Halton Regional Council has just taken one of the most important votes it is likely to take this decade. At a meeting that went late into the evening last Wednesday, with over 50 delegates attending to give their opinions, the regional councillors voted 15-9 for a motion that will prevent the Region updating its Official Plan to allow boundary expansion for further development.
In doing so, Halton became the second council in recent months to vote against boundary expansion, in the face of both provincial and industry pressure to open up more lands for development. Indeed, Halton followed Hamilton’s lead in seeing a quickly established ‘Stop Sprawl Halton’ movement, mirroring Hamilton’s successful Stop Sprawl HamOnt campaign. It appears that the movement to end low-density sprawl in the 905 has gained huge momentum in the last four years.
We wanted to speak to people on both sides of this debate, to give their arguments for why the boundaries should expand, or why they should stay the same. To that end, we invited two councillors who took part in last week’s vote to answer questions.
Councillor Paul Sharman has been City and Regional Councillor for Burlington’s Ward 5 since 2010. In this role he has frequently served as chair of city committees and boards, has worked to implement Burlington’s net carbon neutral plan, as well as representing the interests of his ward. Prior to entering politics, Councillor Sharman had a successful career in the private sector as an organization performance management consultant. Last week Paul Sharman was among the 9 councillors, including the mayors of Halton Hills and Milton, who voted in favour of urban boundary expansion.
Councillor Jane Fogal has served her community in Halton Hills over seven terms, dating back to 1997. She introduced the Climate Emergency Declarations at Halton Hills and Halton Region, and chairs multiple committees. She has been a core member of the Stop Sprawl Halton group, and is co-chair of Halton Hills Climate Action. She voted with fourteen other councillors, including the mayors of Burlington and Oakville, last Wednesday to halt boundary Expansion in Halton until 2041.
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