Today, the Province released the Agricultural System and Natural Heritage System for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), identifying and protecting prime farmland, agricultural infrastructure, and natural features as our region grows.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation commends the Province on finalizing the implementation of this recommendation from the 2015 Greenbelt Review, establishing definitively a new model of growth that will shape the future of the region. This approach ensures nature and agriculture are an intrinsic part of Official Plan development in the GGH.
The Agriculture System protects not only prime farmland, but the network of infrastructure and services needed for the agri-food sector to be successful. This forward-thinking approach recognizes that Ontario cannot achieve long-term health and prosperity in the GGH without effectively protecting and valuing farmland and natural features in the municipal planning process.
Municipalities are now empowered to value the agricultural economy as a priority for economic development and consider farmland and the agricultural system when infrastructure, services and programs are developed.
Implementing a natural heritage system across the GGH should also help to maintain the region’s ecological integrity to support human needs as the population in the region continues to grow.
This enhanced protection for agriculture and natural systems in the region is essential to building a sustainable and prosperous future for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and its 9.2 million residents. Curbing sprawl and embracing smart growth enables the region to invest in complete communities, regional transit connectivity, and healthy farmland and natural features.
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About the Greenbelt
Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, and a thriving economy with healthy local food and active outdoor recreation. At 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and secure. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, protect natural features, and promote sustainable growth. Learn more at greenbelt.ca