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Published on Friday, June 2, 2017

Halton chair to Province: no money, no growth

Growth must pay for growth, head of Region says

Halton chair to Province: no money, no growth
Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr
- Champion file photo
By Melanie Hennessey, Milton Canadian Champion

Regional Chair Gary Carr delivered a strong message to the Province when he and the four local mayors visited Queen’s Park this week: Halton will say no to growth without more funding from the Ontario government.

The local politicians and municipal staff met with a group of seven cabinet ministers on Monday (May 29) to discuss local needs ranging from public health funding to all-day GO service for Milton.

Armed with the Region’s ‘Advocating for a Strong Halton’ document, Carr and his staff led the charge to demand more money from the Province — crucial funding that future development in the region hinges upon.

In speaking with the Champion, Carr said that 10 per cent of local residents’ Region tax bills is currently being used to cover a provincial funding shortfall — $9.7 million a year for public health programming and over $14 million due to a lack of adequate development charges (governed by the Province’s Development Charge Act).

“The bottom line here is growth is not paying for itself. It’s just totally unacceptable that our residents are picking up the cost of growth,” he said. “Under Places to Grow, they (the Province) are forcing us to grow, and we are saying we’re not going to do it anymore. The ball’s in their court.”

Carr said he would also like to halt growth until the Province can provide two-way, all-day GO service in Milton.

While the chair and the Milton team pushed for the crucial service during Monday’s session, they received no commitments from Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.

“The minster was very clear that there is no date set for all-day GO service for Milton,” Carr said.

He added, “I said, ‘If you’re not going to give us all-day GO, but you can spend $1 billion to extend a subway to Scarborough, then give them all of the growth.’ They expect us to grow, but then give all of the money to Toronto. Now is the time for them to start worrying about Halton.”

Earlier this year, the Region issued a press release in which Carr boldly stated that Halton isn’t going to implement the Places to Grow Act and will refuse to increase growth if the Province doesn’t provide sustainable funding.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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