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Ford government wants to open the Greenbelt for development

Ford government wants to open the Greenbelt for development

The proposal calls for removing 7,400 acres across 15 different locations

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Ford government launched consultations last week about wanting to open up the Greenbelt for residential development.

The government released a proposal on Friday which would remove 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt to make way for 50,000 new homes.

In addition, the government commits to adding about 2,000 acres to the Greenbelt on top of replacing the 7,400 it needs for homes.

Ontarians have until Dec. 5 to submit feedback.

The average price of a home in Ontario was $836,300 in September 2022, the Canadian Real Estate Association says.

The 50,000 homes within the Greenbelt are part of the government’s overall plan to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.

Using this land for development is critical to ensuring Ontarians have access to homes, the premier said.

“We have a housing crisis that we didn’t have four years ago,” Premier Ford said Nov. 7. “We are going to make sure we get housing built.”

The affected communities are:

  • King Township: east of Dufferin Street, south of Miller's Sideroad and west of Bathurst Street.
  • Vaughan: north of Teston Road, east of Pine Valley Drive.
  • Richmond Hill: east of Leslie Street, north of Elgin Mills Road East and west of Highway 404.
  • Whitchurch-Stouffville: 11861 and 12045 McCowan Road.
  • Markham: 5474 19th Avenue.
  • 10325, 10378 and 10541 Highway 48.
  • 10379 Kennedy Road.
  • Pickering: West of West Duffins Creek, between Highway 407 and the CP Belleville rail line.
  • Ajax: 765 and 775 Kingston Road East.
  • Clarington: Northwest corner of Nash Road and Hancock Road.
  • Hamilton: South of Garner Road West, between Fiddlers Green Road and Shaver Road.
  • Hamilton: Between White Church Road East and Chippewa Road East, from Miles Road to Upper James Street.
  • Grimsby: Between the GO rail line and Main Street West, from Oakes Road North to Kelson Avenue North.
  • 502 Winston Road.
  • Hamilton: 331 and 339 Fifty Road.

Building in the Greenbelt represents the Progressive Conservatives reversing course on a past promise.

In February 2021, for example, Housing Minister Steve Clark said the provincial government “will not in any way entertain any proposals that will move lands in the Greenbelt, or open the Greenbelt lands to any kind of development.”

And in 2018, after video leaked of Premier Ford telling developers he would open Greenbelt space for housing, the premier said ‘”The people have spoken – we won’t touch the Greenbelt.’”

Ag advocates are concerned with the potential loss of Greenbelt land.

“Cutting the Greenbelt is not a suitable solution for our housing crisis. We need to be protecting our farmland and the future of the #ontag industry,” Jordyn Domio, an industry advocate and flower grower in Niagara, said on Twitter.

Local councils are on high alert too.

In Hamilton, for example, council voted in November 2021 not to extend the City’s urban boundary by 3,327 acres.

Friday’s announcements “are very concerning,” incoming mayor Andrea Horwath said in a Twitter thread on Nov. 4. “In fact, Hamilton’s firm urban boundary plan includes affordable housing, yet the plan announced by the province today increases costs for municipalities and leaves us less able to build the housing we need.”

Home builder groups favour the Greenbelt development.

Making more land available for more homes addresses affordability and supply, said the West End Builders Association.

“These adjustments are necessary and in the public interest, given the significant housing shortage our city and economic region is facing,” the group said in an emailed statement to The Hamilton Spectator. “Without addressing this, Hamilton will continue to see major displacement of our residents to neighbouring communities.” has contacted the Ontario Federation of Agriculture for comment.

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