The developer Michael Rice commissioned GEI Consultants Ltd. to provide an environmental and servicing feasibility assessment for the Greenbelt lands at Bathurst in King which he purchased on 15 September 2022. 

Rice passed the information on to Ryan Amato, the then Chief of Staff to Steve Clark, at a meeting in Rice’s office in Markham on either 27 or 28 September 2022.

The consultants say they have outlined a high-level overview strategy… 

“for assessing properties currently within the Greenbelt Plan Area, to identify those properties where opportunities to refine and/or remove the existing Greenbelt Planning Area designations.”

They talk about having access to full municipal water and wastewater services “in the 1 to 3 year time horizon” which sounds rather optimistic to me. I am sure the Town of Newmarket will have something to say about that.

Newmarket has been wrestling with servicing and capacity issues for as long as I can remember. These issues are not of the Town’s own making.

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Click “read more” below to read the Feasibility assessment.

Update on 31 October from the Toronto Star: Doug Ford insists he had nothing to do with the Greenbelt changes. And from the Globe and Mail: Doug Ford's Office was involved in municipal lands decision

See also: Township of King Official Plan September 2019


To: Michael Rice

Date: September 27, 2022

RE: Greenbelt / Oak Ridges Moraine Refinement Strategy

Environmental and Servicing Feasibility Assessment-Bathurst/Green Lane Lands

GEI Consultants Ltd. (GEI) have been commissioned by Green Lane Bathurst Limited Partnership to provide an Environmental and Servicing Feasibility Assessment for the lands located at the southwest corner of Bathurst St. and Green Lane, as identified in Figure A below and hereafter referred to as the “Bathurst Lands”.

FIGURE A – Bathurst Lands Hatched in Yellow

Site Characteristics:

  • Total site area = 687 acres, estimated net developable area = 500 acres
  • Adjacent to existing urban areas of East Gwillimbury and Newmarket
  • 7.2 km to Hwy 400 via Davis Drive, 7.5 km to Hwy 404 via Green Lane
  • Existing use is cattle farm, Agricultural Impact Assessment to follow
  • Access to full municipal water and wastewater services in the 1 to 3 year time horizon
  • Natural Core and Natural Linkage areas excluded from development consideration
  • Suitable for a full range of attainable housing types for all ages and economic circumstances

The Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine Plan (Plans) assessed environmentally sensitive areas due to their ecological / environmental value within the Golden Horseshoe and the Plans contain policies to protect hydrogeological / hydrologic areas including ecological and key natural heritage features. These areas and features are listed below, and as noted, not all are present within Bathurst Lands.

GEI has completed a desktop review of York Region and applicable Provincial Mapping and will conduct a thorough field inspection of the Bathurst Lands in the week of October 3rd to begin the seasonal Ecological Survey. A complete Natural Heritage Evaluation will follow and will assess:

Key hydrogeological/hydrologic areas include the following:

  • Significant groundwater recharge areas;
  • Highly vulnerable aquifers;
  • Significant surface water contribution areas.

Key hydrogeological/hydrologic features (KHF) include the following:

  • Permanent and intermittent streams;
  • Lakes (and their littoral zones);
  • Seepage areas and springs; and
  • Wetlands.

Key natural heritage features (KNHF) include the following:

  • Habitat of Endangered and Threatened species;
  • Fish habitat;
  • Wetlands;
  • Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest;
  • Significant valley lands;
  • Significant woodlands;
  • Significant wildlife habitat (including habitat of special concern species);
  • and barrens, savannahs and tallgrass prairies; and
  • Alvars.

Properties, partially or wholly within the existing designated Greenbelt Planning Area, adjacent to existing urban boundaries and with access to the full range of municipal services, need to be re-assessed to determine their potential for development. GEI has outlined a high-level overview strategy using a secondary source screening methodology for assessing properties currently within the Greenbelt Plan Area, to identify those properties where opportunities to refine and/or remove the existing Greenbelt Planning Area designations.

As part of GEI’s workplan the following areas would be evaluated to aid in the assessment of removal eligibility:

1. Land Use Planning and Fiscal Impacts.

2. Ecological conditions and potential impacts resulting from development.

3. Hydrogeological/hydrological/geoenvironmental conditions and potential impacts.

4. Geotechnical constraints with respect to development.

5. Serviceability and transportation constraints with respect to development.

GEI has committed the following senior team members to review and implement a strategy for the proposed re-assessment. These team members will provide a broad and holistic view to implementing the proposed re-assessment objective.

Scott Cole, Principal & National Practice Leader

Olivia Robinson, Ecologist

Noel Boucher, Senior Fisheries Biologist

Alicia Kimberley, Hydrogeological Practice Lead

Alexander Winkelmann. Geotechnical & Earth Sciences Manager

Fernando Contento, Geoenvironmental Practice Lead

Aaron Pettifer, Land Development Engineering Manager

A breakdown of the five areas of review outlined above are provided below in detail.

  1. LAND USE (Malone Given Parsons) & FISCAL IMPACTS (urbanMetrics)

To meet the present housing shortage a harmonized landform structure with the surrounding urban fabric is an essential element in providing an integrated approach to urban area expansions. A development concept plan would be created to provide a general layout that would establish population densities, unit types and development yields, infrastructure requirements and economic inputs to ensure a complete, sustainable community results.

Communities within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) need economic support generated by growth which relieved dependency on the existing tax base. A brief addressing the magnitude of the tax base increase for local and neighbourhood amenities, including the influx of development charges revenue, are key components with urban expansion and should be outlined.


GEI’s natural heritage team will determine whether any KHF and KNHF may be present within and immediately adjacent to the properties. By identifying if these features are present within the landscape, this will work to inform the associated constraints and opportunities for specific sites.

This will be completed by a review of secondary source information, including review of municipal Official Plans, Greenbelt Plan, federal and provincial Species at Risk occurrence data, various provincial wildlife atlases, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry Land Information Ontario geographic database, Natural Heritage Information Centre database and other available ecological data.

In addition to this secondary source desktop review, a site reconnaissance is recommended to confirm existing ecological conditions on the properties. A site reconnaissance will allow our team to better understand whether any KHF or KNHF are present, and if they are, what their extent they may impact the development opportunities.

Following the completion of the secondary source background review and site reconnaissance, a preliminary natural heritage characterization will be completed to identify whether candidate or confirmed natural heritage features are present. If features are present, their associated constraints will be detailed and illustrated for consideration. Some features may not be able to be confirmed without detailed ecological inventories (such as Species at Risk habitat and significant wildlife habitat); however, we will identify where potential habitat could occur.


To assess the presence of hydrogeological/hydrological key areas and/or features, a review of secondary source information to assess topography, drainage, physiography, geology, hydrogeology, and soil types in the vicinity of the property will be reviewed.

Information obtained from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) available water well records will be reviewed to assess hydrogeological properties including groundwater levels, flow direction, and groundwater quality.

Source Water Protection mapping will be reviewed to confirm the presence of highly vulnerable aquifers, significant groundwater recharge areas, and/or identified well head protection areas.

Where available historical aerial photos of the properties and surrounding properties will be reviewed to assess surface water features and functions. The aerial photos will also be reviewed with respect to current and historical property uses to assess whether any Potential Contaminating Activities existed within the vicinity of the property, and to make a preliminary assessment as to the potential soil and/or groundwater impact associated, if applicable.

Following the completion of the secondary source background review, a preliminary hydrogeological/hydrological assessment will be prepared to confirm the presence of any hydrogeological/hydrologic features and/or areas on the property. A preliminary assessment on the potential construction dewatering requirements, Low Impact Development (LID) feasibility, and potential geoenvironmental issues will be outlined.


An overview of the subsurface conditions expected to be encountered on site will be established using a range of publicly available information and previous subsurface investigations completed as available. This will include a review of surficial geology mapping, MECP water well records, municipal mapping, MTO boreholes and available studies completed in the vicinity to the site.

Site-specific geotechnical recommendations will not be provided until a site-specific subsurface investigation is carried out. However, high-level geotechnical commentary regarding the general feasibility of ground-based development such as site grading, foundations, excavations, temporary construction dewatering, etc. will be provided.


GEI’s Land Development Engineering team has reviewed available information to provide background on the serviceability for the Subject Site. This includes available water distribution and sanitary servicing which exists in the area. A high level engineering review has identified 3 servicing options two with direct connections to the YDSS and one to a future UYSS if that opportunity presents itself. The three options are described in Appendix 1.

We will also collaborate with our other internal disciplines to review site constraints and provide opportunities for stormwater management facilities and determine a potential stormwater outlet(s).

This will be completed by a review of secondary source information, including review of municipal Official / Secondary Plans, Master Servicing Plans, Environmental Assessments, nearby development information and existing engineering drawings to confirm pipe capacities and any allocation issues.

GEI, we will coordinate efforts of a Transportation consultant to review existing capacities of the road & transit networks, including active transportation opportunities and impacts.


Ultimately an opportunities and constraints figure, with supporting documentation, will be prepared to reflect the findings of GEI’s background review and site reconnaissance. This will identify the locations of any Key Hydrogeological/Hydrologic Areas, KHF and KNHFs and their associated setbacks. This mapping should be considered preliminary and will need to be refined following detailed investigations and feature staking. Notwithstanding, these efforts will provide landowner/developers an indicative assessment of high potential areas where refinements to the Greenbelt may be warranted.


SANITARY [Options 1 & 2 connect to YDSS / Duffins Creek; Option 3 connects to Upper York Sanitary Solution (UYSS)]

Option 1 – East Connection to Regional Gravity Sewer @ Yonge St. & Green Lane W/E (total length: 2.16km)

  • LEG 1:

o FROM: Proposed Internal SPS @ Bathurst St. & Green Lane W. intersection

o TO: Proposed External SPS @ Woodspring Ave & Green Lane W.

o VIA: 1.38km of forcemain to External SPS along Green Lane W.

  • LEG 2:

o FROM: Proposed External SPS @ Woodspring Ave & Greenlane

o TO: Yonge St. & Green Lane W/E intersection

o VIA: 0.78km gravity sewer

Option 2 – South Connection to YDSS Gravity Sewer @ Yonge St. & Bloomington Rd. (total length: 13.9km)

  • LEG 1:

o FROM: Proposed Internal SPS @ Bathurst St. & Clifford Perry Place (Study Area midpoint along Bathurst)

o TO: Proposed External SPS @ Old Bathurst St. & Bathurst St.

o VIA: 4.46km of forcemain

  • LEG 2:

o FROM: Old Bathurst St. & Bathurst St.

o TO: Bathurst St. & Highland Gate

o VIA: 4.20km of gravity sewer

  • LEG 3:

o FROM: Bathurst St. & Highland Gate

o TO: Water Tower @ highpoint along Bloomington Rd. (nearest to Cardinal

Carter High School)

o VIA: 4.88km of forcemain

  • LEG 4:

o FROM: Water Tower @ highpoint along Bloomington Rd. (nearest to Cardinal

Carter High School)

o TO: Yonge Street YDSS

o VIA: 0.39km of gravity sewer

Option 3 – North Connection to Holland Landing SPS @ 44 Bradford St. (total length: 6.37km)

  • LEG 1:

o FROM: Proposed Internal SPS @ Bathurst St. & Green Lane W. intersection

o TO: 450m North of Morning Sideroad on Bathurst St.

o VIA: 1.66km of forcemain

  • LEG 2:

o FROM: 450m North of Morning Sideroad on Bathurst St.

o TO: Holland Landing SPS @ 44 Bradford St.

o VIA: 4.7km of gravity sewer

WATER - Loop service to connect @ two (2) locations:

  • Proposed 2.40km connection to Water Tower (within ex. subdivision; accessed via Kirby Cres.) from Davis Dr. W. & Crossland Gate

o Internal routing to be confirmed within new infill development (Kerbel Group)

  • Proposed 2.16km connection from Bathurst St. & Green Lane W. intersection to Yonge St. & Green Lane W. intersection

o Existing Water Tower located 0.78km south of Yonge Street & Green Lane W.