Ford’s Greenbelt reversal has Hamilton mayor, activists praising ‘people power’


Published September 21, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Hamilton’s environmental advocates and some politicians including Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath are rejoicing over Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s stunning announcement this afternoon that he will return all lands to the Greenbelt.

 “I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t touch the Greenbelt,” Ford said, with 19 cabinet ministers behind him, during a news conference Thursday (Sept. 21) in Niagara Falls. “I broke that promise. And for that, I am very, very sorry.”

Horwath praised Ford’s decision to change course on the issue, which had sparked rallies and strong pushback in cities such as Hamilton.

“I am thrilled that all removed lands will be returned to the Greenbelt,” Horwath said in a statement she issued on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday (Sept. 21). “This is a win for Hamilton and a win for Ontario. Our city has been clear in its opposition to this plan: how it was done and what it would mean for agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands.”

She said the City will continue to work with the province to address its “urgent housing needs.”  

“The City of Hamilton can now focus our energy on creating more housing where it makes sense,” she wrote.

“Who did this? People did this. Never underestimate our power,” wrote Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet, or GASP, a grassroots climate and social justice group, on X, formerly Twitter. “Next up? Reverse Boundary Expansions, reverse the privatization agenda on Healthcare. Fund schools.”

People Power wins (again!),” wrote Ward 13 Councillor Alex Wilson on X.

Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch said on X that the reversal of the Greenbelt removal “wouldn’t have happened without everyone standing up to make him keep his promises. Credit goes to every single member of our community who continues to speak out and push back.”

Environment Hamilton, a non-profit organization aimed at sharing knowledge and skills in efforts to protect the environment, said in a post on X that the fight is not over as the Ford government has “made numerous harmful changes that make it harder to build the sustainable and affordable housing we need.” 

Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson said on X that Ford must now “reverse the forced, unwanted and unnecessary blowout of Hamilton’s urban boundary that will pave over prime agricultural lands.”

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