Federal study won’t delay Greenbelt housing plans, Ford says


Published March 21, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says an environmental study the federal government is reportedly planning on launching shouldn’t slow down work to develop housing on lands the province recently removed from the Greenbelt.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has previously voiced concerns about Ford removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt lands, while adding more parcels elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.

The Toronto Star reports today that Guilbeault is set to announce he is launching a study to assess the biodiversity, ecological connectivity and other natural features in Rouge National Urban Park, which is next to part of the Greenbelt lands earmarked for housing.

Ford says he was not given a head’s up on the announcement by Guilbeault’s office, but he is “not too concerned about it” because the park is adjacent to land set to be developed, not part of it.

Ontario’s auditor general is conducting a value-for-money audit of the financial and environmental implications of the Greenbelt development plans, which are part of the government’s efforts to get 1.5 million homes built in 10 years.

The province’s integrity commissioner is also investigating a complaint from the incoming NDP leader into what she calls the “curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party.”

The Canadian Press

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