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Durham activists call to repeal greenbelt bills after land returned

The lands in the hamlet of Cherrywood in Pickering are being returned to the Greenbelt classification, Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe announced yesterday.

Ontario Premier Ford had announced the reversal of the provincial government’s plan to open up the Greenbelt lands for housing development.

“First and foremost, I want to emphasize that the City of Pickering will abide by the wishes of the provincial government, as we have consistently demonstrated throughout. The government’s decisions reflect the broader interests of our province and its people, and we respect the direction it has chosen to take in this matter,” said Mayor Ashe.

He, however, said: “It’s essential to acknowledge that we are still facing a nationwide housing crisis, which is particularly acute here in the Greater Toronto Area. And as such, Pickering remains committed to addressing these challenges by providing a broad and diverse array of housing choices while ensuring development occurs in a responsible, systematic, and sustainable manner.”

Repeal Bill 23 and 39

Meanwhile, Stop Sprawl Durham(SSD), which has been actively advocating the return of greenbelt lands, yesterday claimed victory, but said it will continue the fight.

“We won! The people of Durham Region won. Let this be a shining example of the power of civic action and active participation in your community. We would like to thank every single person who came to rallies, made calls, signed petitions, and emailed their MPP. Dedicated journalists kept the heat on this issue when it mattered, and we are grateful for their hard work,” said an SSD statement issued yesterday.

“We call on the Ontario government to fully repeal Bill 23 and 39, and reinstate the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve (Drap) and the easements. Such an egregious assault on Ontario’s protected areas and fertile food lands cannot be allowed to happen again,” it said.

It said Stop Sprawl Durham will continue to advocate for complete communities with a range of housing types within our existing urban boundaries. “We will push our leaders to advance affordable housing options while protecting natural heritage and agricultural systems, investing in frequent transit, creating neighbourhoods that are safe for walking and cycling, and helping us all reduce our carbon footprints.”

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