- What is the Growth Management Program?
The Brampton Growth Management Program (GMP) is a series of initiatives and strategies developed to better coordinate growth and development with service delivery and the provision of infrastructure. Overall development, infrastructure and service delivery planning will continue to be guided by the Brampton and Peel official plans and the City of Brampton Strategic Plan as well as other plans within departments and external agencies. The GMP will help coordinate public infrastructure investment with development within smaller geographic areas and over shorter time frames than the key strategic documents.
Brampton’s GMP is a program that coordinates and stages the amount and distribution of growth in Brampton in conjunction with the planning, budgeting and delivery of the Regional, City and School Board services and infrastructure required to support that growth in a way that seeks to minimize public costs and optimize public benefits (services include roads, sewers, water, schools, fire stations, transit, recreation facilities, parks, etc.).
- Why was Brampton’s Growth Management Program initiated?
The Brampton GMP was initiated in response to some of the challenges associated with the recent high growth rates (i.e. traffic congestion and crowded schools). City Council and staff saw an opportunity to manage growth and infrastructure in a more co-ordinated and responsive manner. This view was reinforced by a variety of other sources such as the City’s Environics poll of residents, general resident feedback to Councillors and staff, budget co-ordination discussions with Peel Region, the Provincial Smart Growth initiative, and more recent feedback received in conjunction with the City’s Strategic Plan and Official Plan reviews.
In the early stages of the upturn in growth, planned and programmed infrastructure (i.e. school site development and road network improvements) has not always kept pace with levels and distribution of growth. Over the more recent budget cycles, infrastructure programs have been modified and the infrastructure being delivered now will precede or be developed concurrently with the development taking place. For example, improvements are planned to Chinguacousy Road and Regional Road 107 (former Hwy 7) in response to rapid growth, the City is developing new fire stations, and the school boards have advanced the programming of new schools.
The growth we are seeing has been planned for in various strategic planning documents that set out the long-term pattern of growth and infrastructure requirements. However, the pace of growth that has been witnessed in Brampton created the opportunity to develop the GMP tools to manage the shorter term fluctuations in the pace and distribution of growth. These tools have been working effectively for several years now, resulting in planned growth that can be sustained in terms of infrastructure and service delivery.
- How will the Growth Management Program help to ensure that appropriate levels of service are maintained for infrastructure, such as schools, roads, parks, water supply, and sanitary sewers?
The GMP is seen as a tool to achieve the following key objectives:
- provide timely, comprehensive, reliable and up to date information about current and forecast growth levels for planning and budgeting purposes.
- establish, implement and monitor service level targets and thresholds, thereby assisting service providers to better ensure key infrastructure is co-ordinated with growth.
- identify instances where infrastructure programmed may not be co-ordinated with growth forecast and to avoid reducing service levels or increasing costs.
The goal is better co-ordination of growth with the required infrastructure through better information, improved sharing of information, clearer service level targets, and more co-ordinated planning between agencies, the development industry and others. These efforts at improved co-ordination will have a number of results including:
- Ongoing evaluation of current capital budgets to resolve instances where planned infrastructure may not maintain service level targets given projected growth;
- Growth management related policies in new secondary plans
- Preparation and implementation of construction, staging and sequencing plans through new block plan and tertiary planning processes;
- Preconditions and conditions of development approval tied to the provision of required infrastructure such as the availability of a secondary school site or additional road network capacity, where, in the past, only more localized infrastructure would have been identified.
- What are the projected ultimate population and employment levels for the City of Brampton?
According to the 2006 Census, Brampton's population of 453,000. The City of Brampton is one of the largest cities in Canada and the 3rd largest city in the GTA (behind Toronto and Mississauga). In 2009, Brampton's population is estimated to be approximately 498,000.
As set out in the City’s Official Plan, Brampton's population is expected to reach 725,000 people by 2031 and there is expected to be 323,000 jobs in the City by 2031. These forecasts are currently under review as part of the City's Growth Plan conformity exercise
- How fast is Brampton growing?
The City of Brampton is an integral part of the GTA housing market, which is expected to grow from 5.08 million 8.6 million people by 2031. Brampton is a desirable place to live, work and play and as a result has traditionally attracted a significant share of GTA growth.
Brampton is well positioned to accommodate future employment land demand and will experience an increased portion of GTA and Peel growth due to decreasing vacant land supply in Mississauga.
Between 2006 and 2011, Brampton is expected to grow by an average of 11,500 people per year, increasing to closer to an average of 15, 000 people per year in the 2011 to 2016 period, reflective of the City's historic average of close to 5,500 new residential units per year.
- How does the City of Brampton’s growth compare with other municipalities?
The City of Brampton is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada. Brampton grew by over 100,000 between 2001 and 2006, which is a population increase of 33%. This was the 2nd highest population increase in the Greater Toronto Area, behind Milton with a 71.4% increase. In 2006, Brampton was Canada's second fastest growing City of its size.
- Where is Brampton growing and how is it determined?
The majority of population growth is occurring on the edge of the existing built up areas in secondary planning areas such as Sandringham-Wellington (SP28), Credit Valley (SP45) and the Vales of Castlemore (SP42). Emerging new growing communities include Bram East (SP41) and Bram West (SP40).
In addition, high density development applications are increasing along the Queen Street Corridor and other parts of Downtown Brampton, contributing to the City's vision for a vital downtown with a mix of residential, employment and civic uses.
Growth projections are available for each of Brampton’s secondary planning areas across the City in the 2006 Development Outlook Report.
- Which agencies are involved with the Growth Management Program and what infrastructure are they responsible for?
The agencies that were involved developing the Brampton Growth Management Program include the City of Brampton (city roads, transit, parks and recreation facilities, emergency services, libraries), the Region of Peel (regional roads, sanitary sewers, water supply, ambulances, police, social services, public health) and the School Boards (elementary and secondary schools).
- How do we finance the infrastructure needed to support growth?
The majority of the infrastructure required to support new growth is funded by money collected under the Development Charges Act. Prior to receiving a building permit to construct a new residential unit in Brampton, the builder must pay the development charges amounts established for the City of Brampton, Region of Peel and School Boards.
The development charges collected by the municipalities and school boards are used to pay the capital costs of providing a variety of new infrastructure needed as the City grows, such as improvements to existing roads, new roads, new parks and recreation facilities, new schools, new fire stations, trunk sanitary sewers and treatment facilities, and water supply infrastructure. Certain limitations are placed on what can be included in development charges by the Ontario Development Charges Act. For example, charges cannot be designed to fund increases over past service levels and only 90% of what is needed to maintain transit service levels can be collected.
- What is the City doing to control the pace of growth?
The City has a limited ability to directly control the pace of growth. Once the boundary for urban development and the vision for the City has been established in the City’s Official Plan, landowners have the right to make applications to develop in accordance with those policies. The City must be prepared to defend decisions regarding development applications based on the existing provincial, regional and local policy framework.
However, in order to help manage the City’s rapid growth and ensure that Brampton’s communities are developed in a comprehensive way Council has adopted the City’s Strategic Response to Growth: Implementation and Transition Strategy. This response includes a cap on the approval of residential development to 5,500 units a year (excluding development in the Downtown and Central Areas, where infill and growth are encouraged to maximize the use of existing infrastructure) and a Block Plan process. The Block Planning process is an integral tool for implementing the annual allocation of 5,500 units, providing the City with the mechanism to ensure the infrastructure requirements are met in a timely fashion.
The rate at which the City will grow is also tied to market trends such as the broader economy, interest rates, job outlooks and the GTA housing market. The economic outlook for Ontario and the GTA is bright and population in the GTA is expected to grow by over 2 million people by 2031. Peel Region has historically attracted a significant share of GTA growth and, with Mississauga vacant land supply decreasing, Brampton can expect increased growth, with a more marked change in employment growth.
An increasing number of people are choosing to live, work and play in Brampton. Everone benefits from a vibrant community, a growing economy, and expanding job opportunities.
- Are there other factors that limit the ability of the City to manage growth?
Municipalities are limited in their ability to manage growth by legislation including the Planning Act and Municipal Act. Also, the Development Charges Act limits what types of infrastructure can be included as a development charge funded by new development, when the funds are collected and how service levels can be calculated for that infrastructure. Decisions made by municipalities under the Planning Act are subject to Ontario Municipal Board appeal. In addition, decisions regarding certain infrastructure, such as Provincial 400 series highway improvements, are beyond local municipal control.
- What determines where growth will occur?
The long term vision for the City, including the desired mix and location of uses such as residential, employment and open space, as well as the planned infrastructure to service growth, including transit and roads, are set out in strategic documents and policies of municipalities, other levels of government and other agencies. These include the City of Brampton Official Plan and Strategic Plan, Peel Official Plan, the Provincial Policy Statement issued under the Provincial Planning Act, and school board strategic plans.
The Development Allocation Strategy, which allows approximately 5,500 units per year to develop (outside the Downtown and Central Area), also impacts where and when growth will occur. In addition, the availability of land, the availability and cost of services and the interest of individual landowners in developing affect growth. The location and distribution of growth occurring at any one time is also a result of a combination of factors such as housing market trends, demographic trends and job markets.
- As the City continues to grow, what measures are taken to protect the City’s natural features such as rivers, streams, woodlots and wildlife?
Brampton’s river valleys, lakes and woodlots are an important part of making this City a great place to live, work and play. As the City grows, a number of steps are being taken to ensure that natural features are protected and enhanced. Primary among these measures is watershed and subwatershed planning.
A watershed is made up of the land drained by a river and its tributaries and is a discrete ecosystem which includes all water, the processes, factors and natural cycles which affect it and the organisms which live in the watershed. Examples of watersheds in the Brampton area include the lands that drain to the Credit River, Etobicoke Creek, Mimico Creek and the West Humber River. A subwatershed is comprised of the land drained by an individual tributary to the main watercourse.
In keeping with the principles of ecosystem planning, the boundaries of a watershed or subwatershed provide ideal natural limits for managing the interconnections and relationships between human activities and the natural environment. Prior to development occurring in a new planning area in Brampton, a subwatershed management plan is prepared in cooperation with the local Conservation Authority.
A subwatershed management plan is a document developed co-operatively to manage the water, land/water interactions, aquatic life and aquatic resources within a particular watershed, in order to protect the health of the ecosystem as land uses change.
Subwatershed studies typically provide details regarding specific subwatershed targets, goals and objectives to establish:
- Natural system linkages and functions;
- Surface and groundwater quantity and management;
- The enhancement and rehabilitation of natural features
- Areas suitable for development
- Best management practices for incorporation into subdivision designs
- Specific implementation schemes and responsibilities for all recommendations
- Management practices for open space areas and green space corridors
- An implementation strategy
- Directives for stormwater management
- Future monitoring requirements
The results of subwatershed planning exercises are reflected in the secondary planning documents approved by the City. Secondary plans set out the detailed land use designations, uses and policies which are then implemented through environmental implementation reports, block plans, plans of subdivision, zoning by-laws and site plan approvals. Engineering studies and approvals associated with new developments provide the design details and specifications for facilities such as storm water drainage systems and surface water quality and quantity management facilities.
- What are the next steps in Brampton’s Growth Management Program?
The next steps in the GMP include:
- Completion of the Growth Plan conformity amendment to bring Brampton's Official Plan into conformity with the Provincial Government’s Growth Plan, Places to Grow;
- The preparation of the 2010 Development Allocation Strategy, early in 2010, which will outline the planned annual allocation of development across the City;
- The preparation of the next Development Outlook Report to be released following Council adoption of the new population and employment forecasts as part of the Growth Plan conformity project.
- How can people get involved in the Brampton Growth Management Program
People can get involved by writing, calling or e-mailing the City of Brampton and providing comments or requesting further information at:
Growth Management and Special Policy
2 Wellington Street West
Brampton ON L6Y 4R2
In addition, watch the City’s web site www.brampton.ca and local media for more information and notice of meetings to discuss the Growth Plan Conformity exercise currently being undertaken by the City.