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Ontario premier refuses to back away from plans to build on protected Greenbelt

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will not back away from plans to build on the protected Greenbelt despite a damning auditor general report and experts saying his housing targets can be met by building elsewhere.

Ford says no one received preferential treatment in the process to open the Greenbelt to housing construction, despite Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk concluding the process was biased and favoured certain developers with ties to the housing minister.

Last year, the Ford government opened up 7,400 acres of the Greenbelt to development while adding about 9,400 acres elsewhere as part of its bid to build 1.5 million homes.

Local planners in the three regions where the land was removed along with the province’s housing task force say the land is not needed to meet housing construction targets.

The Integrity Commissioner of Ontario is reviewing a request from Ford to look into Housing Minister Steve Clark’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato.

Lysyk found that developers who had access to Amato at a housing conference dinner last September wound up with 92 per cent of the land that was removed from the Greenbelt.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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