The Government of Ontario criticized the use of zoning orders for apartment development

The Ontario government is being criticized for its approval of two controversial zoning orders that will facilitate the construction of two condominiums consisting of 40,000 units.

Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) were approved late on Thursday and allow the province to circumvent local government approval processes. They relate to two separate condominium communities – one in Markham and the other just off Highway 407 in Richmond Hill.

While the government says the MZOs will facilitate huge development projects in the York region, neighbors and city officials are concerned that the planned infrastructure – including schools and hospitals – will not be able to support the balloon population.

Graham Churchill, executive director of the community group, A Better Richmond Hill, says the planned development “is going to ruin the York region.”

He says several calls for Prime Minister Doug Ford not to move forward with developments in their current form have all fallen on deaf ears.

“Reconsider this Doug. This is insane,” Churchill said Friday.

“What you’re doing is not good for Toronto, it’s not good for GTA, it’s going to ruin us financially.”

Graham Churchill, CEO of A Better Richmond Hill, says several calls for Prime Minister Doug Ford not to move forward with developments in their current form have all fallen on deaf ears. (CBC)

Churchill has accused the Ford government of making “a secret deal” with developers, effectively doubling the density of the area and cutting jobs.

“So where the York region originally had a plan for two to one of housing for jobs, it’s now going to be 10 to one. It’s bad for the region, but it’s bad for Toronto. And the reason it’s bad for Toronto is because people here do not want a job. “

If development goes ahead, Churchill says it will make the area the closest place in the Western world and the second closest in the entire world.

“The closest place in the world today is the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, which was made famous by the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The next closest place is Mong Kok in Hong Kong. Mong Kok has a density of about 150,000 people per square kilometer. This center will have 175,000, “he said.

“It will be six times closer than downtown Toronto.”

What this will do is because they are not making this an employment zone, everyone who lives here will have to leave to get to work.– Graham Churchill, CEO, A Better Richmond Hill

The proposed developments are called transit-oriented communities (TOCs) and will be located close to transit hubs planned for the York region. Across the two buildings there will be 67 high-rise buildings, about 80 storeys high.

But Churchill says there will not be enough businesses and jobs for people.

“What this will do is because they are not making this an employment zone, everyone who lives here will have to leave to get to work,” he said.

“Now, where are they going? Well, they either want to get into their cars, which just want to get stuck on all the roads, or they’re going on the subway going south, which already has capacity south of Sheppard, which is a problem, because now no one in Toronto will be able to get seats in the subway. “

Richmond Hill City Councilman Tom Muench says he is “sorry” for what the government has done, adding that “more cooperation and discussion was needed.” (CBC)

According to the Auditor General, the government has used the fast-track method for MZOs 44 times in a two-year period. Before this period, they were used about once a year.

Richmond Hill City Councilman Tom Muench says he is “sorry” for what the government has done, adding that “more cooperation and discussion was needed.”

“There was not full transparency and openness and discussion with society, with people like myself, and there were other options that were not even considered,” he said.

“I wish I had a little more commitment as opposed to doing it on a Thursday night for a long weekend.”

A spokesman for Ford says with 40,000 new units, this will add almost as many homes in one deal as were built in recent years.

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