Region wrestles with where the population growth is going to take place - farm land is at risk.

By Staff

February 11th, 2022



Earlier this week Regional Council spent the best part of a day working their way through a 2000 page document on the Growth Concepts before Council.

The purpose of the meeting was to Review the Draft Preferred Growth Concept that will be part of the Regional Official Plan.

The Gazette will need another day or two (there goes the weekend) to distill the document and set out what it means to the people who live in the four municipalities that make up the Region of Halton.

The issue of population growth…

The Region has to grow – that isn’t something that can be debated – where the politicians can have an impact is on where the growth will take place.

Colin Best, a Milton Town Coucillor, has a firm grip on the numbers- his professional work is related to property assessment.

There is one document (above) that sets out what the politicians are dealing with.

That is the direction in which we are going, like it or not.


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12 comments to Region wrestles with where the population growth is going to take place – farm land is at risk.

  • Adam

    News just out today – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government aims to add more than 431,000 permanent residents this year, 447,000 in 2023 and 451,000 in 2024, according to the 2022-24 Immigration Levels Plan released on Monday. Figures for this year and 2023 have been revised higher from earlier targets of 411,000 and 421,000, respectively.

    This is what is driving the real estate market and the need for intensification.

    I also agree with Alfred, the projections don’t mean anything. They are just a “best guess” which is always wrong, but using historical growth rates seems like a logical starting point. The Province is just trying to ensure the municipalities have enough CAPACITY to house our growing population IF there is demand for it. Where people decide to live is up to them, some of the projections will be right some will be wrong. Housing is a free market, the government doesn’t tell people where to live and work.

    The concept of “turning off the taps” on immigration and population growth is a tough one. A huge amount of our economy is dependant on housing and immigration. Some estimates say that over 25% our GDP is from housing and housing related activities (banks, insurance, construction etc.). Our demographics also play a big factor, the boomers are retiring and we need to replace them with younger people who will pay taxes into the health care system and contribute to CPP or we will have big problems. These systems don’t work if we have more people using them than paying into them. Reducing population growth would be almost impossible for our economy.

  • Alfred


    The real estate market and only the real estate market will dictate what and how much gets built. Silly projections mean nothing. A builder will not build if he thinks his or her units won’t sell.

    Show me vacant units that were built on projections in Hamilton in the 70’s. The market adapts and the builders adapt to the market. Bigger, smaller units??

    If anyone thinks there aren’t buyers lined up to buy all the homes and condo’s that have been approved by council or the OLT. When I see 30 or 40 offers for 3 to 4 hundred thousand more that asking price on homes listed. It will take a lot of building to catch up to that demand. Builders are actually buying other builders pre-sale condos. These won’t be built for 3 to 4 years. Then they rent them out, is that not a good thing?

  • perryb

    Someone pointed out (in the Spectator) that in about 1970 the official projection of Hamilton’s population by 2020 was about twice what it has actually turned out to be. In my own adventure with Provincially-driven Official Plans, the projection laid off on my little northern town in the mid ‘00s was a growth of 4,000 by 2020, which bent all kinds of local plans badly out of shape. Any protest was denied by all levels of government.The actual result: essentially zero population growth. Unfortunately a number of irreversable changes had been forced.
    This article says “the region has to grow, that cannot be debated”. Wrong! That is exactly what has to be debated. Start by demanding that the factual basis of the Province’s projection (for the next 40 years!) be revealed and peer-reviewed, and that the “peers” cannot be a bunch of planners and developers. Insist that the result must include error ranges and allowances for unknown unknowns (as well as the possibility of a different government in charge). Political predictions tend to be aspirational rather than practical, and the consequences of reacting hastily are significant, costly, and permanent.

  • Penny Hersh


    I want you to know that I received an email from a resident who told me he was very disappointed in the fact that he had seen a comment sent to the planning department that I was in favour of the proposed Waterfront Hotel application, but concerned about the POPS included in this application

    For the record I live downtown and will be greatly impacted by all the proposed development around me. As my husband always tells me,” when you buy a condominium you don’t own the view”.

    My concern is more about the POPS ( Privately Owned Public Space) that is attached to the proposed Waterfront Hotel development application. POPS have become “a community benefit” in other proposed developments.

    What sales person will be telling potential buyers that there is a Privately Owned Public Space attached to this condominium and explain in detail what it entails? That the public has access to this space 24/7 and the owners are responsible for the upkeep and liability?

    Unless potential buyers are dealing with lawyers who practice condominium law this will not come to their attention, until it is too late.

    • Bob

      For the record, I too live downtown in a single family home not far from the lake and not far from the new construction. What I am not is a NIMBY, I do not oppose development of our downtown. I have mirrors in my house. By that I mean I look inside myself before commenting on others. I love living downtown. I love the amenities, the parks, the convenience that goes with living downtown. Unlike the people fighting the growth of the downtown, I embrace it. I welcome others to join me in enjoying the conveniences of living in our downtown core and the only way to do that is by going up.
      There was a movie called “Field of Dreams” released many years ago with a famous quote
      “If you build it, they will come” So go ahead and build so others can share in what it is you and I love about living downtown.

      From what I can see from the naysayers to these projects, and this one in particular is that the only thing that would make you happy is if the city had of purchased the land itself and turned it into parkland. That didn’t happen, shouldn’t happen and I personally wouldn’t want my taxes to raise by the percentage necessary to support such a purchase.

      I also find it rather odd that you would be concerned with the POPS involved in this project and yet say the POPS involved in the Bateman School should be used for housing. Perhaps you could enlighten me on why there is a difference if one is outside the downtown core.

  • perryb

    Anyone who thinks they can predict populations 30 years into the future without an error margin of +/- 100% is a fool. Extrapolation of the present into the future is a great mathematical process, until it isn’t. Canada has a huge area, with a history of almost the entire population huddling against the southern border like moths to a window. Like it or not, climate change will make northern and western expansion quite feasible, and it will happen, if only because people will migrate there for affordable and livable housing. North Bay may become the new Milton, especially if someone starts to think that way.

  • Alfred


    You forgot option #3. Slow down the growth to a reasonable level. If the faucet pours more water than the drain can remove from the tub. Shutting off the tap works everytime. The tub never overflows.

  • Tom Muir

    Adding to the wrestling action are the inconsistent and variable population numbers that are in play.

    For example, the Table here says Burlington gets 23,000 between 2021 – 2031, but the recent Development Charges study for 2022 says Burlington gets 7,322. The DC numbers are said to be based on the Regions Best Planning Estimates. These reflect where the water, wastewater, roads and all the other needs for service are planned to be built.

    This is an important and notable inconsistency. Raises the question about who is really going to get what.

    Mayor Meed Ward I believe has said that Burlington only gets the lower number. For sure, the higher number will not fit well in Burlington.

    This needs to be clarified.

  • Adam

    Lots of people arguing both sides of this debate. Don’t develop farmland …. but also don’t build condos in existing neighbourhoods. We can’t have it both ways, we either build on farmland or we intensify existing neighbourhoods. There are 400,000 new people coming to this country every year, they need somewhere to live.

    • Bob

      Judging by most comments on this newsfeed, intensification is fine as long as it isn’t in the downtown core as that is reserved for the chosen few who already live there.
      They believe a new building on the hotel site at 36 stories will somehow block their view they have now. They fail to see that the existing building blocks the view already.

      • David

        I live the downtown core and have no problem with the new look of sky scraping condos. The initial price of these condo’s and the eye watering condo fee’s will not help the young or new immigrants.
        I also live in among 2-4-6 plex residents, I consider myself very fortunate for this diversity and have many friends amongst them. I’m afraid the ‘few’ live in the wilds of the Burlington green belt. Not my cup of tea, but each to his own. When something is full, no amount of meetings will make it empty.

    • perryb

      Adam, as long as the question is only on housing a speculative number of new residents, the arguments focus on where to put them. This ignores fundamental questions of why? Why will people want to settle here rather than somewhere else? Where will they work? Factories? Offices? Universities? Home offices? The west? The north? Better look at how much the world has changed, in unexpected ways, over the last 30 years before being so confident about the next 30.