Doug Ford planning to sell the greenbelt to the highest bidder?

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The Progressive Conservative leader backed down one day after it emerged he had privately assured property developers he would “open a big chunk” of the 800,000-hectare swath of environmentally sensitive land around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area if the Tories win the June 7 election.

“The people have spoken — we won’t touch the Greenbelt. Very simple. That’s it, the people have spoken. I’m going to listen to them, they don’t want me to touch the Greenbelt. We won’t touch the Greenbelt. Simple as that,” Ford said Tuesday afternoon.

“There have been a lot of voices saying that they don’t want to touch the Greenbelt. I govern through the people; I don’t govern through government.”-The Star

 

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Earlier Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne warned his proposal would promote urban sprawl and damage the environment.

“When that land is gone, it’s gone forever. You cannot get that land back,” Wynne said at the Charles Hastings housing co-op on Elm Street where she was touting tenant protections.

“The point of the Greenbelt is to keep in place the integrity of water systems, the integrity of agricultural land. Making the map look like Swiss cheese … makes it much less viable and really undermines those water protections and agricultural land protections.”

Wynne noted there is already enough available “land in the GTHA to build two more cities the size of Mississauga” without tampering with the Greenbelt.-The Star

Environmentalists warned any such tinkering would spell the end of the protected Greenbelt as developers renewed a speculative rush for farmland. The Ontario government and urban planning experts say there is already more than enough available land around the greater Toronto area for more than 20 years of development.-The Globe and Mail

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