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Planning Services

Planning Advisory Services

The department monitors, provides input and makes recommendations on external initiatives that impact Regional interests.  This includes the impact on Regional planning policy and procedures, as a result of proposed changes to legislation and regulations from senior levels of government,as well as initiatives being undertaken in other Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton (GTAH)  municipalities and neighbouring counties.

In 2010, implementation of the Clean Water Act and regulations will emerge as a significant provincially initiated activity. The Region, as part of three source protection regions, will have to participate in the preparation of source protection plans, and consider the actions that will have to be undertaken to implement the plans, when complete.  The approval of the Lake Simcoe Act and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan will impact the Region, and necessitate coordinated Regional action. 

The department researches, monitors and assesses trends, indicators and development activity to ensure the Regional Official Plan remains current.  Population and employment forecasts, building permit activity and other data sets, are prepared and shared with Regional Departments, local municipalities and other public bodies.  This activity forms an integral part of policy formulation and assists the department’s participation on multi-disciplinary teams dealing with complex activities undertaken by the Region (e.g., annual servicing and financing studies, Development Charge By-law updates, and Regional housing initiatives).

The department plays a prominent role, through its active partnership with other Regional Departments and external public agencies, in shaping the future of transportation infrastructure with Durham and across the GTA.  Internally, the department supports Durham Region Transit on service planning, and Regional Works on Environmental Assessment undertakings for Regional road projects.  Externally, the department collaborates on MTO commissioned programs such as the Travel Time Study and the Data Management Group at the University of Toronto, on specific initiatives such as the Transportation Tomorrow Survey, Cordon Count programs, maintaining the GTA Transportation Model, and other research activities.  The department will continue to assist in leading the Region’s response to emerging Metrolinx initiatives in transit, and the implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan for the GTAH.  The department will also continue to lead the Region’s response to the ongoing Highway 407 preliminary and detailed design elements following the approval of the EA.

The department assesses future roads/transit travel demands through the application of the Durham Region Transportation Planning Model (DRTPM).  The model has been updated in 2009, as part of the Long Term Transit Strategy, enhancing the capability to assess multiple weekday peak periods and multiple modes, including transit.  Data collection and model validation will be undertaken in 2010.  Maintenance will also include upgrading software and overhauling the noise analysis related traffic forecast database.

The department will support the activities of the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change, including the ongoing activities of the staff liaison to the Roundtable, and participate on the Regional Staff Working Group.

The department also plays an active role in advancing planning policy in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, through participation on various working groups including the Regional Planning Commissioners’ of Ontario and the Rouge Park Alliance.  The department will continue to work with other Regions and Federations of Agriculture in the GTA, to facilitate the implementation of the GTA Agricultural Action Plan, by supporting the activities of the GTA Agricultural Action Committee.

The department receives a substantial number of public inquiries and requests for planning, mapping and statistical information.  To effectively serve these inquiries, the department publishes newsletters, maps, information and fact sheets on data collected as part of the ongoing monitoring of planning indicators and activities.  The Regional website is increasingly being used to deliver planning-related information.  Data is published on:  short- and long-term forecasts of population and employment, development activity, and demographic characteristics.  Customized mapping services are provided by a group of specialized professionals.