Hamilton MPP Donna Skelly says ‘scare tactics’ being used to fight expanding city limits


A Progressive Conservative (PC) Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Hamilton says people who say the provincial government is tarring farmland are using “scare tactics” to oppose the expansion of the city’s urban boundaries. city ​​and the withdrawal by the province of certain parts of the Green Belt.

“We’ve been talking about developing land set aside for this years ago…it’s not being cultivated,” Donna Skelly, PC MP for Flamborough—Glanbrook, told CBC Hamilton.

Skelly’s comments come days after the PC government announced late Nov. 4 that it was ordering Hamilton to expand its urban boundaries by 2,200 hectares.

Skelly says the expansion is necessary to accommodate projected growth over the next 30 years, citing the federal government’s plan to see 500,000 immigrants come to Canada a year by 2025.

“Hamilton needs these people…but they’re not coming here if they don’t have a place to live,” she said.

“None of the land we’re talking about is for mansions, we’re talking about townhomes and multiplex homes and densification around transit routes. We’re doing everything we can to address the housing crisis.”

“If you’re sitting in a detached house and you really believe the only solution is densification…then sell your house and move into one of these towers,” said MP Donna Skelly. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Last year, the city considered expanding its boundaries by 1,310 hectares before the city council voted 13-3 in November 2021 not to touch it. Residents had overwhelmingly supported keeping the current border – results of a city mail poll saw 16,636 people vote to keep the border and just 1,088 vote to expand it.

The province’s expansion plan includes greater density in parts of the city, but also development on most of the city’s “white belt” lands, which lie between the current boundary and the greenery.

That also includes Elfrida – which has some of the most beautiful and productive farmland in the province, according to Drew Spoelstra, a farmer from Binbrook, Ont., and vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

“We need to make sure farmers can grow their businesses and we can continue to produce food at home,” Spoelstra told CBC Radio. Subway morning.

“Some of the best land we have”

The province also said it plans to remove about 769 hectares of land in Hamilton and Niagara from the Greenbelt, although Ford has previously said it will not touch that land.

“We’re looking at lands that should never have been part of the Greenbelt… lands that are ready for development,” Skelly said. “That’s what you should do.”

Skelly said every hectare taken out of the Greenbelt for growth will be replaced by twice as much — and she says that’s land that should actually be in the Greenbelt.

Subway morning8:45Ontario farmer denounces plans to develop parts of Greenbelt

Drew Spoelstra is a dairy and grain farmer and vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

This compromise is not good enough for Spoelstra.

“The land that could be removed here from the Greenbelt is some of the best land we have here in Hamilton,” he said.

“The agricultural value of this land [being added into the Greenbelt] is not as significant as some of the land that is proposed to be removed.”

Councilors should sell their homes: Skelly

While the Hamilton-based West End Home Builders’ Association previously said in a statement that it “fully supports” the province’s recent announcements, many city councilors have spoken out against them.

Ward 1 County Maureen Wilson said Subway morning there are service lots available within the boundaries that are primarily accessible by transit and could be used instead.

“As a post-industrial city, we have large parcels of vacant and unproductive properties that we want to put into use,” she said.

She said external growth has largely fueled the climate crisis and the infrastructure deficit.

A crowd of people standing, cheering and holding signs.
Several organizations are planning another rally this Sunday near Dundurn Castle. (Graham Perry/CBC)

Skelly said a lot of people who already live in Hamilton don’t want to stay near the towers.

She also said that the city’s vacant buildings would not be enough to house people and that the province’s plan was better than that proposed by critics.

“I’d like to ask members of council, if you’re sitting in a detached house and you really believe that the only solution is intensification and high-rise buildings downtown, then sell your house and move into the one of those towers,” she said.

“But they’re not. They live in single-family homes and are angry that we’re building townhouses…for other people to fulfill their dreams of homeownership.”

While the boundary expansion is a provincial decree, some councilors have already offered ways to resist.

Ward 8 County. John-Paul Danko recently said the plan can only go forward if the city serves it.

“I see no reason why council would approve maintenance funding for any of these grounds,” he wrote on Twitter.

Some citizens also continue to fight. Local organizations Environment Hamilton and Stop Sprawl HamOnt are holding a rally on Sunday at 11 a.m. along York Boulevard near Dundurn Castle.

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