Kitchener-Waterloo

New provincial bill could give townships more power, but they have to be careful: Foxton

There are parts of Bill 66 that make North Dumfries Mayor Sue Foxton very happy, but then other parts that have her saying, 'Oh no.'

Some aspects of Bill 66 are good, but there are others that have Foxton concerned

North Dumfries Mayor Sue Foxton says she's reviewing Bill 66 and will be talking to local MPPs about her concerns. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A new provincial bill has some elements in it North Dumfries Mayor Sue Foxton likes.

Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, is part of the government's Ontario's Open for Business Action Plan. Critics say it leaves open the opportunity for development on the Greenbelt, it could affect drinking water rules and allows for townships in municipalities like the Region of Waterloo to make decisions without consulting the regional level  of government.

"I find that when the bills come out, they're quite strange. There's one or two things that make you jump for joy and 10 that make you go, 'Oh no,'" Foxton said in a year-end interview with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

The township wants to develop the Northumberland Street corridor to allow for more commercial businesses. Currently, it's part of countryside line in the region, so the township can't build there. Under Bill 66, it would be possible.

Foxton says she believes in the countryside line, but they also need to consider whether other lands could be protected so they could take advantage of a main thoroughfare in the township.

"Some things are right on the money in Bill 66, but these other things we have to be so very careful with and they're so precious and important to us," Foxton said, adding she'll be speaking with local MPPs about the bill because ultimately, they're the ones who will vote on it.

Housing, policing

Foxton also looked at the regional budget request by Waterloo Regional Police Services to add more officers, how North Dumfries is controlling growth and the township's budget.

She says North Dumfries is the most expensive place to buy a home in Waterloo region.

"That's a real concern," she said, noting families will raise their children in the township, but when the children grow up, they have to move away because they can't afford to buy a home of their own. "That's heartbreaking."

Hear the whole interview with North Dumfries Mayor Sue Foxton:

Other stories from North Dumfries:

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