Bill 23 Protest In Owen Sound This Afternoon

Bill 23 Protest In Owen Sound This Afternoon

Updated: 1 month, 29 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes, 40 seconds ago

A protest against the Ontario Progressive Conservative government’s recently passed Bill-23, the More Homes Built Faster Act is set to be held this afternoon in Owen Sound.

It had been scheduled for January 19th, but was delayed due to bad weather.

A release says Ontario Green Party leader and MPP for Guelph, Mike Schreiner, is expected to join local environmental advocates who oppose Bill 23 and its associated policies.

Organizer Danielle Valiquette says in a statement, “Ford refuses to listen to the experts, and instead is bulldozing over Ontario’s decreasing farmland and wetlands allowing a handful of land speculators to profit at the rest of Ontario’s expense.”

Meanwhile, last week, Schreiner, along with Ontario NDP Leadership candidate and MPP for Davenport Marit Stiles, as well as Ontario Interim Liberal and MPP for Ottawa South, John Fraser, to ask the Auditor General to assess financial and environmental impacts of Greenbelt land development.

The protest is planned for Tuesday January 31st from 4 PM to 5 PM starting at the Gitche Namewikwedong Bridge (10th Street Bridge) in Owen Sound.

Last year, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority sent a letter to the Premier’s office and relevant ministries outlining the issues it had with the Act. They expressed concern that legislative changes would negatively impact rural Ontario, possibly increase risk to life and property for residents, increase costs and potentially delay approval timelines.

Some local municipalities also sent letters outlining their concerns, as well as the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Saugeen Shores’ letter sent last fall, said a one-size-fits-all approach wouldn’t work, and added, waiving development charges would directly affect the town’s ability to build and maintain infrastructure.
Owen Sound sent a letter expressing concern over the lack of adequate time allotted for consultation with municipalities.

On December 21st, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released a decision amending the Greenbelt Area boundary to remove 15 areas of land from the Greenbelt and add 13 new Urban River Valley areas and lands in the Paris Galt Moraine in Wellington County.

It said, “The area of the proposed Paris Galt Moraine lands is in addition to these Urban River Valley areas, totaling 9,400 acres for an overall expansion to the Greenbelt of approximately 2000 acres. The total lands added are greater than or equal to the area of the lands removed from the Greenbelt Plan under this decision.”

The ministry claims the change will result in the construction of approximately 50,000 or more new homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Byers was a guest on the Open Line show on Bayshore Broadcasting’s AM 560CFOS on December 29th. He shared his thoughts on the Greenbelt with a caller, saying there are three elements that make him comfortable with that aspect of the bill, explaining, “Number one, the properties associated with— that are being put to use through the Greenbelt, are very close to urban areas now, many have servicing and a number were requested by municipalities to be included in the housing plan,” said Byers.

He continued, “Point number two, it’s 1/300th of the Greenbelt. Two million acres in the Greenbelt, 7,400 acres here, that’s 0.3 per cent. Very small, and number three, we added 9,400 acres to the Greenbelt, so effectively keeping it whole or increasing it slightly.”

Bill 23 received royal assent on November 28th, 2022.