Waterloo MPP calls for pause of expropriation of land in Wilmot Township

The controversy over proposed land expropriation in Wilmot Township has reached Queen’s Park.

Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife introduced a petition titled “Protect Farmland and Sustainable Growth in Waterloo Region” on Wednesday, calling for the pause of expropriation of 770 acres of land from Wilmot Centre to Nafziger Road.

In her petition, Fife said the government is overriding and rewriting regional plans to move urban boundaries and that the region accommodated future growth plans until 2051 when they passed their official plan in August 2022.

“The process of expropriating prime farmland in Wilmot Township has lacked transparency, with no public consultation or information in response to concerns about how rezoning and development will affect our water resources,” said Fife.

Under legislative rules, the government must respond within 24 sitting days of the petition’s presentation. A link to the petition MPP Fife presented in the legislature can be found here.

Another petition has also been making the rounds online calling for an end to the expropriation.

Pfenning’s Farm in New Hamburg shared the petition online and said in a thread that once the land is converted, it cannot be returned.

“The farmers in question were offered compensation below the value of the land, and were told if they didn’t accept it, their land would be taken away from them, and developed anyway.”

The online petition has garnered over 8,100 signatures as of Thursday morning. The petition can be found here.

Wilmot council on Monday heard from local farmers over their concerns of the proposed expropriation. The presentation made to council suggested the project is rumored to be an industrial site. No details have been released and regional councillors have had to signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) over the project.

Farms were approached by a consultancy group, Canacre Ltd., with offers to buy their lands. They allegedly pressured the farmers saying if they did not accept the deal, their lands would be taken from them by the region. A website has since been created to help combat the expropriation, organized by the farmers and landowners in the area.

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