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'Fed up playing little games': Ford puts Ont. Greenbelt developers on notice

Premier Doug Ford delivered a frank message to developers tasked with building housing in Ontario’s Greenbelt Thursday, warning he would not hesitate to return their properties to the protected the region.

“Test me out. Try me again. You’re going back into the Greenbelt,” Ford said while speaking to reporters at an unrelated news conference in Etobicoke, Ont.

“I don't care who you are. If you don't follow the rules, you don't build homes, you don't start getting shovels in the ground, guess what? You're done. You're gone,” the premier continued.

On Wednesday, Ford said he was starting the process of returning two parcels of land to the Greenbelt after learning owners quietly listed the land for sale to be used as a “business park” rather than housing.

“I did it with the other land the other day – which I fell off my chair when I heard it was up for sale for an industrial park,” he said.

“I’m fed up with playing little games.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford delivers remarks at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute in Toronto, on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Both properties combined, at 765 and 775 Kingston Road East in Ajax, Ont., were one of 15 sites chosen to be removed from the Greenbelt in 2022. At no time was the intention to sell disclosed to the government despite ongoing discussions, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said Wednesday.

In a report released earlier on Wednesday, Integrity commissioner J. David Wake found Housing Minister Steve Clark had contravened ethics rules in overseeing the land selection process back in 2022.

Holding the top job on the housing file, it was Clark’s responsibility to supervise the process – characterized by Wake as “chaotic and almost reckless."

The report outlined a “chaotic” decision making process, indicating Clark didn’t know which sites would be removed from the Greenbelt until he was briefed at the end of October, just before cabinet signed off on the choices.

The 166-page report also found Clark’s failure to do so led to “the private interests of certain developers being furthered improperly.” The integrity commissioner found Clark contravened two sections of the act, which cover conflicts of interest and the use of insider information.

Ford dodged questions Thursday surrounding Clark's future, while maintaining that his government would "get i it done," referencing the housing file.

“I have confidence in Minister Clark. The buck stops with me,” Ford said. "Some people may not like it, but we're gonna get it done." Top Stories

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