Robert MacIsaac honoured for leadership in creating the Greenbelt for Ontarians

Toronto May 12, 2009 – The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today awarded Robert MacIsaac the 2009 “Friend of the Greenbelt Award” for his inspiring leadership in establishing the Greenbelt in southern Ontario.

As Chair of the 2004 Greenbelt Task Force, MacIsaac was a master in finding common ground among the conflicting views of the diverse groups in the 416, 905 and 519 areas. The recommendations were essential for the Ontario Government to enact an effective permanently protected Greenbelt.

“Without the crucial leadership and unique skills provided by MacIsaac in 2004, it is doubtful that Ontarians would be the beneficiaries of the Greenbelt, which protects the natural environment, farming and rural life for all Ontarians,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “He approached land use, by seeing the layers of how land is used, instead of silos, and knit together all these uses harmoniously, recognizing that environment, agriculture, rural life and natural mineral resources co-exist. In addition, he brought forward unanimous recommendations from the 12-member Task Force representing the issues that are often in conflict across the Greenbelt.”

The award was presented to Mr. MacIsaac by Martha Shuttleworth, Chair of the Neptis Foundation and last year’s winner, in a noon-hour ceremony at Hart House, University of Toronto. Previous winners are former Premier William G. Davis in 2007 and Sarah Harmer in 2006, recognized for their leadership in championing the Niagara Escarpment, which is now part of the Greenbelt.

Greenbelt Foundation Chair Sandy Houston said the award to MacIsaac honours not only his contribution in making the Greenbelt a reality, but also his contribution in strengthening the Greenbelt to provide Ontarians with an abundance of food, clean water and clean air. He has done this through his leadership in smart growth of urban areas and Metrolinx’s regional mass transportation plan across the GTA and Hamilton.

"The recognition I received today is very much because of the dedication of many people who believed in the possibility of a magnificent legacy for the residents of Ontario,” said MacIsaac. “I am honoured to receive this award from the Foundation and I applaud its innovative work on Greenbelt awareness, research and grant making. All of these initiatives help make the Greenbelt what it is today - strong, diverse and full of possibility.”

MacIsaac was named President of Mohawk College February 1, 2009. He has served as Chair of Metrolinx since 2006, charged with planning and implementing a 30-year plan for transportation infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). In addition to heading up the Greenbelt Task Force, he was a member of the Ontario Smart Growth Panel chairing the sub-panel responsible for developing a growth management strategy for Central Ontario. MacIsaac served as Mayor of Burlington from 1997 to 2006.

Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario 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 “Friend of the Greenbelt Award” was established by the Foundation in 2006 to recognize and celebrate those individuals who make a significant contribution to Ontario’s Greenbelt. Whether through their work, their art, or their advocacy, these Friends show an enthusiastic commitment to the values of our living countryside.

The Greenbelt Foundation began in June 2005 as an independent, charitable foundation dedicated to promoting and sustaining the Greenbelt as a beneficial, valuable, and permanent feature, enhancing the quality of life for Ontario residents.

To date, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has awarded $12.5 million in grants to organizations working in support of farming, the environment and rural communities in the Greenbelt.

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For a PDF of the press release please click here.

For more information visit
Contact: Jennifer Asselin, Communications Manager, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, (416) 960-0001,
Diana Crosbie, Crosbie Communications, 416-360-6625

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