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MSIFN leaders raising concerns about zoning orders and consultation with First Nations

June 11, 2024

First Peoples Law Report: – Requesting Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) to speed up development on Indigenous Treaty Lands without consulting with affected First Nations is morally and constitutionally wrong,” wrote Chief Kelly LaRocca, Councillor Sylvia Coleman and Councillor Jeff Forbes on Friday.

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) have concerns with a recent zoning request from Pickering City Hall.

The letter did not refer to any specific events or elected officials. However, LaRocca did refer to Ashe by name in a similar letter one month earlier.

As well, Friday’s letter comes days after Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe asked Queen’s Park to revoke a decades-old zoning order that prevented certain lands in the city’s northeast from being developed.

“To be very clear, MSIFN recognizes both legal complexities, as well as the need for housing in a growing province,” wrote LaRocca, Coleman and Forbes. “However, shrugging at these difficulties and unilaterally moving forward with contested ideas anyway is unacceptable and makes a mockery of public office and its mandate to solve difficult problems.”

“We urge provincial and municipal government representatives to recognize these complexities and pause developments in contested areas until clarity has been achieved,” they continued.

Durham Radio News is reaching out to Ashe’s office for a comment.

According to documents released by Durham Region staff, Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) is looking into Ashe’s request. According to ministry staff, any Greenbelt lands covered by the MZO would continue to be covered by it; only non-Greenbelt lands would be opened up for development.

In a report on Tuesday, regional staff indicated the revocation would not conflict with the Regional Official Plan (ROP) that was adopted in 2023. When it is given final approval by the MMAH, the ROP will expand Durham Region’s urban boundary to include much of northeast Pickering.

Later in June, Regional Council will vote on whether to say it has “no objection” to Ashe’s proposal.

Concerns have been raised in recent years over development plans in northeast Pickering. Much of the land-in-question overlaps with the headwaters of Carruthers Creek.

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