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PODCAST: Greenbelt Discussion

Professional Public Policy Advisor Trent Gow and Simcoe-Grey MPP Brian Saunderson talk about the report released by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and the province’s plan to develop on the Greenbelt to address the housing crisis.

14 of the 15 report recommendations have been adopted

MPP Saunderson said the provincial government has adopted 14 of the 15 report recommendations but will not be reversing the decision on the greenbelt launch as those acres are necessary for responsible development. “Process matters and as a municipal politician, process was a big part of how we did business. It is important that the public sees government operating in a way that’s transparent and accountable.”

Saunderson said 9 of the 15 parcels were selected by the municipalities that they are in (none of the Greenbelt is in Simcoe-Grey) and a number of the parcels have been a part of an ongoing discussion since the Greenbelt was created in 2005. “I think there have been been over 650 requests for removal of certain lands from the Greenbelt so that’s a part of the dialogue that has been going on between the Ontario government and local developers” he added.

“The housing crisis is acute. It is impacting us across the province.

MPP Saunderson said the Canadian housing crisis is particularly acute here in Ontario. “So the housing crisis is acute. It is impacting us all across the province and we are certainly seeing it in the riding of Simcoe-Grey, with Alliston and Collingwood being growth nodes.” He noted the explosive growth being experienced in Wasaga Beach over the past year as another example of the high demand that exists for housing. “Looking at the Province’s growth, in context, we are in fact the fastest growing region, province or state in North America.”

“There are no public lands involved in any of these discussions.”

“We need to be perfectly clear here. The Greenbelt is 2 million acres, created in 2005, and it is all privately owned land. There are no public lands involved in any of these discussions, so the idea that taxpayer money or something that belongs to the taxpayers has been relinquished or given away is absolutely and utterly incorrect” MPP Saunderson said, adding the discussion should focus on the sustainability of communities. “We stand behind Bill 23. We are going to make sure we work with municipalities and developers to get homes built faster, to reduce red tape, to make sure proper processes are in place so checks and balances are there to get approvals faster to get shovels in the ground faster so we can get more housing supply which will stabilize prices and get the housing supply of the type we need.”