Grimsby Citizens For Responsible Growth

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The $10 Million Waterfront Gamble: Part 4 – That’s Not My Letter!

Well, it’s been about 10 months since the last look at the waterfront Greenbelt land and future development of 502 Winston Road. Needless to say, quite a bit has transpired since. The conclusion in that December 2022 post was that an Auditor General’s report, IC investigation and/or more formal investigative process (RCMP) was needed over the whole Greenbelt process. That suggestion has now come to bear fruit.

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RCMP Launches Criminal Investigation Into The Province’s Greenbelt Scandal

Image Credit: Canadian Press/Fair Dealing

As was speculated in an earlier post, the RCMP have now officially gone from exploratory mode in the Greenbelt scandal, to a full-blown criminal investigation. The OPP handed the reins over the matter to the RCMP earlier due to “perceived conflicts” and it now looks like the RCMP findings and recent events has lead the Mounties to get invasive.

The RCMP stated they would be investigating “allegations associated to the (Greenbelt) decision” and will be handed by the “Sensitive and International Investigations Unit” of RCMP’s O Division (Ontario).

In response to the news, Premier Ford’s office released this statement, in part:

“We have zero tolerance for any wrongdoing and expect anyone involved in the decision-making about the Greenbelt lands to have followed the letter of the law,”

Given that statement, it should be interesting to see where the trail leads the RCMP. With some of the outlandish claims by the government, developers and lobbyists in either the Auditor General’s report, or that of the Integrity Commissioner, surely there will be some takedowns or people being squeezed to name names in return for reduced charges.

It is unknown how long the investigation will take, however given the gravity of the matter, the RCMP will be quite comprehensive in reviewing this matter and laying charges, as necessary.

A day late and a dollar short, Ford’s mea culpa moment of calling the Greenbelt swap a mistake with plans to reverse the changes clearly did not throw the Feds off the trail at all.

More to come.

Ford To Reverse Course On Greenbelt, Said He Broke A Promise

Photo Credit: The Environment Journal/Fair Trading

With the resignation of two Ministers, a possible RCMP criminal investigation and many skeletons waiting to come out of the closet, Premier Doug Ford today did what the public has been telling him to do from the beginning, reverse the Greenbelt “land swap” and build elsewhere.

At a press conference just down the QEW in Niagara Falls he said he was “very sorry” and that he was acting in “the best of intentions”. He stated:

“I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t touch the Greenbelt. I broke that promise. And for that, I’m very, very sorry. I pride myself on keeping our promises. It was a mistake to open the Greenbelt. It was a mistake to establish a process that moves too fast”

For someone who was defiant right up to recent days over the Greenbelt changes, to surrender as he has, shows that it likely feeling more than the public heat over the matter. The big question is whether the RCMP will buy this or will they move forward to investigate if there was any criminality in the matter. One way or another, there needs to be an independent inquiry into what really happened.

While this may close the book for many in the public on the scandal, there are still many tall-tales to be told… so watch out for the next post.

Steve Clark Resigns Over Growing Greenbelt Scandal, Mr. X Unmasked

Photo Credit: The Narwhal/Fair Dealing

With the developments (no pun intended) of the last few days, it seems the whole big Greenbelt heist is starting to become unraveled. Today’s announcement that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, has decided to step down from his position came somewhat as a surprise after his initial refusals, although the writing was clearly on the wall. He will remain on as an MPP.

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Motion Invites Oosterhoff To Regional Council To Talk On Bill 23

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff decided to rebuff the invitation last year from Town Council to make a guest appearance and answer questions on Bill 23 and the Greenbelt. It now seems that Regional Council wants to take its turn in having the MPP make an appearance before them to answer questions on the contentious “More Homes Built Faster Act”.

A resolution was passed at Thursday night’s Regional Council meeting to have Chair Bradley invite MPP Oosterhoff to their chambers to answer questions about Bill 23. While the original motion centered more around environmental concerns, it was simplified to the following:

“WHEREAS we recognize the need to problem-solve and create immediate solutions regarding the affordability of homes in the Niagara Region; we also recognize the importance of continuing the work to protect our environment as noted in Niagara’s Official Plan, approved by the Provincial Government and received November 4, 2022;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

1. That Regional Council DIRECT the Regional Chair to invite MPP Sam Oosterhoff to appear before Regional Council to speak to the legislative changes in Bill 23 and provide Regional Councillors the opportunity to ask questions of MPP Sam Oosterhoff regarding the contents of Bill 23.”

The motion passed with a healthy majority, with only Councillors Foster, Gale, Insinna, Junkin, Siscoe, Sorrento and Steele voting against it.

Regional Council also indicated the possibility of a workshop at a later date on Bill 23 based on Oosterhoff’s participation. With that, it should be interesting to watch if the MPP decides to show at Regional Council and talk about his government’s legislation or pulls another no-show.

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