FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2015
Statement from the Greenbelt Foundation on the Release of the Crombie Report
Today, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, issued the following statement on the release of recommendations developed by an expert advisory panel reviewing four provincial land use plans, including the Greenbelt Plan:
“We commend the expert advisory panel, led by David Crombie, for seeking input from thousands of Ontarians and a wide range of stakeholders on the future of the province’s Greenbelt. Mr. Crombie was known as the perfect, tiny mayor. Well, he is still perfect.
These 87 recommendations and the government’s response will define our region for the next decade and beyond.
The report recognizes and makes thoughtful recommendations to strengthen the agriculture sector at a time when farmland is under increasing pressure from development. Recent data shows that three quarters of the GTA’s most productive farmland is under threat of being swallowed up by unsustainable growth. We cannot jeopardize the viability of this economic powerhouse that provides us with a secure supply of local food, supports over 780,000 jobs, and contributes more than $35 billion towards our GDP.
The recommendations also address the vital role of smart growth in southern Ontario. It recommends an ambitious path to move away from urban sprawl and towards more complete communities. From Mr. Crombie’s perspective, intensification is not a dirty word. It is acknowledgment that we cannot create more land—it is a finite resource. With an influx of 100,000 people to our region each year, the recommendations recognize the need to build more livable communities and better align growth and infrastructure planning, especially for transit.
After 10 years of Ontario’s Greenbelt, the report recommends that it’s time to grow the nearly two million acres of permanently protected farmland, forests, and water systems. Environmental experts are calling for the creation of a “Bluebelt” around our sensitive water systems, including our urban river valleys. By growing the Greenbelt, we can safeguard southern Ontario’s sources of clean drinking water and continue to mitigate the effects of climate change.
We look forward to reviewing the report and to the Province’s vision for the Greenbelt—a resource that nine out of ten Ontarians cherish.”