In celebration of Earth Day in Ontario's Greenbelt, the April 22 edition of the Toronto Star features protecting farmland, growing smartly, and growing our Greenbelt to protect water. Plus, learn about the value and significant benefits of the Greenbelt's natural capital. If you missed the print edition, catch up on your weekend reading with this two-page feature.
By: Debbe Crandall, Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM)
Fifteen years ago this Saturday, April 22—Earth Day—I climbed to the top of Mount Wolfe, one of the high points of the Oak Ridges Moraine, which happens to be my back yard. I remember standing there, dancing a victory jig and shaking my fist in the direction of Toronto and Brampton and the sprawl which, for the time being, had been stopped—at least for the lands in the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Photo courtesy of Pete PatersonRead more
An amazing 9.2 million people (or 3 million households) live within 20 kilometres of Ontario’s Greenbelt—that’s over a quarter of Canada’s whole population! 20 kilometres is the distance we consider to be “near home” for nature-based recreation, 73% of which occurs within this radius.
Recently we set out to determine what recreational activities people are engaging in across the Greenbelt, and how much the Greenbelt’s waters and forests contribute to the well-being of our region—an assessment of value known as natural capital.Read more
In celebration of National Soil Conservation Week, we are showcasing two of our current Greenbelt research projects.
National Soil Conservation Week 2017 runs from April 16th to 22nd, and focuses on the importance of proper land stewardship for the benefit of all resources—especially soil—under our care. Led by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada, it’s an annual effort to highlight continuing successes in soil management, while at the same time keeping soil health top-of-mind for both farmers and the public.
Photo courtesy of Ontario Farmland TrustRead more
Download the presentations from our March 2017 workshop on natural capital valuation, including:
- Valuation framework and results from "Ontario's Good Fortune";
- lessons from Peel and Oakville pilot projects in the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative;
- an update on the development of provincial accounts;
- and a tactical analysis of how best to use natural capital accounting.
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.
Photo by Jean Simard
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!Read more
New Assessment of the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital Finds Ecological Goods and Services Are Worth Billions to Residents of Ontario
By: Tom Bowers, Senior Research and Policy Analyst
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is pleased to release our latest report, Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital produced by Green Analytics. The report assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from, including, flood protection, recreational opportunities and clean drinking water. It finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to residents of the region (approximately 9 million people).Read more
By: Auriel Haynes, Blackwell Children's Garden, Malvern
Into the Greenbelt gave the children and some adults from Blackwell Children's Garden, all from the Malvern area, the great opportunity to visit a ''pick your own'' farm. Their excitement was palpable as we prepared to leave for Murphy’s Country Produce. The bus left Malvern on a cool but sunny morning. The drive to Hamilton itself was exciting, as the kids seldom get go on long drives just for fun.Read more
Members of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance gather at Queen's Park
The feedback period for the recent Coordinated Land Use Planning Review ended on October 31. The Province is now reviewing submissions from the public, municipalities, community groups, and others, including over 35,000 letters sent by residents in support of protecting and growing the Greenbelt. Amendments to the Greenbelt and Growth Plans are expected in late winter or spring 2017. To show support for the Greenbelt while the Province deliberates, 70 OGA members and Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt, as well as 25 MPPs, gathered for an early breakfast at Queen's Park.
Members of the OGA delivered over 35,000 signatures to Minister Mauro and Premiere Wynne
There was representation from across the Greenbelt, including the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Environmental Defence, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM), Environment Hamilton, Oakville Green, Sustainable Brant and the Langford Conservancy, EcoSpark, Wellington Water Watchers, and more!
Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt expressed strong support for growing the Greenbelt. In particular, Mayor Steve Parrish of Ajax expressed the need to protect the headwaters of Carruthers Creek, while Deputy Toronto Mayor Glenn De Baeremaeker called for the freezing of municipal boundaries for the next 10 years to promote smart growth and protect farmland.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro thanked the OGA for its efforts, and acknowledged the receipt of over 35,000 letters. He expressed excitement at the new protections for 21 urban river valleys and seven coastal wetlands.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro addressed the OGA over breakfast on Tuesday
Ernie Hardeman, Agriculture and Food Critic for the Progressive Conservatives also commended the Ontario Greenbelt for supporting local food and farming. He stated, "On behalf of Patrick Brown and the PC Caucus, we totally support the Greenbelt."
Take a look a this Twitter Moment for highlights from the morning as they happened, including more photos, quotes from speakers, and insights from OGA members.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the day, and to supporters across the Greenbelt! While we wait for the Province's amendments, you can still send a letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs Mauro to support the protection and expansion of the Greenbelt. It's critical that we ensure Greenbelt boundaries are permanently protected from unbridled sprawl, and that the Growth Plan is working to help cities and growing municipalities develop responsibly.