News Release - Ontario Consulting on Greenbelt Expansion

Province Seeking Public Input to Protect Important Water Resources

December 7, 2017 10:15 A.M.
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Growing Our Greenbelt Campaign Update! May 2017

Spring is finally here, and we’ve been busy building support for more water protection and a bigger, better Greenbelt! Here are some updates from the #GrowOurGB campaign.

We have now collected 12,500 petitions to Premier Wynne and her Cabinet calling on them to grow the Greenbelt and protect farmland and natural areas by putting an end to inefficient urban sprawl. This is a fantastic response and demonstrates how much support is out there for growing the Greenbelt.

Celebrating World Water Day in the Greenbelt

By: Felix Whitton

Today is World Water Day, when we recognize the importance of clean water supplies in our communities and across the world.

The Greenbelt protects nearly 8,600 hectares of water and over 100,000 hectares of wetlands, including the Oak Ridges Moraine—the 'rain barrel' of Ontario—and the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams that supply clean water to millions of residents. 

However, the Greenbelt could stretch even further and protect at-risk areas beyond its boundaries. That is what a coalition of more than 120 community groups is calling for with the #GrowOurGB campaign.

In celebration of World Water Day, here are three reasons why we need to grow our Greenbelt!

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Working Together to Grow Our Greenbelt

By: Ella Haley, Sustainable Brant

Over the last three months, Sustainable Brant has collaborated with a number of environmental organizations, including Langford Conservancy, RARE Charitable Research Reserve, and Environment Hamilton to host “Grow the Greenbelt” events across Hamilton, Brant County and Waterloo Region. We've come together because we're part of communities that depend on the Grand River, from its headwaters in Dufferin County, towards Elora, Guelph, Waterloo, Brantford and, finally Lake Erie. The collaborative nature of our work makes the campaign to expand Greenbelt protection to vital water sources special. Here are a few examples of how we've worked together!

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Protecting Water, Supporting Farmers, and Feeding People

Avia Eek understands the true importance of clean, accessible water. In addition to her position as a Councillor with the Township of King, Avia and her husband Bill operate Eek Farms in the Holland Marsh. The 2016 growing season has been the driest in 20 years; without irrigation, their 85 acres of vegetables might fail, with very real implications.

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The TRCA Supports Growing Our Greenbelt!

Good news! The largest conservation authority in Ontario just announced it wants to grow the Greenbelt to include a number of vital headwaters connecting the Greenbelt to Lake Ontario.

At a recent board meeting, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) passed a motion encouraging the province to protect 16,000 acres of sensitive headwater areas in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The proposed protected waterways include the Rouge, Don, and Humber rivers, and Etobicoke and Carruthers creeks.

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A Wellington County Odyssey

By: David Coulson, Ontario Nature

This post is courtesy of Ontario Nature and originally appeared on the Ontario Nature blog

Walk along the trails of Rockwood Conservation Area or paddle the Eramosa River and the story of our geological past unfolds. You see yawning potholes and caves, towering limestone bluffs and the winding flow of the Eramosa. It makes you wonder if you have been transported into the past… or into a Lord of the Rings scene!

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Top 6 Reason to Grow the Greenbelt in the Grand River Watershed

The Grand River watershed is made up of rivers, moraines, extensive forests, provincially significant wetlands and provincially rare grasslands that clean and filter the drinking water for approximately 925,000 people in Guelph, Wellington, Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Brantford and other towns and cities. We cannot afford to take all this for granted: we need to protect these drinking water sources. 

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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. 

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Top 6 Reasons to Grow the Greenbelt in Simcoe County

Simcoe County is rich with water resources: globally significant wetlands and pristine beaches, to large aquifers, rivers and moraines.

We cannot afford to take all this for granted, we need to protect these drinking water sources. Local conservation authorities have noted the watersheds that clean our drinking water are already showing signs of lower health and are threated further by the growth that is expected in the county in the coming years. 

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Help Support Greenbelt Youth Ambassadors

The Greenbelt Youth Charter | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation 

In 2015, 18 students between the ages of 13 and 17 visited all corners of the Greenbelt. They were taken by our grantee EcoSpark as part of their work to engage and educate youth about local food and environmental protection. The participants gained a deeper appreciation for our natural spaces and countryside, and for some this was their first experience in the Greenbelt!

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How a grade 11 Student in Niagara is saving a forest

Protect Niagara's Forests and Water | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation 

Last year, Grimsby resident and grade 11 student Colton Tew gained media attention for his campaign to save the Irish Grove Woodlot from the proposed extension of the Livingston Avenue. The woodlot is one of the last examples of rare Lake Ontario plain forests in Niagara and includes 130 trees more than a century old.

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Connecting Communities Along the Grand River | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation 

Just outside the Greenbelt, and home to almost one million people, the Grand River watershed is the largest watershed in southern Ontario.  The Watershed provides drinking water for 85% of local residents. The Grand River flows through many diverse communities; from its headwaters in Dufferin County, through Elora towards Guelph, Waterloo and Brantford until it reaches Lake Erie. With the health of these communities so closely tied to the health of the river and surrounding landscape, residents have banded together to ensure the vitality of the region are protected in the long term. The local advocates are driven by a range of issues– from ensuring sustainable growth to sustainable farming – but the core message is the same: we need to protect our clean water supplies across municipal boundaries for generations to come.

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Why a Durham Councillor thinks we must grow the Greenbelt

Councillor Jordan's Story | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Protecting the environment, preserving the beauty of the waterfront, and preparing for the impacts of climate change have motivated Councillor Colleen Jordan since she was first elected as a Regional Councillor for Ajax Wards 3 & 4 in 2003. As a long-serving board member of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Colleen has been an outspoken advocate for protecting water resources and is aware of the work that still needs to be done.

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#GrowOurGreenbelt: Margaret's Story

Margaret's Story | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation 

The Beginning of a movement

In 2013, Midhurst resident and stay-at-home mom Margaret Prophet went to a community meeting about a proposed development. Margaret left the meeting shocked by the sense that the community was being run over roughshod by developers’ plans to increase a rural community from 3,500 residents to 30,000 residents and build on over 2,000 acres of prime farmland, and the message to residents was there was no way to say no.

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One month campaign update

It's been a whole month since #GrowOurGB launched, and we wanted to let you know some of the things that have happened so far, and our future plans!

Letter Writing Campaign

More than 2,500 of you have now written to Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro, asking the province to expand the Greenbelt and protect a 'Bluebelt' of critical water supplies threatened by urban growth. Combined with other campaigns this means almost 5,000 people have written to their provincial representatives, calling for a bigger, permanent Greenbelt.

This is a great start, and from now until September 30, we'll be keeping the pressure up and spreading the word through a variety of channels. You can help us by sharing this Action Page with 5 of your friends!

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Blog: We need the Greenbelt, and we need your help!

By: Kate Daley, Smart Growth Waterloo Region

On May 10, the provincial government announced proposed changes to land use planning rules in Ontario.

There’s been a lot of excitement about some of these changes, and some of them should help other communities to follow the Region of Waterloo’s example in promoting intensification and higher densities for more livable urban areas, and coordinating land use planning with transit planning.

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