Ford government announces plan to expand Greenbelt amid increasing backlash to development

Ford government announces plan to expand Greenbelt amid increasing backlash to development
Posted on February 21, 2021 | National Observer | Written on February 21, 2021
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

This is the final part in a 3 part series by Emma McIntosh at the National Observer (Part 1) (Part 2)

The Ontario government is planning to expand the Greenbelt with what could be the largest addition since it was originally protected in 2005, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said Wednesday.

Though the announcement didn’t come with new proposed boundaries, Clark said the province is mulling whether to extend the Greenbelt to encompass more urban river valleys and the Paris-Galt Moraine, a rock formation that stretches across the northwestern Greater Toronto Area.

But even as the Progressive Conservatives work on the Greenbelt expansion, Clark confirmed the government will also forge ahead with the controversial GTA West Highway, which would cut through the area. It will also continue using ministerial zoning orders (MZOs) — a contentious method for fast-tracking developments that was the subject of a Canada's National Observer investigation released Tuesday — outside of the Greenbelt.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to undertake the largest expansion of Ontario's Greenbelt since its creation,” Clark told reporters at Queen’s Park Wednesday.

“Our initiative with growing the Greenbelt and the project in the GTA West corridor are two different projects. (The highway) is over a number of years. I'm talking about a plan for our government today that I think is very achievable.”

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