Similarly to the rest of Ontario, Halton’s weather has become significantly warmer, wetter and wilder. The region is seeing an increase in severe weather events such as flash floods, ice storms and heat waves, which are threatening the health and well-being of Halton residents.
Addressing climate change has become a priority in Halton. Efforts to respond to this emergency are underway, including through land use policies in the Official Plan. The Region is currently working on a review of the Official Plan which includes addressing climate change.
A Climate Change Discussion Paper has been prepared as part of this review. The Paper sets out proposed objectives and actions for the Region related to reducing the impact of climate change through land use planning.
Below is a summary of the important information and policy considerations discussed in the Climate Change Discussion Paper.
August 2014 Burlington Flood Source: Robert Deeks
Our carbon emissions are warming the planet at alarming rates. They are causing weather patterns to change which will affect our health, environment and properties. In Halton, almost 90 per cent of our emissions are from buildings and transportation sources. These emissions are directly tied to how we heat our buildings and move in the region.
Given the rapid increase in population growth anticipated in Halton, these emissions will continue to rise unless we change the way we build and move. Official Plan policies have a direct impact on making buildings more energy efficient and communities more compact therefore helping us lower our emissions.
The review of the official plan will ensure consistency with the Provincial Policy Statement (external link) (PPS), 2020, as well as conformity to A Place to Grow: The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019) (external link), the Greenbelt Plan (external link) (2017) and the Niagara Escarpment Plan (2017). These plans and policies include new directions for land use planning to identify actions that will reduce carbon emissions and address climate change. The review will also align with the Region’s actions and outcomes as listed in Halton’s Strategic Business Plan 2019-2022.
Building on successes achieved to date through Sustainable Halton, the updated Regional Official Plan will seek to continue to protect the Natural Heritage and Agricultural Systems. It will also aim to achieve compact built communities that support transit and conserve utilities. The figure below shows how a comprehensive approach based on interventions in policy areas within the Regional Official Plan can address climate change:
Protect existing agricultural lands and promote on-farm diversified uses to support sustainable farm practices.
Protect the natural environment which acts as a carbon sink and responds to extreme weather impacts.
Conserve energy use through compact development and promote renewable energy systems to reduce emissions.
Support the use of transit and active modes of transportation to help reduce car-dependence.
Continue to achieve complete and compact communities and support a healthy housing mix to promote long-term resilience in Halton.
The Regional Official Plan shapes how and where Halton grows—and your input is valuable as we make these decisions for our community!
To help you learn more about this topic, you can read our Climate Change Discussion Paper (PDF file). The paper provides more detailed information about how climate change relates to the Regional Official Plan.
Our general and technical questionnaires are now closed. We will continue to welcome feedback through the next stages of the Regional Official Plan Review process. Please check the Regional Official Plan Review page regularly or sign up to receive email notifications to stay up to date. If you have any questions or comments, please email email@example.com or call 311.
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