Following Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by Environmental Defence and EcoJustice to the Provincial government, they released a treasure trove of documents related to the Greenbelt fiasco. You can find the repository at this link here.
Beyond the apparent rush behind the scenes, among some of the interesting finds in the documents is government concerns over the small cluster of properties at Cline Road in Grimsby.
The only request for Greenbelt removal in that area from the documents was for 2.5 hectares, as follows:
MMAH officials in a document called “CoS Briefing Oct 19”, appeared concerned that removing just those properties would create a “hole in the donut” in the Greenbelt and suggested to “snap it to the road”.
The October 21, 2022 “CoS” (Chief of Staff) briefing notes further confirm that the MMAH staff took that action and went with more than the “OG” (original) request at Cline Road:
With concerns over optics, by “snap[ping] it to the road” it grew the original amount of Greenbelt to be removed at Cline Road from 6.17 acres to 73.45 acres, resulting in the removal as below.
That’s nearly a twelve-fold increase in the amount of land that was requested to be removed at Cline Road.
The so-called 2015/2016 “municipal request” from the Town does not even get a mention from the Province as rationale for the expansion. That request called for a much larger area to be removed from the Greenbelt, all the way east to Casablanca and west to the border with Hamilton.
The original 6-acre request from the landowners cited planning rationale for the removal, however the government seems to have nothing to offer other than the “hole in the donut” justification why they expanded the Greenbelt removal at Cline to over 70 acres.