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Premier Doug Ford's Ontario

Well, that's that then. Move along please...

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The former Mississauga mayor, who earned the nickname “Queen of Sprawl” during her tenure, calls the Ford government’s decision to open areas up for development “brave.”​


Greenbelt Council does about-face on safeguarding protected lands with Hazel McCallion at the helm


From link.

As the Ford government faces increased scrutiny over its decision to open up parts of the Greenbelt for housing development, the head of an advisory group that was once seen as a key defender of the protected land has thrown her support behind the controversial move.

In an open letter on Wednesday, Hazel McCallion, the longtime former mayor of Mississauga, who was recently appointed chair of the Greenbelt Council, called the government’s decision “brave, important, responsible and necessary.”

“The most recent changes to the Greenbelt, actually do make sense,” the 101-year-old McCallion wrote. “If we are to meet the challenges of the epically growing human population of the GTA and provide truly livable and affordable communities, then we must allow for housing and new communities to be created where it makes sense to do so.”

Those fighting the government’s plan say they are not surprised Ford has found an ally in McCallion, who presided over explosive, low-density growth in Mississauga that earned her the nickname “Queen of Sprawl.”

However, her public support for developing parts of the Greenbelt is a dramatic about-face for the council, which was created to provide impartial advice to the province on how to manage the protected land, and has previously opposed proposals that could put it at risk. In late 2020, seven members resigned in protest of legislation that limited the mandate of Ontario’s local conservation authorities to protect the environment from development.

“It’s very, very shocking to see someone who is now the head of Greenbelt Council defending the irrational attacks on the Greenbelt,” said Tim Gray with the non-profit advocacy group Environmental Defence. “This letter would lead one to conclude that (the Greenbelt) has lost a defender, that’s for sure.”

Gray said McCallion has her facts “fundamentally wrong” about the need to build housing in the Greenbelt, which was created in 2005 to curb sprawl and encompasses 800,000 hectares of farmland, forests and wetlands.

“There is a mountain of evidence to show that we have tens of thousands of hectares of land within existing urban boundaries throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe that are already within boundaries zoned for development,” he said. “The Greenbelt is meant to be permanent.”

In response to questions from the Star for this story, McCallion, who the province tapped to lead the council in October, said the timing of her letter “has to do with my own personal situation and nothing else.”

“It was just time to weigh in publicly on this important matter,” she said.

McCallion released her letter on the same day that two provincial watchdogs confirmed they were investigating the government’s decision to open 15 areas of the Greenbelt for development while creating new protected areas elsewhere. The probes by the integrity commissioner and auditor general come amid concerns that some developers were secretly alerted to the plan in advance after a Toronto Star/Narwhal investigation exposed questions about the timing of purchases of protected parcels of land that are now set to become developable and complaints from both opposition parties.

Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark have denied developers were given advance notice of the decision, which backtracked on the government’s earlier promise to leave the protected Greenbelt lands untouched.

In an email on Thursday, Clark’s office said McCallion is “one of Canada’s most prominent and well-respected public figures.”

“We are deeply grateful that she is continuing her legacy of public service as chair of the Greenbelt Council,” spokesperson Victoria Podbielski said, adding that McCallion “speaks for herself — as she always has.”

Time for Hazel McCallion to resign from the Greenbelt Council. She is 101 years old.
 
Here's the link to the article in question.

Former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion has been hired as Premier Doug Ford’s “special adviser” on municipal affairs for up to $150,000 a year.

The 97-year-old McCallion, mayor from 1978 until 2014, endorsed Ford’s Progressive Conservatives in last June’s election after supporting the Liberals for their previous four victorious campaigns.

“The Liberals have admitted everything hasn’t been perfect in Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario. Well, that’s one way of putting it,” she said last spring.

“Doug has committed to fixing Ontario’s finances.”

At the time, Wynne noted she and McCallion, who had been close political allies for years, said they broke because “she has been asking me for two years to open up the Greenbelt and I’ve said a firm no.”

“I can see why she would find Doug Ford an attractive candidate,” the then-Liberal premier said.
 
The only justification I see for opening parts of the Greenbelt is because of immigration and existing population needs, the proposal has nothing else going for it. If the feds were to cut off immigration tomorrow, then the provincial government has absolutely no justifiable reason to open the Greenbelt, nada.

Is it still a bad idea? Absolutely 100%

But a question, how do we address the housing problem? Is it simply force people to live in high rises? 🤔
 
The only justification I see for opening parts of the Greenbelt is because of immigration and existing population needs, the proposal has nothing else going for it. If the feds were to cut off immigration tomorrow, then the provincial government has absolutely no justifiable reason to open the Greenbelt, nada.

Is it still a bad idea? Absolutely 100%

But a question, how do we address the housing problem? Is it simply force people to live in high rises? 🤔
They could end the use of single-story, single-use buildings. They could in-fill on parking lots.
 
The only justification I see for opening parts of the Greenbelt is because of immigration and existing population needs, the proposal has nothing else going for it. If the feds were to cut off immigration tomorrow, then the provincial government has absolutely no justifiable reason to open the Greenbelt, nada.

Is it still a bad idea? Absolutely 100%

But a question, how do we address the housing problem? Is it simply force people to live in high rises? 🤔
Urban sprawl is not going to help or end housing shortages. As I have said before, builders are going to build what the market dictates. Builders don’t build affordable houses. Further more there is also a lack of public transportation in those regions, so cars are needed to get back and forth to work or shopping. Also, immigrants often arrive with their belongings in a suit case or the clothes on their back. These houses are not in the affordable range for most refugees or immigrants. Affordable housing is build by municipalities or Habitat for Humanity. Building multi unit houses, low rise apartments on municipal owned land or even encouraging investors in building housing on municipal owned land would go a long way. Or are you suggesting current home owners should move to an urban location so our city occupancy makes room for those who cannot afford to the urban McMansions? (just being a little sarcastic)
 
The only justification I see for opening parts of the Greenbelt is because of immigration and existing population needs, the proposal has nothing else going for it. If the feds were to cut off immigration tomorrow, then the provincial government has absolutely no justifiable reason to open the Greenbelt, nada.

There's still no justification because there are literally tens of thousands of acres of land zoned for development already that is not happening. There is no land shortage. None. There might be one day if the immigration train isnt' curtailed, but that's 20+ years from now, not now.

Is it still a bad idea? Absolutely 100%

100% agreed.

But a question, how do we address the housing problem? Is it simply force people to live in high rises? 🤔

Strictly speaking, not necessary. However, IF you maintain the population growth rate, AND you run out land (again not today's problem), then you can only choose to build more intensively.

That doesn't have to mean hirse. If you redevelop a subdivision of 'ranch homes' built in the '60s on 60ft lots with stacked townhomes (3.5s tall), you could replace one unit with six very easily.

There are many choices, but yes, all involve less land per person over time.

If there's a desire to keep that number in the ballpark of where it is now............perhaps reducing the gross excesses, but getting people into units that are at least 700ft2...........then you'll have to curtail growth.

Choices.....
 
The only justification I see for opening parts of the Greenbelt is because of immigration and existing population needs, the proposal has nothing else going for it. If the feds were to cut off immigration tomorrow, then the provincial government has absolutely no justifiable reason to open the Greenbelt, nada.
The one and only time you'll see me make a value comparison between Toronto and NYC;


And note: New York City has almost 9m people. The GTA is about 6m.
 
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Urban sprawl is not going to help or end housing shortages. As I have said before, builders are going to build what the market dictates. Builders don’t build affordable houses. Further more there is also a lack of public transportation in those regions, so cars are needed to get back and forth to work or shopping. Also, immigrants often arrive with their belongings in a suit case or the clothes on their back. These houses are not in the affordable range for most refugees or immigrants. Affordable housing is build by municipalities or Habitat for Humanity. Building multi unit houses, low rise apartments on municipal owned land or even encouraging investors in building housing on municipal owned land would go a long way. Or are you suggesting current home owners should move to an urban location so our city occupancy makes room for those who cannot afford to the urban McMansions? (just being a little sarcastic)
Municipalities should allow converting basements into apartments. If immigrants or refugees could live in a hotel room, then they can live in a one bedroom apartment in the basement. If the by-laws allow it.
 

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