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Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition Calls for Provincial Intervention in Controversial Development Appeal

For Immediate Release 

Vaughan, ON, June 20, 2024

Save The Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition (STORM), the long-standing stewards of the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM), has urged the Minister and Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to intervene and participate in an ongoing Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) case involving proposed development on the protected areas of the ORM in Vaughan. The case, OLT-23-000254, concerns an appeal of a 1989 development application filed by landowners Lucia Milani and Lucia Milani in Trust for properties located at 11641 Dufferin Street and 11490 Bathurst Street. They are adjacent to the colloquially known as the “Rizmi Lands,” which received special development permissions through a Minister’s Order in 2015 to develop around 100 acres. This new appeal seeks to approve residential development on an additional 150 acres on the ORM designated natural core and natural linkage areas under the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act (ORMCA), designations intended to protect the ecological integrity of the moraine. 

STORM has raised concerns regarding the approval authority and validity of the appeal, citing discrepancies in the property descriptions and inconsistencies with previous municipal and provincial decisions regarding the lands. The group alleges a history of political influence and questionable actions by various levels of government. Key points raised by STORM include: 

  • The 2023 appeal appears to propose 3,000 residential units, a significant departure from the original 1989 development applications for a rural residential estate subdivision.

  • A 2015 Minister's Order reaffirmed the zoning of the lands as protected under the 

      ORMCA, and such orders are not appealable.

  • The City of Vaughan has entered into a confidential settlement agreement to facilitate development on the lands, despite the province's stated commitment to protecting the Greenbelt and ORM.

  • York Region Council has directed staff not to participate in the appeal process, potentially limiting the representation of the planning authority historically responsible for ORMCA conformity until the implementation of Bill 185, which removes them as a planning authority.  

STORM argues that provincial intervention is crucial to uphold the objectives of the ORMCA and ensure the ecological integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine is protected. The group has requested a formal response from the Minister and Deputy Minister acknowledging their concerns. 

The ongoing dispute over the Oak Ridges Moraine exemplifies the persistent tension between development interests and environmental conservation efforts and underscores the critical importance of preserving this significant landform, especially in the face of our current climate crisis. The Oak Ridges Moraine provides invaluable natural asset management, safeguarding water resources, biodiversity, and ecological stability throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe region. Its preservation is paramount not only for the present generation but also for those to come.

To read the full letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing please click below:

STORM OLT-23-000254 to MMAH
Download PDF • 4.32MB


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