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Ford says it did not tell developers about Green Belt opening

Premier Doug Ford says he is "certain" no one within his government warned developers about plans to open up a portion of previously protected land within Ontario's greenbelt.

Ford made the comment to reporters during a news conference in London on Friday, just two days after Ontario's integrity commissioner confirmed his office would investigate whether Housing Minister Steve Clark gave developers advance notice of the changes.

The investigation comes after several media outlets reported that large developers had purchased Greenbelt land since the Progressive Conservative government was first elected in 2018, with the most recent transaction taking place in September.

I'm sure nobody warned anybody. But at the end of the day we will have 300,000 people coming here, to Ontario, and over a 10-year period we will have 3 million. He wants to clarify a couple of points, there is a false belief that this is government land and it is not government land. It is land owned by private individuals who have the right to sell to whomever they want. And it's also not like they are in the middle of a swamp or something, they adjoin existing communities. So you have a full service community there on one side of the road with hundreds, if not thousands of homes, and on the other side of the road you have an empty field. We have people coming here. We need to build homes and we're going to build them, we're going to build the 1.5 million homes we need over the next 10 years.

The Ford government issued new regulations last month that will remove 7,400 acres from the protected Greenbelt, effectively opening that land for housing for the first time.

At the same time, the government is adding 9,400 acres in Greenbelt land elsewhere.

Ford has insisted that the Greenbelt changes are necessary for the province to meet its goal of building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade.

However, opposition parties at Queen's Park have suggested the measure will only enrich developers.

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