Ontario government revokes MZO following pressure from local, environmental and Indigenous Groups

mzo pickering visit

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Five months after Amazon Canada backed out of a proposed deal to build a massive warehouse on provincially significant wetlands at the Durham Live site, the company announced it will open a 130,000 sq. ft. ‘last mile’ delivery facility on nearby Squires Beach Road.

The new site is expected to be operational between late 2022 and early 2023.

mzo victory

“Amazon is one of the world’s premier e-commerce companies, and Pickering is proud to be the future home of one of its newest logistics facilities.  We are thrilled with this investment in our city, and we look forward to all of the new employment opportunities it will create for job seekers, entrepreneurs, and independent contractors,” said Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan.

The announcement came five months after Amazon withdrew its plan to build the largest retail warehouse in Canada – as large as four million square feet – on the Duffins Creek wetland property in Pickering.

The provincial government ordered the Toronto Region Conservation Authority to issue a development permit for the property in Pickering at the centre of this map, owned by the Triple Group of Companies, backers of the nearby Durham Live casino complex.

In a March 12 decision, the TRCA board granted permission to interfere with and develop within a provincially significant wetland and place fill and site grade the property known municipally as 1802 Bayly Street in the City of Pickering for the purposes of future development approved by the Province through a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO).

“Unequivocally, TRCA’s Board of Directors and staff, using a science-based approach to decision making and TRCA’s Living City Policies, would have declined permission of this permit had the province not intervened,” the board chair said in a statement.

With the development no longer slated for the site, Pickering’s mayor said the appropriate next step was to pause any immediate disruption to the wetlands.

“I am truly disappointed for Pickering and its residents,” Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan wrote in March. “Amazon’s announcement that it is no longer pondering the Pickering site for its fulfillment centre means that we lost this once in a lifetime opportunity to bring Canada’s largest warehouse, 2,000 jobs, tens of millions of dollars in development charges and millions of dollars in annual tax revenues to our city.”

With the development no longer slated for the site, Pickering’s mayor said the appropriate next step was to pause any immediate disruption to the wetlands.

“This difficult decision to pursue development on these lands was made with the promise of significant jobs and investment and that the developer and Toronto Region Conservation Authority would negotiate a 1:1 wetland compensation agreement.”

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