QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the announcement that the federal government is launching a study to assess the environmental impacts of the Premier’s Greenbelt development plan on Rouge National Urban Park.

“I am glad to hear that the federal government is taking the badly needed step to investigate the impact of the Premier’s Greenbelt sprawl agenda on Rouge National Urban Park.

The Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve is a vital part of Ontario’s Greenbelt. It protects some of the most fertile farmland in Canada. The wetlands, rivers, forests and habitats that surround it are a biodiversity anchor for the entire Rouge area.

It deserved preservation when the Greenbelt was established in 2005, and it deserves protection today.

Ontario’s Greenbelt – all of it – is ours to protect. And there is so much worth protecting.

Dozens of species at risk and their ecologically sensitive habitats.

Wetlands that clean our drinking water and soak up stormwater runoff, protecting us from floods.

Some of the best farmland in the world, a key contributor to Ontario’s agricultural and economic prosperity.

You can’t pick up a parcel of protected land and move it hundreds of kilometres away. You can’t carve out parcels of the Greenbelt and expect the surrounding areas to be unaffected.

The government would know this had they taken the time to fully understand the impacts of their actions – instead of steamrolling ahead with a plan that’s both reckless and unnecessary.

Their repeated claims that these lands are needed for housing have been comprehensively debunked by municipal leaders, housing experts and the government’s own housing task force.

The housing crisis is not caused by a shortage of land. End of story.

We need cooperation from all levels of government to protect the Greenbelt in its entirety – for present and future generations – and to deliver solutions that will build affordable homes in communities where people want to live.”

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