Greenbelt open house attracts hundreds in Hamilton

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

About 500 residents attended a public consultation last week in Hamilton to ask questions about proposed development of local Greenbelt land.

About 795 hectares will be removed and used by new landowners and city staff will negotiate “community benefits” which could include new parks, community centres and hospitals.

Feedback will be presented at a special planning committee meeting on Thurs., Sept. 14.

New provincial housing minister Paul Calandra has said he will prioritize the Ford government’s goal of building 1.5 million new homes across the province by 2031, which was one of a number of recommendations put forward in the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force report released in 2022.

“The task force’s report did not at the time contemplate the enormous amount of growth that the province was going to see, not only from outside of the country but also from other parts of Canada,” he said. “We are seeing tremendous growth in the province of Ontario. This is a very exciting and encouraging time for the people of this province. We need those 1.5 million homes.”

Housing development will be prioritized in areas along transit routes and where there is existing infrastructure, which could mean going ahead with construction on Greenbelt lands following a review.

When asked if the province needs to build on the Greenbelt to meet housing targets, Calandra said proposed development of the protected lands would go ahead if certain standards are met.

“Do we need to build on the Greenbelt? Well we’re moving forward with building on the Greenbelt if, as I said yesterday, after the facilitator has completed her work, it meets the standards that we’ll be setting with respect to the full Greenbelt review then we will move forward with that,” he said. “If it doesn’t, the land will be returned back to the Greenbelt.

“We have to build where the resources are.”

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