On Tuesday January 26 we hosted our Greenbelt Review Telephone Town Hall!
From 7pm to 8pm we had a live and interactive conversation on the ongoing provincial review of the Growth and Greenbelt Plans, with more than 11,000 people joining us!
The Town Hall was hosted by Greenbelt Vice-President Susan Murray with two guest speakers--David Crombie, Chair of the Land Use Advisory Panel and Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation--fielding questions from participants.
We discussed everything from smart growth, to the future of agriculture, to water protection and urban river valleys.
Listen to the full recording below!
I'm always surprised when I talk to regular folks—those not in the “Greenbelt” business—about how engaged they are in the Greenbelt and planning issues. I’m often impressed by how much they care, as well as by their intuitive observations and commentary. In other words, you don't need to be a fancy planner or 'died in the wool' environmentalist to have sensible opinions about smart planning and how we build our communities.
We are encouraged by the province's decision to grow the Greenbelt to include 21 urban river valleys and seven coastal wetlands, bringing the Greenbelt into cities and towns with over 6 million residents.
The province also added four parcels of protected countryside in the City of Hamilton and Niagara Region.
But...the widely supported grassroots initiative to expand the Greenbelt and protect a ‘Bluebelt’ of vulnerable water resources was left out of the amendments to the Greenbelt Plan. We hear that the province plans to start a process to identify such areas in the coming months - let's hold them to their word!
The grassroots 'bluebelt' proposal, put together by a coalition of over 100 environmental and community groups, calls for an ambitious expansion of the Greenbelt in order to protect critical drinking water sources and to ensure an abundant supply of clean water.
Find out more about the proposal and take action at GrowOurGreenbelt.ca!
I've been working on environmental protection since 1988, creeping up to almost 30 years now. In that time, there have been a lot of international agreements. I vividly remember the Montreal Protocol created to phase out and eliminate ozone depleting substances, and the 1988 Climate Conference in Toronto. I participated in pre-consultations and agenda development for the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, and I was thrilled to hear about the establishment of the Kyoto Protocol.
Photos (L-R) by Peter Granka, Peter Kelly, Barbara Phillips
Grantee Spotlight is a blog series highlighting the experiences and successes of the Foundation’s grantees, as they work with communities and other Greenbelt partners to keep our province’s farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable for future generations.
The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System: Innovative partnerships, permanent protection and a natural legacy
Guest post from Peter Kelly, Coordinator, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System
Nestled in Ontario’s Greenbelt, between the western shores of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, there sits a remarkable collection of natural lands known as the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.
It’s a special place, an area within the Greenbelt where a World Biosphere Reserve, Provincially Significant Wetlands, and nationally significant habitats all intersect within close proximity to the growing cities of Burlington and Hamilton. The EcoPark System is a biodiversity hotspot - home to almost 1,600 species of flora and fauna, over fifty of which are identified as “Species at Risk”.
As my oldest daughter Zoë contemplates her post-secondary education, the next few months will be busy ones, as she applies to various universities. She’s keen to follow in her dad’s footsteps, hoping to study Environmental Studies and English in either Ontario or British Columbia. So my radar for youth and the environment was particularly alert when I came across a young boy in Niagara who wants to save a woodlot from being paved over by an unneeded road.
As a grant-making organization, we’re fortunate. We get to work with really smart people, and we get to insert ourselves in great new projects that make change. Since 2010, we’ve seen a return of $112 million in increased Ontario sales with our work. This proves that the Fund has been nothing short of a monumental success.
Recognizing the True Value of the Greenbelt
David Suzuki Foundation
$35,000 (1 year)
The project will educate the public about the benefits of the Greenbelt through online and media activities, with a focus on DSF's natural capital research and the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review.
Engaging Hamiltonians in the 2015 Review
$9,200 (1 year)
Environment Hamilton will educate and engage Hamilton residents about the Greenbelt and smart growth to ensure a successful outcome for the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review.
Supporting Niagara’s Local Food Culture
$6,100 (1 year)
Greening Niagara will hold a series of Greenbelt-themed walks to engage local residents in the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review and build support for local food and farmland preservation.