Mayor Horwath responds to Greenbelt report that exposes manipulation by influential developers

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Published August 9, 2023 at 9:21 pm

COLE BURSTON/THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

A report released on Wednesday, (Aug. 9) by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk revealed that the Ford government’s process for selecting protected Greenbelt land to open up for housing development had been heavily manipulated by a select group of ‘well-connected developers.’

The Greenbelt, is a 810,000-hectare expanse of farmland, forest, and wetland intended to remain untouched by development.

Lysyk expressed concerns about the irregular methods employed, the sidelining of standard protocols, and the undue haste in changing Greenbelt designations.

In response to the report, Mayor Horwath emphasized the significance of the Greenbelt as a crucial environmental and agricultural asset. She called for the Province of Ontario to reconsider its development plan and announced intentions to collaborate with city council members and staff to analyze the implications of the report.

“The City of Hamilton provided insights and information to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in the course of her investigation,” Mayor Horwath said in her statement.

Lysyk’s 95-page report found that the land in Hamilton’s parcels of the Greenbelt, lacked infrastructure and servicing plans, posing significant challenges to development.

” One of the sites—Book Road (Site #4), which accounted for nearly 25% of all land removed from the Greenbelt in 2022—is located in an area partially restricted from residential development because of its proximity to the Hamilton International Airport,” the report stated.

“We will continue our efforts to address Hamilton’s urgent housing needs while prioritizing intensification, affordability and our commitments to conservation, Reconciliation, and slowing the impacts of our climate crisis,” Mayor Horwath added.

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