05/17/2001

Toronto, Ont., May 17, 2001. Today, the Ontario Government introduced the Brownfields Statute Law Amendment Act. The package of legislative amendments is part of a strategy to promote the redevelopment of contaminated lands in urban areas.
The proposed legislative amendments provide municipalities with a number of tools to strengthen their role in promoting brownfields redevelopment in their community, such as limiting municipal liability from MOE orders, providing a clearer process for environmental site assessments, providing greater flexibility to municipalities to apply community improvement provisions to brownfields, and permitting municipalities to offer tax breaks as an incentive to involve developers in brownfields clean-up and redevelopment.

"We are pleased to see the Government adopt so many of the Brownfields Advisory Panel's recommendations, and we are proud of our contribution in shaping those recommendations," said AMO president Ann Mulvale. 

Many Ontario municipalities, particularly those with a history of industrial activity, have a number of brownfields on prime urban or lakeshore property. If left idle, these sites represent a safety hazard for residents, a lost development opportunity for developers, and a loss in property tax revenue for municipal governments. Municipalities and developers have been discouraged from involving themselves in brownfields redevelopment for two principle reasons - the wide net of liability and the lack of resources for extensive, expensive clean-up. 

"While these amendments will go some way in encouraging the private sector to develop sites with the greatest potential from a business point of view, some funding will be needed to clean up sites in areas where no private sector interest can be secured. We hope the government will look to the experience in Quebec and the U.S. to see the enormous benefit derived from financial assistance for site remediation," said Ann Mulvale. 

As part of its input into the provincial brownfields policy review, the AMO Brownfields Taskforce prepared a report entitled, Promoting Municipal Leadership in Brownfields Redevelopment.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization with member municipalities representing 98 per cent of Ontario's population. 

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