KAWARTHA LAKES-In response to our story a few weeks ago, Flato Developments says they have decided not to request a Ministers Zoning Order (MZO) for their project in Cameron.
“We wanted to follow-up on your article to confirm with you that FLATO Developments will not be requesting a Minister’s zoning order (MZO) in the community of Cameron.” stated a Flato representative. “At FLATO, we are community builders who believe in creating master-planned communities that serve the needs of everyone. FLATO will continue to work with the province, municipality, community, and local conservation authorities and stakeholders on all requirements to move this vision forward in Cameron. FLATO is looking forward to ongoing consultation with various stakeholders and residents of the community.” continued the statement.
On June 8th Kawartha 411 News reported that residents in the Long Beach area of Cameron were concerned about a new housing development planned on 400 acres of local farmland. Flato has two projects in the works in Kawartha lakes, one in Lindsay and one in Cameron. They have used an MZO in the past but told Kawartha 411 it was premature to say whether they would request one in Cameron.
MZOs have traditionally been used by the provincial government in emergencies, or to quickly advance a major initiative of provincial significance according to ED. Examples provided by the group include allowing a new grocery store to open in Elliott Lake when their only other one caved in, and when the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan was launched to help address water quality in the lake.
“Of course, in addition to creating long term damage to the environment, increasing property taxes, and enabling more sprawl to eat up Ontario’s best farmland, the Minister has sent a strong message to the Ontario public that their opinion isn’t valuable, that experts don’t matter and that decisions enabling development are his alone.” Grey states
Since 2018, the province has issued more than 44 orders, which give the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing the power to designate land use, overriding local planning processes without the possibility of appeal, in order to fast-track certain developments.
Environmental Defence says the Ontario government is using it to speed up controversial developments by eliminating expert analysis and public input. It was meant for special cases, but has now become more routine.