refer to the city of Barrie as a regional hub. In the answer you just gave us, you referred to it as a region as opposed to Innisfil particularly. But I was under the understanding that Barrie is a separated city, so that would mean that there is no immediate benefit in terms of municipal taxes or anything like that for the rest of the residents of Simcoe county. Is that your understanding?
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: I'm not sure I understood the question. No immediate tax benefits?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Barrie is a separated city. It has the ability, then, to have its own bylaws and its own tax system. So when you refer to the regional leadership that Barrie might show, in fact that doesn't extend to the region in any kind of fiscal way.
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: I believe it does in the sense that Barrie, as Mr. Pratt mentioned, is providing hospitals, arenas and all sorts of common infrastructure that's not just used by the citizens of Barrie. They're borrowing millions of dollars to upgrade roads, water treatment, sewers, culture and all these sorts of common amenities that will benefit citizens inside the boundary of Barrie and outside as well.
I think everybody would agree that growth should pay for itself, and if Barrie is bearing the costs for investing in all this infrastructure it should have the ability, through development charges, tax revenues and other sources, to meet the burden that it's taking on already, before this bill becomes law, in anticipation of supporting this growth in the area.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I have to interject here, sorry, because of the time.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Okay.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I do apologize. I want to let the other parties have a chance. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: The very first line of your executive summary says that you are "long-time area residents, investors, land developers and home builders who come together" for this purpose. Have you not been able to make a deal as good with the town of Innisfil as you hope to make with Barrie? Is that why you're here? The land's in identically the same place.
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: We're not making a deal with anybody. If there was no boundary there, then I think rational growth planning would have taken hold many years ago. Now we're all behind the eight-ball because of this logjam. All the studies that have been done over the years, at millions of dollars of taxpayers' expense, have all come back to the same point: Growth should be focused in this area south of Barrie, where there are sewers waiting to be extended, there's transit right there and there's a GO station. Absent the boundary issues, this is just the rational solution to where growth should go.
Mr. Michael Prue: Is the town of Innisfil or the county of Simcoe singularly unable to develop that same land? The land doesn't move one inch. The land's going to be identical. It's going to be right there. Are they unable to develop it and if so, is that why you're supporting it, because Barrie can?
Mr. Jaime Shapiro: You would have to ask the folks in Innisfil and Simcoe county, but as far as I'm familiar with all of their planning efforts and initiatives, official plans and such in the last few years, at no time has any of this area been targeted for future development or growth. It's not on the radar for these areas and yet the growth studies, provincially and regionally, all point to it as making sense.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I'm going to have to move on to the Liberals. Ms. Sandals?
Mrs. Liz Sandals: I suspect this is a quick question. There was reference made to the moratorium lands that were set aside 30 years ago, and for those of us who don't know the ins and outs of the local land use, could you explain what you meant by that?
Mr. Don Pratt: In the mid-1970s, at the time of the last annexation, there was an area called "moratorium lands" set up. I guess we could contemplate what it was for, but there was to be no development in that area in case Barrie wanted to have a future expansion. So those were the moratorium lands that were set up then. Not all, but most of these lands now are those moratorium lands.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. That concludes our time. Thanks for your presentation.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to our next presenter, Mr. Robert Saunders. Good morning.
Mr. Robert Saunders: Good morning.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): As an individual, you have 10 minutes. Any time that you don't use, we'll ask questions.
Mr. Robert Saunders: I don't plan to take a lot of time here, but as a resident of Innisfil for 69 years, I feel that we should have a say in what's happening here. Yes, our elected officials are doing a great job at it, but I think that there are other points to be made.
My name is Robert Saunders. I live at 797 Lakelands Avenue. I've been a resident of Innisfil for a number of years. I've put down 69 years; I started as a cottager here and eventually moved up.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to present my opinion and that of many other Innisfil residents. I am appalled at the injustice being served the residents of Innisfil by the provincial government and the city of Barrie regarding the theft of 5,666 acres of Innisfil prime land. I would also venture to say that this theft has cost the residents of Innisfil hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend our rightful ownership.
The process was instigated by Barrie and was supposed to be negotiated, including lands and services. My experience in negotiation is give-and-take by both parties. However, when one of the parties knows a settlement is going to be forced upon their opponent and on their terms, there is no negotiating left.
A provincial government cabinet minister has stated that without the land, Barrie's growth will be curtailed. The current government speaks with no credibility. If Barrie can no longer expand, then the expansion will be transferred into the surrounding municipalities.
My opinions are supported by the following: The city of Barrie is a poor planner and decision-maker. Barrie has used their land for shopping centres, big-box stores, fast food outlets and homes. I would go as far as to suggest that Barrie is the fast food capital of Ontario, which, according to government experts, impacts our hospital and health care systems. One just has to look at the Park Place project, a large parcel of land sitting fallow for over two years. The municipal government and the developer could not agree upon its use. As a result, Barrie has more shopping centres, and probably housing, but no industry planned for this space. Then we have the old agricultural grounds. No surpriseÃ¢Â"another shopping centre or big-box store.
Barrie's lack of decision cost them Georgian Downs, and a few years ago, Georgian Mall; however, as the local bully, they took Georgian Mall back.
Over the past number of years, Barrie has lost a number of large manufacturing jobs that have never been replaced, plus the vacancies in industrial units are extremely high. It has been reported that Barrie has created 9,000 new jobs. It would be interesting to note the percentage of these jobs that are part-time, fast food and home consultants that have previously lost their jobs and are starting new careers. I can attest to that as a businessman in Barrie, with the number of brochures that I get circulated to my door.
A city or municipality should have a plan to encourage a major or large industry that will generate small, satellite support industry. I can use Honda in Alliston, Markham and Mississauga as examples. The reason for my critique of this city is that it continually squanders its opportunities with its quest for a fast buck from residential housing and shopping centres, yet it is encouraged to expand into neighbouring municipalities.
Part of the provincial paper Places to Grow alludes to encouraging residents to work closer to home and to protect agriculture and green space. I would like an explanation of what the difference is between driving from Barrie to Innisfil or Innisfil to Barrie. It is also interesting to me that the boundaries set out in this paper designate Highway 88 as a southern boundary, and already plans are underway, including an overpass two miles south of the boundary line, which will delete hundreds of acres of fertile land. The provincial government is wavering.
It is quite obvious the residents of Innisfil are the victims of politics rather than what is fair. Innisfil is a planned community with state-of-the-art water and sewer facilities built for expansion. Land has been set aside for industry, a modern new community centre is complete, and agriculture is supported and promoted, including various town fairs. Innisfil has co-operated with its neighbours to the south to provide quality water services and was one of the first municipalities to participate in a combined police service, with Bradford. Innisfil is a community we are proud of and want to keep.
If this process cannot be resolved between Barrie and Innisfil, so be it. Provincial government, stay out. Let Barrie utilize its thousands of square feet of warehouse space sitting empty, expand its own land holdings north and west, and build more houses and fast food outlets. Those seem to be its capabilities.
The theft of Innisfil land is unacceptable and will create a financial hardship for the current and future generations. We, the residents of Innisfil, have chosen and pay to live here. We've invested in our community and yet Barrie is encroaching further into this area. I cannot rob a bank or cheat the governmentÃ¢Â"I would be jailedÃ¢Â"yet the city of Barrie and the provincial government are committing this crime. What is it going to cost them?
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation. There's about five minutes left, so we have about a minute and a half per party. We'll start with the NDP. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: You've given a compellingÃ¢Â"and I might say devastatingÃ¢Â"analysis of your view on the city of Barrie. They have coveted and wanted this land for a long time. Do you feel that they are unable to develop it in a way that this governmentÃ¢Â"I mean, I can't see any other reason for what we're doing here other than to give Barrie an opportunity to develop the land. I don't see any other rationale for this.
Mr. Robert Saunders: I made my comments on the city of Barrie to illustrate what I see in how the planning has gone in this community. They may think they've done a great job, but as a businessman in this community, I'm watching the number of empty warehouse spaces. They talk about keeping the agriculture land. They're going to take 5,660 some acres and they're going to build houses on it. I have not seen any new factories. The prime opportunity was Park Place, where they could have put factories in there and put small businesses in there. Instead, what are we getting? We're going to have big-box stores in there. How about where the racetrack was? They're putting big-box stores in there. They're not planning properly, from my point of view.
The second thing I'd like to point out: My predecessors here point out about the hospital. Well, it's funny I pay taxes that pay for hospitals, and I've paid an extra $900 a year in taxes so that that hospital can expand. So I think it's unfair that a city and a province can just come in and take the land without some compensation; not a little, it should be more than that. It's not an amalgamation, it's just coming in and stealing our land.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We have to move on, then, to our next questioner. Mr. Rinaldi?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you, Mr. Saunders, for your presentation this morning. Just a question, and I guess I'm just asking for your opinion. With growth pressuresÃ¢Â"and I think whichever way you want to describe it, whether it's been abused or not abused or not used right, there are some growth pressures that have been identified, not just from Barrie but from a number of studies that we've seenÃ¢Â"how long do you think it should take for any government to assess future growth? Normally, to do it properly, it's long-term, so I guess I would ask you that although there are some empty spaces, from what you've presentedÃ¢Â"and I'm not here to argue whether they're there or notÃ¢Â"what should it take a community to plan for their future?
Mr. Robert Saunders: Well, I would be appalled if any community is not planning for the future. It's important for all of us and all of our communities to plan, but there is a point where if I want to take your backyard to extend my plan, do I just take it or do I buy it from you? Do I compensate you for it?
I think that Barrie has not planned well. If I look at what's going to happen to this land they're going to take, I can tell you right now that 90% of it is probably going to be houses, if I look at what's happening going down Big Bay Point Road or any of those roads. It doesn't look like there's any planning there. Maybe the guy sitting at the planning board is drawing all these little houses there because he's going to get instant money and these developers are thinking the same way, but in the long run, what is it for the community? Is it good for the community? I've been told that there's going to be 80,000 new green jobs coming. What percentage is going to be in Barrie? If I look at Mississauga, they have planned well and they have built their business around transportation logistics, I would sayÃ¢Â"there's a lot. They have got Loblaws and everybody having their warehouses there. You've got MarkhamÃ¢Â"high-tech. What's Barrie's claim to fame? That's what I'm challenging.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Okay, we've got to move on. Thank you for that. Mrs. Munro?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Yes, I just wanted to ask you about two ideas that have been presented this morning with regard to Places to Grow. One of them is intensification as a principleÃ¢Â"greater population densities and things like that. The second one is preservation of green space. Do you think this bill addresses either of those principles?
Mr. Robert Saunders: No.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation, and thanks for coming out, Mr. Saunders.
CITY OF BARRIE
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on to our next presenter, which is the city of BarrieÃ¢Â"Mr. Leo Longo. If there are others that are going to be speaking or presenting, if they could identify themselves as well.
Mr. Leo Longo: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name's Leo Longo. I'm a solicitor at Aird and Berlis and counsel to the city of Barrie. With me, to my immediate left, is the city's CAO, Jon Babulic. Next to him is ward councillor Jeff Lehman, who was also chair of the boundary expansion working group. Next, to my right, is Rebecca James-Reid, the director of communications and intergovernmental affairs; and to her right, Richard Forward, general manager of infrastructure and culture. Thank you for having us.
We have filed a brief, which hopefully has been distributed to the committee, with attachments to the submission. There are six points we wish to cover off today, and hopefully respond to some of the things we've heard so far.
First of all, let's be clear as to what the act actually does propose. It suggests a boundary adjustment of adding 2,293 hectares of land from Innisfil to Barrie. These subject lands have about 200 properties, 500 residents, and included in the lands that are being subject to this adjustment, almost a third of it is environmental, natural areas which will continue to remain in that state.
As I note at the bottom of page 1 of our submission, about 8% of Innisfil's land is being affected by this adjustment. And if you turn to the second map, which is found at page 11 of the submission, you will see, highlighted in blue, the current boundary of Barrie; you will see, highlighted in red, the existing Innisfil boundary; and you will see, in yellow, the subject lands of Bill 196. So you can see, also from this graphic, that the lands that are proposed to go to the city do not include any employment areas or existing settlement areas that are currently in Innisfil. Those are all being respected and are not the subject of this bill.
I should note as well that the majority of the lands that are the subject of this bill are referred to as the "moratorium lands." I'll get into that momentarily. But if you turn to the preceding map on page 10, you will see, outlined again in yellow, the lands that are subject to this legislation and you'll see, in red, the lands that since 1981 have been the subject of provincial legislation, saying that everything in those lands in red shall not be developed and are only to be used for agricultural or mineral resources purposes for the very purpose of one day forming part of the city of Barrie. I'll get into that momentarily.
What's also important to note as to what this act does, besides transferring some land, is that it also transfers some county and town properties to the city. Through negotiations with the county and the town, Barrie has agreed to transfer those properties back to the county and the town for $1. So the county forest, which is included in the subject landsÃ¢Â"the ownership will be transferred back to the county. The storm water pond, the Doral pond, that is owned by the town, will have its ownership transferred back to the town. The municipality, the city, will continue to have those within our jurisdiction, and our zoning and official plans would apply to them, but otherwise they will be still maintained in the ownership of the town.
On the issue of how these lands will develop, let me make it clear: Legislation for 27 years has said the lands can't develop. Now that these lands will be coming into the city, they come with the existing OP and zoning of Innisfil: agriculture. No development will occur until we go through a full Planning Act process of notification, public meetings and perhaps even OMB hearings. What's important to note is all of those development approvals will be subject to the provincial policy statement, the Places to Grow plan and the current Lake Simcoe plan as well. So the provincial policies that have now come out over the last three yearsÃ¢Â"to protect the environment, to have focused growth in urban areas and the PPSÃ¢Â"will all be adhered to before we can change the official plan or zoning bylaw on any of this land. And that's a protection, I would submit, to the public.
In response to the previous deputant, if there is any concern about how Barrie may have developed in the past, there are new rules that have been laid down which Barrie will have to follow. And I should say, his other example of Park Place is perhaps a poor one to choose, because Barrie actually opposed that development and went to the OMB, but unfortunately lost.
Every municipality can probably point to something that, if they had their druthers, they might like to see done a little differently. But Barrie is trying to be proactive and work with the province and indeed with the county and town in this regard. So that's what the act does.
Why is the boundary adjustment needed? Member Prue said he sees no other rationale except that Barrie wants to develop the lands. In the next three pages of our submission we attempt to address some of the rationale that we see. First and foremost, this adjustment is needed because the provincial government has said it's required in order to implement provincial land use and development policies. The PPS and growth plan call for optimizing the use of existing infrastructure, and Barrie is currently expanding both its water treatment plant and its waste water plant to accommodate this growth. So we're accomplishing what the PPS says, which is to utilize the existing infrastructure for the greatest possible good.
The PPS and growth plan call for a strong and competitive economy. Barrie has had the highest per capita growth rate in Canada over the past five years and has created 9,000 new jobs. To continue that strong growth and achieve provincial objectives, we require the lands that are the subject of this application.
Provincial policy calls for the protection of the environment. We list at the bottom of page 2 the kind of very proactive things that Barrie is doing to protect the waterfront and to protect natural-state areas, which we think this committee would find commendable. The province has also come out with a draft Simcoe area strategic vision for growth. The city agrees with that and supports that proposal. It's necessary, in order to achieve these provincial policies, to have this boundary issue resolved and put in place.
And just to provide some other statistical facts, Barrie is the largest urban growth centre in the outer ring of the greater Golden Horseshoe and in fact is fifth, behind Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and Markham. That's partly because of the city's ability to accommodate growth and deal with it, but it's more a reflection of achieving provincial government policy that this indeed has occurred.
The act is consistent with Barrie's vision for growth for our residents, which includes, as I indicate at the top of page 4, jobs that are close to home; diverse housing choices; a clean and healthy environment; full services, including water, waste water and transitÃ¢Â"and I note this entire area of lands that we are being granted is unservicedÃ¢Â"first-class health care services; a balanced lifestyle with state-of-the-art recreation facilities and cultural opportunities; and a dynamic and vibrant city centre. The act will provide the entire area with more jobs, a cleaner Lake Simcoe and more sustainable development in our region. It will benefit both Barrie and Innisfil and, indeed, the county. The years of impasse have been costly to both Innisfil and Barrie, and our economy requires a speedy resolution to this issue.
Why is the act required? This is the third point. Promoting and accommodating population, employment, and institutional and cultural growth in Barrie as a primary centre in the Simcoe county area, well served by transportation and public transit infrastructure, has been the policy of successive provincial governments over the past four decades. I go back to 1976 when the Simcoe-Georgian Area Task Force was adopted by the provincial government, saying that it was the province's policy that Barrie should grow to 125,000 by the year 2011. Back in 1976, people thought that was an unattainable goal. We are now at 140,000 people with two years to spare. It shows you that when the province says, "This is our policy to achieve something," the province can achieve it, and Barrie has indeed done that.
What's important to note about that policy and the annexation that Barrie went through in 1976 is that not only did the province give land to Barrie from Innisfil and Vespra, but it also put some aside, and those are the moratorium lands. While I strongly resent and think it's unfortunate that previous speakers have used the analogy of theft and crime, that Barrie is stealing this landÃ¢Â"it's wrong to say thatÃ¢Â"if you want to keep the analogy going, it's not a theft. What it is is a withdrawal from the bank. Some 25 years ago the province put the moratorium lands in the bank and said, "Eventually these lands may come available for Barrie in the future." So this is a withdrawal of lands that the province set aside many years ago. It's not theft, and I strongly resent that characterization.
This committee should also be aware that while the province has suggested this act be passed, this was preceded by two years of intensive negotiation by the Office of the Provincial Development Facilitator, Allan Wells. He sat down with Innisfil, the county and Barrie to try to find the local solution, which everybody agrees would have been the appropriate thing. But after two years, a proposal was put on the table by the facilitator, having heard from everyone. Barrie was prepared to accept that solution; Innisfil was not.
I'd like to now turn to the issue of compensation. Mr. Annibale indicated why compensation should be granted. Let me indicate seven reasons why it should not.
(1) I've already talked about the history of Barrie boundaries and the fact that this has been a long-standing issue that the province has made plans for over the last 30 years. None of the examples he uses suggests otherwise.
(2) Provincial legislation specifically addresses these moratorium lands being set aside for Barrie.
(3) Simcoe county in 1990 and 1993 went through their own restructuring. In factÃ¢Â"I stand to be correctedÃ¢Â"I think Innisfil benefited from the 1990-93 restructuring because the village of Cookstown was assumed and added to Innisfil. No compensation was paid in those situations. There's no history in this county of providing compensation for boundaries.
(4) The adjustment of boundary advances the provincial policy statement, and if any compensation ought to be payable, it ought not to fall on the shoulders of the residents of the city of Barrie.
The issue about development using these landsÃ¢Â"yes, these people will drive on Innisfil roads and Innisfil residents will be driving on city roads. I've never heard Brampton and Mississauga fighting over who should pay collective development charges for each other because of the fact that they're next to each otherÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Just to let you know, Mr. Longo, you have about one minute left.
Mr. Leo Longo: Thank you.
The final thing on compensation is that if Innisfil truly believed that compensation was important, they had two years through the OPDF facilitation to attempt to do that and they didn't. It was put on the table late and it wasn't pursued.
I'd like to turn to the issue of what Barrie would like to see changed in the act. We agree with Innisfil that schedule A to the act should be changed to rectify the road situation so that certain roads will be entirely under the ownership of the county, the town or the city. We've put the proper description in our materials. We concur with Innisfil and we concur with the county in urging this committee to make that change to the act.
Mr. Chairman, I apologize for taking all the time, but there's so much history involved in here and there's so much you'd like to put on the table. I should note that there are appendices to our report, which I would ask the committee members to carefully look at, that provide further background to this issue. I thank you for your attention.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Unfortunately there's no time left for questions. Thank you for your presentation and for yourÃ¢Â"
Mr. David Zimmer: Chair, I just want toÃ¢Â"are we working on that clock? What clock are we working on?
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): What happened was, in fairness to everybody making a presentation here, what happened was there were a few interjections at the beginningÃ¢Â"
Mr. David Zimmer: But just tell me what clock we're working from.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I'm keeping my time right here.
Mr. David Zimmer: Well, I prefer that we work from that clock so we all know where the time is.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): That's difficult to do. I'm using a stopwatch here, actually.
Mr. Michael Prue: I think that's the prerogative of the Chair, to use his timer.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I'm following the same rules that we follow in the House, that the Speaker would follow. I'm trying to be fair, and what's happening is it takes time for some people to get ready, to come up and sit up here as well. There have been some cancellations too, so don't worry. You'll get your lunch.
The next personÃ¢Â"
Mr. David Zimmer: Chair, it's not about my getting my lunch; it's about giving everybody the same time.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): They are getting the same time. The problem is that some people need to sit down and I'm not counting that time, or when they come up to sitÃ¢Â"
Mr. David Zimmer: All right. I appreciate that, but it's not about me getting my lunch. It's about giving everybody the same amount of time. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): And they have been, so I appreciate you not challenging that. Okay? Thank you.
TOWNSHIP OF ORO-MEDONTE
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): The next person is Harry Hughes, the mayor for the township of Oro-Medonte.
See, this takes a minute, now, for the person to sit down. I am not going to start the clock until they sit down, which is fair.
Good morning. Welcome.
Mr. Harry Hughes: Good morning. I also have joining me Councillor Mel Coutanche from Oro-Medonte and the director of our development services, Andria Leigh. Our submission this morning is very brief because we really want to emphasize three main areas. We'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the township of Oro-Medonte in regards to Bill 196, the Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act.
The township of Oro-Medonte is a primarily rural municipality. We're located between the cities of Barrie and Orillia, along the northern shoreline of Lake Simcoe. Our population grows from 20,000 to about 25,000 in the summertime due to a seasonal increase in population.
The township right now is required to prepare the necessary amendments to its official plan in order to conform with provincial legislationÃ¢Â"that's the provincial policy statement and the Places to Grow planÃ¢Â"and the county of Simcoe official plan. Currently, the made-in-Simcoe-county official plan has been before the province awaiting a decision since its adoption in 2008, which is almost a year now. Both the province and the county of Simcoe have clearly identified an employment node surrounding the Lake Simcoe Regional Airport, which is located in Oro-Medonte, signifying its importance for long-term employment opportunities and transportation infrastructure. The federal and provincial governments have also invested significantly in the airport by providing the infrastructure funding towards the coordinating of growth with infrastructure investment.
The township is supportive of these guiding principles and is here today to request that the decisions being made through Bill 196, which focus growth in the city of Barrie, should not be made at the expense of the ability of the municipalities within Simcoe county, including Oro-Medonte, to be in a position to develop, consistent with these guiding principles, in a sustainable manner.
It should be emphasized that the township of Oro-Medonte does not object in principle to Bill 196. We are here solely intending to provide comments regarding the implementation of Bill 196 and the effect on the surrounding municipalities, which include Oro-Medonte. It's clear there's a need to move forward with the bill, as further delays relating to the Barrie-Innisfil boundary continue to have an impact on the county of Simcoe in regard to its official plan and on the province's Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth. With the current delays in finalizing the provincial growth plan for Simcoe county and the county of Simcoe official plan, there continue to be negative impacts on the local economy due to the continued uncertainty.
The township would also like to raise the issue regarding the need to recognize the cumulative capacity of Lake Simcoe and how the populations allocated to Barrie and the surrounding municipalities within the Lake Simcoe watershed relate to the Lake Simcoe Protection Act. Can Kempenfelt Bay accommodate the increased population, and can this development move forward without also incorporating significant infrastructure funding when Barrie's boundaries expand the pressures on promoting the development of a sustainable and compact community that enhances the well-being and quality of life that are important to the residents of Oro-Medonte but must also satisfy their goals for sustainability by diversifying our economic base through tourism, establishment of local jobs and appropriate development of full municipal services?
There's one key item that I'd really like to focus on, and that is the issue of health care. This key, essential sector requires detailed consideration to determine the impact Bill 196 will have on the already heavily overtaxed health care system. There's a need to recognize the relationship between the area's ability to attract and retain physicians to staff new health care facilitiesÃ¢Â"the Royal Victoria Hospital is only one of those; there are others throughout the county. Special consideration must also be given to Simcoe county to maintain its current underserviced status in order to be able to compete for doctors with the GTA. As you know, there is some discussion taking place on changing those underserviced designations.
We ask that the decisions being made by the province regarding Bill 196 and the growth being directed to the city of Barrie not be short-sighted and should be made to permit other municipalities to achieve their goals of sustainable development, in alignment with the objectives outlined by the province through their provincial policies.
Right now, the townships of Oro-Medonte and Tay are currently partnering with Skyline International on the development of the Georgian Valley, and that's why Councillor Coutanche is here. That's the section that he represents within our municipality, which is composed of two major recreation-based developments intended to provide regional economic significance to north Simcoe.
Georgian Valley includes development at Horseshoe Valley, Oro-Medonte, Port McNicoll and Tay. The project is anticipated to create 9,000 direct and indirect jobs, and 1,300 ongoing operational jobs, and enhance the base of small and medium businesses in the community. The project allows Oro-Medonte to meet all of the planning objectives of the provincial policies of development of full services and provision for residential and non-residential development.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to comment on the official plan, and for you to particularly understand that whatever happens to the boundaries within the city of Barrie, its population does have a significant impact on all the rest of Simcoe county, particularly being able to have sufficient numbers allocated for growth to be able to fulfill the goals that are maintained within our communities.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. You had 15 minutes, and you've used up six minutes of that time. We've got about nine minutes left; three minutes per party. We'll start with the Liberal Party, Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you very much for your presentation, Mayor Hughes. I guess I just want to clarify, and correct me if I'm wrong, or maybe you could emphasizeÃ¢Â"you indicated that you don't have specific objections to Bill 196, but having said that, you want to recognize some of the impacts it might have on your municipality or on others surrounding it. One of the things you mentioned was that the Lake Simcoe airport be included as an employment node. Did I get that right?
Mr. Harry Hughes: Yes.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: So you're not against Bill 196 in general, but you do want some of those things recognized?
Mr. Harry Hughes: I think what we're stressing is the fact that we're not against Bill 196 in principle. What we are concerned about is the delay in the implementation of all the planning in Simcoe county, and Bill 196 is a key component of that.
It's also important that we keep in mind the entire county when we are dealing with the boundaries of Barrie and Innisfil, because there is an impact. The other aspect is that key to the boundary adjustments and the implementation is the need for infrastructure dollars, which is very significant. To change boundaries without incorporating the infrastructure dollars and looking at the entire county is something that we would not want to see happen.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you very much.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Mr. Dunlop.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Thank you very much, Mayor Hughes, for attending.
I asked legislative research to put together the Simcoe county growth plan vision because it's hand in hand with this legislation. My concern is all the other municipalities in the county of Simcoe that are not getting enough growth and not being allocated enough growth under this plan.
Mr. Longo from the city of Barrie indicated thatÃ¢Â"I heard him say it; I hope it's in Hansard. He said that having this growth in the city of Barrie, there will be a cleaner Lake Simcoe. I can't, for the life of me, imagine how you add 70,000 people in a watershed and you end up with a cleaner Lake Simcoe. If you're going to depend on the Minister of the Environment and what I've seen happening with the Ministry of the Environment and some of their approvals, that's not going to happen.
So I have some real, grave concerns not with the overall plan to have Barrie grow with more property, but I don't think it should be at the expense of Midland, Penetanguishene, Oro-Medonte and Tay. There are major projects planned in these communities as well, and I don't think Barrie should get all the growth. I want to put that on the record clearly here today because I think it's important.
I know, Mayor Hughes, you had a number of discussions with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. I'm amazed they're not here making a presentation today. I can't believe they're not on the agenda. I mean, of all the things that we thought we planned around with the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, they were a key stakeholder. They were a key group to comment on it. Today, at this very, very important time of this legislation, where you're going to add 70,000 people to that watershedÃ¢Â"because most of this land will go in housing; I think we've heard people say that beforeÃ¢Â"we haven't got the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority here to comment on it.
I don't really have a question to you, Mayor Hughes, other than that I appreciate the fact that you've indicated that, yes, we need land for Barrie to grow with, but the reality is that there are other areas of the county of Simcoe that can have growth as well.
And I don't like the ideaÃ¢Â"I think it was Mr. Shapiro who mentioned it a little earlier in his commentsÃ¢Â"that any growth outside the city of Barrie appeared to be fragmented. You know, we do have five other hospitals in the county of Simcoe. They're all excellent hospitals. RVH is a wonderful hospital; I agree 100%. But you know what? It's not just about Barrie here. We have other great parts of the county of Simcoe that have done well in the past and will do well in the future.
I look forward to amendments. I'm one personÃ¢Â"I'm going to tell you right now, I think compensation is due here. There should be some form of compensation, and I will be prepared to make those amendments at the clause-by-clause when we get to that point.
Mr. Harry Hughes: IÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We'll move on. They used up both three minutes there, so I'm going to have to move on to Mr. Prue. Sorry.
Mr. Michael Prue: You referred to many, many plans, and the province does have a lot of plans that either help or hinder growth around the Lake Simcoe area, depending on where you're at. In Oro-Medonte, are there plans that hinder growth?
Mr. Harry Hughes: I wouldn't say there are plans to hinder growth. There have always been plans in place to make sure that the growth is appropriate in relation to the environment and a number of other considerations. I think, if I can incorporate possibly what you're directing at, it's the fact that right now with the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, I wouldn't call it hindering it; I would call it directing growth appropriately.
My concern is, to pick up Mr. Dunlop's comments, if you're going to addÃ¢Â"first of all, if you're going to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, which we dearly hoped to see happen, the question of where the dollars are going to come from has never been answered, and those are substantial dollars. Anyone knows that if you're going to add a significant population with high density, particularly around Kempenfelt Bay, the only way you can do that and protect the environment is with significant infrastructure dollars on top of that. If all these infrastructure dollars are going to be directed at one location for one purpose, then the rest of the county just cannot develop.
Mr. Michael Prue: And I guess that's where I was trying to get at. I look at the maps that are provided by Simcoe county, I picked one up just outsideÃ¢Â"and thank you very much, Simcoe County Museum, for providing itÃ¢Â"and it seems to me that at the northeast corner of Barrie, things just stop at Simcoe County Road. It doesn't look like there's much going on in Oro-Medonte on the other side. Has that ever been subject to a moratorium as well?
Mr. Harry Hughes: You're taking me back to a time in history. There had been some boundary adjustments in the past, but there was an agreement on where the boundaries would be established.
Mr. Michael Prue: Is there a potential moratorium for Oro-Medonte at some point, where Barrie may want to start going east?
Mr. Harry Hughes: I can't speak to a moratorium. All I can speak to is what happened during the last discussions when Barrie expanded and there was a decision that the boundaries would remain intact.
Mr. Michael Prue: So there's no future possibility that the voracious appetite, as I would put it, of Barrie to ever expand into surrounding agricultural land, as they have over generations now, will affect Oro-Medonte.
Mr. Harry Hughes: I guess my comment is that when we're talking about possibilities, anything is possible. But I would suggest that if you looked at those boundaries in a geographical layout, it would give you good reason as to why that would not be a good idea.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you, Mayor Hughes, for your presentation today.
TOWNSHIP OF TAY
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Members of the committee, our 11:25 deputation, Mr. Stan Wisner, has cancelled, so we'll move on to our 11:35 presentation, the township of Tay. If you would kindly identify your names and titles for the sake of Hansard, we'd appreciate that.
Mr. Scott Warnock: My name is Scott Warnock. I am the mayor of the township of Tay.
Ms. Mara Burton: I'm Mara Burton and I'm the director of planning and development for the township of Tay.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Welcome.
Mr. Scott Warnock: First of all, we would like to thank the standing committee for hearing our presentation. In light of time constraints, we are going to be brief and leave our submission with the committee in more detail.
The township of Tay supports the initiative of the province to guide development to be sustainable, protect the watersheds, revitalize downtowns, create a diverse economic base and co-ordinate growth with infrastructure. Tay township, Oro-Medonte, Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny township, Georgian Bay township, Springwater township and the city of Orillia have all come together and created and adopted the Severn Sound sustainability plan.
This plan's framework is based on three pillars of sustainability, being environmental integrity and protection, community well-being, and economic prosperity. Through this plan these nine municipalities adopted the Brundtland commission's definition of sustainable development, being, "Development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
As a little background, Tay township has two communities that provide full municipal sewer and water, those being Port McNicoll and Victoria Harbour, located on the south shore of Georgian Bay. Port McNicoll has a population of approximately 2,300 persons. However, prior to the closing of the Cargill grain elevator and the Canadian Pacific rail and shipping port in the mid-1960s, the population was twice that size. The community had a grocery store, a pharmacy, a bank and a doctor's office. None of these services exist in the community today and the downtown has a high vacancy rate. The community of Victoria Harbour has a population of approximately 3,100 persons and has seen slow, steady growth over the past 20 years whereas Port McNicoll has declined. Port McNicoll needs to be given the opportunity to recover.
The former Canadian Pacific lands, a brownfield, has recently been bought by Skyline International Inc.Ã¢Â"Mayor Hughes from Oro-Medonte mentioned that briefly in his presentationÃ¢Â"and they intend to develop these lands along with Horseshoe Resort in the township of Oro-Medonte as the Georgian Valley, a tourism destination. We feel that this development will return Port McNicoll to its former position as a thriving community where residents can work and obtain their day-to-day needs locally.
The Georgian Valley project will help us meet our goals of sustainability by diversifying our economic base through tourism, providing local jobs within these communities on full municipal services.
The Georgian Valley project is anticipated to create 9,000 direct and indirect jobs and 1,300 jobs from ongoing operations, along with positive spinoffs for hundreds of new small and medium-sized businesses. The increased tourism economic spinoff is expected to add $1.02 billionÃ¢Â"that's "billion"Ã¢Â"in GDP and $430 million in additional tax revenue. This project is not only important to Tay and Oro-Medonte townships, but also to Simcoe county and the province of Ontario.
We are not here to object to Bill 196 on its own. However, to the degree that this legislation may accommodate growth for Barrie and Innisfil at the expense of other communities' ability to achieve their own goals of sustainability, including Port McNicoll within Tay township, we do object.
We are concerned that this bill facilitates the reallocation of growth that is identified in Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth, that reduced the population projection for Tay, which is already too low, from 11,300, as identified in the county official plan, to 10,750. Tay's 2006 census population was 9,748 persons. As diminutive as these numbers may seem, to a small community trying to stimulate their depressed local economy, these numbers do have a significant impact.
Like our definition of sustainable development, we ask that the decisions of the province with regard to the city of Barrie do not come at the expense of other communities' ability to achieve their goals of sustainability to diversify our economic base and revitalizing our community.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your time this morning.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you, Mr. Mayor. That leaves about 10 minutes for questions. This time we'll start with the Conservatives. Are there any questions? Ms. Munro.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you very much for giving us a picture of another part of Simcoe county.
Mr. Scott Warnock: You're more than welcome.
Mrs. Julia Munro: A question that I have comes from material that was provided to us earlier. That material suggested that one of the most compelling reasons for seeing the expansion of Barrie is the benefit that would accrue to Simcoe county as a whole.
It's my understanding that there is a legal difference between the relationship of the municipalities of Simcoe county and the separated city of Barrie. I just wondered if in that context you could explain to us how your community would stand to benefit from growth in Barrie.
Mr. Scott Warnock: I defer to my director of planning and development, if I can.
Ms. Mara Burton: Although we do have some people who commute to the city of Barrie for employment purposes, most of our employees probably receive employment from Midland and Penetang. We are also trying to provide employment jobs that have been lost over the past three decades within our local communities.
I don't see that we would necessarily directly benefit from an expansion to the city of Barrie at the expense of our own abilities to provide employment to our residents locally, without having to commute. It's a bit of a distance on a daily basis. Where we can provide that employment and goods and services locally, it's more of a benefit for us to have the ability to provide jobs locally.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Go ahead.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: A quick question: To Mayor Warnock, you're the mayor of the township of Oro-Medonte and you're a member of the county of Simcoe council.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Yes.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: RightÃ¢Â"sorry, the township of Tay.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Thank you.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Yes, I should know; you're one of my mayors.
How much does the county of Simcoe contribute to hospital construction in our area? For example, Soldiers'Ã¢Â"
Mr. Scott Warnock: Through the county of Simcoe?
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Yes.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Three million dollars.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Three million dollars a year?
Mr. Scott Warnock: Three million dollars is budgeted. It has been on an ongoing basis. It's strictly for projects that have been approved by the provincial government.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Okay, so a project like the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, with the new Cancer Care Ontario centre, which will help all of the county and MuskokaÃ¢Â"the county of Simcoe is a partner in that project.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Yes.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Okay, thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to the NDP. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: Your comments are peripheral to the main issue here, to be fair. What we're talking about is Barrie wanting to extend its border south into lands that were previously part of Innisfil township. You are quite far removed by distance and geography from what is happening here. Is there any consensus amongst the mayors and the political-municipal leaders in Simcoe county about what's happening here, or are you all just sort of standing back because it's "not in my backyard"?
Mr. Scott Warnock: Well, Mr. Prue, if I could, while we may be on the "periphery" of this issue, you are going to hear later on presentations from both the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene. If you consider Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay, TinyÃ¢Â"we are north Simcoe, and as the four mayors from north Simcoe, we have great concerns about the way the growth will be directed, because what's going to happen is, there is only so much growth that is going to be allocated to the county of Simcoe. Every piece, every one person who goes somewhere else has a negative impact on somebody. Where at the end of the day it may seem to be well distributed, there will be the haves and the have-nots through this process, and right now the township of TayÃ¢Â"I'm not speaking out of lineÃ¢Â"we're one of the have-nots. That's the plain and simpleÃ¢Â"we have made good, solid planning decisions; we have built sustainable communities, but that's only as far as we can go now. If we are to stay where we are, we will no longer be sustainable. So while we may be on the periphery, the decision that is made regarding Barrie-Innisfil will indeed have an impact on what the next 10, 15 or 20 years holds for my municipality.
Mr. Michael Prue: Okay, and that impact is because the province chooses to expand Barrie, in some cases at the expense of the other municipalities around it?
Mr. Scott Warnock: As I said, there are only so many people who are going to be allowedÃ¢Â"and that's the word, "allowed"Ã¢Â"to come to the county of Simcoe. The province is saying, "If you want to come to the county of Simcoe, we're going to tell you where you're going to live." I don't think that's fair. I think if someone wants to come and live in my municipality or develop in my municipality, they should have the same right and the same option as anybody else in the county of Simcoe. Right now, we don't have that because our hands are tied.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Okay, we're going to have to move on.
Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Mr. Rinaldi?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you, Your Worship, for being here todayÃ¢Â"and the same compelling argument that Mayor Hughes made before you.
When it comes to the growth legislation that the province has embarked on in the last few years, frankly, as a request in many casesÃ¢Â"being a former mayor in the municipal realmÃ¢Â"a lot of municipalities asked for this because there was no coherence across regions where development was happening.
As we know, fragmented growth is a cost to the residents. There's only one taxpayer; we all know that. We've all been in this business for a long time. Your concerns, to some extent, are valid. We're going through the same process in communities that I represent, although in a different part of the province. The statement that I will leave with you is, growth plans are reviewed every five years. I was part of the ministry when we first formed government that had a lot of consultation across the province; we've been working on a lot of different growth plans and so forth, because we know things could shift. I think good government of all types needs to look at a review process, and there is a review process. Every five years we're able to address those changes. I think we need to keep in mind, just as a statement, that we need to be cognizant because, I know in your municipality and in the municipalities that I represent, school buses cost money to go down a road to pick up one child. I know we tell people, as you mentioned, that you're deprived of those choices, but I think good planning from all groups needs to recognize that costs are going up and infrastructure dollars are probably getting less as we do that. I just leave that with you.
You make good points. I'm not so sure I agree with you 100%, but on a lot of them I do. As we grow, I think we need to recognize that we need to do some better planning than we maybe did in the past. In that, I speak of all governments, of all levelsÃ¢Â"past, present and future. Just as a comment.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Thank you. Can IÃ¢Â"
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Sure, if you'd like to respond.
Mr. Scott Warnock: Can we respond to that? Do I have time, Mr. Chairman?
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): There's a minute and a half left if you want to respond. It's up to you if you want to respond.
Ms. Mara Burton: Yes, I'd like to respond. We have public schools in each of our communities. We grow with the same intent as the province: not to sprawl, to do intensification and all of those good planning things. We've been doing that for a long time. We have not been doing lots in the rural area for over 10 years now, so we feel that we've been doing some good planning, particularly in Port McNicoll. We have a need to fill the vacant buildings that we have in that community. We need to have some growth numbers in order to make that happen. We take some solace in knowing that the numbers will be reviewed every five years, but if we don't come here and tell you our needs, then we can't expect that there will be any changes.
Mr. Scott Warnock: And if I could, Mr. Chairman, we have always taken the position at the townshipÃ¢Â"we did take comfort and solace in the fact that there would be a review every five years. We understand that. But we have to be at the table to make you aware of what our particular situation is, because a one-size-fits-all solution is no solution.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: And that's why we're here today. We appreciate your input.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for your time.
SIMCOE COUNTY HEAVY CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to our next presentation. It's the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association. Good morning and welcome. Could you kindly identify your names and titles for the sake of Hansard?
Mr. Roger Graham: Good morning. I'm Roger Graham, current president of the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association. I am also a district manager with K.J. Beamish ConstructionÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Can you speak a bit louder, please? I'm sorry.
Mr. Roger Graham: Ã¢Â"based here in Barrie, and with me today is Tony DiPede, the principal with North Rock Group and director of the sewer and watermain association.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thanks for being here. You have 15 minutes.
Mr. Roger Graham: Hopefully we won't take all that. We didn't have time to prepare the 25 copies. We can get them to you after, but we hope to be very brief.
Mr. Tony DiPede: We wanted to be environmentally sensitive.
Mr. Roger Graham: We are here today in support of the Barrie-Innisfil act, Bill 196, and would like to note that we have the support of the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction AssociationÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): A little bit louder. Sorry, I'm just having trouble hearing you. I do apologize.
Mr. Roger Graham: Ã¢Â"on this important issue.
The Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association was established in 1999 to deal with construction issues that affect the construction industry as a whole. The Simcoe county construction association currently represents 14 member companies working around the Simcoe area and employing approximately 300 workers. We are presently increasing our membership to include suppliers and associates in the area.
The Simcoe County Heavy Construction AssociationÃ¢Â"it's a mouthfulÃ¢Â"is a member of the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association. Together, our goals and objectives include working with local municipalities and regional government to provide an industry perspective, ensuring a long-term plan for sustainable infrastructure in the region and conformity to provincial policy. This includes working with the municipalities and consulting engineers on fair tendering, contract conditions, construction specifications and best practices while ensuring technical support to consultants and municipalities for the best return on money via a team approach on all projects.
The Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association is a strong supporter of educational initiatives and is working with the Ontario Civil Construction Careers Institute, an organization that promotes our industry to young people in the secondary school system. As well, together with the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association, we made a substantial time and financial contribution toward Georgian College's new Centre for Sustainable Technologies at their Barrie campus, as well as providing significant scholarship opportunities in their engineering programs.
We are in support of the Barrie-Innisfil act, Bill 196, for many reasons. Governments are looking for ways to stimulate our economy to help the residents of Simcoe county and the rest of Canada come out of this economic downturn. The people of Simcoe county have always been proud of their heritage and continue to move forward, whether it be through snow, tornadoes or economic downturns.
The construction industry is stereotyped as an industry of destruction and delays. Everyone has used "the darned construction on the road" as an excuse for being late for work at one time or another. Instead, the construction industry, specifically infrastructure construction, is a sign of controlled growth and economic development. Proper planning and management allows for areas to be developed with a focus on environmental protectionÃ¢Â"protecting its beauty and resourcesÃ¢Â"while allowing for economic growth of the area. The installation of new water and waste water systems and the reconstruction or rehabilitation of existing systems controls the output of sewage and helps to protect as well as rebuild the environment.
In the provincial Places to Grow plan, Barrie is identified as a designated growth centre node because it is a desired location for both residential and commercial/industrial expansion, due to its proximity to the GTA as well as having all of the previously noted services in adequate supply. Specifically, Barrie is described as the primary area for new population and employment growth, with 33% of the future population growth and 44% of its future job growth occurring in the city. The need for new homes, employment opportunities, supporting services and transportation will need to be managed accordingly. Barrie, once again, is in the best position to quickly act on these requirements. The Barrie-Innisfil act will allow Barrie to deliver the plan and to support this expected growth and provide well-planned, long-term sustainable infrastructure development, which will support local employment and provide the quality of life that all Ontarians should have, and Barrie can do it now, when it is most needed. If the annexation does not happen, then Barrie cannot fulfill its requirements within the provincial growth plan, and Innisfil is not a viable alternative, because it does not have any readily available services.
Bill 196 is estimated to have an influence of potentially $500 million within the next 30 years. It is our understanding that the city of Barrie has the infrastructure and services in place now to begin the expansion into the proposed annexation lands. For example, Barrie has strong existing sewer supply, water supply, storm water management, waste management, education facilities and other essential services to support such an immediate expansion. A great deal of the development dollars required for additional infrastructure will come from private developers and other partnerships, making a strong alliance of business and government for the betterment of all concerned. The construction industry, which has been devastated in the last 18 months because of the economic crisis, will benefit greatly.
Finally, we firmly believe that Bill 196 will be of benefit to Innisfil as well. All the points we've mentioned will provide Innisfil with a stronger infrastructure and more immediate resources for growth and development, along with the benefit of being an important part of the best plan for the entire Simcoe region. The natural beauty of the Innisfil area, with its great shorelines and rivers, will be better protected if it is part of the larger plan than if it remains in a smaller scale, without proper infrastructure for development.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association, we repeat our support of the Barrie-Innisfil act, Bill 196, and believe that its adoption supports the directives set out in the provincial Places to Grow plan for Simcoe county. Further, Barrie is in the best overall position, with significant resources and infrastructure in place, to immediately handle the growth and development outlined in this plan.
We thank the committee for their time.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. That leaves us just about two minutes per party, and we'll start with the NDP. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: The lands in question that are going to be transferred were subject to a moratorium for a long timeÃ¢Â"20 years. So Innisfil could not develop them. Even if they had wanted to, they couldn't do it. Now Barrie wants to do it, as that is being liftedÃ¢Â"to develop. Why is it that you think that Barrie can develop them better than Innisfil could?
Mr. Roger Graham: From what we've seen and heard, Barrie has upgraded their services to the border so that they can expand more easily and quickly.
Mr. Tony DiPede: Proximity is a big avenue, alsoÃ¢Â"proximity of the existing facilities for sewage treatment and water treatment. From the Innisfil border to Barrie, it is closer than going all the way in to Innisfil.
Mr. Michael Prue: Innisfil argues quite strongly that they believe that they are going to lose a lot of tax revenue and development opportunity for a relatively small, population-wise, community. Do the developers in the construction industry have any difficulty with them being compensated or a special levy being laid on that new construction, new homes, new business, in order to compensate Innisfil for its loss?
Mr. Tony DiPede: I don't think that we really have a comment on whether the developers should be compensating the homeowners or not.
Mr. Michael Prue: There are development charges in many parts of the province. DevelopersÃ¢Â"although they resent it, I have to tell you, they pay it. It doesn't seem to have stopped development in places like Markham or Mississauga.
Mr. Tony DiPede: Development has also been very helpful in getting involved in public and private partnerships where the developers put forward a considerable amount of money to develop the resources that are required in the area, such as parks, schools, libraries. So that would be where, I think, the developers would contribute quite a bit of money, and they have in the past in various areas.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. I'm going to have to move on to the Liberal Party. Mr. Rinaldi?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I really don't have a question or a comment. I just want to thank you for coming out today to express your views. I think it's very, very important for the committee to get the balanced approach as we move forward on this.
Mr. Tony DiPede: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): To the Conservatives. Mr. Dunlop?
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Welcome. I appreciate your presentation. I know you're definitely supporting the legislation. There's no question about that.
I think the argument that's coming up a little bit here today is exactly where all the growth in the county of Simcoe will go, and there are definitely conflicting opinions on some of the areas that haven't received enough growth. I actually don't expect you to comment on that because that's pitting one municipality against the other, and your job is to lay the pipes and make sure that we do it in a positive way and a good, clean, environmentally safe way.
I wondered if you'd make a comment on some of the work you've done with our colleges around here, becauseÃ¢Â"I think we've got a second here to talk about itÃ¢Â"I know you've worked with Georgian, and I think there has been some pretty strong leadership in that way from this association. I thought maybe you might like an opportunity to say something about that.
Mr. Tony DiPede: Roger?
Mr. Roger Graham: Our association has been involvedÃ¢Â"the Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association, along with the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction AssociationÃ¢Â"in Georgian College. We were very instrumental in their infrastructure building that just went up. We contributed and we're great supporters in that to develop something where we're now bringing civil engineering back into the construction industryÃ¢Â"being taught at Georgian College; a program that had been taken out.
Our industry is lacking labour force in a very big way, and Georgian College has become very instrumental in helping us to attract people into it. We're looking for students in grades 9, 10 and 11 to come into our industry once they complete high school. We're trying to get offers and alternate sources as opposed to everybody going intoÃ¢Â"no offenceÃ¢Â"the computer sciences, lawyers, doctors and all. Our industry is going to be right up there. We need people in our industry.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: I appreciate you saying that.
Mr. Roger Graham: One minor thing: We ended up with an inter-competition between two associations: the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association and the Ontario Road Builders Association. One group donated $125,000 and the other one matched it, so we exploited them.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation today.
COUNTY OF SIMCOE
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on to our next presentation, which is the county of Simcoe. I have Rick Newlove here. Good afternoonÃ¢Â"it's still good morning. Good morning, and welcome.
Mr. Rick Newlove: Good morning.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): And if you could kindly identify your names and your titles. You have 15 minutes.
Mr. Marshall Green: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Marshall Green, with Graham Wilson and Green law firm. We're counsel to the county of Simcoe. I'm joined today by Mr. Rick Newlove, who is the general manager of corporate services for the county. I'm going to present just a few minutes on one legal issue, and then Mr. Newlove will discuss some of the more global issues on behalf of the county.
I passed out three handouts to explain the issue, and it's the one basically that, in part, Ms. Vanderpost spoke to you about first thing in the morning. If I could ask you to, first of all, have a look at the large map, the coloured map. The problem occurs because of the way the description was done in the legislation, in the schedule to the act. The description of the proposed annexed land starts down in the bottom left-hand corner, which is the southwest corner of the annexed lands. If you follow the description through, it goes east along the centre line of the roads and then north, and then it goes farther north, across, back down, it goes sort of west and then south, and then west and then south. Then eventually it gets over to what is the northwest corner of this piece of land, and then the description calls for it to go south along the centre line of County Road 27 to the place of commencement.
Unfortunately, what wasn't looked at at the time was that County Road 27 has a diversion. If you can see just above the green circleÃ¢Â"there's a little green piece of land thereÃ¢Â"County Road 27 actually diverts at that point. This was a bypass that the province built in the early 1990s to get people to come off of the 400 to get up to Wasaga Beach.
If you look at the aerial photo nextÃ¢Â"this is the one that I think Ms. Vanderpost tried to show youÃ¢Â"you can see that the green line shows you how the actual county road comes out to a point and then continues south. If you look at the V, the left-hand side of the V is County Road 27 and the right-hand side of the V is Essa Road in the city of Barrie. County Road 27 comes down and then, where Essa Road joins the remainder of County Road 27, it continues south. So what you've got is this little island of land which is comprised of Ms. Vanderpost's land; a piece of land that's still in the title of the province of Ontario; and the old County Road 27, which is now closed and still belongs to the county of Simcoe. So you actually have three landowners who won't be in any municipality after this legislation is passed. There will either be an island of Innisfil left in the middle of nowhere, or they'll have no municipality. That's why Essa township was contacted. Essa township is the township to the west, and they've agreed to take this piece of land in.
That's the problem that Ms. Vanderpost is having with emergency services, because when she calls up and says that she's in such-and-such a location, they don't know if they should be sending the Innisfil fire department or the Essa fire department or the Barrie fire department.
The third item that I gave you is actually a piece of the expropriation plan that was done back in the early 1990s. I've outlined in yellow what theÃ¢Â"you're aware that there have been settlement meetings between the city of Barrie and Innisfil, and we've agreed, first of all, to move the boundary. Where it talks about the centre line, we want to move the boundary over to either the east or the west side, as the case may be, so that one municipality owns the road. They'll conduct the maintenance of it; they'll do the winter maintenance, the summer maintenance and any expansions that have to be done.
It was also agreed that at intersections like the one where it marks the right-of-way and it comes down to pick up 27, we would go 100 metres back to allow room for snow ploughs etc. to be able to make their turns.
What I've outlined in yellow is what the three parties have agreed would be the new border between Innisfil and Barrie. The triangular piece of landÃ¢Â"everything to the left on this sheet, or to the west, would become Essa township, and Innisfil is on the other side of that yellow line. It will likely require some surveying, particularly to survey the 100 metres. Other than that, it can just say the easterly or westerly limit of the road allowance, as the case may be.
That's the one legal point. The other legal point that I just want to briefly mention is the county forest. You'll see again on the map, it marks the Blauxham tract of county forest. As the honourable Mr. Dunlop mentioned earlier, the county of Simcoe is very proud of the huge tracts of forest that we have, that have been developed for the last almost 100 years. This piece of forest will end up in the city of Barrie.
We're quite content that the land go into the city of Barrie for planning and official plan purposes etc. and we've also come to an agreement that the city of Barrie's bylaws with ATVs and these kinds of things would still apply to our land, but we are hopeful, we're trusting that the city of Barrie will honour the agreement they have that by January 10, for $1, we'll get that piece of land back. It'll still be county of Simcoe land for our purposes of culling and controlling it.
Those are my points from a legal point of view, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Newlove would like to make a few comments now.
Mr. Rick Newlove: Yes, I just want to say that we've worked hard with the staff of the city of Barrie and the town of Innisfil to write up the agreement with regards to the road and the intersection controls. It's something, we feel, that is needed so that we can work and ensure that the roads are protected and we're not fighting over shared ownership of reconstruction or maintenance purposes. That's the intent, that somebody would own the entire road right away and control the intersection as well.
As well as the county forests, as Mr. Green mentioned, Bill 196 says that any property in the county of Simcoe be vested in the city of Barrie, and that's our concernÃ¢Â"that the forest would be just given over to the city of Barrie. We do have other county forests in the city of Barrie today, we do have a lot of social housing in the city of Barrie, we own a lot of property in the city of Barrie, so why would we just give this section of land to the city of Barrie is the question as to the way the legislation was written.
The other issue that we would like to be considered as part of this too is compensation. As you know, Innisfil pays taxes to the county of Simcoe. If they're losing assessment and revenue through the tax base, so will the county of Simcoe, and the other municipalities within Simcoe county will have to make up that shortfall. If there's compensation that comes from the province of Ontario, the county would like to be considered as part of that.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Does that complete your presentation?
Mr. Rick Newlove: Yes, that completes the presentation. We just wanted to make sure those points were considered and understood by this committee.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We have just under two minutes per party and we'll start with the Liberal Party. Mrs. Sandals.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: Yes, thank you very much for giving us all the official maps around Ms. Vanderpost's property, I think. That's quite helpful. Listening to you and Innisfil and other people, have you also reached an agreement on shifting all the boundaries to one side or the other of the road allowance?
Mr. Marshall Green: Yes, we have.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: And has that material been made available to the province?
Mr. Marshall Green: I'm not sure. I have an e-mail that came from Ms. Rebecca James-Reid to me yesterday, indicating that I could tell this committee thatÃ¢Â"I can read it. It says, "Please accept this e-mail as confirmation that staff from Barrie understood the proposed boundary to be the easterly boundary of the currently travelled County Road 27." That's for this particular situation. "Presumably following tomorrow's committee hearings all other technical description problems in schedule 1 can be solved."
Mrs. Liz Sandals: What I'm really asking you about is all other technical description problems.
Mr. Marshall Green: Yes. Mr. Longo confirmed with me this morning, as did Ms. James-Reid, that they're content that all the boundaries be on the east or the west side of the road, as the case may be.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: Or the north or the south.
Mr. Marshall Green: Or north or south.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: My practical experience is that the worst roads in the province are town lines because the boundary goes down the middle and nobody can agree who will maintain them.
Mr. Marshall Green: We do have boundary agreements with, for instance, the county of Grey, but they are problematic. It is much better when one municipality owns it.
Mrs. Liz Sandals: So somebody will forward all this technical information very, very quickly to municipal affairs.
Mr. Marshall Green: Between the city of Barrie, the county and Innisfil, we would be pleased to present. There will have to be some surveying done and we'll have to talk about who gets to do that surveying, but short of that, we'll be happy to put that all to the province. We've been working with Mr. Gutfreund and we've had a very good relationship with him as well.
Mr. Rick Newlove: I should mention that the province has been at the table working with the municipalities. So the Ministry of Municipal Affairs does have up-to-date copies of this agreement. It also incurs language with regards to waste management, fire service and police services. All those issues are addressed as part of that agreement.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We'll move on to the Conservatives. Mr. Dunlop.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Through to Mr. Newlove, just a quick question. I don't know if you heard the presentations from Tay and Oro-MedonteÃ¢Â"and I know Penetanguishene and Midland are making a joint presentation here. Do you support what they're trying to do by having additional growth allocated now instead of waiting for a five-year review or something, or is the county locked into this vision?
Mr. Rick Newlove: No, the county has actually passed a motion at county council requesting that the $40,000 that was taken away from municipalities be reinvested in the plan, so the plan goes up by $40,000 so that those smaller municipalities can continue to grow. Some of the concerns are that the residentsÃ¢Â"as their children grow up, there's no room left for them to build a house and live in those communities because the numbers are so tight.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: So that was supported, and that's a motion of county council?
Mr. Rick Newlove: Yes, it is, and it has been submitted to the ministry.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Okay, thank you very much. I wasn't aware of that.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: I want to come back to the issue of compensation. This seems to be the nub of the dispute. I think, in listening to Innisfil, they are saddened that they're losing the land, but they understand they may, and what they want is some money. I listen to Barrie, and they're happy to get the land, but they don't want to give anything for it. What's the county's position? Should there be some money made available to Innisfil to compensate for the loss or not?
Mr. Rick Newlove: I think the county is saying that there should be compensation given to Innisfil and the county of Simcoe because there's taxpayers' money that's going to be lost to both Innisfil and the county of Simcoe because Innisfil pays taxes to Simcoe county, and so do all the municipalities in Simcoe county. What you're requesting the rest of Simcoe county municipalities to do is make up that shortfall on taxes that will be lost that would come into the county as well.
Mr. Michael Prue: There are two groups that can give that money: Either the city of Barrie can be made to pay the money over the period of time or the province would have the option, I guess, of paying for the city of Barrie or directly to Innisfil. Does it make any difference to the county of Simcoe who would pay, provided the compensation is made?
Mr. Rick Newlove: No. We're not concerned who pays that compensation.
Mr. Michael Prue: And should it be the result of any development charges? Obviously a great deal of money is going to be made by the owners, and we've had them here today too, the developers, the people who own the land and who will see farmland change from something that doesn't get very much taxes into an industrial, commercial, high-rise and residential base. It's an enormous growth in increased capacity. Should they be forced to pay?
Mr. Rick Newlove: I guess the existing development charges bylaw would have to be changed to allow that to happen; legislation would have to be changed because I don't think you can collect from one municipality to pay another municipality. I'm not aware of that.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation, and for your maps as well.
TOWNS OF MIDLAND
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on to our next presentation, which is the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene. Good afternoon, and welcome to the committee.
Ms. Anita Dubeau: Good afternoon.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We have 15 minutes allocated. If you don't use all that time, we'll ask questions of you. If the presenters could kindly identify their names and titles for the sake of Hansard, we'd appreciate that as well.
Ms. Anita Dubeau: My name is Anita Dubeau and I'm the mayor of the town of Penetanguishene. I'm here today with my colleague Deputy Mayor Ruth Hackney from the town of Midland. We also have senior staff with us today: Eleanor Rath is the CAO of our municipality, and Mr. Wes Crown is here with us from the town of Midland; he's their planner.
Midland and Penetanguishene are two immediately adjacent towns located in the north portion of the county of Simcoe, approximately 50 kilometres north of Barrie, having a combined population of 28,000.
As the committee is aware, the government released its vision for the Simcoe area on June 4, 2009. It is to that vision for the Simcoe area, as currently proposed by the government, that we wish to speak today.
Bill 196, along with the proposed amendment to the growth plan for the greater Golden Horseshoe, are intended to describe an urban structure for the Simcoe area that is based on managing growth in a manner that changes the way our communities grow and develop and that would better achieve the goal of building strong and vibrant communities. We agree with this goal.
We in the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene have always felt that a plan for the Simcoe area must recognize Barrie as the central urban place in the urban structure of the area. We as local municipalities would always prefer local solutions to local issues.
We will let others who are more knowledgeable and directly involved speak specifically about the proposed boundary change between Barrie and Innisfil, and obviously that has happened this morning.
What is of most concern to us is the other component of the government's vision for the Simcoe area: the proposed amendment to the growth plan for the greater Golden Horseshoe.
I will turn it over to my colleague.
Ms. Ruth Hackney: Good morning. Deputy Mayor Ruth Hackney of the town of Midland.
The government's rationale for Bill 196 is based on its vision for the urban structure of the Simcoe area, which includes, in addition to the identification of Barrie as the anchor urban node, the identification of four additional urban nodes of Collingwood, Orillia, Alliston and Bradford.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is the position of the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene that for the government's vision for the Simcoe area to be complete, it must also recognize and designate the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene as an urban node.
As Mayor Dubeau indicated, the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene have a combined population of 28,000. This represents the third-largest urban node in the Simcoe area, larger than the identified nodes of Collingwood, Alliston and Bradford.
Equally if not more importantly, Midland-Penetanguishene represents the fourth-largest employment node in the Simcoe area. In fact, the second-largest private sector employer in the Simcoe area, after Honda, is Elcan Optical Technologies, which is located in Midland.
Penetanguishene is also the home of the 10th-largest employer in the Simcoe area, being the regional Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, which is a fully accredited 312-bed psychiatric hospital, employing over 1,100 people and providing mental health services throughout the Simcoe area and beyond.
Midland and Penetanguishene already function as an urban node. We are a complete community. We are a centre of employment and education. We are the centre in north Simcoe for the provision of a complete range of federal, provincial and county services. And we are well planned and planning for the future.
Midland-Penetanguishene is already an urban node and should be designated as an urban node in the proposed amendment to the growth plan. The municipalities of Midland and Penetanguishene prepared a joint submission to the province regarding its vision for the Simcoe area and our joint request for an urban node designation, and we have provided you with copies today.
The towns have already had preliminary discussions regarding joint land use, joint planning and operations for infrastructure and continued co-operation on economic development. While this level of coordination and co-operation may be unusual elsewhere, it really is just an evolution of our long history of co-operation on several fronts.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we believe that a strongly defined urban structure for the north Simcoe area includes an urban node for north Simcoe, and that a strongly defined urban structure for the Simcoe area is in the best interests of the province of Ontario.
I will now turn it back to Mayor Dubeau.
Ms. Anita Dubeau: The government has described Bill 196 as part of the implementation of a vision for the Simcoe area and defining a strong urban structure for the area.
The towns of Midland and Penetanguishene believe that it is in the best interests of the province of Ontario and of the people of the Simcoe area that we are identified as an urban node in the proposed amendment to the growth plan.
We also believe that the amendment to the growth plan must follow shortly after the passage of Bill 196 in order to complete the province's vision for the Simcoe area.
We hope you agree with us and trust that you will ensure that the other elements of the government's implementation of its vision for the Simcoe area beyond Bill 196 will reflect our concerns.
This concludes our remarks. We would answer questions, if there are any.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We have roughly three minutes per party. We'll start with the Conservatives. Mr. Dunlop?
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Thank you for the joint presentation. I think, really, what you've done this morning is enhance some of the conversations we've had over the last few months, and you've supported what both Oro-Medonte and the township of Tay have said as well.
Quite frankly, I was happy to hear the commentÃ¢Â"I didn't realize you were having a specific motion passed at county council allowing for the bill to be amended, and I applaud the county for that.
I don't really have a specific question other than the fact that maybe you might want to comment on the fact that so much emphasis is put into the north Simcoe community. You may want to comment, for example, on the work we do around physician recruitment, our hospitals and the new program we've got with the mental health centre and the divestment. I think maybe that might be helpful to the community as wellÃ¢Â"to one of the mayors.
Ms. Anita Dubeau: Yes, that's very true. We co-operate on many fronts. TourismÃ¢Â"we have been talking recently about perhaps an opportunity for infrastructure in reference to water. It's very preliminary but it is something that the communities are quite willing to work on. There's doctor recruitment, as you mentioned. We're all involved in that, not only with hours of volunteerism but financially as well.
Perhaps Ruth would like toÃ¢Â"
Ms. Ruth Hackney: Thank you. We also work together on several fronts. We are a joint community when it comes to our chamber of commerce. It's all of the municipalities, with the township of Tay, the township of Tiny and the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene.
We have been working together for quite a few years in a number of aspects. We feel that Midland and Penetanguishene being recognized as an urban growth node is something that has already happened. It just needs to be put into place properly.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: It's almost as though there was a mistake made and it just was ignored. I mean, that's the way I look at it. I can't believe this is not a growth node. Obviously, they have the population. So if we can do anything, let's go back to the growth vision and fix that, once and for all.
Ms. Anita Dubeau: Yes. I'll just make one comment: When you look at the growth nodes that have been defined, there's a lovely spot up north that needs to have a red dot on it as well.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. We have to move on to Mr. Prue, NDP.
Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you very much. The township of TayÃ¢Â"the mayor who showed up said you were going to come. He talked about Port McNicoll and the fact that some of the municipalities, some of the towns, were not able to develop. What is the current state of affairs? I have not been, for a couple of years now, to Midland and Penetanguishene. Is there growth opportunity or has it stalled? What is happening?
Ms. Ruth Hackney: We'll let our planner speak to that. Mr. Crown.
Mr. Wes Crown: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Wes Crown. I'm the director of planning and development for the town of Midland. I think the CAO from the town of Penetanguishene will respond as well.
There is an interesting disconnect between the population forecasts that the province has set out in its vision for our municipality and the actual approved developments that we already have on our books. We have a population approved within existing and registered plans for subdivision and draft plans for subdivision for about 5,400 people. The province has allocated population growth to Midland of 2,100 people until 2031.
The development that has already been approved in Midland is within our settlement areas, within our built boundary. It's on full services. A significant portion of the development is actually brownfield redevelopment, where we're decommissioning and revitalizing existing and underutilized industrial areas in the municipalityÃ¢Â"all the things that the province wants to do as part of the Places to Grow plan. We think there needs to be this correction made in the vision for Simcoe county as part of Bill 196, which is part of that exercise.
Ms. Eleanor Rath: If I might comment on behalf of Penetanguishene, because the numbers are based on the census from a few years ago, we in fact have already reached our 30-year target. People would literally have to die in Penetanguishene for us to grow.
Our extensive growth management study looked at a bottom-up exercise. We analyzed intensification, in keeping with Places to Grow. So within our existing urban area, without any expansion into Tay Point, we could accommodate twice our current population, so another 10,000 people. We had an hour-long presentation last night. We are increasing the capacity of our sewage treatment plant, and the federal and provincial governments are contributing to that project. It's a $20-million project and it will facilitate a further expansion of that plant in approximately 15 to 20 years' time. So we are well able to accommodate much more than our current population.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. Let's move on, then, to the Liberals. Mr. Rinaldi?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: First of all, let me congratulate you on working together. That's something that doesn't happen very often, so it's refreshing to hear that. I know that at the end of the day that will reap benefits, especially for smaller communities based on large urban centres.
Just a quick couple of comments: I think you make a compelling argument, and I'm sure the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, who is responsible for the growth plan, will review this process. Part of the growth plan is an automatic review every five years, because those censuses do change and demographics change. So I would hope that the ministry would look at that, and I'm sure they will, because that's why that piece is there.
I guess just a questionÃ¢Â"sorry, I missed your name; the plannerÃ¢Â"that this is an important time for this to happen based on Bill 196. Tell me the relationship here.
Mr. Wes Crown: The government has defined a vision for the Simcoe area, of which Bill 196 is a part. The amendment to the growth plan does not come to the Legislature; it only goes to cabinet, so this is really our only opportunity to get to members of the Legislature to say that we, to some extent, agree with the vision that the province has defined for the Simcoe area, but we think there has been a mistake in that vision, and they need to correct that mistake before they implement it through the various measures that they're going to undertake: Bill 196, the amendment to the growth plan etc.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Okay, that's fair. Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you for your presentation today and for coming out.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on to our next presentation, the Ontario Home Builders' Association: Mr. James Bazely, president.
If you would just identify yourself, your name and title, for the sake of Hansard.
Mr. James Bazely: Sure. James Bazely, president, the Ontario Home Builders' Association.
Mr. Chair, members of the committee, good afternoon. My name is James Bazely and I am the president of the Ontario Home Builders' Association. I have also served as president of the CHBA Simcoe County, formerly the Greater Barrie Home Builders Association, and as chair of the OHBA accessible housing committee. Related to the subject matter today, I served as an appointment by the Minister of the Environment on the Lake Simcoe stakeholders' advisory committee.
I have been involved in the residential construction industry here in Simcoe county for almost two decades and I live nearby, in Barrie, with my wife and my three children. My company, Gregor Homes, is involved in custom and semi-custom home building, landscaping and renovation projects. We are known for our commitment to the environment: we build exclusively Energy Star homes. I am a volunteer member of the association, and in addition to my business and personal responsibilities, I am dedicated to serving the residential construction industry.
Let me begin by thanking you for today's opportunity and by telling you a little about OHBA. The Ontario Home Builders' Association is the voice of the residential construction industry and includes 4,000 member companies organized into 29 local associations across the province. As I mentioned earlier, I was president of the local home builders' association, representing Simcoe county, a couple of years ago. Our industry contributed approximately $37.8 billion to the province's economy last year and generated 365,000 person-years of employment. We would appreciate your consideration of all our views on Bill 196, An Act respecting the adjustment of the boundary between the city of Barrie and the town of Innisfil.
I am sure today you are going to hear a wide variety of opinions on the proposed adjustment of the boundary between the city of Barrie and the town of Innisfil. If you are able to take one key fact from my remarks today, I'd like each of you to note the fact that the status quo is not an option. It is no secret that the political relationship between Barrie and Innisfil has seen better days, and to be quite frank with you, it hasn't been working at all in the past couple of years. We need change and we need the province to take a leadership role in delivering that change. That is why OHBA is supportive of Bill 196 and the adjustment of the boundary between the city of Barrie and the town of Innisfil.
The province did the right thing by seeking a locally initiated solution to the ongoing servicing and boundary dispute between Barrie and Innisfil, but patience has run out for many of us who live and do business in either of these communities. I am pleased that the province has taken action and demonstrated leadership by stepping into the fray to finally solve this boundary and servicing issue.
Let me take a step or two back and provide some context for the discussion. The Ontario Home Builders' Association was generally supportive of the scientifically based approach and strategy to reduce phosphorus levels in the Lake Simcoe watershed through the Lake Simcoe protection plan, and we are also supportive of the role that the province has played in the strategic vision for growth for the Simcoe area that was released earlier this year. The documents go hand in hand to protect Lake Simcoe by targeting phosphorus sources and by managing and directing sustainable growth in communities that have the capacity to absorb new population and employment.
OHBA supports the objective to protect environmentally sensitive green space and agricultural areas while focusing development on and around existing cities and towns that can accommodate new growth to create vibrant, complete communities, with Barrie intended to be the primary recipient of growth in Simcoe county.
Furthermore, OHBA believes that the actions the province has taken with respect to growth management in Simcoe county strongly reflect the provincial policy statement and Places to Grow and are consistent with other legislative and regulatory initiatives impacting community development and environmental protection.
In the last year, the mayor of Innisfil has stated that "We don't need growth as proposedÃ¢Â"we are a community of communities." This is not the recipe for smart growth and intelligent use of infrastructure. A spread-out, low-density pattern of unconnected communities will require additional roads with few, if any, transit options and will force residents to have longer commutes. Perhaps worst of all, this would encourage the additional use of septic systems, which contribute phosphorus leakage into our rivers, streams and eventually right into Lake Simcoe.
OHBA supports a coordinated approach to growth planning and management, as well as targeted investments towards critical infrastructure, which is not the approach that Innisfil was prepared to have without provincial intervention.
The province rightly sought a local solution to growth management and political disputes between municipalities. But after years of local infighting, enough is enough, and the province has to step in to protect the health of the watershed and to ensure that growth can occur in an ecologically sustainable manner over the next few decades.
Barrie has essentially run out of land. Housing starts in Barrie were typically about 2,500 from the years 2001 to 2004, and levelled off between 1,000 and 1,500 in the years after. This year, CMHC is forecasting only 345 starts, and next year only 385 housing starts.
Some of this drop-off can be attributed to broader economic conditions, but no region, including the epicentre of the automotive crisis in Windsor, has experienced these kinds of declines. Barrie has essentially run out of room to grow, and Innisfil has been an unwilling partner in setting a long-term vision for the future of Simcoe county.
If either Places to Grow or the Simcoe Area: A Strategic Vision for Growth are to be implemented, then Barrie requires more room for growth. Obviously, intensification will play a key role in the evolution of this community, but additional servicing for greenfields in strategic locations near existing core infrastructure is a key component for the future of Barrie and Simcoe county. This is why the boundary between Barrie and Innisfil has to be changed.
Let me provide you with a pretty clear example as to why this issue boiled over and required a provincial solution. Barrie and Innisfil have had a long-standing service dispute with respect to water and waste water. A number of years ago, a trunk sewer line from Barrie was completed to the border of Innisfil. This is infrastructure that is in the ground and ready for use, but it has been capped at the municipal boundary in part due to ongoing disputes between the two municipalities. This is no way to plan for growth.
I applaud the government for its bold effort to redefine how we live, work and play in this community. The Lake Simcoe Protection Act is a unique piece of legislation in this province that sets out the framework for a long-term protection plan for Lake Simcoe. The province followed up this conservation effort with a comprehensive plan for growth in the coming decades for Simcoe county that will focus development on and around existing cities and towns that can accommodate growth.
Finally, this boundary issue was the key missing element to ensure that Barrie can continue to grow in an orderly, well-planned and sustainable manner that is in keeping with the provincial policy statement, the Places to Grow plan for the greater Golden Horseshoe and the two recent initiatives I just mentioned: the Lake Simcoe protection plan and the strategic vision for growth in the Simcoe area.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that as the engine that drives this provincial economy, the residential construction industry pours billions of dollars into municipal, provincial and federal coffers. OHBA and CHBA Simcoe county members wish to continue to allow the home building and development industry the opportunity to assist in serving the provincial goals and interests of affordable housing, increased levels of intensification and the creation of a dynamic community.
To maintain a high quality of life and economic prosperity, OHBA supports Bill 196, An Act respecting the adjustment of the boundary between the City of Barrie and the Town of Innisfil. It is therefore critical that the province move to pass this legislation prior to the new year to ensure that the boundaries are in place effective January 1, 2010, thus ending this long-standing boundary issue.
Mr. Chair, members of the committee, I would like to thank you for your attention and interest in my presentation, and I look forward to hearing any comments or questions you may have for me.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you, Mr. Bazely. We have about a minute and a half per party, and we'll start with the NDP. Mr. Prue?
Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you very much. You've made your presentation quite forcefully. I know exactly where you stand. You spoke on every single issue save and except the one that is key to my mind, and that is whether or not Innisfil should be compensated for the loss of the land, compensated for all of the infrastructure that's been built up to the land and for the future development. Should Innisfil be compensated?
Mr. James Bazely: It's my opinion, and my opinion only, that there should be some sort of compensation. Now, whether that's an actual cheque that's been cut or some arrangement that can be made for the future as growth happens, I'm not completely against some compensation.
Mr. Michael Prue: All right. So this whole thing might be resolvable to everybody's satisfaction if the province and/or Barrie sat down and compensated Innisfil. We could all get on with our lives.
Mr. James Bazely: Right.
Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We're on to the Liberal party. Mr. Rinaldi?
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I don't really have any questions. I think you've made your presentation based on the industry that you represent, and we really appreciate that you've been here today. Thank you.
Mr. James Bazely: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): To the Conservatives, Ms. Munro?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you very much for being here today. Mr. Prue stole my question. I thought it wasÃ¢Â"
Mr. Michael Prue: I'm sorry, I didn't know.
Mrs. Julia Munro: I thought it was important for us to know that you agree that it would be fair to have compensation.
Mr. James Bazely: Quite frankly, OHBA and myself personally have not been privy to any of the negotiations that would reflect on or refer to compensation, so I'm not an authority to comment on that. Again, my personal opinion would be that it is probably prudent that some compensation be paid. I think it needs to be reasonable and realistic.
Mrs. Julia Munro: And it's simply a matter of the principle of compensation that I was asking you, because I don't expect you to have details. I don't either.
Mr. James Bazely: Okay, thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Mr. Dunlop, quickly.
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: Thank you for your presentation. I noticed you mentioned a number of times the Lake Simcoe protection and how you felt that it would be an improvement to Lake Simcoe. My concern is that we are putting, in all likelihood in that particular area, another 60,000 to 70,000 people into the population. What we haven't seenÃ¢Â"we have a Lake Simcoe protection plan but we've got no money to go with it. There has been $30 million from the federal government in different projects around the lake; however, nothing from the provincial government at this point. You're representing the homebuilders. If you're going to protect Lake Simcoe and protect the storm water management, the surface runoff and that sort of thing, you'll be paying for it. One way or the other, you'll be the person paying for it.
Mr. James Bazely: You mean to tell me Smitherman has no more infrastructure money left for us?
Mr. Garfield Dunlop: He's got a $25-billion deficit. What do you think?
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. That completes the time. Thank you for your presentation.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): We'll move on, then, to our next presenter, Mr. John Bamford. Good afternoon and welcome. You have 10 minutes. Any time that you don't use, we'll ask you questions.
Mr. John Bamford: That's fine, thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Just for the sake of Hansard record-keeping, if you could just identify your name for the record.
Mr. John Bamford: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. First of all, I would like to state that I am a resident of InnisfilÃ¢Â"
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): I'm sorry, your name again?
Mr. John Bamford: My name's John Bamford from Big Bay Point Road in Innisfil.
I'd like to state that I am a resident of Innisfil who will be directly affected by this bill.
I'm not opposed to progress, annexation or the need for growth. I am, however, opposed to the manner in which this process of annexation has been carried out. None of the officials, politicians or bureaucrats involved in this process have been forthcoming in providing information on what those residences and businesses that are directly affected by the annexation can expect after being enveloped into the jurisdiction of the city of Barrie.
Since May 2009, I have sent numerous e-mails to MPP Aileen Carroll, the Minister of Housing, various members of Barrie city council and Innisfil council. The buck has been passed around and around, and we are still without answers.
To give you some examples of this, I sent an e-mail to Aileen Carroll on June 22Ã¢Â"no answer; I sent another e-mail on June 26Ã¢Â"no answer; July 4Ã¢Â"no answerÃ¢Â"actually, pardon me. On July 4, I did get an answer:
"Mr. BamfordÃ¢Â"your correspondence has been received and I have sent an inquiry to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
On August 6, I sent another e-mail. The reply:
"I apologize for not responding sooner. I am making inquiries with the ministry and will respond when I have the information for you. Please be assured that I will also bring your concerns to the attention of Aileen Carroll.
"Mr. BamfordÃ¢Â"I apologize for the delay in responding. The following is information that I received from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing:
"The matter of property assessment is MPAC's ... responsibility. Further, the application of tax rates for any class of property as it applies to the annexed area will be the responsibility of the city of Barrie. At present, the negotiations are ongoing between the town of Innisfil and the city of Barrie in preparation for implementing Bill 196.
The main concern, of course, is the ability to retain our homes and businesses given the generally larger rural lots that we have and live on and the punitive assessments handed down by MPAC coupled with Barrie's unrealistic tax rates.
It is to no one's surprise that the city of Barrie is anxious for medium- to high-density residential land, and I believe it is the intent of the city of Barrie to make those lands available to residential developers in spite of the repeated statements from Barrie politicians that employment lands are the city's priorityÃ¢Â"the solution for lessening the residential tax burden on homeowners. This was mentioned by Jeff Lehman.
Barrie politicians are unsure of what they need 5,000 acres for, as is seen in the many contradictory statements presented in the media. I happened to run across this statement made by Barry Ward on August 31: "In my mind, very little of the new (Innisfil) land should be used for commercial purposes."
On the other hand, we get comments from Barry Ward that say, "Barry Ward wants the review done as soon as possible, so city officials are ready when the land changes hands, scheduled for January 1.
"'We probably should move on it right away,' said Ward of the review. 'Can we start it early to hit the ground running?'" This is referring to industrial land, so they're not sure what they want this land for.
Finally, my biggest concern is the fact that this hearing being held today is without due notification to the 240 homeowners and farmers who will be impacted by the annexation and the woeful lack of information provided to them by Aileen Carroll's office and by the city of Barrie.
We are less than 60 days away from this event. We have asked simple questions time and time again, and no one has been forthcoming. Only Mayor Jackson has given me straight answers, saying in mid-August to me, "We are still negotiating with the city"Ã¢Â"over police services, over fire and compensation for taxpayersÃ¢Â""and will continue to do so" on our behalf. Those are the last words I had from Brian.
I believe we have the right to know how we will be impacted before this legislation is passed, not to find out next June that we have been reassessed and are six months in arrears on our property taxes and our reassessed hydro consumption.
As I mentioned in my opening statement, I'm not opposed to growth or progress. But a very important group of people have been left out of this equation. This committee should address this problem before Bill 196 is passed.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. That leaves about a minute per party. We'll start with the Liberal Party. Mr. Rinaldi.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Thank you, Mr. Bamford. I just want to say you've made your point. Just a point of clarification: Are you in the proposed annexed area or outside?
Mr. John Bamford: We are in the moratorium lands, which will be annexed on January 1.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: Okay, so you're part of the proposedÃ¢Â"
Mr. John Bamford: Yes. The moratorium lands were a special parcel up at 20th Sideroad and Big Bay Point Road that was set aside until 2012, supposedly.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: So you're in the proposed annexed land.
Mr. John Bamford: We are.
Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you very much for your presentation.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. Any questions fromÃ¢Â"Ms. Munro?
Mrs. Julia Munro: Yes. I'm just going to ask you about the question, as it has been raised here this morning, about issues around compensation. Clearly you personally have presented issues around that, but I'm wondering if you see it as something that, in principle, this legislation should includeÃ¢Â"some mechanism for Innisfil in terms of compensation.
Mr. John Bamford: Oh, absolutely. I could comment on compensation in general in Innisfil, but that's not why I'm here. My concern is for the homeowners who live in my neighbourhood. A lot of people are retired. Unfortunately, they own large lots. We've been in Innisfil for many years and we own large lots. Some of them are 300-foot frontages. That'll be devastating once they come to the city of Barrie.
What I'm asking for is, can we phase in the taxation over a period of years? And I mentioned this in a letter to Aileen Carroll, to which I never got an answer. We need to be phased in. We can't be faced with Barrie's taxation because we will be reassessed by MPAC and it will be brutal. The problem is, we won't know right away when we've been reassessed and the city will come to us and say, "Guess what? We did this 10 months ago and you are now in arrears for $5,000, $8,000." My neighbours can't afford that. They will lose their homes. That's what I'm concerned about.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you very much. I think it's an important part of the conversation.
Mr. John Bamford: I think it's very important. There aren't that many people involved and I think the province should address those people. I mean, we're talking 200 homes; that's all.
Mrs. Julia Munro: Thank you.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Thank you. Mr. Prue.
Mr. Michael Prue: Yes. You wrote to Ms. Carroll, obviously not to your satisfaction. I heard that loud and clear.
Mr. John Bamford: Correct.
Mr. Michael Prue: Did you attempt to write to anyone else?
Mr. John Bamford: I have written to several members of Barrie city council on various occasions. I have written to my councillor in Innisfil and Mayor Jackson. I don't have a lot of time. I'm a businessman; I don't have a lot of time to sit in front of my computer or use the telephone. I try to reach the people who I think can help my concerns more so than any department in government.
I realize that Aileen Carroll is the architect of this thing, and she should have answers for us. This is her baby.
Mr. Michael Prue: I just wanted to ask, did you write to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing or the Minister of Finance in terms of the taxation or MPAC policy?
Mr. John Bamford: I did not, no.
Mr. Michael Prue: You did not. Might I suggest that you do so because you do need those answers. They're very good questions you're asking.
Mr. John Bamford: A quick question to you with respect to that: Can I expect straight answers from these people? Am I wasting my time?
Mr. Michael Prue: I don't know. I never get them, but I wish you better luck.
Mr. John Bamford: I mean, we're 55 days away, and I don't anticipate results within 55 days.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): Okay. That completes the time. Thank you very much for your presentation.
Mr. John Bamford: Thank you for hearing me.
The Chair (Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti): That completes our list of presenters for today's meeting.
I just want to remind members of the committee that amendments are due at 12 noon, Thursday, November 12. The bus going back to Toronto will pick us up at 1:15. Members can pick up their lunch back in the room over here. We're adjourned until November 16 at 1 p.m. Thank you.
The committee adjourned at 1249.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE POLICY
Chair / PrÃÂ©sident
Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest / Scarborough-Sud-Ouest L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-PrÃÂ©sident
Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough L)
Mr. Lorenzo Berardinetti (Scarborough Southwest / Scarborough-Sud-Ouest L)
Mr. Ted Chudleigh (Halton PC)
Mrs. Christine Elliott (WhitbyÃ¢Â"Oshawa PC)
Mr. Peter Kormos (Welland ND)
Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough L)
Mr. Dave Levac (Brant L)
Ms. Leeanna Pendergast (KitchenerÃ¢Â"Conestoga L)
Mr. Lou Rinaldi (NorthumberlandÃ¢Â"Quinte West L)
Mr. David Zimmer (Willowdale L)
Substitutions / Membres remplaÃÂ§ants
Mr. Bas Balkissoon (ScarboroughÃ¢Â"Rouge River L)
Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North / Simcoe-Nord PC)
Mr. Rick Johnson (HaliburtonÃ¢Â"Kawartha LakesÃ¢Â"Brock L)
Mrs. Julia Munro (YorkÃ¢Â"Simcoe PC)
Mr. Michael Prue (BeachesÃ¢Â"East York ND)
Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph L)
Clerk / GreffiÃÂ¨re
Ms. Susan Sourial
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Andrew McNaught, research officer,
Legislative Research Service
Thursday 5 November 2009
Subcommittee report JP-469
Barrie-Innisfil Boundary Adjustment Act, Bill 196, Mr. Watson /
Loi de 2009 sur la modification des limites territoriales
entre Barrie et Innisfil, projet de loi 196, M. Watson JP-470
Ms. Charlene Vanderpost JP-470
Town of Innisfil JP-471
Mr. Quinto Annibale
East Moratorium Landowners' Group JP-474
Mr. Jaime Shapiro
Mr. Don Pratt
Mr. Robert Saunders JP-477
City of Barrie JP-478
Mr. Leo Longo
Township of Oro-Medonte JP-480
Mr. Harry Hughes
Township of Tay JP-483
Mr. Scott Warnock
Ms. Mara Burton
Simcoe County Heavy Construction Association JP-485
Mr. Roger Graham
Mr. Tony DiPede
County of Simcoe JP-487
Mr. Rick Newlove
Mr. Marshall Green
Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene JP-490
Ms. Anita Dubeau
Ms. Ruth Hackney
Mr. Wes Crown
Ms. Eleanor Rath
Ontario Home Builders' Association JP-492
Mr. James Bazely
Mr. John Bamford JP-494