King Township reiterates stance on use of MZOs

·1 min read

King Township council has reiterated its opposition to the widespread use of Minister Zoning Orders (MZOs).

Councillors made the move as a result of changes contained in Bill 257, the Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021. The act, passed March 4, expands the Minister’s power to use MZOs that are “not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).”

Environmental groups raised the alarm bells when this change was made in Bill 257, the bulk of which addresses paving the way for broadband throughout Ontario.

The PPS, King staff noted, provides policy direction on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The PPS sets out regulations and its policies protect public health, safety, natural heritage and agricultural, among others.

The provincial Planning Act requires that all planning decisions “shall be consistent” with the PPS. The PPS clearly states: “Comments, submissions or advice that affect a planning matter that are provided by the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board, a minister of ministry, board, commission or agency of the government ‘shall be consistent with’ this Provincial Policy Statement.”

These are minimum standards, aimed at supporting efficient development that optimizes the use of land. It also promotes strong, livable and healthy communities. And, it protects natural heritage features, natural resources and even archaeological resources.

The main argument is that the clause in Bill 257 is at odds with the PPS. King, along with other municipalities, don’t support the amendment, and are letting the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing know about their concerns.

Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel