Our Role in the Public Process

Ontario’s Greenbelt has become a topic of discussion in the provincial election. It has been heartwarming to see so many people discussing the importance of the Greenbelt to the health and prosperity of Ontario and communicating their support for its protection.

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New Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program will fund projects to realize the potential of newly protected Greenbelt urban river valleys

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TORONTO, April 30, 2018–The Greenbelt Foundation and Park People have launched a new funding program to help connect people and communities to protected urban river valley (URVs) systems throughout the GTHA. The Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program will provide $100,000 in funding, to be matched one to one, to support five or more place-based projects a year that will help people explore, celebrate and enhance their local urban river valleys that are often undiscovered and underused.

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Green Infrastructure in Halton Region

Beautiful views from Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Every five years, Ontario’s Conservation Authorities release report cards on the health of our watersheds. The report cards all measure forest conditions, groundwater quality and surface water quality, and some include other metrics such as wetland or impervious land cover. Recently, Conservation Halton released their 2018 Watershed Report Card.

The Conservation Authority found that in more urbanized areas surface water quality, and forest conditions ranged from poor to very poor. While in the Greenbelt, “we have better surface water quality, more robust forest cover and lower amounts of impervious cover” says Kim Barrett, Associate Director, Science and Partnerships at Conservation Halton.

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What is Green Infrastructure?

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From a landscape perspective, green infrastructure is an effective tool for mitigating the negative impacts development has on the natural heritage and agricultural systems of the Greenbelt. A prime example is helping to clean and cool water before it enters the river systems, which is important for rivers as a habitat and as a resource.

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Nature Does It Best: Looking to Green Infrastructure to Improve Our Communities

Tree Canopy Expansion

Green infrastructure can help mitigate the negative impacts of development, build resiliency to climate change, and help reduce infrastructure costs.

The Greenbelt itself can be thought of as a regional scale green infrastructure. The Greenbelt includes over 290,000 hectares of protected natural features, such as wetlands, hedgerows, and forests. These protected spaces provide a multitude of services to our communities, ranging from reducing the risk of floods, reducing health care costs, to storing carbon.

To get a better understanding about the multitude of benefits that green infrastructure provides; we sat down with Tom Bowers, the Foundation’s Research Manager. This is the second blog post in a series that explores the multitude of benefits that green infrastructure provides to our communities.

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April Newsletter 2018

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Green Infrastructure in Hamilton

Fletcher Creek

The watersheds around Spencer Creek, Christie Lake, Valens Lake and other creeks and lakes, connect the communities in Hamilton and are part of the Greenbelt. Studies show that the natural features and functions of these watersheds are under stress. 

One major stressor is the impact of impervious surfaces, such as roofs and roads, diverting rainfall from natural water filtration process to pipes and sewers or directly into waterways. This runoff leads to erosion, flooding and water pollution.

Our watersheds need to be healthier and more resilient to the changing climate, which is bringing more frequent and severe floods and droughts. Green Infrastructure is one of the approaches to address these problems, and has the potential to improve water quality, reduce the risk of floods, and ensure our watersheds are more resilient.

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Interested in what Green Infrastructure could look like in our yards, downtowns, roads and parks? There's a lot of options, ranging from the super simple to downright innovative.

Nature does it best. And because Green Infrastructure incorporates natural systems and functions within the built environment, it is gaining momentum as an efficient and cost-effective tool for mitigating the negative impacts development has on water management, natural heritage and agricultural systems in our communities and the Greenbelt.

Explore the options below:  

Green Infrastructure has the potential to improve water quality, reduce infrastructure costs, reduce the risk of floods, and ensure our watersheds and communities are more resilient to climate change.


Want to learn more?

 

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Re-visioning of a residential yard with Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure incorporates natural systems and functions within the built environment, it is gaining momentum as an efficient and cost-effective tool for mitigating the negative impacts development has on water management, natural heritage and agricultural systems in our communities and the Greenbelt.

Installing Green Infrastructure in our yards can have the following benefits:

  • Additional vegetation and natural features for homes and the public realm have been shown to increase property values, while also improving air quality and creating habitat for wildlife, including pollinators
  • Rain gardens and bioswales can help recharge groundwater supply, manage stormwater, and improve local water quality
  • Green roofs and green walls can insulate a home, reducing heating costs, and shade from planting trees can lower air temperatures, reducing cooling costs
  • Cisterns and rain barrels can be used to harvest rainwater and provide an additional water source for gardening and car washing
  • Permeable paving for driveways and sidewalks increases water infiltration into the ground
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Re-visioning of downtowns with Green Infrastructure:

Green Infrastructure incorporates natural systems and functions within the built environment, it is gaining momentum as an efficient and cost-effective tool for mitigating the negative impacts development has on water management, natural heritage and agricultural systems in our communities and the Greenbelt.

Installing Green Infrastructure in our downtowns can have the following benefits:

  • Revitalization and placemaking in the downtown core can attract new businesses and visitors
  • Integrated green infrastructure features in a community’s downtown can improve public health
  • Different types of green infrastructure such as trees provide protection from sun and wind exposure, as well as produce oxygen and store carbon
  • Replacing asphalt parking strips with permeable pavement and adding street trees help to define and improve the pedestrian realm
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