FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 18, 2017
Statement from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Regarding the Final Amendments to the Growth Plan and Greenbelt
With today’s announcement, the Province has reinforced the most central legacy of the Greenbelt – its permanence. Along with the addition of 21 urban rivers and 7 coastal wetlands, we look forward to participating in the process to consider additional watersheds and hydrological areas to include in Greenbelt. Protecting a clean water supply supports agriculture and ensures the long-term health of the region.
The Greenbelt has withstood immense pressure from some developers throughout this Review who want to continue to build inefficient, sprawling housing on prime farmland, with little thought to the ecological health of the region. We are pleased the government will grow the Greenbelt, not turn it into a Swiss cheese belt by agreeing to the over 700 requests to remove land from its protection.
The changes announced to the Growth Plan to shift the majority of growth to already built-up areas are a welcome change that will create walkable, transit oriented communities and increase housing affordability by introducing meaningful housing choices for all ages and life stages. An effective Growth Plan is an essential companion to a strong Greenbelt, and together these plans will ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
The Province’s decision to define and protect both the agricultural system and natural heritage system across the region means we can protect what needs to be protected, before development applications come in.
Throughout the Review, residents and stakeholders have been clear – permanently protected farmland delivers economic prosperity to rural communities and a reliable, sustainable supply of local food to residents. The natural landscapes of the Greenbelt provide over $3.2 billion per year in benefits to residents, while farming and other sectors in the Greenbelt generate $9.1B in economic activity and 161,000 jobs. Today’s announcement confirms these benefits will carry on for the next generation.
Ultimately, the positive outcome of the Review is a testament to the outpouring of support for the Greenbelt from the 9 out of 10 Ontarians who are in favour of it. It is clear that the government heard the strong message from the 50,000 people who signed petitions, and participated throughout the Review to grow the Greenbelt and strengthen the Growth Plan.
About the Greenbelt:
Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, healthy local food, active outdoor recreation, and a thriving economy. At nearly 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect natural features. Learn more at: greenbelt.ca.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
Office: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306