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Ontario Premier Doug Ford stands at the podium as he makes an announcement at Ontario Place, on July 30, 2021.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has passed a motion to bypass debate and public hearings for a bill to redevelop Ontario Place.

The legislation allows the province to take control of two Toronto highways, exempts Ontario Place land from a full environmental assessment and gives the infrastructure minister the power to issue minister zoning orders that overrides local laws.

The motion that passed allows the government to skip committee hearings where the public can provide input, and skips debate on the third and final reading of a bill.

The province has said it must reach certain milestones on the Ontario Place redevelopment set out in a contract with private companies and one of those deadlines is approaching at the end of the year.

But the opposition says the skipped hearings and debate are undemocratic and suggests the government is hiding something.

The government’s Ontario Place plan has faced opposition from some community groups and members of the public, with the long-term nature of a lease with European company Therme for a $350-million spa and waterpark facing particular criticism.

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