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

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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. “