Auditor: Toronto Greenbelt Changes Favored Developers

A series of hasty removals of land from the protected Greenbelt last year were pushed through without environmental or financial analysis.

1 minute read

August 18, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of farmland patchwork in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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A report from Ontario’s Auditor-General reveals that the provincial government removed 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) from Toronto’s protected Greenbelt to favor certain developers and without appropriate environmental or financial analysis. 

As Jeff Gray explains in The Globe and Mail, “The report by Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk also estimates, based on 2016 data from the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC), that the landowners of the 15 formerly protected sites opened up for housing last year could see their worth balloon by more than $8.3-billion.”

The Greenbelt is a 800,000-hectare area surrounding the city created in 2005 to limit sprawl and protect local farmland. Last year, Premier Doug Ford’s government redrew its boundaries in an effort, according to Ford, to create 50,000 new units of much-needed housing.

According to the report, “All but one of the properties removed from the Greenbelt, in what the Auditor-General calls a ‘seriously flawed’ process that took just three weeks, were identified for a small group of civil servants assigned to work on the project by Ryan Amato, the chief of staff to Mr. Clark.” The article continues, “The extremely tight timeline and confidentiality provisions, the audit says, meant bureaucrats could not fully analyze the environmental impact or provide alternatives to the Greenbelt removals.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 in The Globe and Mail

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