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Greenbelt developments

The chart looks like a mafia family.


Paywall free version https://archive.ph/8aqCB
Well, knock me over with a feather! SURPRISE!

From above article:

"In September, a company run by a prominent Ontario developer paid $80 million for two parcels of land that could not be developed. Totalling nearly 700 acres, they sit entirely within Ontario’s protected Greenbelt.

Weeks later, that investment by Michael Rice is set to pay off. The seemingly untouchable swath of fields and trees in King Township, just north of Toronto, is now on the Ontario government’s list of lands it wants to remove from the Greenbelt. If the change goes through, the properties Rice purchased in September could be ripe for development, and worth far more than $80 million.

Of the 15 areas slated to be removed from the Greenbelt, eight include properties purchased in the four years since the election of Doug Ford, who in 2018 was recorded telling a private audience he would “open a big chunk” of the protected area should he become premier, a Toronto Star/Narwhal investigation has found."
 
I think development land is going for well over $1m/acre in that area. Is Ford really going to gift half a billion dollars to a developer? On what planet should a developer be allowed to realize the gain from land being removed from protected environmental status?
 
So, what can Ontarians do to stop this?

There are some political nuclear options - businesses and buyers hate uncertainties that can upend their investments - and you can thank the current government for unlocking some legislative innovations that can be utilized for such effects.

AoD
 
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Just to be clear, as I understand it, we're talking 7000+ acres (worth in excess of $7B as development land) that was acquired by developers for ~$250M, many just recently. So we're talking a gift of $7B dollars for all these assorted developers.
That's exactly what it is, and i've said before I believe this has gone way beyond just doing it for "election contribution money". The fact that it's being done on such a massive scale, with the potential for further areas of the greenbelt being up for development even after this move shows that's there's a lot more going on. Some people may not like it when i say there's corruption, kickbacks, etc going on, but clearly there's more to all of this.

At the end of the day, every single Ontarian is getting shafted by piece of legislation this except for developers, their owners/families, and elected PC government officials (and/or their families).
 
To me, there is absolutely no chance there are not substantial financial inducements/consideration/corruption at play here. Post-politics million-dollar a year consulting jobs or board positions, etc.
 
Where there's smoke, there's fire: as i've said before, there is pure bred corruption, kickbacks, embezzlement, etc going on and the OPP may very well just be getting involved in this shortly to investigate if they determine it's warranted. The provincial integrity commissioner is fairly likely to get involved in this as well. This has gone far beyond politics, and i'm 99.9% certain there are government officials benefiting in this.

I think it's time to start monitoring Doug Ford and Steve Clark's phones to see if they start making any calls to the OPP commissioner to try and have them laying off the matter

 
Where there's smoke, there's fire: as i've said before, there is pure bred corruption, kickbacks, embezzlement, etc going on and the OPP may very well just be getting involved in this shortly to investigate if they determine it's warranted. The provincial integrity commissioner is fairly likely to get involved in this as well. This has gone far beyond politics, and i'm 99.9% certain there are government officials benefiting in this.

I think it's time to start monitoring Doug Ford and Steve Clark's phones to see if they start making any calls to the OPP commissioner to try and have them laying off the matter

leslie-nielsen-nothing-to-see-here.gif
 
Canada / Ontario has a pretty sophisticated governance regime and strong institutions designed precisely to deal with these issues. For what it is worth, if there is massive corruption I feel confident it will be identified and parties will be held accountable - but it is probably more likely this is internet noise. Even if these allegations are true - it is really separate from the debate about freeing up the greenbelt for development. Housing is a real crisis in the GTA. It would be interesting to do a large poll on this site to see who owns their own property and/or thinks it is feasible in the near future - the entry bar into housing is really, really high now - we feel it on a personal level. Our most recent stats can data showed that the GTA is still a magnet for newcomers - but we are losing people to other Canadian locations at an ever increasing rate - so it is there in the data and becoming and issue for the region in terms of economic attractiveness.

I appreciate there is a set of policy tools that could help get the supply necessary to start to manage the cost of housing - but we have been trying them for over a decade and it is not working - why would we think something will change? Further, developing some of the greenbelt does not equal sprawl - I find that frustratingly, purposefully misleading - many of the developments in the outer GTA are actually all duplexes, semis, row-houses, etc. The city can expand and still be equally dense. I find it telling that in my central Toronto neighborhood there are many signs against developing the greenbelt right beside signs objecting to the newest condo tower. Honestly - where are the units going to be built?
 
Canada / Ontario has a pretty sophisticated governance regime and strong institutions designed precisely to deal with these issues. For what it is worth, if there is massive corruption I feel confident it will be identified and parties will be held accountable - but it is probably more likely this is internet noise. Even if these allegations are true - it is really separate from the debate about freeing up the greenbelt for development. Housing is a real crisis in the GTA. It would be interesting to do a large poll on this site to see who owns their own property and/or thinks it is feasible in the near future - the entry bar into housing is really, really high now - we feel it on a personal level. Our most recent stats can data showed that the GTA is still a magnet for newcomers - but we are losing people to other Canadian locations at an ever increasing rate - so it is there in the data and becoming and issue for the region in terms of economic attractiveness.

I appreciate there is a set of policy tools that could help get the supply necessary to start to manage the cost of housing - but we have been trying them for over a decade and it is not working - why would we think something will change? Further, developing some of the greenbelt does not equal sprawl - I find that frustratingly, purposefully misleading - many of the developments in the outer GTA are actually all duplexes, semis, row-houses, etc. The city can expand and still be equally dense. I find it telling that in my central Toronto neighborhood there are many signs against developing the greenbelt right beside signs objecting to the newest condo tower. Honestly - where are the units going to be built?
I'm going to have to disagree with some of your takes here:

Regarding your point about the allegations of corruption being separate from the debate about freeing up the greenbelt for development, I believe these actually go hand in hand. If there are government and private interests who are colluding and benefiting from a scheme of giving up government protected land in exchange for personal benefits and specific promises, then there is a severe problem. Especially when you are doing so under the disillusioned and false premise that this is a "policy change that will help the housing crisis".

On your point that developing some of the greenbelt doesnt translate to sprawl, let's just use Milton as a prime example of how developing green pastures can actually lead to sprawl and severe infrastructure deficits. Milton used to be considered a far flung area of the GTA, but with the changes we've seen there due to Places to Grow Act along with the combined population growth of Peel Region, this is no longer really the case. Now we have a problem where the infrastructure in that "town" cant accommodate the population explosion, and as a result people are forced to commute into Toronto and the outer suburbs with their cars regularly for various reasons. This not only makes it a problem for Milton, but it also make it a problem for the GTA as it puts an uneven amount of pressure on Toronto and surrounding municipalities.

We havent even addressed the issues that communities like Milton face, but yet we want to repeat the same problems elsewhere? Sorry but we've been down this road before with clear case studies and it's a failed experiment.
 
Honestly - where are the units going to be built?

How about we start with the thousands of hectares of farmland already zoned for housing, known as the 'white belt' some of which is already serviced, and contiguous to urbanized areas, as oppose to the Greenbelt which is generally discontinuous to the existing urban environment and cannot be economically serviced by transit, by sidewalks by sewers etc etc. ?

Canada / Ontario has a pretty sophisticated governance regime and strong institutions designed precisely to deal with these issues. For what it is worth, if there is massive corruption I feel confident it will be identified and parties will be held accountable - but it is probably more likely this is internet noise.

There is no requirement for there to have been any illegal action for choices made to 'appear' corrupt and to be intellectually and morally unjustifiable.

It is perfectly legal for donors to give money to political parties and candidates up to to certain limits.

For a single developer, with an extended controlling shareholder family and several senior executives such a legal contribution could easily run to tens of thousands of dollars.

Of course they are not permitted to ask for a 'quid pro quo' for those funds; but assuming they don't tie those together in printed/electronic form or while otherwise being recorded...........they are perfectly within their lawful rights to make a donation and send their lobbyist over to Queen's Park two weeks later with their hand out.

Apart from that, there are all sorts of other ways in which interests can be brought to align........board appointments, introductions, philanthropic donations tied to employment of a spouse etc. (informally, of course).

I'm not making any specific allegations here. Just saying, the OPP isn't necessarily able to charge someone for doing something that isn't good policy, even if they recieved or were promised some not quite clear, possible future gain, and/or legal gain authorized by law.
 
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Of course they are not permitted to ask for a 'quid pro quo' for those funds; but assuming they don't tie those together in printed/electronic form or while otherwise being recorded...........they are perfectly within their lawful rights to make a donation and send their lobbyist over to Queen's Park two weeks later with their hand out.
And therein lies the challenge for the investigators. The adages of 'it doesn't pass the smell test', or 'where there's smoke there's fire' may well ring true, but unless the police can find probative evidence of wrongdoing, any investigation will be dead in the water. Even to search for physical or electronic records they need to convince a justice that they have reasonable grounds to believe they exist; they can't 'go fishing', and a lot of relationships at this level are done verbally.
 
The Feds are reportedly planning on potentially intervening in this Greenbelt fiasco. I generally don't like it when the federal government has to come in on provincial matters, but the Greenbelt is large and significant enough as a protected area that I'm of the opinion it should gain some degree of federal protection, or at the very least, increased federal attention. There is additional significance in this situation regarding the potential of corruption. While what is going around regarding the potential corruption situation could very much just be noise, the choice to open these very specific parcels of land up for development instead of further accelerating the development and intensifying the planned density of the remaining whitebelt lands (I say "further" because there are indeed recent changes to some of these lands) certainly should raise some eyebrows. Arbitrarily removing sections of the Greenbelt defeats the purpose of the Greenbelt, and that is not a precedent that should be set. Even if it is determined that these decisions were not influenced by corruption, this should still attract scrutiny.

If only there were other cities in Ontario located outside of the GTA/Greenbelt that could easily support the overflow of housing demand and benefit from increased provincial investment/attention...
 

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