Minto continues push to retain expanded Clifford urban boundary

MINTO – The Town of Minto is now asking the Ontario government to restore a reversed expansion of the Clifford urban boundary.

On Nov. 21, town council endorsed a staff recommendation to ask the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to exclude the lands in legislation to reverse a number of unilateral urban boundary expansions imposed by the province on municipalities across Ontario.

Also in November, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra introduced legislation to reverse unilateral urban boundary changes made by the province to official plans for the cities of Barrie, Belleville, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa and Peterborough, the regions of Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York and the County of Wellington.

The reversals included unilateral modifications announced on April 11, 2023 to an amendment to Wellington County’s Official Plan, adding more than 1,000 acres of mostly agricultural land to urban boundaries.

The boundary extensions, which were among modifications directed in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs’ approval of Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 119, included lands in Centre Wellington and Guelph/Eramosa, as well as about 5.54 hectares on the southwest corner of Clifford in Minto.

However, in a report to town council on Feb. 6, director of building and planning Terry Kuipers advised the ministry has now approved OPA 119 without the Clifford lands in the urban boundary and the OPA is now in effect. 

“Staff has not been advised whether the (ministry) considered council’s request or whether they have moved the considerations of requests onto the OPA 120 consultation process,” Kuipers notes in the report.

OPA 120, not yet approved by the ministry, would implement a county-wide land needs study which identifies the type and amount of land (residential/employment land and industrial) local municipalities need to support growth forecasts. 

 The Town of Minto has been identified as needing 18 additional hectares (44.5ac) of residential lands within its urban boundaries.

With OPA 120 in a consultation period until Feb. 15, staff requested council pass a resolution to request the additional Clifford lands be added back into the urban boundary, in addition to the 18 hectares identified through the Municipal Comprehensive Review process.  

Map showing approximate area of proposed urban expansion in Clifford. County of Wellington image


“My rationale for that request is they were going to approve the additional 5.54 … in OPA 119, so they’re going to approve that and then … we’ll open up 120 and approve it with that 18 hectares that’s identified,” Kuipers told council.

“So essentially, it’s just requesting what staff believes their intent was previously.”

Minto’s original decision to support keeping the Clifford expansion in place was based on several factors, including:

  • historically, Palmerston’s growth numbers have been the highest within Minto, mainly due to the availability of buildable lots, but when lands were made available in Clifford, they were built out within a few years;
  • a developer has purchased lands within the urban boundary of Clifford with the intent of constructing a residential subdivision, with its phase-two development lands being those brought into the boundary by the province; and
  • Clifford has the servicing capacity for these additional lands and a developer intending to develop them in the near future.

Council approved a resolution requesting the ministry to allow the provincially-proposed Clifford urban boundary expansion lands to be added back into the urban boundary, in addition to the residential lands identified as needed within the Town of Minto through the county’s Municipal Comprehensive Review process.