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The NDP asked the auditor general to investigate the opening of Ontario’s green belt lands News Jani

The NDP asked the auditor general to investigate the opening of Ontario’s green belt lands

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The provincial NDP is asking Ontario’s auditor general to investigate how much the Ford government is “benefiting” property owners from opening up previously protected green belt lands.

In a letter to the auditor general, Davenport MPP Marriott Stiles says removing protections for greenbelt lands would “immediately transfer enormous wealth” to landowners before a single home can be built. “

“We are requesting your office to conduct a value-adjustment audit to investigate how much wealth would be added to property owners when their land is removed from the green belt. , thereby enabling profitable rezoning, and whether this transfer of wealth is in the public interest,” Stiles wrote.

Stiles added that the NDP is also calling for an investigation into economic and environmental impacts on “agricultural and natural systems.”

The province’s proposal to open up conservation lands, released earlier this month, aims to build housing on what is now more than a dozen acres in the green belt, while adding about 2,000 acres of conservation land elsewhere. Is. The move is part of the province’s plan to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade to address Ontario’s acute housing shortage.

According to CBC Toronto’s analysis of dozens of land registry and corporate records, several of the owners of the 15 parcels of land the Ford government is proposing to open for housing in the GTA are prominent developers.

Some stand to benefit.

DeGasperis family-run corporations, longtime architects based in Vaughan, Ont. North of Toronto, who founded Tacc Development and Tacc Construction, owns 20 properties in three locations within the greenbelt that the government is proposing to open.

The list of landowners also includes a company run by Rice Group president and CEO Michael Rice and a company owned by Fleet Development President Shakir Rahmatullah.

“The difference in land values ​​between protected farmland and unprotected developable land can be enormous,” Stiles wrote in his letter to the auditor general.

In a statement to CBC News, Chris Poulos, a spokesman for Local Government and Housing Minister Steve Clark, said the NDP “is opposed to changes that would lead to at least 50,000 new homes being built in the province.” . Overall expansion of the Green Belt.

“We will continue to explore every possible option to build more homes faster so that more Ontarians can find a home that meets their needs and budgets,” he said.

Province ‘considering all possible options’ for housing

The government’s proposal to open up the Green Belt has drawn criticism from opposition politicians and provincial groups alike.

As recently as last year, provincial officials said they would not open green belt lands to development. Premier Doug Ford reneged on that promise earlier this month, justifying the proposal by saying the province’s housing crisis has worsened — and that it will only get worse now that the federal government has a year in hand. has unveiled plans to bring in another half a million immigrants.

“We have a housing crisis that we didn’t have four years ago,” Ford said at a news conference earlier this month. “We’re going to make sure we get housing built.”

In a statement earlier this week, Victoria Podbelski, press secretary for Local Government and Housing Steve Clark, told CBC News the province is “working decisively” to address housing supply issues.

“We are looking at every possible option to build more homes faster so that more Ontarians can find a home that meets their needs and budgets,” said Podbelski.

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