Ontario’s Greenbelt flip-flop applauded by Burlington mayor
Published September 21, 2023 at 6:53 pm
Premier Doug Ford’s historic decision to take back land promised to developers is a major achievement for public advocacy, says the mayor of Burlington.
Marianne Meed Ward applauded the reversal of Ford’s plan that will now see 7,400 acres of land returned to the Greenbelt.
Last year, citing the housing crisis, the Ford government took the land from various locations in Ontario with the expectation to build 50,000 homes. Burlington land was not affected.
The controversial plan has been under fire ever since from environmentalists, local politicians, and large segments of the population who decried the destruction of once-protected property.
Combined with a damning report from the auditor general and integrity commissioner that suggested certain developers were favoured in the process, Ford today (Sept. 21) backed down and apologized for the mess that has also led to the resignation of two Ontario Cabinet ministers and two high-ranking staffers.
Meed Ward said today’s news is great for the environment.
“As a result of your (the public’s) efforts, Premier Ford has announced the Province will be returning the lands removed back into our protected Greenbelt,” she said. “He has admitted it was a mistake to remove these lands and apologized to the public. This is a step towards accountability to the public.”
The mayor went on to suggest the Ford government was left with few options to push the development agenda once the Auditor General’s report confirmed no Greenbelt land is required to meet the goal of new housing units.
However, the mayor acknowledged that work still needs to be done to meet necessary housing requirements.
“Burlington remains committed to working with all levels of government to do our part to get permits to builders so they can get shovels in the ground (to build homes,” she said. “We know the City of Burlington can do this within our urban boundary while protecting our rural and Greenbelt lands.”
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