Greenbelt Special Edition


Map courtesy of CBC Hamilton

Provincial decisions have resulted in 1,900 acres of Prime 1, 2, and 3 farmland - including tender fruit land - being removed from the Greenbelt Plan in Hamilton. At 1,800 acres, the Book Road parcel (area #1 in the map above) is the largest removal section in Hamilton and the second largest overall. The Auditor General’s report has made it clear that the Provincial plan to carve up the Greenbelt did not follow a prescribed process and was developer-driven. The matter has now been referred to the RCMP for investigation.

On August 18, 2023, Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to request that the Province of Ontario abandon its plan to develop the Greenbelt and that all lands within the City of Hamilton removed from the Greenbelt be reinstated.

You can be involved by attending the following two city-hosted Greenbelt meetings. To hear from Hamilton residents, the City has scheduled an Open House and a Special Meeting of the City’s Planning Committee to receive feedback on community priorities when engaging with the Provincial Land and Development Facilitator.

Both meetings will be at the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre which has ample parking to the rear via Queen Street and is accessible via several HSR bus routes.

Open House,

When: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre, Peller Hall, 357 Wilson Street East, Ancaster
There will be a staff presentation followed by a moderated Q&A session beginning at 7 pm. You are not required to register to attend.

Special Meeting of Planning Committee

When: Thursday, September 14, 2023 beginning at 6:30 pm
Where: Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre, Peller Hall, 357 Wilson Street East, Ancaster

To submit written comments, submit a pre-recorded video with comments or pre-register to make oral submissions, please contact the Legislative Coordinator, Planning Committee, City of Hamilton, 71 Main Street West, 1st Floor, Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y5 or by email [email protected] 


via X

Hamilton’s Mayor and Council are united in their conviction that the city can meet its housing targets without building on either the Greenbelt or the provincially mandated urban expansion areas. Hamilton has, in fact, already reached 86% of our annual target for housing unit approvals, and all of them are within the former urban boundary.

Thanks to Ward 8 Councillor John-Paul Danko, Chair of the Planning Committee, for doing the math. Remember that approvals are just the first step. Developers need to commit to building rather than sitting on those approvals.

Screengrab from the Toronto Star

Finally, Ontarians are left wondering if the Greenbelt scandal is only the tip of the iceberg and if mandated urban expansions should be called into question as well. These and other Provincial decisions are called into question by David Crombie and Anne Golden in this Toronto Star editorial:

As the auditor general noted, it didn’t start with the Greenbelt. Since July 2022 the Municipal Affairs and Housing Ministry has made a host of land-use policy changes with little to no public input. When people objected, the Ford government ignored them. Ford’s proposals damage the way we live, work and travel in southern Ontario. They include:

  • Expanded use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) to ram through development without public input.

  • Legislative changes made through Bill 23 (for example, dramatically stripping the powers of Conservation Authorities and making taxpayers pay for significant development-related costs instead of the developers).

  • Leaving communities and regions with little say about their own future by eliminating the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and upper-tier official plans.

  • Eliminating density targets for new development which will allow sprawl and the loss of natural areas and farmland, already disappearing by more than 300 acres every day.

  • Taking away cities’ planning decision-making powers.

  • Encouraging sprawl by forcing cities and towns to significantly expand their urban boundaries to include lands not needed for growth or to meet provincial housing targets.

  • Gutting Ontario’s Wetland Evaluation System so badly that conservation authorities estimate that more than 80 per cent of the wetlands will lose protection.


General example of the cost of sprawl to taxpayers

Note: the illustration above is not Hamilton specific and serves as a general illustration only. It represents a small sampling of the the kinds of amenities and services paid for by taxpayers in suburban vs. urban settings.

There is ample evidence that the cost of urban sprawl is borne by the taxpayer. Even if initial installations are partially paid for by developers, the lifetime cost to install, maintain, repair, and replace infrastructure built on farmland as it ages and fails, falls to taxpayers in the long run. The City of Ottawa commissioned a report that found that “it now costs the City of Ottawa $465 per person each year to serve new low-density homes built on undeveloped land, over and above what it receives from property taxes and water bills.

On the other hand, high-density infill development, such as apartment buildings, pays for themselves and contributes an extra $606 per capita to the City each year.


Thanks, everyone, for your continued advocacy for our community and for reaching out to our office with thoughts and suggestions. Share this or subscribe at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). Please enjoy the final days of summer and watch out for our regular newsletter featuring news from Ward 12, coming very shortly. See you all at the Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre for the Greenbelt meetings on Wednesday, September 6 and Thursday, September 14.