NewsNow E-Edition January 26, 2023

Opinion: No dice on Greenbelt release

Two parcels of Grimsby land could be released from Greenbelt protection

Who needs the G5?

They’re gone and we still have a lot to deal with, so let’s jump in.

First, and I am not debating the opinions of any letter writers. I have my say, you get yours, all good by me. That noted, I needed to clarify some things and expand on others.

Going back to Oct. 27’s edition, I noted my surprise – and that of many – that Michelle Seaborn won the Grimsby regional councillor race. More power to her. She won fair and square. If she does half as good a job for Grimsby as Wayne Fertich did, the municipality will be fine.

If any of your dealings with Seaborn have been positive, great. Glad things worked out. As for mine, I’m confirming with my lawyer what I can say about our past dealings as that is now the care with which I deal with Grimsby’s new regional official. So, more on that later once I get clarification.

Absolutely none of that is as significant as either the students-being-used-as-pawns situation or Doug Ford’s government proposing to flip protected Greenbelt lands to allow for high-density housing.

Again, I don’t want to belabour anything from last week, but some good points were made in several email and phone discussions – and I really appreciate the time everyone took to call or write. Thanks.

When dealing with such a multi-prong topic as a potential strike which would close schools, it is easy to get off the core points.

Last week, my core point was – no matter what – children should not miss any class time while contract issues are negotiated.

The union was informed early last week the notwithstanding clause from Section 33 of the Charter of Rights would be implemented if they went on strike. They went on strike. Ford implemented it.

My agreement was not based on “Yay, their right to strike was taken away”, as some interpreted it.

I was simply relieved students would not see further disruption by anything other than a COVID situation – which could arise again this winter.

A couple of readers noted the hypocrisy of Ford’s government squeezing workers financially, while rolling out the monetary red carpet for some MPPs with pay increases. I totally agree. If you are going to tell someone to tighten the budgetary belt, you better be doing on your end, too. That aspect is a bad look for Ford, for sure.

The bottom line is, but Ford’s government and union officials need to be realistic in their demands and get a deal done – it’s that simple. Another suspect move by Ford is using a Friday – with a CUPE strike unfolding – as a day to roll out a proposed Greenbelt land flip to allow development on 7,400 acres of land.

One can pretty much tell when these important notices come out whether or not the offending government actually believes in it what they are doing or if the whole thing stinks.

The only thing which would have made this worse was if it was announced on a Friday of a long weekend.

That said, this move stinks. I am not buying for one second it will help create “affordable”housing. No developer is going to discount lakefront to make it affordable. Putting municipalities in a vise by reducing development charge possibilities adds insult to injury as they will have to pay for major infrastructure they don’t even want.

Think about some of the clay, rock and flooded properties above the escarpment which ARE in the Greenbelt. Why flip two quality land parcels? And yes, I know there are no services about the escarpment, but whose to say there couldn’t be. The unwrapping of Greenbelt gifts, combined with all the developer friendly planning changes is a toxic recipe.

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