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New uses for old land

Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing leads government action on brownfields redevelopment.

Brownfields are vacant or underused sites with potential for redevelopment. They may be contaminated, often due to former industrial or commercial use. Brownfields are found in all types of communities across the province.

In the last century, many industries operated within the city core and along waterways. Some of these industries included mills, factories, railway yards and service stations. Many have since closed or moved away. The lands left behind – brownfields – lie idle and often are contaminated.

Redeveloping brownfields is good for communities. By reusing the land to make way for places like houses, offices, schools and recreation centres, brownfield redevelopment encourages intensification and the use of existing infrastructure, and stimulates neighbourhood rejuvenation.

Brownfield redevelopment also benefits the environment by improving air, water and soil quality, and by facilitating more sustainable development patterns that can protect valuable green spaces and agricultural lands.

In spring 2007, the Ontario government announced comprehensive reforms that reaffirm our commitment to put more brownfields into productive use while safeguarding the environment, public health and safety. On December 29, 2009, the Ministry of the Environment filed a series of regulatory amendments to implement the balance of these reforms. More information on regulatory reform is contained in the Protecting the Environment section of this website.

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