Removal of some Hamilton Greenbelt areas spurs public consultations

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Published August 25, 2023 at 2:33 pm

Eager to voice your opinion about the 795 hectares of Hamilton’s Greenbelt land taken by the province?

You can do so by doing a survey and attending an open house about the issue Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Peller Hall in Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre at 357 Wilson St. E. Staff will make a presentation and moderate a Q&A session starting at 7 p.m. Registration is not required.

Ontario removed 795 hectares of land –  larger than the size of two Binbrooks – from the Greenbelt within the City of Hamilton on Dec. 16, 2022. Although the City of Hamilton opposed the move, the province still plans to move forward with Greenbelt land development in the city. 

“Though the City remains opposed to Greenbelt land removal, the Government of Ontario’s decision is in effect and the lands are no longer within the Greenbelt Plan Area,” the City wrote on its website. “The City expects the Government of Ontario will use its powers to issue a Ministers Zoning Order (MZO) to approve new urban development within these former Greenbelt Plan areas. This means that there would be no municipally-led planning processes for these lands and the City of Hamilton will not be the approval authority for these lands.”

The provincial land and development facilitator has requested feedback from Hamilton on how Greenbelt lands will be developed. As well, it said Hamilton can negotiate and request  “community benefits” – or developer contributions to the community – beyond standard requirements found in the Planning Act.

The City of Hamilton is seeking input from the public about the three areas removed from the Greenbelt by the province. The public feedback will be presented at the special planning committee meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre. Then it will be submitted to the provincial land and development facilitator.

COURTESY OF CITY OF HAMILTON

COURTESY OF CITY OF HAMILTON

To submit written comments, submit a pre-recorded video with comments or pre-register to make oral submissions, contact the legislative coordinator of the planning committee on the first floor at 71 Main St. W. or email [email protected]

Those who prefer to make their opposition to Greenbelt development known are asked to submit their comments directly to the government of Ontario. 

The City said the lands removed from the Greenbelt area are different from the 2,200 hectares of land that Ontario added to Hamilton’s Urban Boundary in November 2022 . The provincial decision went against City council’s endorsement of a “No Urban Boundary Expansion” growth option, according to the City on its website.

The following are the three Hamilton lands removed from the Greenbelt:

  • Book Road Lands: The largest area removed from the Greenbelt in Hamilton at 727 hectares in size with 185 hectares identified as a “core area” with significant woodlands and wetland.
  • Whitechurch Lands: These lands are 64 hectares south of Hamilton’s new urban boundary, southeast of Mount Hope. The lands are not identified as a core area.
  • Fifty Road Lands: These lands are four hectares in size and located near St. Gabriel Elementary School. It’s currently designated as a specialty crop area suitable for growing fruit.
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