Brantford needs to increase its borders and the County of Brant is ready to hear the city’s offers, say the municipalities’ mayors.
Brantford Mayor Chris Friel and County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy say there is a need for swift discussion between the city and county on boundary adjustment negotiations to accommodate the city’s predicted future growth.
“We need to grow and without assessment growth we have to reduce services or raise taxes,” Brantford Mayor Chris Friel said. “We need land and we need to be able to compete, but we just do not have the land.
“From an industrial perspective, an additional 690 acres of land is required to accommodate our projected employment growth. We have 53 acres.”
Friel made the comments alongside County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy during the annual Mayors’ State of the Communities Luncheon on Thursday. The event, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant and sponsored by OLG, was held at the Best Western Brant Park Inn and attended by more than 150 people.
Under the provincial Places to Grow Act, Brantford must prepare to handle a projected population of 126,000 by 2031, Friel said.
To manage that kind of growth, Friel said the city needs 690 acres of industrial land and an area the size of 10 to 15 subdivisions.
“This is the biggest challenge we have,” Friel said. “Our community absolutely needs a boundary adjustment. It is within our grasp and we need to find that partnership. A lot of land is currently in the hands of the private sector.”
The County of Brant is prepared to hear offers from the city – but so far has not, Eddy said.
“At this point, we haven’t had the city’s requests presented to us,” Eddy said. “Our joint boundary adjustment committee was struck to deal with the requests of the city. We expect to receive mutual benefit from any decision or agreement.”
Friel said the city previously stood to grow by about 900 acres, until past boundary negotiations fell through in 2009.
“We will learn from that,” Friel said. “There was an expectation to get more from the province. The province said ‘no, you’re not going to get that.’ This is why we need to get back to the table.”
Eddy said all cities need to expand.
“We know cities have to grow in assessment,” Eddy said. “We must look at how many cities have grown at the direction of the province. Hamilton and Ottawa have had entire counties added to them. We must look at the situation before us now and move forward.”