The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy describes a brownfield as an “abandoned, vacant, derelict or underutilized commercial or industrial property where past actions have resulted in actual or perceived contamination and where there is an active potential for redevelopment.” Brownfield lands may need to be cleaned up before they can be redeveloped.
Redevelopment of brownfield sites benefits the environment by improving soil, water and air quality. The re-use of these sites also contributes to urban revitalization and curbs sprawl that would otherwise consume valuable green space, including agricultural lands. It is estimated that for every hectare of brownfield land used for redevelopment, 4.5 hectares of greenfield land are saved.
The Planning Act was amended in 2006 to recognize, as a matter of provincial interest, the promotion of development designed to be sustainable such as brownfield redevelopment. The Act also gives municipalities the authority to designate community improvement project areas through their official plans and by-laws. Municipalities may then prepare community improvement plans for these areas to promote revitalization through a range of measures such as brownfield cleanup and redevelopment.
The Provincial Policy Statement instructs planning authorities to identify and promote opportunities for intensification and redevelopment where possible, including on brownfield sites. The PPS also recognizes that long-term economic prosperity should be supported by redevelopment of brownfield sites. The focus in the GGH Plan under the Places to Grow Act on the intensification of the existing built-up area supports the redevelopment of brownfield sites. In addition to land use planning policy, the Ontario government has taken other measures to encourage brownfield redevelopment. In 2001, the government enacted the Brownfields Statute Law Amendment Act to provide clear rules for cleanup and environmental liability, mechanisms to ensure quality cleanup, and planning and financing tools to enable the process.
It is encouraging to see that incremental progress is being made toward the creation of a regulatory environment more conducive to brownfield redevelopment. It is important that the province continue its progress toward a full suite of effective tools to facilitate the reuse of brownfield sites in Ontario.
For more information on brownfield redevelopment from past ECO reports, see:
Pages in category "Brownfields"
The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.
- 2005 Provincial Policy Statement
- Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006 (PCLSLAA)