Province delays greenbelt legislation for more input
The Hamilton Spectator December 9, 2004
The province has postponed passing its greenbelt protection legislation
to allow for more community consultation.
The delay was praised by agricultural groups who lobbied the government
to delay passing the controversial legislation as originally planned
by Dec. 16. Stakeholders will now have until March 9 to express their
thoughts on the plan.
"We've been pushing ... the government to slow down and take a second
look," said Debbie Zimmerman, chair of the Regional Niagara Agricultural
"I think this is a very good step."
Agricultural groups and local politicians have warned the greenbelt
will have a significant impact on Niagara's farms and municipalities.
While most support the plan, they say it could create added pressures
on agriculture, reduce municipal services and dramatically increase
municipal property taxes if implemented incorrectly.
Hamilton council also asked the province to delay drawing the greenbelt
boundary until the city has a chance to map out local plans for urban
Stoney Creek-Grimsby MPP Jennifer Mossop said the government's decision
to postpone the legislation shows it wants to make the plan work.
Community hearings will likely be held in January.
Mossop said the extension was mainly a "comfort measure." While many
groups expressed concern over the original deadline, Mossop said that
was only the date to pass legislation allowing the government to proceed
with the plan. The final details wouldn't have been cemented for another
The Grape Growers of Ontario had called for a six months delay, but
board vice-chair Bill George said his group is still pleased by the
"We'll take what we can get."
The deadline for submissions on the draft greenbelt plan was also extended,
to Dec. 20 from Dec. 12.