Province Reverses Changes to Guelph’s Official Plans
The province is reversing alterations it had made to Guelph’s long-term plans. On October 23, Paul Calandra, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stated he would soon introduce legislation to undo changes the province had made to the official plans of various municipalities, including Guelph.
Calandra’s statement read, “Since becoming Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, I have made it a priority to review past decisions, including minister’s zoning orders and official plans, to ensure that they support our goal of building at least 1.5 million homes in a manner that maintains and reinforces public trust.” He added, “In reviewing how decisions were made regarding official plans, it is now clear that they failed to meet this test.”
The mayor expressed strong dissatisfaction with the situation, saying, “We spent a lot of money and staffing time to accommodate the provincial rejigging of our plans to accommodate what they want, and now it’s all for nothing. I try to be very forthright as the mayor, and I am beyond upset about how this whole thing has rolled out.”
The changes initially introduced by the province in April had increased the maximum building height in most of downtown Guelph to 23 stories, compared to the 14-story limit approved by the city council last year. The province’s revised plan also altered the types of buildings that could be constructed in the Guelph Innovation District and made specific zoning changes, such as the one for 384 Crawley Rd., which was switched from a significant natural area to industrial.
However, the mayor did note “one positive” in Calandra’s announcement: a pledge to help cities cover any costs incurred due to the provincial changes. The mayor specifically mentioned the engineering work required for the proposed 23-story buildings, saying, “it’s been months of work that our staff have been doing.”
Calandra’s statement also requested that affected municipalities submit any modifications or updates to their official plans to the ministry within 45 days. To this, the mayor responded, “They should know better that it takes longer than 45 days to try and get this going,” adding that the province’s changes have diverted staff from other projects, forcing them to “cater to the bad decision-making that the province made.”