February 17, 2021
Growing the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt Foundation supports the Government of Ontario’s commitment to what could be the largest expansion of the Greenbelt since its original creation. Today, the Government announced that it will consult on expanding the Greenbelt to protect additional critical water systems, including the Paris-Galt Moraine. We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to working with the Government and key stakeholders to realize a vision of meaningful growth and enhancement that benefits Ontarians.
Especially in the context of COVID-19 and economic and social recovery, any growth of the Greenbelt will only improve the Greenbelt’s overall contribution to the region’s economy.
At present, Ontario’s Greenbelt protects two crucial headwaters: those found in the Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Greenbelt also protects 21 urban river valleys—including the Humber, Credit, and Rouge. These valley systems intersect our growing communities, providing important greenspace, documented cooling effects, and increased protection from flooding for residents and businesses. By protecting new headwaters, including the Paris-Galt Moraine, which is home to unique water resources, and urban river valleys, which pass through our densely populated areas, we have an opportunity to extend the Greenbelt’s important benefits.
Maintaining the integrity of the current Greenbelt area during any expansion, including preserving important agricultural lands, is critical to its long-term vitality and the success of our near-urban food economy. The Government of Ontario has been clear that it will refuse any requests to change the current Greenbelt boundary, which provides certainty for municipal planning and ensures the Greenbelt can continue delivering its economic and job benefits, notably in the agriculture and food and tourism sectors.
“By announcing its intention to expand the Greenbelt’s protection of critical water systems in Ontario, the Province has indicated an important path forward for extending and enhancing the unique benefits of the Greenbelt,” said Edward McDonnell, CEO, Greenbelt Foundation. “We welcome this discussion and look forward to finding ways to build on the Greenbelt’s history of success.”
The Province has previously committed to “protecting the Greenbelt for future generations” – and any potential expansion and/or improvements to Greenbelt land-use policy should be guided by this goal. Especially in the context of COVID-19 and economic and social recovery, any growth of the Greenbelt will only improve the Greenbelt’s overall contribution to the region’s economy.
At present, the Greenbelt contributes $9.6 billion in GDP and supports more than 177,700 full-time jobs. By further investing in headwaters, urban river valleys, and our other near-urban landscapes, we can create more jobs and further reduce costs to communities related to the impacts of extreme weather, such as flooding and water contamination—both of which healthy, natural systems help prevent.
Greenbelt Foundation’s Role
Together with government, conservation authorities, and our partners in the public and private sectors, the Greenbelt Foundation has an important role to play in engaging communities and convening stakeholders to support a strategic and thoughtful expansion of Ontario’s Greenbelt. The Foundation is committed to building on our legacy of success by developing research projects and grant programs that further strengthen the Greenbelt’s key sectors and steward its critically important landscapes.
We are an independent, charitable organization that has leveraged and invested approximately $100 million since 2005 to support local food and agricultural systems, rural tourism and recreation sectors, and environmental stewardship initiatives across the Greenbelt region.
For more information on the existing 21 Greenbelt-protected urban river valleys please visit our website: https://www.greenbelt.ca/greenbelt_protected_urban_river_valleys
The Government of Ontario is launching a 60-day public consultation today and welcomes feedback on their Greenbelt expansion initiative. Those who wish to provide feedback have until April 19 to do so and should contact:
Email: [email protected]
Submit a Comment: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-3136
About Greenbelt Foundation:
Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization, solely dedicated to ensuring the Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous. We make the right investments in its interconnected natural, agricultural and economic systems, to ensure a working, thriving Greenbelt for all. Ontario's Greenbelt is the world's largest, with over two million acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and rivers working together to provide clean air, fresh water, and a reliable local food source.
Greenbelt Foundation Media Contact:
Michael Young, Communications Advisor
(416) 960-0001 x 311
Greenbelt Foundation Social Media:
Facebook: Ontario Greenbelt