Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Ontario, Canada government revealed plan to open protected land to development weeks after developers bought the land

Globe and Mail:

Since Ontario Premier Doug Ford was first elected four years ago, developers have paid tens of millions of dollars for a number of properties that include protected lands the province is now proposing to carve out of the Greenbelt.

Among those properties is a substantial piece of land lying largely in the Greenbelt that sold for $80-million in September, just weeks before the government revealed its new plan.

During the 2018 election campaign, Mr. Ford promised not to touch the Greenbelt – a vast arc of farmland, forests and wetlands across Southern Ontario. The pledge followed public uproar over a video that showed him saying he would allow housing development on a “big chunk” of the protected area. Again, in late 2020, he made a similar promise.


a former provincial land-use expert considered the main architect of the Greenbelt, questioned why developers would have paid so much for land that was considered off-limits for development.


[The Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister] was asked multiple times Tuesday, including in question period, whether he tipped off any developers that parcels of Greenbelt land would soon become much more valuable. When asked for a yes or no response, he refused to deny the allegation.