Feds warn Ontario they could shut down development near Rouge Park

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VAUGHAN, Ont. — Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says a new study examining the effect of development on biodiversity and species-at-risk in a massive national park could shut down part of Ontario's plan to build housing in the area.

Guilbeault says the study will be done as soon as possible on Rouge National Urban Park in the Greater Toronto Area.

He says collaboration with Ontario has been impossible on environmental concerns over proposed housing developments.

Premier Doug Ford says the study will not slow down housing plans for nearby lands the province removed from the protected Greenbelt.

Guilbeault has previously voiced concerns about Ford removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt lands, while adding more parcels elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.

Ford says he was not given a heads-up on the announcement by Guilbeault's office, but he is "not too concerned about it" because the park is adjacent to land set to be developed, not part of it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press