• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

LETTER: Ford’s Greenbelt decisions ‘pandering to the developers’

In Agriculture
Feb 13th, 2023
Reader Walter Klywak wants Ontario Premier Doug Ford to ‘stop and think about what you are doing in destroying the local environment’
Letter to the Editor

I took notice of Premier Ford’s latest response to federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s comment. Premier Ford said the Greenbelt is Ontario’s jurisdiction. I certainly agree with Premier Ford as far as the statement is concerned.

However, if you are not governing in the best interest of Ontarians and your proposal is destructive to the environment, someone else needs to step in. Premier Ford, during your election campaign you made a promise to Ontarians that you would not develop the Greenbelt.

Now you, Premier Ford, are pandering to the developers who have purchased cheap land in the hopes of your giving them the ability to develop these lands to make a huge profit. Not only that but your government has arbitrarily reduced the development fees payable to municipalities for development of properties in their jurisdiction.

Your government seems intent on lining the pockets of these developers at the detriment of taxpayers. With the current state of our economy, tax payers and all Ontarians are suffering from the rising cost of inflation.

We are all seeing major increases in our food costs, gasoline cost and overall cost of living. Many families are being stretched to the limit and now you want to add the cost of development fees to their tab as well.

Premier Ford in your media messages to the people you keep saying you are here to help the little guy. I think what you mean is you are for the minority which, in this case, is the developers. The development fees you are planning to cut are used by the municipalities to develop parks and recreation facilities for the local residents. Your plan will take this away from the people and hand them a tax bill. This whole issue has a very bad odour and lacks transparency.

Besides, the development of the Greenbelt only makes sense to developers intent on making a huge profit. There is currently no infrastructure near these lands. There are no arterial roads, no bus or transit services. As I travel throughout the GTA and beyond, I can certainly see numerous undeveloped parcels of land that would support vertical growth.

These infill areas would be ideal for lower cost housing projects which is the primary need at this time. We are expecting a huge influx of immigrants. Most of these people are already used to living in high density areas and the vertical development would certainly meet or exceed their needs. These areas already provide access to arterial roads and transit. Our transit in many cases is already under utilized and in need of more riders to start to turn a profit.

The development of lands in the Greenbelt would result in million dollar plus homes when what we need is low cost housing for young families starting out. We need starter homes, not more estate lots.

Your plan is to develop the Greenbelt to satisfy the developers and move the “Greenbelt” to other areas. The problem is the Greenbelt was set aside to protect the water shed and the head waters of the major rivers feeding into Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe.

Unfortunately, your plan is incapable of moving these environmentally sensitive areas to another protected area unless you have an amazing connection with Mother Nature about which I am very dubious. You just can’t remove the Greenbelt and then arbitrarily decide another area will now be called a Greenbelt.

I would once again request you stop and think about what you are doing in destroying the local environment. The environment is crucial to all Ontarians. The development of the Greenbelt will only benefit the developers at the detriment to Ontarians.

Walter Klywak

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