Bill 23 means less parkland for new Erin developments

ERIN – The Town of Erin has updated its parkland dedication bylaw once again, this time to align it with the province’s More Homes Built Faster Act, or Bill 23.

The province’s change means developers won’t have to set aside as much land or cash in-lieu in a new development.

As a condition of new development, parkland dedication laws are intended to ensure a municipality’s residents have sufficient parkland area with a portion of land being given over for recreational purposes, such as a park, or cash-in-leiu of the area.

Erin planning and development director Jack Krubnik says the provincial change reduces the amount of parkland the town could have in the future.

“I don’t necessarily see it at a positive result for municipalities,” he said by phone.

The province’s change also undoes the work involved with the town’s September update of the bylaw, which required that more land, or cash-in-lieu, be committed by developers.

With Bill 23, the number of dwellings required for the same amount of dedicated parkland has doubled. Before, 2.47 acres of parkland were required for every 300 dwellings. That had now doubled to 600 dwellings.

The cash-in-lieu calculation is now based on 2.47 acres for every 1,000 dwelling units, doubling from 500.

The province also limited the percentage of parkland that can be dedicated.

For more than 12.35 acres of developable land, the maximum is 15 per cent, or 1.85 acres.

For under 12.35 acres, the maximum is 1.23 acres.

“Bill 23 also introduced an amendment that permits encumbered land and privately-owned public spaces to count towards any parkland dedication requirements,” Krubnik wrote in a report to council.

Whereas land had to be public and accessible, now land chosen by developers may not be ideal, and the town has less say.

“It’s a little bit more of a dialogue” with developers, Krubnik explained.

Bill 23 moves away from the widely accepted notion that parkland and open space are “part of a complete community,” he said, adding the need for parkland and greenspace was evidenced by the pandemic.