DAN CEARNS The Standard
DURHAM: The Ontario government is going to be conducting a fulsome review of the Greenbelt lands, following a process to remove and replace some Greenbelt lands which Ontario’s auditor said was “biased and lack[ing] transparency.”
The announcement of this review was made at a press conference by Premier Doug Ford, on Tuesday, September 5th.
“When the previous government introduced the Greenbelt, they put in legislation [which] mandated the province [to] review it at least every ten years. [This review] includes understanding appropriate boundary changes,” Premier Ford explained.
The Premier stated, the review will involve a re-evaluation of “the remaining land swap sites.”
“These sites, these proposals will have to survive on their own merit,” Premier Ford said.
The Premier also stated, he was not happy with the process the government used at the time to change the Greenbelt.
“The process we used to make changes to the Greenbelt could’ve been better. The process should’ve been better.”
The changes to the Greenbelt boundary started in November of 2022. Then “material, prepared by the Housing Ministry, in response to the instruction provided by the Housing Ministry’s Chief of Staff, and signed by the Housing Minister and the Deputy Minister of the Housing Ministry, was presented to Cabinet,” according to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s report. The changes involved removing a total of 15 land sites from the Greenbelt, which were claimed to support the provincial government’s plan to increase housing across the province, despite evidence that some parcels will not be serviceable for several years, even decades in some cases.
The Premier promised the review would include consultation with municipalities, Indigenous leaders and residents of the province.
“Most of all, this review will speak to the people this issue impacts most,” Premier Ford said.