Expanding the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt was established in 2005 to provide protection of natural areas and prime farmland, while also incorporating the Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges Moraine. Since then the population of the Greater Golden Horseshoe has grown from 8 million to 10 million.
There have been attempts to develop it, but the Greenbelt is simply too important. In fact, it must be expanded.
The Good News! The Ontario government is consulting on expanding the Greenbelt in two significant areas: the Paris-Galt Moraine and Urban River Valleys.
The Paris-Galt Moraine filters the headwaters of several rivers and the drinking water of communities from Brantford to Cambridge and Guelph.
The Urban River Valleys are vital corridors that connect the Lake Ontario waterfront with the Greenbelt through the heart of the Golden Horseshoe’s city cores.
The Greenbelt sits within Canada’s fastest developing urban region. The projected population will be 15 million people by 2051, larger than that of all of Ontario currently.
The Greenbelt provides clean air, fresh water, local food, and accessible greenspace.
The Greenbelt supports some of the most diverse habitats in Canada and contains biodiversity hotspots for rare reptiles, amphibians and plants.
33% of Canada’s population lives close by with a small fraction on the land under public control.
The Greenbelt is ideally situated to help with the cumulative stresses of the pandemic, climate change, urban development and biodiversity loss. But opportunities for creating and enhancing the necessary connective corridors and protected areas are dwindling. The Ontario Government is consulting on expanding the Greenbelt now. The deadline for comments is April 19, 2021.
Did you know Ontario’s Greenbelt:
- Spans over 2 million acres or 809,000 ha – it’s larger than Algonquin
- Is home to more than 2,000 species
- Has $9.6 billion/year in economic impact and 177,700 jobs
- Is in Canada’s biodiversity hotspot – rich in species with few protected areas and a rapid loss of species due to habitat destruction
- Includes Moraines and River Valleys crucial for water protection, rich habitats and travel corridors for species
- Provides access to greenspace for millions of Canadians
It is important to let Ontario know:
What is special to you? How would you improve the Greenbelt?
Do you want:
- The largest possible expansion of the Greenbelt
- Damaged areas to be restored with native species
- Ecological corridors created and expanded
- Key natural areas to be off limits to industry, urban development, infrastructure and agriculture
- Protection of Urban River Valleys expanded, especially the Rouge River and Duffins Creek
- Protection of the remaining natural and agricultural areas of the Paris-Galt Moraine and its vital water resources