QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP conservatively estimates that one powerful landowner family with donor ties to the PC Party is poised to make nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars in speculative profit thanks to Doug Ford’s regulatory changes carving up the Greenbelt.
CBC reporting has shown that the powerful DeGasperis family owns at least 1,775 acres of Greenbelt farmland in the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve.
Companies controlled by Silvio, Michael and Carlo DeGasperis paid $24,000 an acre for one of their recent land purchases, in 2020 — marking the high end of what it would have paid to amass these land holdings. That was before Ford moved to carve up the Greenbelt and make these lands available for development.
Now, after Ford’s announcement, the NDP estimates the land is worth at least $383,000 an acre. That was the going price per acre for developable greenfield in Pickering in a land sale that happened in 2016 — marking the low end of what it would sell for today.
Taken together, the difference in what the landowner paid before the land could be developed, and after Ford’s changes, the NDP estimates that this one landowner alone could reap nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars in speculative profit.
“Following the numbers, it sure looks like Doug Ford’s landowner buddies and donors are about to cash in big on the Conservatives’ scheme to start slicing up the Greenbelt,” said Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns. “The more layers people pull back, the more Mr. Ford’s decision raises alarm bells.”
Tabuns said the government must start answering the troubling questions surrounding Mr. Ford’s latest Greenbelt backtrack.
“The NDP will continue to fight for the answers and transparency that Ontarians deserve from Mr. Ford and his government about their attack on the Greenbelt,” said Tabuns. “Carving up the Greenbelt is bad for the environment, and it’s bad for everyday Ontarians, so who is Mr. Ford helping and how much?”
Marit Stiles, the NDP MPP for Davenport, has written to the Auditor General to request an investigation into how much property owners stand to benefit from Doug Ford’s scheme to remove thousands of acres from the Greenbelt — and whether it’s in the public interest.
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$24,000/acre: What the DeGasperis family paid for 475 acres of protected Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve lands in 2020*
*Figure calculated based on numbers from reports by Toronto Star/The Narwhal and CBC
($383,000/acre - $24,000/acre) X 1,775 acres = $637 million in speculative profit, nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars, solely due to regulatory changes