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Rally organizers seek repeal of Bill 23

‘Keep the Greenbelt Promise Rally’ at covered bridge Sunday at 11 a.m.
Houses under construction.

In light of a 2018 promise to protect the greenbelt, rallies throughout the province this weekend, including Guelph, will call for the provincial government to repeal Bill 23.

Dubbed “Keep the Greenbelt Promise Rally,” the Guelph event will see participants gather at the covered bridge and Boathouse Tea Room parking lot on Gordon Street at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Among other things, the More Homes Built Faster Act will see 7,400 acres of land removed from the protected greenbelt, with about the same added back elsewhere, including about 7,000 acres in the Town of Erin between the hamlets of Ospringe and Brisbane made up mainly of farms and agricultural business.

“The Guelph rally will focus on the greenbelt as the failure to protect this environmentally protected area symbolizes the (Premier Doug) Ford government’s willingness to put private interests ahead of the things that benefit us all: good planning, protected farmland and natural ecosystems, preserving purpose-built rentals, and safeguarding our heritage and conservation areas for future generations,” a news release states. 

“During this time of climate change and high inflation, we need our governments to prioritize affordable housing while protecting the environment. The current legislative changes do neither.”

Bill 23 was formally approved on Monday, though aspects regarding the greenbelt and others are in an extended public commenting period.

Speakers will include MPP Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party, and city councillor Phil Allt. 

Event organizers encourage residents to comment on proposed greenbelt changes on the Environmental Registry of Ontario ERO 019-6216 by Sunday and proposed changes to the Ontario Heritage Act ERO 019-6196 by Dec. 9.