Phases 1 and 2 - Municipal Comprehensive Review
- Niagara is not growing at a fast pace and the growth which is occurring varies significantly across the region. The pattern of growth, largely reflecting demand for new housing, has not greatly changed in recent years.
- New housing demand is outpacing the net increase in population, reflecting an aging population
- The decline in Ontario's manufacturing base in recent years has affected Niagara's economic prospects, although the region has many opportunities to enhance its economic outlook going forward
- Similar to many communities outside of the Province's major urban centres, Niagara is experiencing the out-migration of young adults to education and employment opportunities, while some communities within the region remain quite attractive to those over 60 years of age
- Recent housing development in the region suggests that Niagara is already meeting its Growth Plan general intensification target, however the extent to which this meets the intent of intensification policy is less certain. The supply for intensification is abundant and many Niagara municipalities are planning for higher densities and redevelopment within built up areas.
- The capacity to accommodate population and employment growth is also unevenly distributed across Niagara municipalities which could pose challenges for planning to meet the Region's Schedule 3 outlook. The distribution of vacant urban designated land across a geographically large and dispersed Region is in some areas misaligned with pressures for growth.
Where is Niagara Growing?
The following map shows the share of the Region's developable urban lands and the share of Regional Housing Completions between 2006 and 2015.
Generally, municipalities that have had strong population growth over the last 10 years have seen a drastic reduction in available urban lands. Conversely, municipalities with slower growth since 2006 have a disproportionally high share of available lands.
Given the broader demographic and economic trends, along with changes to Provincial policy, it is time to review that policy framework in the context of the updated Growth Plan forecasts to 2041 that the Region must now plan for, in a manner which reflects emerging trends locally and changes to provincial policy guidance.
Public Information Centre #1 - Summary