Toronto, February 27, 2009 – On the fourth anniversary of the Greenbelt Act and Plan, it’s clear that Ontarians are proud of what its 1.8 million acres have to offer: clean water for their families and local food from hard-working farmers. A recent public opinion poll conducted by Environics, in partnership with the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, shows 93% of Ontarians support the Greenbelt – an all-time high for the green initiative.
“Ontarians are excited about what the Greenbelt provides,” said Jamie Reaume, the Executive Director of the Holland Marsh Growers' Association. "Once we learn that everything is connected, from the land we use to grow, to the fresh water we drink, the reality is that the farmer, the chef, the scientist, the cyclist and many rural residents all share a passion for the same thing - Ontario's greatest environmental statement, the Greenbelt.”
Of those surveyed, 98% said protecting the natural water system is an important goal or benefit of the Greenbelt and 96% said preserving agricultural lands is an important goal/benefit. More explicitly, 36% of Ontarians said protecting the natural water systems is the most important benefit of the Greenbelt.
“The Greenbelt is the lifeblood of clean water coming into this region, and for the 8 million people who live here,” said Professor Gail Krantzberg, water scientist at McMaster University. “Issues around clean drinking water are always at the forefront of peoples’ minds and for good reason. The entire world depends on clean water. Any major city, in any country, should follow the Greenbelt’s model. It shows that Ontario’s got it right.”
Ontarians also agree that the Greenbelt is one of the most important contributions of our generation to the future of Ontario (91%).
“It’s the stewards of the land, the farmers that grow our food, the innovators surrounding us, whom we have to thank for making the Greenbelt what it is today – good and with the potential to be great,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “I am grateful to our partners and those people who are working to protect the Greenbelt and who are getting their hands dirty growing fresh affordable food. And I am grateful for the tremendous support we’re seeing from the people of Ontario.”
“As an early supporter of the Greenbelt, we’re encouraged by these latest findings,” said Debbie Zimmerman, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario. “Ontarians understand what we’re trying to do in cultivating the land and protecting our crops. They recognize the importance of 100 per cent Ontario-grown VQA wines. I can only hope that the LCBO picks up on this support, reflecting in their greater promotion of local wine.”
Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario, and the earth, a better place. Encompassing the Niagara Escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge Park, hundreds of rural towns and villages and some 7,000 farms, Ontario's Greenbelt is the largest and most diverse in the world.
The Greenbelt Foundation survey was conducted by Environics Research Group from February 15-21, 2009 among a sample of 751 residents of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-3.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20. Smaller sub-samples will have a higher margin of error.
- 30 -
For a PDF of this press release click here.
For more information contact Jennifer Asselin, Communications Manager, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, jasselin -at- greenbelt.ca, (416) 960-0001 ext. 310