The Coalition condemns the Ford Government’s move to open up Greenbelt land for housing | Rare Techy
A coalition of groups that includes environmentalists, unions, farmers, housing advocates and others has issued a statement condemning the Ontario government’s plans to open up some protected Greenbelt land to housing development.
The petition, signed by more than 125 organizations and 100 individuals, says the government’s plan will not create more housing or improve affordability, but instead “uses expensive and wasteful urban sprawl” while undermining environmental protection and cash transfers. from taxpayers to land speculators and developers.”
“These measures proposed by the province will not solve the housing and affordability crisis,” Geordie Dent, executive director of the Metro Tenants Federation, said in a statement.
“Renters have less protection. People looking for housing they can afford in neighborhoods where they want to live are not better off because of these proposed actions.”
As recently as last year, provincial officials said they would not open Greenbelt lands to development. Premier Doug Ford denied that promise earlier this month, citing the province’s housing crisis as worsening — and getting worse as the federal government unveiled plans to bring in half a million more immigrants a year.
“We have a housing crisis that we didn’t have four years ago,” Ford said at a news conference earlier this month. “We’re making sure we can build housing.”
In a statement Monday afternoon, Municipal and Housing Minister Steve Clark’s press secretary, Victoria Podbielski, told CBC News that the province is acting decisively to address housing supply issues.
“We are looking at all possible options to build more homes faster so that more Ontarians can find a home that fits their needs and budget,” Podbielski said.
“The proposed changes to the Greenbelt would result in the creation of at least 50,000 new homes, while also leading to an overall expansion of the Greenbelt. This is especially important given the population growth our province is expecting over the next decade, especially given the new immigration targets set by the federal government.
Proposal won’t solve crisis: former Greenbelt council chairman
A provincial proposal released earlier this month aims to build homes on more than a dozen parcels of land currently in the Greenbelt, while adding roughly 2,000 acres of protected land elsewhere. It’s all part of the province’s plan to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade to ease Ontario’s severe housing shortage.
The government’s proposal is drawing criticism from both opposition politicians and provincial groups.
“This is a direct attack on the territory and the integrity of the Greenbelt. If this continues, it will begin the unraveling of the Greenbelt,” said David Crombie, who has served as both Toronto mayor and provincial Greenbelt chair. in the council interview.
Crombie said the plan would not help tackle the housing crisis, given that the government had avoided intensification in already built-up areas.
“Do we need more housing? Yes, we do. Our argument is that we need affordable housing – and what they haven’t done is do the things that require [participation] in affordable housing development programs.”
Max Hansgen, president of the Ontario National Farmers Union, echoed that sentiment in a statement from the coalition on Monday. He said the proposal to remove agricultural land from the green belt would harm farmers and their ability to supply food to the province.
“These proposed measures would also strip farmers of their right to appeal development decisions that could harm their land and farms, and make it much easier for land speculators to turn irreplaceable farmland into unsustainable urban sprawl,” he said.
However, a joint statement from the Ontario Home Builders Association and the Construction Industry and Land Development Association said a provincial plan is needed.
“We are in the midst of a housing crisis. When the Green Belt was created, its boundaries included not only environmentally sensitive lands, but also farmland and land previously designated for residential and commercial growth,” the statement said.
“Lands to be removed from the green belt are located close to, and in some cases adjacent to, existing developments and maintenance works. Strict deadlines for the commencement of construction work will be imposed on the lands, allowing for the addition of urgently needed additional equipment in a timely manner.
On closer inspection
Here are the lands the Ford government wants to open up for development:
- King Township: East of Dufferin Street, south of Miller Sideroad and west of Bathurst Street.
- Vaughan: North of Teston Road, east of Pine Valley Drive.
- Richmond Hill: East of Leslie Street, north of the east end of Elgin Mills Road and west of Highway 404.
- Whitchurch-Stouffville: 11861 and 12045 McCowan Road.
- Markham: 5474 19th Avenue.
- 10325, 10378 and 10541 Route 48.
- 10379 Kennedy Road.
- Pickering: West of West Duffins Creek between Highway 407 and the CP Belleville rail line.
- Ajax: 765 and 775 Kingston Road East.
- Clarington: Northwest corner of Nash Road and Hancock Road.
- Hamilton: South of Garner Road West, between Fiddlers Green Road and Shaver Road.
- Hamilton: Between White Church Road East and Chippewa Road East, from Miles Road to Upper James Street.
- Grimsby: Between the GO rail line and Main Street West, from north of Oakes Road to north of Kelson Avenue.
- 502 Winston Road.
- Hamilton: 331 and 339 Fifty Road.
Here’s the Ontario government’s full proposal to cut Greenbelt land and open it up for development: