Top 6 Reasons to Grow the Greenbelt in the Headwaters

More than 65 rivers and streams begin in the Greenbelt and flow into Lake Ontario. Local residents love these places, and so do the many species of fish and wildlife that use them to move and migrate.

But loopholes in the Greenbelt’s protection means that some headwater areas, such as Carruthers Creek in Pickering, were left out. The Land Use Coordinated Review is a great opportunity to close these loopholes and make sure our rivers are fully protected, from their headwaters to the Lake. 

Grow_our_GB_Headwaters.PNG   Headwaters.PNG
 Photo Credit: Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation  

Proposed Greenbelt Expansion into the Headwaters. See larger Headwaters map. 

Luckily, right now we have an opportunity to permanently protect the Headwaters. Here are the top 6 reasons to Grow our Greenbelt to protect our clean water supplies:



Headwaters filter and clean water that ends up in Lake Ontario – a source of drinking water for 9 million people. We need to protect these vital water resources and our supply of clean drinking water.


Consistent Protection

From the provincially protected Oak Ridges Moraines, 65 rivers and streams connect to parts of the Headwaters that are not protected. By growing the Greenbelt into these parts, we can make sure all water resources are consistently protected. 


The Impact of Sprawl

Headwaters are more sensitive to impacts of urbanization, from small changes in forest cover and loss of habitat, to increased pollutants. Once damaged they become less resilient to climate change, and these impacts cascade across the whole watershed.


Boundary Threats

Hundreds of requests have been made to remove land from the Greenbelt, many of them in and around the headwaters. This would create Swiss cheese from the Greenbelt protections and open the door to future boundary changes. Shouldn’t we take this opportunity to grow and strengthen our water protections, not weaken them?


Climate Change

Remember July 2013 in Toronto, and August 2014 in Burlington? Floods and extreme weather are getting worse, and this is linked to climate change. By paving over headwaters, we create more hard surfaces which leads to greater costs and more damage downstream.


Protect Water Now

Growing the Greenbelt in the Headwaters would permanently protect prime farmland, speciality cropland, water sources, and environmentally significant land from inappropriate development right now – not at some point in the future.


Now is the time to show your support for growing the Greenbelt in the Headwaters! Send an email to Minister Mauro:

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