Greenbelt Protected Land Motion at Council

I remain concerned that Richmond Hill Council has passed a motion that I am quite convinced from the council comments during the Council meeting, and wording in the motion itself, will ultimately lead Council to ask the provincial government to allow housing development on protected lands in the Oak Ridges Moraine. 
 
There have been a couple motions passed by this Council where I have interpreted similar intents, and I have consistently voted against such motions. I remain firm in my understanding and belief that allowing development on these Oak Ridges Moraine protected lands is bad environmental policy, bad fiscal policy, and it represents a significant lack of visionary thinking by Council on behalf of the residents of Richmond Hill. The lands in question are protected for a number of reasons and removing these protections is not good for the community.
 
I have sent the following letter to Premier Ford to confirm his government’s commitment that removal of protection for these Oak Ridges Moraine lands in Richmond Hill will not be allowed by the province. To date I have received a response from the Premiere’s Office that The Minister of Municpal Affairs and Housing will respond. I look forward to Minister Steve Clark’s response. 
 
I would expect, the Ontario Government to remain consistent in its position that these lands should remain protected, We are in the midst of an Official Plan review in Richmond Hill and spending time, money, and energy studying opening up the Greenbelt when we know the answer is “no” regardless of how many times we ask it, is, in my view an inefficient use of our staff resources.
 
To read a good article from the Liberal Newspaper on this issue visit 
 
Dear Premier Ford,
I continue to appreciate your firm and consistent stand that no lands that are currently protected under the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine legislation will be allowed further development permissions and/or conversions to a Settlement designation. I also appreciate you have initiated a process whereby your government is looking for ways to expand this protected area, not reduce it.
 
As you likely know, there was a recent motion passed by Richmond Hill Council to direct our planning staff to study an area (approximately 500 acres) in the north east corner of our municipality currently designated as protected, primarily “Countryside” designated lands. I believe that a good part of the intent of this Council motion is to ask your government to ultimately allow removal of protection, allow conversion of some or all of these lands to settlement lands, and eventually allow for houses to be built on those currently protected lands.
 
I have heard you say many times that removing lands from protection will not under any circumstances happen under your leadership. Given this passed Council motion I would ask you to confirm that your government will remain firm in its commitment to disallow this type of conversion in Richmond Hill’s protected Oak Ridges Moraine. I would ask that you once again let me and the constituents of Richmond Hill know your thoughts on this question.
 
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill