In Ontario, land use planning is governed by the Planning Act. Section 1.1 lists the purposes of this Act:
(a) to promote sustainable economic development in a healthy natural environment within the policy and by the means provided under this Act;
(b) to provide for a land use planning system led by provincial policy;
(c) to integrate matters of provincial interest in provincial and municipal planning decisions;
(d) to provide for planning processes that are fair by making them open, accessible, timely and efficient;
(e) to encourage co-operation and co-ordination among various interests;
(f) to recognize the decision-making authority and accountability of municipal councils in planning.
I can’t find any pictures to illustrate the Planning Act, so instead below is a picture of the Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto, the place where our provincial legislation is debated and cast into law!
One may wonder about the site planning and construction of the Ontario Legislative Building. Below is an aerial view of the building and Queen’s Park in Toronto.
Notice that the site is essentially an island with a moat of cars whizzing around it. Ha! How’s that for government accessibility. And, no, presently there are no bike lanes on that road.
Back to the point though. The Planning Act sets out, among other things, the provincial administration and interest in planning (s. 2); the need for and contents of official plans (s. 16); and the requirement that public works and municipal by-laws conform with the official plan (s. 24). The Planning Act also sets out the rules governing local planning administration (Part II), community improvement (Part IV), and land use controls such as zoning by-laws (Part V).
The Planning Act is not the kind of document that says anything in particular about such things as biking or cycling infrastructure. Rather it merely sets out the rules governing generally land use planning in the Province. The Act is not inconsistent with improving cycling infrastructure though (that is, it doesn’t prevent better bike lanes).
Section 2 does speak of transportation and other areas that may be relevant to developing better cycling infrastructure:
2. The Minister, the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board and the Municipal Board, in carrying out their responsibilities under this Act, shall have regard to, among other matters, matters of provincial interest such as,
(f) the adequate provision and efficient use of communication, transportation, sewage and water services and waste management systems;
(h) the orderly development of safe and healthy communities;
(o) the protection of public health and safety;
(q) the promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, to support public transit and to be oriented to pedestrians.
The last of these concerns does speak of public transit and pedestrians, so I suppose the government could have mentioned cyclists. But maybe that’s asking too much.
Up next we’ll be investigating the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Provincial Policy Statement.