On 4 March 2011 the Province of Ontario released the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, 2011. It is rather long on rhetoric - promising to create “a highly productive region, with a diverse, globally competitive economy that offers a range of career opportunities. This is to be largely accomplished through a provincial focus on economic development strategies.” Local municipalities are “encouraged” to do their part by preparing long-term community strategies and to amend their official plans in accordance with such strategies.

Given the outcry over the approach of the Province to directing growth in the Simcoe Sub- Area through the proposed Amendment 1 to the Growth Plan (reported in our December 2010 issue) the Province has appointed a Facilitator to work with those area municipalities to (1) review the allocation of the population and employment forecasts; (2) identify how to manage the oversupply of land and implement the Amendment 1 policies (which may deal with concerns over the impacts on existing development permissions); and (3) develop alternative intensification and density targets for designated greenfield areas. The Facilitator is to report back with recommendations to the Province by 1 November 2011 (no surprise - after the Provincial election in October!).