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Encouraging Revitalization and Intensification with Brownfield Redevelopment

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Brownfields are derelict or under-used industrial and commercial facilities and lands where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Despite the complexity of developing these properties, they are often in desirable and strategic locations – in the heart of urban communities, on scenic waterfronts, in or near downtowns. They have the advantage of having infrastructure in place and a variety of potential uses which can contribute to urban intensification, community revitalization, economic development and jobs, and/or new housing to take the pressure off greenfields. As a result, in Ontario, there has been growing interest among municipalities, owners, developers and environmentalists to find ways to clean up these sites and put them to new use.

Provincial Land Use Planning Framework

The new policies give more support and priority to brownfields redevelopment. They include: identifying brownfield sites as opportunities for redevelopment; recognizing the important role that intensification and redevelopment play in meeting land-use requirements; requiring upper-tier municipalities to set targets for intensification and redevelopment, as well as targets for minimum densities along important transit and other corridors; and linking the achievement of intensification and redevelopment targets to urban boundary expansions.

Resources, Related Programs and Links

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) showcases various case studies of residential projects that have overcome the barriers to brownfields redevelopment. Despite the numerous obstacles facing brownfields redevelopment, successful redevelopment projects have been built across Canada.
  • Canadian Brownfields Network (CBN) is a national voice and an advocacy network for practitioners and stakeholders who want to effect change regarding brownfields redevelopment and urban revitalization in Canada. The CBN facilitates linkages and connectivity within private industry, builds capacity and co-ordinates the exchange of ideas, expertise and success stories.
  • Community Improvement Planning Handbook is intended to assist municipalities and others interested in community improvement planning under section 28 of the Planning Act.
  • The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) has developed an Excess Soil By-law Tool, based on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change's Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices and existing fill and site alteration by-laws. The purpose of the tool is to help build the capacity of Ontario municipalities to use site alteration by-laws to effectively manage local excess soil issues. This tool provides examples of by-law language and guidance for Ontario municipalities to use in developing or updating key sections of these by-laws.

External Links Disclaimer

The Government of Ontario is not responsible for the information, interpretation, comments or opinions expressed in the links to these external websites. These external websites may not be available in French and may not be accessible. Any comments or inquiries regarding these external Websitesshould be directed to the particular organization for whom the particular website is being operated.