Toronto, Ont./ Traditional territories of several First Nations including the Williams Treaties First Nations, Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation — Ecojustice lawyer, Laura Bowman, has welcomed the reversal of the decision by the Ontario government to remove 7,400 acres of environmentally sensitive land from the Greenbelt. This is a key victory for everyone in Ontario including dedicated community activists, environmental groups, farmers, and Indigenous Peoples.
Following the announcement this afternoon by Premier Ford, she said:
“Greenbelt giveaways were never going to meet our affordable housing needs. Finally, today the Ontario government put the brakes on one key part of a biased process that is undermining plans to develop in urban areas.
“Developing on the Greenbelt would have resulted in large, unsustainable, and unaffordable homes. Destroying environmentally sensitive land, and destroying Ontario’s future food security, is not the answer to Ontario’s housing crisis.
“But the provincial government is still using poor planning policies such as highways through the Greenbelt and forcing communities like Hamilton to expand onto greenspaces. These are big giveaways to many of the same speculators who benefited from the Greenbelt removals, and many followed the same kind of biased, chaotic process. These other attacks on greenspace around the Greenbelt and across Southern Ontario need to be reversed too.
“It is time for this provincial government to stop treating our greenspace like a windfall to be granted to whoever comes begging and return to balanced planning to protect the environment, health and people.
“Today’s decision is thanks to the journalists who have covered this scandal, to the local communities who rallied and campaigned for its reversal, and to environmental groups like Ecojustice and our allies who highlighted the importance of the Greenbelt to this province.”
Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems.