Milton Sets Out to Create a 'Complete Community'
The Town of Milton is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada. The 2016 Census revealed that the town's population has surpassed the 100,000 mark, and it has already been dubbed somewhat of a future 'suburb' of Mississauga. New subdivisions are springing up and roads are being put down already with more than just two lanes, even though they pass through nearly empty areas, anticipating the income housing developments that will eventually occupy those spaces along those wide roads.
Like all the surrounding municipalities in the GTA, Milton is not immune to the pressures of growth. While no one is expecting Milton to densify like certain areas in Mississauga or in downtown Toronto, there are some new townhouse developments within Milton's borders that indicate soft density that is more suited to the environment. But growth pressures will continue to be an issue in Milton, which is why the town has been diligently making sure that when Milton builds, they build to create a community not just for parking your car at night and going to work the next day in a repetitive cycle that is reminiscent of the 1950’s.
Last month, Milton Town Council, through their Committee of the Whole, endorsed the creation of a "Complete Community" by way of their First Principles of Growth Plan. As stated in a press release, Milton's First Principles of Growth are part of a new document, Building a Complete Community, that highlights the uniqueness of Milton's young, educated population and underscores the importance of a shared vision and partnerships with other levels of government to deliver "Made in Milton" solutions to address challenges facing the community.
In layman's terms, a Complete Community is one where there is ample opportunity for businesses and residential areas to thrive equally, giving residents the option to work in Milton rather than just live in Milton, as well as for them and their families to enjoy local amenities and services offered within the town.
The Principles of Growth for Milton are as follows:
Ensure that Town revenues match the cost of growth to ensure the financial stability of the municipality.
Deliver a balanced residential/employment ratio of 1 job for every 2 residents, with an emphasis on jobs in the knowledge-based and innovation sectors.
Plan passive and active recreation areas, and embrace the stewardship of green spaces and the natural environment.
Provide for a variety of housing forms in the right places with an emphasis on intensification near transit supported locations.
Deliver a steady flow of continuous and appropriate infrastructure investments to build and maintain Town assets.
Advocate for timely, coordinated investments from the Province in transit and community infrastructure (schools, hospitals and highways).
Encourage timely, coordinated investments in water, wastewater and regional roads from Halton Region.
While there are some similarities in terms of policies that would relate to what is happening in Peel Region, such as calls for all-day two-way GO train service (Milton by nature is a commuter town with many residents working in downtown Toronto), there are certain initiatives that are unique to Milton. One of which is a call to oppose the building of the CN Intermodal Logistics Hub Project at the proposed Milton location, to ensure the long-term health and safety of the community.
And even though these principles were endorsed officially last month, the town, since around 2000 when they anticipated population growth to exceed 100,000 from what was then just 32,000 people, has already completed or is in the midst of completing projects that are in line with the principles of growing Milton into a 'Complete Community', such as:
The Milton District Hospital Expansion, which opens in the fall of 2017.
The announcement of 5 new schools to be built in Milton.
The announcement of a new University-led post-secondary institution for Milton.
15-minute peak period GO Train service.
A planned interchange at Highway 401 and Tremaine Road.
The commencement of the initial phases of widening of Highway 401 through Milton.
It is too soon to tell what Milton will look like in 100 or even 50 years, but this is a good start for Milton to avoid the previous fate of Mississauga when Canada's now sixth largest city was little more than a bedroom community of Toronto. Milton may eventually be known as a suburb of Mississauga, but at least based on these First Principles of Growth the town is adhering to, they may be able to have a 'complete community' to allow residents to not only live, but work and enjoy themselves in Milton, should they prefer to stay in Milton.