MPP Jessica Bell and MPP Sandy Shaw are calling on the Ford government to direct municipalities in Southern Ontario to build new homes within existing urban boundaries, rather than on surrounding farmland and Greenbelt land.
When the legislature returns February 21, the Official Opposition will introduce legislation that would require the Ford government to direct municipalities to update their official plans to meet current and future housing, job, and growth needs by building within existing urban boundaries, in areas already zoned for development.
“We can absolutely meet our goal of building 1.5 million new homes for Ontarians to live in while at the same time protecting our invaluable farmland and Greenbelt,” said Bell.
“We need to plan for a future that puts people first: where everyone has a home, and housing is affordable. Where Ontarians can easily walk or take public transit to their destination. And where every resident has access to good services, from schools to parks to community centres.”
“The only people who benefit from Doug Ford’s plan to force municipalities to build sprawl on farmland are big land speculators who donate to the Conservative Party,” said Shaw. “We can build all the homes Ontarians need within existing urban boundaries, without turning irreplaceable farmland into a concrete jungle of highways and unaffordable sprawl."
The Ford government has been forcing municipalities to redraw their urban borders and permit development on approximately 14,000 hectares of nearby farmland. The government has redrawing Hamilton, Halton and Ottawa’s urban boundaries, and is expected to announce its response to Waterloo region’s official plan soon.
Last month, environmental groups took the Ford government to court for overriding Hamilton’s official plan and redrawing its urban border to open up 2,200 hectares of farmland and Greenbelt land for development.
To address the housing affordability crisis, the Official Opposition has committed to spurring the construction of 1.5 million new homes for current and future Ontarians, ending exclusionary zoning, and building more townhomes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes in neighbourhoods close to where people work, play and study.
Lily Noble, Stop Sprawl HamOnt
“With enough land already available to accommodate growth in Hamilton, is this entire land grab designed to serve land speculators who want to build McMansions? It’s certainly not designed to help the people of Hamilton who deserve true affordability,”
Rav Singh, National Farmers Union – Ontario
“The NFU-O joins Stop Sprawl HamOnt, MPP Bell and MPP Shaw today to support southern Ontario municipalities in maintaining firm urban boundaries and restricting development and sprawl on surrounding farmland. Our farmland is too important and precious to pave over."