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Ontario's 'Places to Grow' Plan Must be Fixed
September 18, 2018

TORONTO (September 18, 2018) – Today, Mayors Rick Goldring of Burlington and Geoffrey Dawe of Aurora were at Queen’s Park to announce ongoing discussions with Ontario’s new government, on the need to fix the provincial ‘Places to Grow’ Act.

“Mayors of Aurora, Brantford, Burlington and Whitby have significant concerns on how the province’s growth, density and intensification targets have forced our cities to grow,” said Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring, “The top-down approach of the past 13 years has resulted in forced growth on our cities that often doesn’t reflect the values of our community.”

We are asking the province to:

  • Fix Ontario’s ‘Places to Grow’ Plan, beginning with putting a freeze on the density requirements demanded by the province while a comprehensive review takes place.

  • Give local Councils the ability to control the speed of development in their communities, instead of the full-speed ahead approach demanded over the past decade.

To address issues specific to Burlington, Mayor Goldring is asking the province to:

  • Consider adding Waterdown to the city of Burlington. This will help alleviate growth pressures on downtown Burlington and provides fairness for Burlington taxpayers who, for years, have been directly impacted by growth in Waterdown that has created new demands on Burlington’s infrastructure.

Brought together by Burlington Mayor Goldring, our group of Mayors is making the case to fix the ‘Places to Grow’ plan to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and MPPs on the government side.


Mayors Express Concerns with ‘Places to Grow’:

“Aurora, is reaching a tipping-point in its development, where provincially-mandated growth will exact an unacceptable cost on our environment, our services and the qualities that make our community so attractive. The time is now, for Premier Ford to ‘hit the pause button’ on Places to Grow, so that an objective appraisal of growth targets can be done to help communities manage growth sustainably, and in a manner consistent with the wishes of their residents.”  
Geoffrey Dawe, Mayor of Aurora

“13 years ago the Ontario government decided Burlington must grow. Resulting provincial growth and density targets, have put extraordinary pressure on Burlington’s downtown. The change in provincial government provides a new opportunity to push for changes to planning policies that were previously dismissed. I appreciate MPP Jane McKenna’s support on this important issue for the future of our community.”   
Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington

“Ontario’s Places to Grow plan requires GTA municipalities to add significant height and density within their existing community, typically downtown and around major transit station areas. While this density adds housing choice, it can be disruptive to established neighbourhoods and creates many concerns. Local Councils need the ability to reduce potential negative impacts by controlling the phasing of higher density developments in and around established neighbourhoods.“  
Don Mitchell, Mayor of Whitby

“I’m urging the Ford government to consider provincial growth plans from a municipal perspective to improve planning, community integration, environmental protection and to encourage logical growth patterns that inspire neighbourhoods.”  
Chris Friel, Mayor of Brantford

Changing Burlington’s Municipal Boundary:

“Waterdown is isolated from Hamilton and has much more in common with Burlington and Halton Region. For years, growth in Waterdown has directly affected Burlington by placing additional demands on our infrastructure. Adding Waterdown to Burlington will help make local government work better for the people and will be a win-win for taxpayers.” 
Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington

About the Mayors:

Mayor Rick Goldring
was sworn into office as Burlington’s 28th Mayor on December 1st, 2010, after serving four years as the City and as Regional Councillor for Ward 5. He was re-elected Mayor in 2014 and is seeking a third term in the October 22nd municipal election.

Mayor Geoffrey Dawe was sworn into office as Aurora’s 32nd Mayor on December 1st, 2010. He was re-elected Mayor in 2014 and is seeking a third term in the October 22nd municipal election.

Mayor Don Mitchell was sworn into office as Whitby’s Mayor on December 2, 2014, after serving as North Ward Councillor for 12 years, and serving on Regional Council from 2006-2014. First elected to Whitby Council in 1991, he is seeking a second term in the October 22nd municipal election.

Mayor Chris Friel was sworn into office as Brantford’s 41st Mayor in December 1994 and served until 2003. He became Brantford’s 43rd Mayor on December 1st, 2010. He was re-elected Mayor in 2014 and is seeking a sixth term, (third consecutive) in the October 22nd municipal election.

About ‘Places to Grow’:

The Ontario government passed the ‘Places to Grow’ Act in 2005. The amended version of the Act is available at:

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