Item - 2022.PH32.6
- This item was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on March 25, 2022 and was adopted without amendment.
PH32.6 - Our Plan Toronto: Draft Environment and Climate Change Official Plan Policy Updates
- Decision Type:
The Planning and Housing Committee:
1. Authorized the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to use the draft Revisions to Official Plan Environment Policies, attached as Attachment 1 to the report (March 7, 2022) from the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning as a basis for consultation and bring forward a Final Report by May 31, 2022.
This report presents draft environment and climate change policies for the purpose of public consultation as part of the Growth Plan conformity and Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) of the Official Plan. The draft policies presented are intended to bring the Official Plan in conformity with A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2020) (the "Growth Plan"); the Provincial Policy Statement (2020); the Greenbelt Plan (2017); and the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement (2018). The draft policies also address City Council direction to support TransformTO recommendations for the Net Zero Strategy and the 2019 declaration of a Climate Emergency. The draft policies address the commitment to review additional Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) since the last Official Plan update (OPA 262) and input received from Our Plan TO consultations, which focused on protecting the environment and acting on climate change.
The City of Toronto has a strong legacy of introducing leading-edge policies to protect the natural environment and address climate change. Existing Official Plan policies include many examples of successful implementation related to environment and climate change action, and include: Green Roof By-law 2009; introducing and updating the Toronto Green Standard to require new development to meet sustainable performance measures; adding polices and requirements for green infrastructure, energy conservation and Energy Strategies in 2015; identifying and protecting 68 additional Environmentally Significant Areas; and in 2019 adding references to Council's declaration of the Climate Emergency.
For the purposes of the conformity exercise and the Municipal Comprehensive Review, the City is substantially in conformity with the requirements for the climate change and conservation policies and only minor modifications are required to improve alignment and reflect Growth Plan language. Beyond Growth Plan conformity, the Municipal Comprehensive Review provides an opportunity to enhance policy requirements and to clarify messaging in order to further advance climate resilience and mitigation. Outcomes of this update to the Official Plan's environment and climate change policies will support the City's declaration of a climate emergency and reflect Council-approved updates to TransformTO - Toronto's recently updated Net Zero Strategy which outlines a pathway to achieve net zero emissions in Toronto by 2040.
This Official Plan update emphasizes achieving net zero emissions and climate adaptation and reliance. Protection and enhancement of the City's natural heritage system and water resource systems is a key element of climate adaptation and resilience. Proposed changes include new maps to identify the water resource systems, an update of Map 9 Natural Heritage System to include water resource features and to align with the Ravine and Natural Feature Protection bylaw regulated area and a new layer that identifies areas that contribute to resilience of the natural heritage system. Four new Environmentally Significant Areas and additions to two existing Environmentally Significant Areas are proposed for designation bringing the total number of Environmentally Significant Areas to 90. A new Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW) are proposed to be added to Map 12b.
Further proposed changes include updating policy language to reference net zero emissions, embodied emissions from building materials, minimizing extraction and discharge of clean groundwater into the sewer system, reduce vulnerabilities to the potential impacts of climate change, integration of impacts of a changing climate into stormwater management plans. Language refinements have also been made to policies to reduce fossil fuel use and support the use of low carbon fuel sources throughout the plan. Revisions have been made to the Climate Emergency sidebar in Chapter 3 to reflect the Net Zero 2040 Strategy. Under Schedule 3, the Energy Strategy, required as part of a complete application, is proposed to be renamed 'Net Zero Emissions Strategy'. Policies are also updated to ensure conformity with provincial policies related to conservation objectives for solid waste and reuse of excess soil.
Attachment 1: Recommended Policy Revisions Incorporated with the In-Force Official Plan
Attachment 2: Recommended Policy Revisions Incorporated with the In-Force Official Plan Showing Differences
(March 25, 2022) Submission from Lenka Holubec, ProtectNatureTO and High Park Nature (PH.New)