Carving up the Greenbelt is…

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Carving up the Greenbelt is not a Solution to Provide Affordable Housing to Ontarians

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the plans within Bill 23 to destroy large sections of the Greenbelt in exchange for other land.

The purpose of a Greenbelt is to provide access to greenspace to citizens and to constrain inefficient growth while also providing ecological services to the population. The extraction of almost 7500 acres from the Greenbelt in "exchange" for other land area is a theft from the citizens of the province and a unjustifiable gift to homebuilders that will in no way solve the affordability and access problems associated with the unsustainable, federally mandated immigration targets.

The exchange of these Greenbelt lands damages the integrity of the Greenbelt as a connected ecological area and undermines its ability to provide ecological services to the population, meaning that those services such as water filtration and flood mitigation will have to be paid for through manmade infrastructure thus costing taxpayers twice. At the same time, building on the Greenbelt areas creates high cost and low tax revenue areas that will have to receive subsidized services by those in the urban areas, especially given the loss of development charges imposed by other aspects of Bill 23. The construction done there will also not provide affordable housing near the urban centers where it is needed, it is merely providing access to high value property for low density house builders. The whole idea that that building on the Greenbelt can in any way increase the number of housing units is a falsehood being pushed to the population of Ontario.

Further to the immediate damage done to the Greenbelt, allowing its borders to be changed at all will invite land speculation and further lobbying by the low density house builders that will then create further destruction of the Greenbelt, hastening its breakdown all the while continuing to cost urban taxpayers more and more, while failing to deliver affordable housing units where they are required.

I encourage this government to serve the population of the province by providing lower cost, high density housing units near urban centers instead of opening the Greenbelt to builders promoting low density units that actually increase the costs to taxpayers. This bill and the provisions around damaging the Greenbelt only serves the low density house building industry.