Greenbelt & Growth Plan Comments Due May 28th

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Dear Oakvillegreen members and supporters,

Please add your voices to others around Ontario that are responding to the 2015 Coordinated Land Use Review with appeals for healthy agricultural land, protected natural systems and resilient urban centres before May 28th.

Below you will find sample letter text produced by the Toronto Environmental Alliance and Environmental Defence.

Please modify or add to this text and submit your letter to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry: Ontario Environmental Registry (Registry #012-3256).

You can also email your comments to landuseplanningreview@ontario.ca and cc us at president@oakvillegreen.org

DRAFT LETTERS – REVISE TO REFLECT YOUR INTERESTS AND PRIORITIES

Subject: Comments on Coordinated Land Use Planning Review

Dear Government of Ontario,

These comments are directed towards the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review currently taking place.

First, I urge that this Review should achieve the following goals:

  • protect and enhance the Greenbelt
  • reduce greenhouse gas pollution
  • create resilient communities that are prepared for climate change.

Therefore, I support changes to the four Acts being reviewed if they meet one or more of these above goals.

More specifically, I urge the Government to update relevant legislation to:

  • Enhance the health of ecological lands in the Greenbelt. We rely on these lands for our fresh air and clean water. These lands are also are important green infrastructure to help us prepare for climate change.
  • Enhance the ability of local farmers to make a living by allowing for small, agricultural business that aligns with the goals of the Greenbelt. We need Greenbelt farmers to make a decent living so that they continue supplying us with local food which we will increasingly rely on climate change causes droughts in places that now supply us with food.
  • Make sure that future development in cities around the Greenbelt is close to excellent transit and other infrastructure. To reduce air and greenhouse pollution and resource extraction that harms the Greenbelt we need smarter development and infrastructure that attracts smarter development. For example, that means better and more affordable transit.
  • Grow the Greenbelt into urban river valleys. Rivers that start in the Greenbelt flow through our cities into Lake Ontario. The lands around these rivers should all have the same level of protection to ensure these ecological lands are protected and resilient. This will become especially important as severe weather events caused by climate change impact these lands.
  • Do not allow any rural and/or natural lands to be designated “urban” over the next 10 years. We don’t need any more urban sprawl. Instead, we need developers and municipalities to build smart neighbourhoods in existing cities.This reduces greenhouse gas pollution and builds cities that are ready for climate change.
  • Do not build infrastructure that will harm the Greenbelt. The proposed GTA West Highway and the 407 East are examples of infrastructure that would degrade the Greenbelt and create more greenhouse gas and air pollution. Instead, we should be building 21st Century infrastructure that moves people and goods without harming our air and lands.
  • Do not shrink the Greenbelt. Some developers want access to lands that are now part of the Greenbelt simply to make money. That’s not a good enough reason. The Greenbelt is an important source for local food and for ecological services such as fresh air and clean water, which will become increasingly important as the climate changes. Rather, the Government should consider expanding the Greenbelt by including even more farmland and natural spaces.

I look forward to seeing the proposed changes that will come out of this Coordinated Review in the Fall. Thank you for the opportunity to share my comments.

Regards, Your Name Here

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Dear Government of Ontario,

These comments are directed towards the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review currently taking place.

Ten years ago the provincial growth plans were enacted with the promise of stopping sprawl and protecting, restoring and enhancing our farmland, water and nature. Over the years, I’ve seen how these plans can be improved to support smarter growth. I urge you to strengthen the Growth Plan and Greenbelt Plan. Please act to:

1. Support efficient growth in urban growth centres by enforcing or increasing targets for intensification while aligning growth with existing water, road and sewer capacity in towns and villages outside of the urban growth centres.

2. Address climate change by putting a meaningful price on carbon that will reduce our emissions, and create a fund for public transit and provide incentives for energy efficient buildings and green infrastructure.

3. Expand the Greenbelt to include additional prime agricultural land and natural heritage systems and ensure complete mapping of these system for the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe.

4. Freeze urban boundaries for the next 10 years. There is more than enough land set aside by municipalities to accommodate forecasted population growth for the Greater Golden Horseshoe beyond 2031. We don’t need to keep sprawling over our farmland.

5. Better align the Growth Plan with the Big Move transit plan objectives permitting higher densities within 2 km of transit hubs in urban growth centres and provide multiple ways to access transit hubs, including cycling, walking and driving.

6. Foster healthy communities by requiring active transportation plans in urban growth centres.

7. Improve the flow of people and goods across the region by prioritizing investment in transit, rail, and existing highways over new highways so that the transportation network better serves and reinforces smart growth rather than sprawl.

Sincerely, Your Name Here