Twelve years ago, the government passed the Greenbelt Act in response to pressure from environmental groups to permanently protect vital farmland and natural systems at risk of being paved over for suburban sprawl. Now, over a decade later, as I prepare to leave the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, I am as determined as ever to ensure the Greenbelt remains a successful and permanent feature of the landscape.
The Greenbelt is the best sustainability experiment we have in the country, showing how to balance environmental health with economic prosperity. The blending of agriculture, recreation and tourism in the Greenbelt, while maintaining the landscape in a healthy and productive state is proving to be a model for the world.
With three daughters to put through university, making a significant financial contribution to the Foundation is a bit of a stretch! But making a bequest in my will was an easy way to commit my support for the Greenbelt as an enduring legacy in this province.
Thirty years from now, the growth pressures on the Greenbelt will be stronger than ever. We're already seeing private interests clamouring to remove land from the Greenbelt, and this is before urban growth has even reached its boundaries. The importance of the Greenbelt will only increase over time.
This is a moment of sadness and excitement for me. It's hard to leave this organization that I have been a part of from the beginning, but I do so fully committed to the principles that underpin the Greenbelt: incredible people creating sustainable prosperity on a working landscape. I am confident that the team at the Foundation and our network of friends and supporters will continue to champion the Greenbelt.
Above all, I will miss the talented and dedicated people I have had the pleasure of working with for so long.