Rally to stop greenbelt development Sunday in Pickering

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Published August 7, 2023 at 1:36 pm

Stop Sprawl Durham and their supporters will be rallying Sunday at Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy’s office to send a message to the provincial government to keep their hands off the greenbelt, the Durham Rouge Agricultural Preserve and Rouge National Urban Park.

The areas surrounding the park, the largest urban park in North America, have been under threat from the province in recent years. Particularly vulnerable is the agriculture preserve in Pickering, which was part of the protected greenbelt until those protections were removed last year by the Doug Ford government.

Now as many as 30,000 homes are slated to be built on those lands, prompting the rally this weekend.

Stop Sprawl Durham called the agricultural preserve (DRAP) an “integral part” of Ontario’s Greenbelt and wants the Province to put a halt to any development.

“The DRAP, adjacent to the Rouge National Urban Park, protects precious prime agricultural lands and provides essential habitat for several species also found in Rouge Park, some already endangered. In addition, DRAP provides valuable and increasingly vital ecosystem services for neighbouring communities,” the group declared in a letter to Ford, Housing Minister Steve Clarke and Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe. “We ask ALL Ontarians, especially Durham Region residents, to sign this action letter and help protect the DRAP and Rouge National Urban Park.”

Stop Sprawl Durham and its allies – including Ashe – have now sent more than a thousand letters in protest of the greenbelt expansion.

“Durham Region needs more homes and jobs – but we don’t need to pave over our farmland and natural heritage to make that happen and we don’t need to bankrupt our communities’ futures by building more and more costly infrastructure stretching across rural areas,” the group stated. “What we need is gently density and ‘missing middle’ housing. The two extremes of housing – large districts with only single-family homes and other districts that are forests of high-rise towers – do not provide the flexibility or quality of life that our communities deserve.”

The rally will be held at Bethlenfalvy’s office at 1550 Kingston Road in Pickering at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Bethlenfalvy also serves as the local MPP for the Pickering-Uxbridge Riding.

 

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