Ontario’s Greenbelt plan praised by former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion


Published January 19, 2023 at 4:01 pm

hazel mccallion
Pearson Airport photo

In an open letter, former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion praises the Ford government’s plan to remove land from the Greenbelt for housing.

The Progressive Conservative government plans to remove land from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt to build at least 50,000 new homes while adding new land to it elsewhere – contradicting an earlier pledge.

The plan has been widely criticized. And incoming NDP leader Marit Stiles asked for an investigation into what she calls “curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party.”

The OPP’s Anti Rackets Branch is reviewing information from those who complained about the Greenbelt plans.

But McCallion, who is a current Greenbelt council chair, released the open letter yesterday (Jan. 18) suggesting she is in favour of changing Greenbelt boundaries for housing.

“In less than a month, I am to turn 102,” the letter begins. “You see a lot in a century.”

While she agrees the Greenbelt plays an important role in the sustainability of the environment, social and economic fabric, she says “it was never a perfect ecosystem and there have been changes made to the Greenbelt since its implementation in 2005.”

Some changes made sense, others did not, she writes.

“The most recent changes to the Greenbelt, actually do make sense,” she continues. “Without enough homes for people to live in, the crisis of affordability will extend far beyond the borders of the GTA.”

She goes on to say the GTA needs to meet the challenge of a growing population in the communities with existing services and infrastructure.

“It’s irresponsible and wasteful not to follow good planning principles in conjunction with good environmental and foodland protection.”

The last formal review of the Greenbelt, in 2016, shows examples of where boundaries prevented municipalities from making full use of their existing infrastructure, she adds.

“The recent changes made by the Province make sense because they allow for homes to be built more quickly and economically.”

The City of Mississauga and Mayor Bonnie Crombie have been vocal about concerns around Bill 23. An information page on the city’s website suggests changing Greenbelt boundaries would allow development on flood plains and protected lands.

But today (Jan. 19), Crombie announced support for the province’s new housing action plan through cutting red tape.

For more information on the Greenbelt and its history visit the website.

The full letter from Hazel McCallion is posted below.

open letter hazel mccallion

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