Niagara Centre MPP says developers still get boost from open zoning and urban boundary expansions

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Published September 26, 2023 at 12:16 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo
Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch said simply giving back the lands to the Greenbelt doesn't remove the threat of previous legislation that initially gave the government the all-clear to steamroll over the protected lands.
Despite the fact Premier Doug Ford said his Conservatives would return all the lands back to the Greenbelt, the government turned down a NDP private member’s bill which would do precisely that yesterday (Sept. 25) as Queen’s Park resumed.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra says the government members won’t be supporting the private member’s bill because they themselves will soon be introducing its own bill to do that.

That said, Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch said simply giving back the lands to the Greenbelt doesn’t remove the threat of previous legislation that initially gave the government the all-clear to steamroll over the protected lands.

Burch said that Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs), which override local planning authority to approve development without expert analysis, public input, or any chance of appeal and the province’s ability to expand Urban Boundaries at will still pose a threat to Ontario.

“The same favourite insiders who received preferential treatment in the Greenbelt decision are also benefiting from shady, backroom deals for MZOs, Urban Boundary expansions, and Highway 413,” said Burch.

“Ford is enabling a corrupt two-tiered system, where wealthy insiders get even wealthier while not a single new unit of homes is built. He’s using MZOs not as a tool to build housing, but a gift for land speculators.”

Burch says when he questioned Calandra on this, “he again deflected.”

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