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  • The Premier’s Greenbelt giveaway is a biodiversity nightmare

GUELPH — MPP for Guelph Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to a new report showing that development of the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve (DRAP) will compromise the ecological integrity of the neighbouring Rouge National Urban Park.

The Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve is a cornerstone of Ontario’s Greenbelt, and one of the most ecologically sensitive areas in Ontario. Its wetlands, rivers, forests and wildlife habitats are a biodiversity anchor for the entire Rouge area.

It’s not surprising, then, to learn that the Premier’s plan to pave over 4,700 acres of once-protected land will compromise a vital wildlife corridor that at-risk species rely on to move between Rouge Park and the DRAP.

Yet this is the same land that the Premier calls a field of weeds – that he plans to carve out of the Greenbelt to line the pockets of a handful of wealthy, well-connected land speculators.

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

The DRAP deserved protection when the Greenbelt was established in 2005, and it deserves protection today.

The government’s 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.

I call on the government to abandon his costly sprawl-at-all-costs agenda and commit to building homes we can actually afford in connected communities to live, work and play.

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