‘Help protect the Greenbelt’ protest planned for this Saturday in Oakville

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Published September 19, 2023 at 11:38 am

Grand(M)others Act to Save The Planet (GASP) will be protesting the Ontario government’s decision to open parts of the Greenbelt Saturday at Glen Ashton Park. GASP PHOTO

An organized group of grandmothers are holding a “Hands off the Greenbelt” rally on Saturday (Sept. 23) in Oakville.

Grand(M)others Act to Save The Planet, known as GASP, will be protesting the Ontario government’s decision to open parts of the Greenbelt to build affordable housing at Glen Ashton Park, beginning at 12 p.m.

“MPP Stephen Crawford’s government is doubling down on the Greenbelt by entertaining more development actions. Let’s demand that all land be returned to the Greenbelt,” said GASP in online posts promoting the protest.

After previously stating he would not touch the Greenbelt, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced last fall his government’s plan to open the Greenbelt and remove protections from 3,000 hectares to build affordable housing and address the housing crisis.

Ford was then shown on a video promising a “big chunk” of the Greenbelt to developers.

The controversy further erupted when two provincial watchdogs said the process to sell the land to developers was rushed and flawed. Ford said his government would “re-evaluate” the process but has insisted the move to build housing on Greenbelt lands will go ahead.

GASP, who plans to make some “noise” on Saturday, says it is a grassroots, non-partisan group of grandmothers and grand’others’ who care deeply about the world our descendants will inherit.

“We are committed to social and climate justice,” said the group’s website. “To achieve our goals, we advocate at all levels of government, educate ourselves, and key stakeholders, join community activists in rallies, petitions, and meetings with politicians, unite with youth/Indigenous peoples in support of climate and social justice.”

Those interested in attending Saturday’s protest can bring their own signs, though the group says they will have extra signs to hand out.

Parking is available at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre.

The Greenbelt is a swath of land totalling some 800,000-hectares that arcs around the Greater Toronto Area. It was created in 2005 to preserve farmland, forests, and wetlands, while encouraging denser development by limiting suburban sprawl.

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