Ontario Launches Consultation on Building More Homes that People Need and Can Afford

Province Seeks Feedback on Proposed Changes to Provincial Policy Statement

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, then still a candidate for the provincial Tory Party’s top job, is caught on video tape early last year, telling developers he would open on “big chunks” of the province’s protected Greenbelt to build affordable housing

(The following News Release is being posted with a Footnote from Niagara At Large, raising concerns about possible plans by the Ford government to use a need for more affordable housing in Ontario as an excuse to pave over more agricultural land and “big chunks,” as Ford has described them, of the province’s protected Greenbelt lands.)

A News Release from the Ford Government and Ontario’s Ministry of Municpal Affairs and Housing

Posted July 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clarks says government is cutting “red tape” and changing planning rules to “speed up”housing construction

NIAGARA — The Ontario Government is cutting red tape that is slowing down the process of building more homes that people need and can afford.

As part of the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the government is consulting oproposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) — which sets out direction for land use planning in the province.

“Seniors are looking to down-size and young families don’t see a path to home ownership. That’s why we are proposing changes to provincial policies that would spur and speed up the construction of more and different types of housing that can meet the needs of people in different stages of life,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“I encourage Ontarians to provide their feedback directly to my ministry during this 90-day consultation period.”

Two shades of green on map, from Niagara River, around Lake Ontario through to east of Toronto, represent protected lands in Greenbelt

The proposed changes to the PPS would continue to maintain protections for health and safety, the environment – including the Greenbelt – and support the province’s vibrant agricultural sector.

Quick Facts

  • The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) establishes province-wide direction on land use planning matters that guide municipal decision-making.
  • The proposed changes aim to align with A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • Currently, it can take years of paperwork before a shovel ever breaks ground on a new housing or business project. Red tape and delays make it hard to get housing to market quickly and to build the right mix of housing in the right locations.

Background Information

Proposed Changes to the Provincial Policy Statement

A Brief Commentary from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

Pardon my skepticism, but after more than a year now of Ontario Premier Doug Ford or anyone from his self-described ‘Government for the People’ promising that they are going to give the people of this province “more choices” or “more option,” or they are going to “put more money in our pockets” when it comes to one service or another, one of the very first questions that comes to mind are these; “What services or programs or safeguards or protections are they going to take away? “What are they going to cut?

They are perfectly valid questions to ask because almost every time up to now that Ford or one of his surrogates promise more of something, within a matter of days of the announcement we find out that between the lines or beneath the lines of their “Ontario News” propaganda sheets, they are cutting another health care services, resources for supporting people with autism, resources for public classrooms or assistance for college and university students from low-income families, flood management, protection for endangered species, and on and on.

So notice in the Ontario News release that was issued this July 22nd, referencing remarks Ford’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, made about offering people in this province more affordable housing.

And why is he even mentioning agricultural lands and Ontario’s protected “Greenbelt” area in the contest of building more affordable homes unless somewhere between the lines or beneath them, the Ford government has a plan to change planning rules to unleash urban sprawl into what is left of our agricultural lands in mind?

After all, during the 2018 provincial election, then Tory leader and candidate for premier Doug Ford was caught on a video take that was eventually leaked to the media, telling a group of developers that he would consider allowing “chunks” of Ontario’s world-class Greenbelt be sold for affordable housing – a scheme that is completely unnecessary, except to enrich property speculators and certain members of the development industry, because we already have many decades worth of land that can be built on within the existing urban boundaries in Niagara and other regions across the province.

So my warning is this. Watch for the Ford government to now move ahead, using the need for affordable housing as an excuse, with plans to pave over more agricultural land and “chunks” of the Greenbelt.

In case you haven’t seen it, here is the video of then candidate Ford letting a group of developers in on his plans for the Greenbelt, which you can watch by clicking on the screen below –

When the video above was leaked and went viral on social media a year ago this past spring, it triggered widespread public concern and anger and Ford quickly walked back what he is captured saying to these developers.

But that was before the election and now that he has a majority government, there is little or nothing, given what Ford has done so far to weaken policies and programs for protecting green space, that should have us assume that he will not bring back this Greenbelt-killing idea.

Remain vigilant, people!

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the bernie sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at http://www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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