Cities Are Being Contacted by Developers With Proposals for the Former Greenbelt Lands

 Developers are getting ready to erect structures on the once protected property as Queen's Park opposition parties urge the Ford administration to reconsider its contentious Greenbelt decision.

photo: Bill Smith - originally posted to Flickr as Lower Base Line Road

Two cities in the Toronto region confirmed that they were in discussions with developers over their plans to construct on land taken out of the Greenbelt.

Although no formal applications have been submitted, discussions between planning staff and developers have occurred, according to both the cities of Vaughan and Pickering.

In Pickering's Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve, little over 4,200 acres of property were taken out of the Greenbelt; in Vaughan, only over 16 acres were taken out.

The province is under fire after a damning investigation by the auditor general found that developers had a direct hand in the removal of 7,400 acres from the Greenbelt for housing in November 2022.

According to the study, a team of six employees had only been given three weeks to determine which parcels of property ought to be taken out of the Greenbelt. The chief of staff for housing minister Steve Clark recommended the majority of the land parcels that were taken into consideration.

The Ontario NDP urged that the Ford administration recall the legislature in response to the damaging findings and return the previously protected area to the Greenbelt.

Premier Doug Ford acknowledged that his administration "could have had a better process," but he insisted that no previously removed land will be returned to the Greenbelt unless developers were unable to complete their projects.

At a news conference in Mississauga, Ford stated, "We need to make sure they build those homes and that's a message to the people, the landowners who have these properties."

"There are no shovels in the ground, no signs of rapid development, and the land is returning to the Greenbelt."

Some people didn't waste much time starting their endeavours.

Following the Ministry's decision about the Greenbelt property, "staff have discussions with the landowner and Ontario government staff about the future development of the lands," according to the spokesman.

In Ontario, it is customary for developers and their advisors to consult with local planning personnel informally and formally before submitting formal planning applications.

A spokeswoman for Pickering stated that plans to erect 1,300 homes on former Greenbelt areas were moving forward.

In preparation for submitting an application for a draught plan of subdivision for some of the areas, the City convened a formal pre-consultation meeting, according to the spokeswoman.

The developer's pitch featured a school, a park, and some affordable homes.

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