Item - 2021.PH24.9

Tracking Status

PH24.9 - Disposal of Land in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System for Certain Infrastructure and Conservation Projects: Draft Official Plan Amendment

Decision Type:
ACTION
Status:
Amended
Wards:
All

Committee Decision

The Planning and Housing Committee:

 

1. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to hold one public open house and consult with key stakeholder groups, including Metrolinx, to obtain feedback on the draft Official Plan Amendment which is included in the Chief Planner and Executive Director's Attachment 1 to the report (May 27, 2021) from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning.

 

2. Requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to report back to Planning and Housing Committee on the results of the open house and stakeholder consultations and a final recommended Official Plan Amendments in the fall of 2021.

That:

 

3. Directed Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to meet with local stakeholders concerned with loss of parkland associated with disposal of parkland and report back to the Planning and Housing Committee.

Decision Advice and Other Information

The Project Co-ordinator, Strategic Initiatives, Policy and Analysis, City Planning gave a presentation on Governance for the Disposal of Land in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System:  Draft Official Plan Amendment.

Origin

(May 27, 2021) Report from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning

Summary

This report proposes a draft amendment to the City's Official Plan to provide greater clarity regarding when an Official Plan Amendment is required for certain disposals of City-owned land in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System to facilitate conservation projects, public transit and essential public works and utilities that support Toronto's development, growth and quality of life.

 

Lands designated as Parks and Open Space Areas and lands comprising the Green Space System in the Official Plan accommodate natural habitat areas, important ecological services and many of the City's recreation opportunities. These lands are essential to health, prosperity and quality of life in our City and are afforded a high level of protection in the Official Plan. Official Plan policies set out that the sale or disposal of publicly-owned lands in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System is discouraged, and no City-owned lands in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System will be sold or disposed of except where city owned land may be exchanged for other nearby land of equivalent or larger area and comparable or superior green space utility

 

In Toronto's Municipal Code, the sale or disposal of land includes the granting of a fee simple interest, or granting a leasehold or easement interest for a term that exceeds 21 years.  The City's current practice is to require the party requesting the disposal to apply for an Official Plan Amendment regardless of the scope, nature, or potential impact of the project. This approach draws significantly on Council and staff time, can cause confusion for applicants around interpretation of the Official Plan policies, and may significantly increase the timeline for delivering required infrastructure.  For instance, since the Plan's adoption Council has approved over twenty-eight (28) Official Plan Amendments where the provisions of the Plan prohibiting the disposal of City owned land in the Green Space System or Parks and Open Space Areas do not apply.  In addition the City receives approximately seven such requests per year.

 

Staff are seeking a balanced approach that would enable certain disposals which are consistent with the intent of the Official Plan, while still maintaining strong protections for Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System.  The proposed approach introduces criteria, based on current Official Plan policies, to evaluate disposal requests. If a project meets these criteria to the satisfaction of the Chief Planner and the General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, then an Official Plan Amendment would not be required.  In all other cases, an Official Plan Amendment would still be required.

 

In evaluating requests for disposals, staff will continue to apply key official plan policies including the goal of maintaining or where possible increasing the size and utility of parkland.

 

Staff are seeking direction to undertake public and stakeholder consultations on the draft Official Plan Amendment and present the results of the consultation along with final recommended amendments to the Official Plan in a report to City Council in late 2021. This report does not propose to change the City's current disposal framework set out in the Municipal Code, beyond clarifying when an Official Plan Amendment is and is not required.  This report does not recommend and will not result in the declaration of any City-owned lands as surplus.

Background Information

(May 27, 2021) Report and Attachments 1 and 2 from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning on Disposal of Land in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System for Certain Infrastructure and Conservation Projects: Draft Official Plan Amendment
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-167287.pdf
Presentation from Project Co-ordinator, Strategic Initiatives, Policy and Analysis, City Planning on Governance for the Disposal of Land in Parks and Open Space Areas and the Green Space System: Draft Official Plan Amendment
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-168092.pdf

Communications

(June 11, 2021) Letter from Rosemary Waterson (PH.New)

Speakers

Rosemary Waterston
Eon Song, Save Jimmie Simpson

Motions

1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Carried)

That:

 

1. The Planning and Housing Committee direct Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to meet with local stakeholders concerned with loss of parkland associated with disposal of parkland and report back to the Planning and Housing Committee.


2 - Motion to Adopt Item as Amended moved by Councillor Ana Bail„o (Carried)
Source: Toronto City Clerk at www.toronto.ca/council