ORA strongly supports the following:
- The new section to the Act, 14.1, to restore the Greenbelt Plan to the 15 areas of land that were removed or redesignated in 2022, while maintaining the 2022 lands that were added.
- The re-enactment and enhancement of section 2 of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, to repeal the authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to add/remove lands from the Greenbelt.
- Lastly, ORA supports the new section of the Act, 26, to restore the designation of land that was redesignated in 2022.
In response to the proposal to return lands to the Greenbelt, the ORA offers our strong support for all lands that were removed from the Greenbelt on 14 December 2022 being immediately returned to the Greenbelt, as per the proposed Amendments to the Greenbelt Plan and the Greenbelt Area Boundary Regulation O.Reg 59/05.
ORA also recommends that all lands this government added to the Greenbelt land to compensate for the December 2022 removal of Greenbelt lands remain within the Greenbelt under the protection of the Greenbelt Act, 2005, and Greenbelt Plan.
Once the land is returned to the Greenbelt, it must remain designated as Greenbelt with all the relevant land use restrictions, and any future removal must be made extremely onerous through protective amendments to the appropriate legislation.
The province claims that “Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.” This Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) posting is only one component of a large series of other interconnected ERO postings relating to Bill 23. Due to the short comment period at this busiest time of year for such a complex, vague, poorly considered, and destructive policy and legislative “streamlining”, it is impossible to fully understand the full scope or depth of resulting effects to provide any kind of meaningful input. It is crucial that all ERO postings are well planned, concisely written and defined in clear policy language so the public fully understands what is being proposed and its potential positive and negative effects.
The Ontario government, through Bill 23 and its multitude of complex and interconnected legislation and policy amendments, has:
- Removed municipal jurisdiction from upper-tier municipalities to make policy decisions on land use planning matters that are based on local community interests.
- Removed a significant financial source (permits/building fees) in which to help pay for water and wastewater services, sewers, transportation infrastructure, and community parks needed to service 1.5 million additional homes.
- Prohibited Conservation Authorities all across Ontario from providing practical advice to municipalities, their ability to issue permits, or provide input into environmental concerns.
- Failed to provide adequate public and Indigenous consultation relating to Bill 23 matters.
- Is proposing to streamline the qualifications program for Building Practitioners (ERO-019-6433).
We, the 78 undersigned organizations, are strongly opposed to the Ontario Government’s proposal to remove 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt. Opening these lands to development would destroy vital wildlife corridors, negatively impact woodlands, wetlands and watercourses, and result in the loss of over 5,000 acres of farmland. The government’s rationale – that these lands are needed for housing – is unfounded and untrue. We urge you not to proceed with this proposal for the reasons outlined below…