Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr has sent a letter to Premier-designate Doug Ford, on behalf of Halton Region and the Mayors of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville, asking him to direct the Ministry of Education to approve a background study that is required before the Boards of Education are able to approve their Education Development Charges (EDC) by-law which is set to expire on June 24, 2018. The EDC by-law enables school boards to recover growth-related net education land costs from developers, therefore ensuring that growth pays for schools to accommodate growth.
“If the new by-law is not in place by June 24, the Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board will be unable to collect development charges for the purchase of land for new schools in Halton, resulting in the loss of approximately $221,545 a day or $4.87 million per month in EDC revenues,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “This is a significant amount of potential revenue they cannot afford to lose. In order to meet provincial growth targets, while ensuring sufficient infrastructure is in place, we need to ensure growth pays for itself rather than the financial burden falling on existing taxpayers.”
The delivery of school capital needs is currently not aligned with the timing of growth in Halton. From 2017 to 2032, 29 new schools (elementary and secondary), as well as additions to existing schools, replacements and capital improvements, are required to accommodate growth within the region.
“Funding for infrastructure for new schools is critical and the expiration of the EDC by-law puts our local school boards in a very precarious situation,” added Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The Ministry of Education has indicated no approval can be given until sometime after the Minister is sworn in; however, we need the new Provincial government to act now to ensure there aren’t significant impacts on students and our communities.”
Halton Region is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. With of population of 570,000 residents, the region is mandated to grow to approximately one million by 2041 under the provincial Places to Grow Plan. Since 2008, Halton Region has been advocating to the Provincial government to ensure that growth pays for itself, through the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign. Chair Carr has met with the Ministry of Education representatives in the past few years to discuss the need for sustainable funding to address the capital needs of Halton’s school boards, which is integral to building complete, communities. Regional Council’s position is that the growth targets set by the Province for Halton must be matched with the funding and infrastructure to support them and that Halton Region will not compromise its strong financial position or AAA rating as a result of growth targets. Ensuring that growth pays for itself is imperative to the future vitality of Halton Region and is of critical importance to Regional Council.
To learn more about the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, visit halton.ca.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 570,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.