While the public meetings on the letter of intent on the boundaries continue this week in the city, here’s a morsel to chew on that speaks to something that on the face of it may not seem related at all to this whole question.
This week, the County of Brant is putting the brakes on further residential development around the Brantford Airport. Why? Because the drinking-water well in the area is at capacity. To service any new development, the county would have to dig a new well or work to expand the capacity of the existing well.
The cheaper long-term alternative is to keep asking the city to extend water across the border to service these lands. Which, by the way, is no longer allowed under the Provincial Policy Statement and other regulations. That request (extension of services over the border, including in this specific area), by the way, is *in* the letter of intent the county negotiating team agreed to sign.
Let’s take a 30,000-foot view of what’s at play here, shall we?
Look at there residential development that sits between the city boundary to the east and the airport. Larger, estate-lot type residential development on county water and sewer or, perhaps, wells and septic systems. A textbook example of urban sprawl on the fringe of a city. Adding another residential subdivision to this area would only eat up more greenfield land for very low-density development.
In best-practice theory, this sort of development shouldn’t be allowed. Low-density development on the other side of an urban boundary? Not the best and highest use of that land.
Bring that land into the city, where it can be connected to water and sewer services that have the capacity to service it. Where it can be designated and zoned for more intense development. With a mix of single-detached and medium-density development that would actually house a greater number of people. This, some would say, is a better and higher form of development.
Independent of what you think of either of the governments involved, from that 30,000-foot distance, this proposed development should be in the urban centre, not a rural municipality.