Ford removing greenbelt lands in Pickering, Ajax and Clarington


Published November 7, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Greenbelt lands in Pickering, Ajax and Clarington are among the properties being “swopped” by the provincial government as the Housing ministry removes 15 different plots of land from the greenbelt – despite promises that the land would not be touched – while adding lands to the protected areas from the Paris Galt Moraine.

With Ontario’s population expected to grow by more than two million over the next ten years the Conservative government declared it was going to “remove and redesignate” 7,400 acres from the greenbelt area and turn them into housing projects.

Fifty-thousand new housing units, to be precise.

The trade includes three parcels of greenbelt land in Markham and Hamilton as well as individual chunks of protected land in King, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Grimsby and the three properties in Durham Region.

The biggest loss in Durham will be a portion of greenbelt in Pickering that is south of Hwy 407, west of West Duffins Creek and north of the CP Bellville train line. The Ajax swopped land is at 765 and 775 Kingston Rd. E, while the Clarington property is a parcel of land at the north-east corner of Nash Road and Hancock Road.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is seeking feedback on the proposed changes, with public comments accepted until December 4.

Should these lands be removed from the Greenbelt, the landowners will be expected to develop detailed plans to build housing and move forward with the project quickly. It is the government’s expectation that construction of these new homes will begin on these lands by no later than 2025, and that “significant progress” on approvals and implementation be achieved by the end of 2023. The proponents would fully fund necessary infrastructure upfront.

If these conditions are not met, the government will begin the process to return the properties back to the Greenbelt.

The Housing ministry is also seeking feedback on a proposal to revoke Pickering’s Central Pickering Development Plan

The plan guides the City in any development context in the Duffins Creek Agriculture Preserve and in employment and residential development parcels interwoven with an extensive natural heritage system.

It covers 5,000-hectares of mostly environmentally sensitive land generally bounded by the CPR Belleville Line in the south, Sideline 16/Pickering-Ajax boundary in the east, Highway 7 in the north and the York-Durham Town Line in the West. It is located entirely within the City of Pickering and the Region of Durham.

The Plan establishes land use designations and set out a population of 61,000 residents and 30,500 jobs by 2031 and up to 70,000 residents and 35,000 jobs beyond 2031 through intensification.

It has been successful so far in achieving its objective in setting out and implementing the framework for the establishment of a sustainable urban community in Seaton integrated with an agricultural community in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve and a Natural Heritage System.

Now, however, the guiding principles are an impediment to progress, according to the Premier Doug Ford and his government.

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