ACO Windsor/Essex Position on Bill 23

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario is deeply concerned about the impact that Bill 23 will have on heritage. See the press conference held by ACO leadership at Queen’s Park by clicking here.

Below is a letter from ACO Windsor/Essex Branch Member, Debra Honor.

Doug Ford’s government is fast tracking Bill 23 to destroy our heritage and our environment to pay back his rich developer supporters. Bill 23 has nothing to do with helping the poor.

He is paying back his developer supporters by taking away all the regulations that govern and protect heritage buildings, cemeteries, and environmental areas. These old properties are on PRIME real estate that the developers don’t want to protect but to destroy, to build new expensive buildings for rich people, not the poor. PRIME real estate is never given to the poor.

Construction company owners admit that there is no profit in building for the poor unless there are government subsidies, and this government has never given out any subsidies for such projects. The government probably sees subsidies as a waste of money.

This Bill 23 is also going after the Green Belt property. That is PRIME property that won’t be used for the poor. Even other conservation authorities are being told by the Ford Government to give up some of their land for development.

We have just had our municipal elections. Doug Ford knows that each communities’ Heritage Committees are defunct at this time until the new municipal councils have the members reapply. What an opportune time to fast track a bill that would affect this group without them even having a voice!

Municipalities are being told to cut down on their park land, so developers have access to that land too. Even the costs that developers are expected to pay to municipalities are being cut to benefit the rich developers.  Homeless people can’t vote. They don’t have an address. Developers are rich and can influence the ruling political party by donating lots of money to their party.

At the moment, we have a majority government led by the Conservative Party. Our government practices have changed over the years. MPP’s must vote with their party line. There is no voting with their conscience. Really, no matter who our MPP is, they are not there for their constituents but for the leader of their party.

I am totally disgusted by the way the Ford Government is handling this Bill 23. They are pushing it through without any real discussion and lying that it is for the poor. They want to show who is in control whether it is for the good of the people or not. I see this government as a very poor example of democracy.

Author note: The information about Bill 23 and how it will effect the municipalities is from the Facebook page of the Municipality of Aurora.

Bill 23 has the strong potential to wipe out heritage buildings and landscapes. The bill is being sugar coated as a tool to make more affordable spaces for all Canadians but, in fact, it will allow developers geared to the wealthy access to lands that might have been restricted for natural habitats or public use. The short window for designation and requiring two of the criteria be satisfied will wipe out buildings and lands important to our black, Indigenous, and LBTQIA+ communities.

Make your voice heard and do it now! The third reading of the bill will take place on Wednesday. Join us in showing your strong disapproval of the proposed changes.

Read Bill 23 by clicking here.

Sign the petition by clicking here.

Picture of Sandwich Baptist Church from Wikipedia.


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