Doug Ford’s Ontario government removed 7,400 hectares from the Greenbelt | Daily News Byte

Doug Ford’s Ontario government removed 7,400 hectares from the Greenbelt

 | Daily News Byte

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks inside the legislature in Toronto on September 14.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

The Ontario government issued regulations this week, without formal announcement, to proceed with its controversial plans to remove 7,400 hectares from the protected Greenbelt, 10 days after public consultations on the proposal ended.

Two regulations, posted on the Ontario government website and dated Dec. 14, say new boundaries for the protected Greenbelt have been filed, but the text of the filings does not provide details or maps.

Chris Poulos, a spokesman for Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, said the regulations implement the same changes that were posted last month on the government’s environmental registry website, where public comments is being sought until December 4. He said details are expected to be posted there next week.

Mr. Clark and Premier Doug Ford said their plan to remove 7,400 acres in 15 areas from the protected two-million-acre Greenbelt, while adding 9,400 acres to it elsewhere, was needed to meet the goal. of the province to build 1.5 million houses on the surface. in the next decade. They say the changes will result in at least 50,000 new homes.

Investigations by The Globe and Mail and other media outlets have shown that key parcels of land are owned by developers who are big donors to the ruling Progressive Conservative Party and that some of the land changed hands as of September.

The opposition Ontario Liberal Party and the environmental group Environmental Defense called this week for the OPP to investigate whether developers were tipped off ahead of the Greenbelt proposals. The NDP called for the province’s Auditor-General and the legislature’s Integrity Commissioner to investigate whether the rules were broken.

said Mr. Ford said no one in his government had warned the developers. Mr. Clark also told the legislature that he did not. But when he was first asked about the issue last month, Mr. Clark asked.

Mr. Ford and his Housing Minister repeatedly promised before their re-election in June that the government would not build on protected lands. The Premier first made the pledge in 2018 – after a backlash erupted when he was caught on video promising “a huge chunk” of Greenbelt to developers.


Places of

agreement

outside of

Green belt

john sopinski and murat yükselir /

the globe and mail, Source:

GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Places of

agreement

outside of

Green belt

john sopinski and murat yükselir /

the globe and mail, Source: GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Places of residence

outside the Greenbelt

john sopinski and murat yükselir/the globe and mail, Source: GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Phil Pothen, the Ontario environment program manager for Environmental Defense, said the government’s move to proceed with the changes ignores “tens of thousands” of letters from citizens opposing the plans and a series of protests across the province. He said the decision would haunt the government for years, given the scale of public opposition.

“It’s clear from the government’s actions that it’s under the misapprehension that it can rip off the Band-Aid and wait for it all to blow,” Mr. Pothen said in an interview. “But it will never explode. … It will be an albatross around the neck of government that will continue to hang there until it ceases to be government.”

He said the Greater Toronto Area already has enough land available for housing and there’s no need for builders to move into the Greenbelt – something the government’s own blue-ribbon panel on housing also decided.

Editorial Board: Ontario’s Greenbelt should be a protected heritage – not a land reserve just waiting to be paved

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In addition, the government issued an order this week officially revoking what it called a ministerial zoning order dating back to 2003 that prohibits urban development in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve, about 5,000 hectares located in east of Toronto which forms the majority of the government. Removal of the Greenbelt. Separate legislation to repeal the agricultural preserve’s protected status passed last week.

Mr. Poulos, Mr. Clark’s spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement that the government expects construction to begin on all former Greenbelt land “no later than 2025” and that “significant progress in the -approval and implementation” should be achieved next year. Further, he said, the government expects “at least 10 percent of these homes to be affordable.”

He said developers will still need municipal approvals and must also create plans for things like stormwater management, new community centers, schools, hospitals and long-term care homes. . If the province is not satisfied with the plans, he said, it is prepared to return the lands to the Greenbelt.

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