1. Planning context

1.1 Definitions

The Central Pickering Development Plan.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Any ministry or secretariat of the Government of Ontario. It includes a board, commission, agency, authority or corporation of the Government of Ontario.
The ideal or end to which a planned course of action is directed. It is a value to be sought, rather than a set of attainable conditions.
The end, action or situation to be reached. It is capable of attainment or measurement.

1.2 Authority

The Central Pickering Development Plan is prepared under the provisions of the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994.

The Plan affects an area of land described in the Development Planning Area Order made under section 2(1) of the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994 dated March 25, 2004 and shown opposite. Generally the Development Planning Area is bounded by the CPR Belleville Line in the south, Sideline 16/Pickering-Ajax boundary in the east, Highway 7 in the north and the York-Durham Town Line in the west. The Development Planning Area is located entirely within the City of Pickering and the Regional Municipality of Durham.

1.3 History and context

In March 1972, the Province announced its intention to acquire the Development Planning Area, along with adjacent lands located in the former City of Scarborough and the Town of Markham. The intent was to develop a community of 150,000 to 200,000 persons in conjunction with a new federal airport, which was to be located immediately north of the provincially owned lands.

The Toronto-Centred Region Plan, released in 1970, established the original rationale for the North Pickering Project, as it came to be known. The Plan identified two new communities – Brock and Cedarwood – to be developed north of the then existing Town of Pickering. With the Federal Government’s decision to proceed with a new airport, these two sites were combined with adjacent Parkway Belt East lands to create the original North Pickering Planning Area, comprising 10,080 hectares.

Following a two-year planning process, the Province released the “North Pickering Project – Recommended Plan” in August 1975. This Plan had three components: an urban community for 75,000 persons located on 2,720 hectares east of the West Duffins Creek; an agricultural community comprising 4,160 hectares located west of the West Duffins Creek; and, an open space system located along the southern and western edges of the site, comprising some 3,200 hectares.

Shortly after the release of the Recommended Plan, the Province created the North Pickering Development Corporation, which was charged with its implementation. However, as a result of considerable public opposition to the new airport and a decline in projected population growth rates, the Federal Government and the Province placed both projects on hold, and focused their attention on the management of the almost 17,000 hectares of lands they had acquired.

Responsibility for property management of the provincially owned lands eventually passed to the Ontario Realty Corporation. During the early 1990s, a portion of the original open space system in the Town of Markham was sold to private developers, who created the new community of Cornell. A second portion was added to the Rouge Park.

In 1995, the Province initiated a second comprehensive look at the Seaton portion of the North Pickering Planning Area through the Seaton Planning and Design Exercise. This exercise reaffirmed the retention of the lands west of the West Duffins Creek in long-term agricultural land-use. It was carried out in close consultation with both the Town of Pickering and the Regional Municipality of Durham, and culminated with an international design competition for the new urban community. The winning entry is shown opposite.

Commencing in 1999, the Ontario Realty Corporation sold the agricultural lands located west of the West Duffins Creek and within the Town of Pickering to the original landowners or tenant farmers. The sale was based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by three levels of government—the Province, the Regional Municipality of Durham and the Town of Pickering—that committed all parties to ensuring that the lands remained in agricultural use in perpetuity. The Memorandum of Understanding was supported by conservation and agricultural easements being placed on the lands.

The City of Pickering initiated a Growth Management Study of the Development Planning Area in February 2002 in consideration of further urban growth in Central Pickering. In February 2004, the City released the Recommended Structure Plan that is shown opposite.

On April 17, 2003, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing signed an order under the  Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994  establishing a Development Planning Area covering the Pickering portion of the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve and the Seaton lands. He also put in place a Minister’s Zoning Order pursuant to Section 47 of the  Planning Act  covering the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve in Pickering. These areas are referred to as the Central Pickering lands in the context of this Plan. The boundaries of the Development Planning Area were subsequently amended on March 25, 2004 to exclude the area known as Duffins Heights, for which a secondary plan had already been prepared and approved. The final boundaries are shown in Schedule 1.

The Province has undertaken two significant regional planning initiatives with relevance for this Plan:

  1. The Greenbelt Act, 2005  authorized the Lieutenant Governor in Council to establish a Greenbelt Plan. This Plan was approved as Order-In-Council 208/2005 on February 28, 2005 and applies to the portion of the Development Planning Area known as the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve. Under the  Greenbelt Act, 2005  and the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994 development plan can establish policies that supersede the Greenbelt Plan; and
  2. The  Places to Grow Act, 2005  provides a legal framework for growth planning in Ontario. On June 16, 2006, a Growth Plan was released regarding the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Growth Plan integrates and builds on other key provincial initiatives including the Greenbelt Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005,  Planning Act  reform, infrastructure planning, and source water protection planning. The Central Pickering Development Plan provides direction for the lands in Central Pickering. The objectives and policies of this Plan are intended to support the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006 (Order-in-Council 1221/2006).