Greenbelt rally cause for cancellation of Finance Minister’s BBQ, says Stop Sprawl Durham

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Published August 18, 2023 at 5:32 pm

Stop Sprawl Durham, the grassroots group that co-organized last weekend’s greenbelt rally outside Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy’s office, is taking credit for the Ontario Finance Minister’s abrupt decision to cancel a community barbecue planned for Saturday.

The message from Bethlenfalvy’s office is that the barbecue was cancelled “due to circumstances beyond our control,” but Stop Sprawl Durham isn’t buying it, claiming the “pressure” from the rally to save the Durham Agricultural Preserve (DRAP) last Sunday, which attracted hundreds of sign-wielding protesters, has led to the indefinite postponement of the community event.

“Bethlenfalvy appears to prefer hiding (and) continues to evade escalating calls to return protection to the DRAP and do the right thing by reversing the Greenbelt cuts,” the group said in a release. “Residents of Pickering, alongside Ontarians from the wider region, demonstrated their dissatisfaction at the Save the DRAP Rally on Sunday (and) will not be placated, nor distracted.”

“The rally … is just the beginning of louder calls for him to take responsibility for prioritizing private profit ahead of public good. The people of Pickering and the wider community are galvanized and united in their outrage.”

The group said they will continue to hold the Minister “accountable” until he returns protection to the agriculture preserve, which was removed when the provincial government orchestrated a land swap in November of last year, a deal now under intense scrutiny after the release of a damning report from the Auditor General.

“The Greenbelt is not needed to advance housing supply and affordability,” Stop Sprawl Durham said. (Bethlenfalvy) he knows this is the case.”

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