A group of well-connected developers stand to make a lot of money after influencing Doug Ford’s provincial government’s process for choosing protected Greenbelt land to open up for housing, the province’s auditor general says.
Citing the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, which is responsible for calculating property values in Ontario, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk estimates the landowners of the 15 sites that were removed could see their value increase by $8.3 billion.
“The proposed development of the Greenbelt is an unnecessary, ineffective, and misguided measure that will not contribute to meeting Hamilton’s housing needs,” Horwath said Wednesday.
The Greenbelt is a vast 810,000-hectare area of farmland, forest and wetland stretching from Niagara Falls to Peterborough that was meant to be off limits to development.
Lysyk said at a news conference at Queen’s Park on Wednesday “our review … raises serious concerns about the exercises used, the way in which standard information gathering and decision protocols were sidelined and abandoned, and how changes to the Greenbelt were unnecessarily rushed through.”
“The process was biased in favour of certain developers and landowners who had timely access to the housing minister’s chief of staff,” she said.
The parcels of land in Hamilton include:
- Roughly 732 hectares of land on Book Road. It’s south of Garner Road West, west of Fiddlers Green Road and east of Shaver Road.
- Roughly 66 hectares of land on Mount Hope. It’s south of White Church Road East, west of Miles Road, north of Chippewa Road East and east of Upper James Street.
- Roughly four hectares of land at 331 and 339 Fifty Rd.
There are also two parcels near the Hamilton-Niagara border including:
- Roughly 30 hectares of land on Cline Road, south of the GO rail line, west of Oakes Road North, north of Main Street West and east of Kelson Avenue North.
- Roughly six hectares of land at 502 Winston Rd.