Submit your comments on Growing the Greenbelt: Your voice makes a difference!

Deadline April 19th, 2021

Oakvillegreen is all in favour of growing the Greenbelt!

Oakvillegreen is a proud member of the Ontario Greenbelt Coalition. Here is an important information summary. https://greenbeltalliance.ca/what-we-do/growing-the-greenbelt

Also, here is a great summary from the Greenbelt Foundation about Growing the Greenbelt: https://www.greenbelt.ca/statement

Below is a letter from our colleagues at Ontario Headwaters Institute (OHI) that we endorse.

Comments are being accepted on the Province’s Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO). ERO #019-3136  until April 19th, 2021

Two ways you can help:

  1. Please send the letter below via the ERO, with any changes/additions you wish.
  2. Go to https://waterscape.ca/regional-resilience/ and easily add your name which sends comments directly to the ERO for you!

Letter from OHI:

“I support the recommendations developed by the Ontario Headwaters Institute for this consultation, as re-produced below.

I urge the government to embrace this once-in-a-generation opportunity to safeguard our regional resilience by substantially extending the Greenbelt into the broader area of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The recommendations I endorse:

We urge the province to grow the Greenbelt in the following areas:

  • The Paris-Galt Moraine;
  • More Urban River Valleys (URVs) and ensuring the inclusion of the headwaters of all the URVs;
  • Natural Heritage System across the Greater Golden Horseshoe;
  • Agricultural System in the Greater Golden Horseshoe;
  • Lands and waters in the Bluebelt proposal; and,
  • Key headwater areas not included above.

Question 1: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of the Study Area of the Paris Galt Moraine?

We recommend growing the Greenbelt to incorporate the Paris Galt Moraine, including its headwater areas.

Question 2: What are the considerations in moving from a Study Area to a more defined boundary of the Paris Galt Moraine?

We recommend:

  • A science-based approach to define the boundary;
  • Protecting all key hydrologic features and functions;
  • Engaging meaningfully with Indigenous Peoples;
  • Conducting in-person consultations once suggested boundaries are identified and the pandemic has subsided; and,
  • Developing clear and easy-to-implement options for property outside the boundary to be added.

Question 3: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of adding, expanding and further protecting Urban River Valleys?

We recommend the expansion of URV’s to incorporate connections to the Paris Galt Moraine through the Speed and Eramosa Rivers in urban areas as indicated on the maps in the appendices below. We further recommend adding the following as Urban River Valleys:

  • Lake Simcoe recharge areas including the Severn Sound and Carden Alvar, Waverly Upland, Clearview Township, Holland River;
  • Lake Iroquois shoreline areas; and,
  • The Nottawasaga watershed.

Question 4: Do you have suggestions for other potential areas to grow the Greenbelt?

We urge the Province to undertake studies and consultations with a view to adding areas in the GGH Natural Heritage System, areas in the Bluebelt map, and any other headwater areas not captured in that mapping, to the Greenbelt.

Question 5: How should we balance or prioritize any potential Greenbelt expansion with the other provincial priorities mentioned above?

Growth Management —  We recommend the province address the issues in the Growth Plan noted above and prioritize growing the Greenbelt to reduce land speculation, limit extending expensive urban services into the countryside, avoid increased municipal debt loads, and reduce challenges to affordable housing.

Transportation and Infrastructure —  As the province considers growing the Greenbelt, we recommend that it prioritize the alignment of mobility infrastructure with existing built up urban areas and rescind projects that encourage urban growth in the protected countryside and prime agricultural areas including:

  • Cancelling the GTA West, Bradford Bypass, and Niagara Mid-Peninsula Highways;
  • Rescinding plans to build transit stations in the Greenbelt; and,
  • Updating transportation models with Post-COVID commuting data

 Natural Heritage System —  As noted in Question 4, we recommend growing the Greenbelt by incorporating lands and key hydrologic features identified in the GGH Natural Heritage System, including headwater areas and areas identified by Conservation Authorities and municipal mapping. In addition, while municipalities across the region have variations in their natural heritage and agricultural policies, and while the Greenbelt Plan requires municipal plans to conform to it, we urge the provincial government to allow for regional variations and, where there are conflicts between municipal and provincial policies regarding water and natural heritage policies, the more restrictive or protective policy should apply.

Agriculture —  We support the submission made by the Ontario Farmland Trust to grow the Greenbelt across the GGH Agricultural system.

Question 6: Are there other priorities that should be considered?

Health and Wellbeing —  Growing the Greenbelt along natural heritage systems is a cost-effective way to address mental and physical wellbeing.

Climate Change and Biodiversity — Growing the Greenbelt via the Paris Galt Moraine, URVs, the Bluebelt, and through the GGH’s Natural Heritage and Agricultural Systems will build the regional resilience needed to mitigate the changing climate and challenges to biodiversity.

Regional Prosperity —  We recommend that the Province consider the health and sustainable prosperity of the broader GGH as it consults on Growing the Greenbelt, thereby extending resilience and policy consistency to the entire region.

In addition, we encourage the government to pursue a wide-ranging set of new policies to embrace a fair and green recovery and secure regional resilience, thereby protecting ecological integrity, social vitality, and economic prosperity.

Aggregates  —  We support the comments by Greenbelt stakeholders to prohibit new aggregate extraction throughout the Natural Heritage System both within and outside the Greenbelt. “


Will this be the death of Oakville’s last scenic roadway? Lakeshore Rd. West Construction planned

UPDATE: April 12, 2021

The Town has posted details on their website, for the proposed road construction and tree removal on Lakeshore Road West.

 

Please read the excellent summary of the project, and key concerns on the Coronation Park Residents Association website: http://www.coronationparkresidents.com/Current%20Issues/

 

In the latest proposal, 96 trees are slated to be removed.

The “preferred plan” will be going to Council in June.

https://www.oakville.ca/residents/lakeshore-road-west-improvements-class-ea.html

**Online comments will be accepted until April 20th.** but please continue to provide your feedback.

 In addition please:

  • Register your comments with Townclerk@oakville.ca

  • Call your Councillor or better yet, send them an email with your comments. membersofcouncil@oakville.ca

 ~~~~~~~~~

Will this be the Death of Oakville’s last scenic roadway?

One of the joys of living in Oakville is being able to take in the beauty of the lake, wander through our historic downtown strip, and experience the arching canopy of mature trees lining Lakeshore Road, as part of a daily leisurely outing. But the scenic route along the lake is under threat unless residents speak up.

The Town of Oakville is planning road construction along Lakeshore Road West between Dorval and Mississaga St. in Bronte..  After strong public outcry to an earlier plan in 2019, Town staff has been working on revisions.   But to this writer, it looks like they have once again missed the mark.  An updated plan from the Town presented March 16th is short on specifics and still calls for removal of 116 mature trees, 70 of which are over 20 cm in diameter.

Whether you live along the Lakeshore or not, we want to make sure that you hear about the latest plan so that you can provide feedback to your councillor and the Mayor.  The Town’s proposal is not 100% clear yet, but what we’ve seen doesn’t look good.

The first version of a Lakeshore Road plan was presented at a public meeting in May 2018.  Despite being labelled Lakeshore West “Improvement” Study, local residents were alarmed at the dramatic changes planned for the historic Kings Highway route through Oakville.

Public outcry was loud and swift, to the planned removal of hundreds of trees, widening of the road to “modern standards” and multiple expropriations of private property. After that response, the Town went back to the drawing board. Later, in 2019, a seemingly positive outcome, was the Town’s agreement to do a Scenic Corridor Study, that Oakvillegreen hoped would provide a much more sensitive approach to the planned construction.

At an online public stakeholder meeting on March 16, 2021, a revised Lakeshore Road plan was presented via webinar by Town’s Engineering staff and consultants.

What was missing were any actual plans for review by stakeholders before the webinar.  Two weeks after that meeting, no detailed plans have been shared.  The Scenic Corridor Study report that we felt held promise, seems to have left little impression.

During the recent summary update, it was reported that less property would be expropriated, but with no plans to review, this was tough to verify. However, only when asked directly, was it revealed that 110 trees would still be cut down for the construction being recommended.  Trees are the number one asset identified in critical features of a Scenic Corridor, but questions remain: Where are these doomed trees located? How many of these are heritage, mature trees? Tree protection is paramount for a healthy urban forest. No number of “replacement trees” of questionable heritage is really going to replace the historic giants.  Your grandchildren, or great grandchildren may one day see replacement trees at maturity, but once the existing trees are cut down, they are gone for our lifetimes.

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are all users of Lakeshore Road. Admittedly, safe active transportation options for those walking and cycling needs to be addressed. On the Town’s list were sidewalks on each side of the road PLUS a multi-use pathway along the route.  But to include ALL of these features without weighing the impact to mature trees misses the reason that we walk and cycle along Lakeshore in the first place.

The Town is planning for a “full urbanization” of the roadway, which includes curbs and gutters and the accompanying stormwater grey infrastructure, that will require invasive construction, more impermeable surfaces and resulting grade changes.   Ironically, much research is singing the advantages of natural assets or “green vs, grey” infrastructure that is more effective and cheaper to maintain, while performing the same stormwater management functions.

With numerous other east-west options for car travel  (Speers, Rebecca and soon the Wyecroft  bridge ) why is it necessary to strip Lakeshore road of its trees and character in the name of “improvement”?  Removal of these trees and the full urbanization of infrastructure will increase speeds along this road, due to the stripping of documented calming features. Induced demand; Build it and they will come…even if you don’t want them to!

Do we really want the historic Lakeshore Road to look like another urban thoroughfare? As an identified historic Scenic Corridor along the shores of Lake Ontario, one would think that the Town could have landed on a more sensitive plan to preserve historic character and trees of this meandering, beautiful road.

The current plan, that stakeholders still have not seen, will be going to Council in just 6 weeks (May 2021). Oakvillegreen just learned that the Town will be seeking “public feedback” online for one week only in early April.  We are not even sure of the format for the feedback. Clearly, the Town’s engineering department wants to get this done and started, but we are questioning why the rush? After the Town took two years re-drawing a plan, the community needs more than a week to understand the plan and provide feedback.

It feels like the Town is managing the public feedback process to limit the input via a short time frame and online process. Full disclosure and a sincere response to public feedback all through a climate crisis lens, is all we are asking.

Please share this news with Friends & Family and call your Councillor.

Karen Brock

President, Oakvillegreen


We are hiring! Canada Summer Job Positions

(Hiring will be contingent on receipt of CSJ funding)

 

Oakvillegreen Conservation Association is a not-for-profit environmental organization with a vision to make Oakville a living city with enhanced natural diversity, stronger connections between natural areas, and healthier green spaces. We have been working since 2000 to reconnect people to the natural environment in their community through education, advocacy and opportunities for hands-on action. 

We are looking for two passionate individuals to join our team!

 

Environmental Program Coordinator

Enjoy an experiential learning environment working as a member of Oakvillegreen’s programming team, reporting to the Program Director. The ideal candidate will possess superior interpersonal skills, event management experience and will have a passion for helping to engage the community in environmental projects. 

Gain some hands-on community greening and environmental outreach experience and help our programs grow.

Learn more details about this position, requirements, eligibility and how to apply CSJ Env Prog Coor.

 

Communications Specialist

Gain some hands-on experience developing communication campaigns, creating promotional materials and digital content to support Oakvillegreen’s community activities and promote our mission. 

Learn more details about this position, requirements, eligibility and how to apply CSJ Comm Spc

Please send a cover letter and resume in a Word or PDF format, to melanie.rose@oakvillegreen.org by 5pm, April 23rd, 2021, with reference to the position title in the email subject line. No phone calls please. Those who are selected for an interview will be contacted.