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Ontario tables legislation to reverse city and regional land boundary changes

The Canadian Press
Ontario tables legislation to reverse city and regional land boundary changes

TORONTO – Ontario Housing Minister Paul Calandra has tabled legislation that will reverse course on urban and regional boundary expansions.

Calandra has said the previous housing minister’s staff was too involved in the expansions that were introduced in late 2022 and early this year.

The province had changed official plans for Barrie, Belleville, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa and Peterborough as well as the regional municipalities of Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York, and Wellington County.

The expansions were part of the government’s suite of changes that included removing land from the protected Greenbelt in an effort to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years.

Two legislative watchdogs found the process to select Greenbelt land for removal was flawed and favoured certain developers.

After public outcry, Premier Doug Ford reversed course on the Greenbelt removals and the then-housing minister, as well as another cabinet member, resigned.

The RCMP have launched a criminal investigation into the government’s decision to remove lands from the Greenbelt.

Calandra announced last month that the province would no longer expand regions’ and municipalities’ land to build housing.

Many regions and municipalities had spoken out over the changes, saying the extra land wasn’t needed to build more housing.

Calandra has since said the province will focus on increasing density, especially near transit corridors and stations.

The bill allows for construction already underway in the previously expanded areas to continue.

Calandra said he welcomes more ideas on how to build housing.

“Since announcing this wind back, I’ve heard from many mayors and heads of council who agree that we need to be more ambitious,” Calandra wrote in a statement.

“I look forward to receiving feedback from our municipal partners about changes to the original official plans and amendments.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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