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Hamilton communities voice how they feel about Greenbelt development

Premier Doug Ford didn’t attend a recent planning meeting for Ontario’s Greenbelt development where Hamiltonians voiced their opinion on his decision.

Ontario’s Greenbelt protects two million acres of land to provide clean water, fresh food and outdoor recreational activities.

Hundreds of Hamiltonians attended the meeting online and in person at the Ancaster fairgrounds on Thursday evening (Sept. 14).

“I have been pretty clear from the very start that we should not be developing the Greenbelt, we are holding this special meeting of the planning committee so that the voices of Hamilton can be heard,” Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath said.

The provincial government has plans to develop houses on the Greenbelt to alleviate the housing crisis. According to CBC News, Ford said he wants to see 50,000 homes built on the Greenbelt.

The land is a part of the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat Peoples.

Donna Silversmith, who lives on the Six Nations reserve, said she came to the meeting to create good neighbourhood relationships.

“We have our own housing crisis on Six Nations reserve,” Silversmith said. “We understand when it comes to priority housing and the needs. I have grave concerns about housing when it doesn’t accommodate people who are low income.”

Standing beside her, fellow Six Nations resident Jacqueline House talked about her concerns with the development.

“Underneath all that is happening here there are treaty obligations that were put in place by your forefathers, and our forefathers,” House said. “I would like to see those treaty responsibilities be followed so that we can have that mutual respect and understanding while living in harmony on the land.”

Thirty more citizens from the Hamilton area spoke to the council about their concerns for the future of wildlife in Hamilton.

The final decision for development is up to the provincial government, but the municipality plans to continue to meet to discuss how this change will affect the community.

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