BREAKING | Developers tied to housing ministry 'favoured' in Greenbelt decision: auditor general


Bonnie Lysysk - Canadian Press - Frank Gunn

Ontario's auditor general says the province's decision to open up the protected Greenbelt to housing construction ``favoured'' developers with connections to the housing minister's chief of staff.
     
Bonnie Lysyk says the Ontario government also failed to consider the environmental, agricultural and financial risks and impacts of the move in 2022 to remove some lands while adding others to the protected Greenbelt.
     
She says the owners of the 15 land sites removed from the Greenbelt could see an $8.3 billion increase to the value of those lands, and that 14 of those sites were ``brought to the exercise'' by the housing minister's chief of staff.
     
Lysyk launched a value-for-money probe in January after a joint request from all three opposition leaders.
     
Media reports have suggested that some prominent developers who are Progressive Conservative donors bought Greenbelt land in the last few years despite the province's previous pronouncements it wouldn't be developed.
     
Premier Doug Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark have both denied tipping off developers ahead of the public announcement last year that the government would remove land from 15 different Greenbelt areas so that 50,000 homes can be built.