An Urgent Call For Action:Protest Bill 23

If you haven’t heard so far about Bill 23, you should know that the Provincial Government is preparing a raft of amendments to the Planning Act, Ontario Heritage Act, Development Charges Act, Conservation Authorities Act and the Ontario Land Tribunal Act. These will result in profound changes to our communities, with devastating consequences for Grimsby’s heritage features, natural areas, and small-town character, among others.

Community groups, leaders and Planning staff from many municipalities around Ontario had expressed grave concerns about this Bill and its multiple facets that place local decisions in the hands of the Provincial Government and developers, with little to no input from residents and their elected Councils.

Below is an excerpt from an alert sent by Geoff Kettel, from Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (Ontario), about the Bill’s impacts on the heritage protection throughout the Province:

The Disastrous Effect of Bill 23 ("More Homes Built Faster Act") on Heritage

The Ontario government's omnibus legislation Bill 23 contains a number of proposed changes that are extremely detrimental to heritage preservation. The most serious change will ensure that all listed buildings on the municipal heritage registry that are not officially designated will no longer have listed status (protection from demolition for 90 days) after two years, unless they are designated within that period. This is a total disaster for the Heritage Register and for our attempts to protect heritage properties. For your information, here is a link to a commentary on Bill 23 by the legal firm Aird Berlis (refer to the section on the Ontario Heritage Act).

In addition, municipalities will not be able to require drawings showing matters of exterior design through the site plan control process when a development is proposed. Also, development projects with 10 or fewer residential units will not require a site plan control at all. Bill 23 will also allow development of three units per residential lot. These restrictions will negatively impact the ability to respect a local character, create desirable streetscapes and compatible building designs. The consequences of this Bill will be devastating to non-designated heritage areas like Grimsby Beach, and will negatively affect a future Main Street East Heritage Conservation District (HCD).

As concerned citizens of Grimsby we need to act now. This pending legislation will literally destroy the remaining heritage character of Grimsby. Grimsby Council will have no chance to defend our Cultural Heritage Landscapes as demolitions will speed up as development at any cost will be encouraged through this bill.

Grimsby has hundreds of buildings worth protecting while heritage designations have been far too slow. Soon, areas having heritage value worth protecting will be stripped of their historic buildings.

This new legislation will also attempt to limit what culturally we should value as communities about our heritage areas through introducing prescribed criteria for establishing HCDs.

Previously, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries stated that each district is unique and that “designation allows a community to recognize and commemorate what it values within an area, that contributes to its sense of place. It provides a process for sustaining these elements into the future. Sense of place refers to the way people experience and give meaning to their surroundings.”

In our view, prescribing criteria for designation of an HCD is contrary to these statements. The proposed changes are unlikely to sustain the unique heritage character of many communities as it will have little regard to local values and appreciation of our neighbourhoods.

This bill will cost us all more in taxes, ease the already too lenient development processes, silence our individual voices in opposition while further endangering our heritage and environmental conservation efforts. Our future is in serious jeopardy should Bill 23 become law without serious amendment.

It is critical that we citizens speak out now about this proposed legislation before it passes.

Act in Person: Consider joining a one (1) hour protest in opposition of Bill 23 in front of MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s office, 4961 King St. E. Beamsville this Saturday November 19th from 2 pm - 3pm.

Please bring your signs to have your say, no profanity. Some sign ideas:

  • Protect our Heritage – No to Bill 23
  • Protect Citizens’ Rights to Participate in Planning
  • Ford is Selling Us Out To Developers
  • More “Tall and Sprawl” Isn’t Affordable
  • There’s Nothing Affordable about Bill 23
  • Kill Bill 23 No Selling Conservation Areas
  • Hands Off the Greenbelt
  • Farmers Feed All of Us - Protect Our Agricultural Lands

Contact MPP Sam Oosterhoff:
Tel: 905-563-1755


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