GC Update – Revitalized Vision for our Town

At GC this week we discussed the Policy Directions Report and Aurora Promenade/MTSA Discussion Papers… These reports are part of our Town’s OP review and update and an important part in the development of our final OP that is to be passed later this year.

As residents know, the OP – our Town’s Official Plan – sets the vision for our community for the future, and in particular how and where we grow as a municipality.

Per Provincially determined growth targets, Aurora is expected to continue to grow over the next decade.  Consequently, in order to continue to protect Aurora’s rich natural and built heritage features and respect the character and history of our community, we will need to balance that growth and proposed intensification targets appropriately. That means that it is critical that we identify where, what and how we grow; what type of development and built form – height, density – is most appropriate in respective areas of our municipality. At the same time, we also need to ensure greater availability of the type of housing our residents want and need; ensuring that infill and future developments provide a diverse housing stock for our community to better increase access to more affordable housing.

The Policy Directions Report and Aurora Promenade/MTSA Discussion Papers are an integral piece of this process as they are specific to the downtown core and the MTSA’s (Major Transit Station Area) – the two key areas in town that are projected to see the majority of growth.  Given the importance of the Downtown core to our revitalization efforts, it is vital that we get this right; that we plan in a way that respects, promotes our heritage while building for the future. The work done by staff, the steering committee, Council, and the public has been tremendous…. They have struck that balance and I believe we will have an Official Plan and vision that at a high level meets the requirements of the province through the provincial policy statement and the Growth Plan, but has dug into details and specifics that reflect the uniqueness of what makes Aurora the incredible community it is.

Municipalities spend a great deal of time and hundreds of thousands tax dollars developing official plans that meet all the growth targets to ensure that our communities grow responsibly, provide a diverse housing stock, intensify in the right areas, all while respecting the uniqueness of the community

And while we in Aurora are on the right path with the OP update and a revitalized vision for our town that is truly exciting, all this work is meaningless if we continue to be subject to an outdated legislative planning appeals process that regularly results in overturned Council planning decisions; planning decisions that support our OP.

There is a need for change with the planning appeals process if we are to ensure that our municipalities can uphold these plans that meet all the targets from intensification, transit and infrastructure but do it specifically in a way that meets the vision for our specific communities. I will have more to say about housing and the provinces plan in a future post… Stay tuned…. #LeadershipThatGetsThingsDone

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