Government extends greenbelt development freeze

Moratorium Extended To March 9; New Deadline for Submissions December 20

TORONTO, Dec. 8 /CNW/ - The Ontario government today passed legislation
to extend the current moratorium on urban development in the Greenbelt Study
Area, announced Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen. The
legislation amends the Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004.

"The government is extremely proud of the work we've done on greenbelt
protection, and the public has shown overwhelming support for this
initiative," said Gerretsen. "We're committed to a permanently protected
greenbelt in the Golden Horseshoe."

The extension to the moratorium responds to requests from the public and
stakeholders for more time to refine the government's proposed Greenbelt Act
and draft Greenbelt Plan, explained Gerretsen. "We've heard that we need more
time to get this right and we've listened. This legislation extends the
current freeze on new development in the study area while we continue working
on the draft legislation and plan for permanent greenbelt protection in the
Golden Horseshoe," he said.

In addition, the deadline for submissions on the draft Greenbelt Plan has
been extended to December 20, 2004 from the original date of December 12,

The Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004 established a Greenbelt Study Area in
the Golden Horseshoe. It also imposed a temporary moratorium on new urban
development on lands within the study area that are designated rural and
agricultural, unless the land had already been approved for development. The
province's amendments extend the moratorium from the original end date of
December 16, 2004 to March 9, 2005, to allow the government to meet with
municipal leaders on the details and further consider the input received from
stakeholders and the public.

"Our plan for the greenbelt will shape the way communities grow and
prosper," said Gerretsen. "It's about where we want Ontario to be in years to
come. We're holding the future of Ontario in our hands, and we're taking the
time to get it right."


/For further information: contacts: Patti Munce, Minister's Office,
(416) 585-6333; Audrey Bennett, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing,
(416) 585-6014/