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Opposition calls for investigation into Ford government plans

Ontario's three opposition leaders co-signed a letter asking Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk to conduct a value-for-money audit and environmental impact assessment of the Ford government's decision to open up Greenbelt lands for development.

"Given the strong likelihood of negative impacts on the environment, we are asking your office to investigate the environmental impact of the removal of these Greenbelt lands on agricultural and natural systems," says the letter signed by incoming NDP Leader Marit Stiles, Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

"In addition, we are calling for a value-for-money audit that will investigate how much public equity has been transferred to landowners and whether these land transactions are in the public interest."

Premier Doug Ford was asked by reporters this morning about the opposition leaders' request for an investigation:

I have been very transparent and at the end of the day what we need is more housing, we are going to have close to 300,000 people in the next year or two coming into the province. But in the greater Toronto area, talking to the mayor, it will be close to 800,000 people by 2050, so we have to keep building houses.

Late last year, the Ford government revealed that 7,400 acres of land would be removed from the Greenbelt and converted into housing developments. The government is also proposing to add 9,400 acres to different areas, making the overall Greenbelt footprint 2,000 acres larger.

The problem is that some developers bought acres of existing Greenbelt land in September, weeks before the government announced its plan to open that property for development.

The Ford government has previously denied any wrongdoing on the issue and says the move to allow development is necessary to reach its goal of building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.

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