News releases have been thick and fast this afternoon, about the release of the report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041” and an Environics poll about the Greenbelt and development. Read three of them here.
Statement from the Greenbelt Foundation on the Release of the Crombie Report
Today, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, issued the following statement on the release of recommendations developed by an expert advisory panel reviewing four provincial land use plans, including the Greenbelt Plan: “We commend the expert advisory panel, led by David Crombie, for seeking input from thousands of Ontarians and a wide range of stakeholders on the future of the province’s Greenbelt. Mr. Crombie was known as the perfect, tiny mayor. Well, he is still perfect. These 87 recommendations and the government’s response will define our region for the next decade and beyond. The report recognizes and makes thoughtful recommendations to strengthen the agriculture sector at a time when farmland is under increasing pressure from development. Recent data shows that three quarters of the GTA’s most productive farmland is under threat of being swallowed up by unsustainable growth. We cannot jeopardize the viability of this economic powerhouse that provides us with a secure supply of local food, supports over 780,000 jobs, and contributes more than $35 billion towards our GDP. The recommendations also address the vital role of smart growth in southern Ontario. It recommends an ambitious path to move away from urban sprawl and towards more complete communities. From Mr. Crombie’s perspective, intensification is not a dirty word. It is acknowledgment that we cannot create more land—it is a finite resource. With an influx of 100,000 people to our region each year, the recommendations recognize the need to build more livable communities and better align growth and infrastructure planning, especially for transit. After 10 years of Ontario’s Greenbelt, the report recommends that it’s time to grow the nearly two million acres of permanently protected farmland, forests, and water systems. Environmental experts are calling for the creation of a “Bluebelt” around our sensitive water systems, including our urban river valleys. By growing the Greenbelt, we can safeguard southern Ontario’s sources of clean drinking water and continue to mitigate the effects of climate change. We look forward to reviewing the report and to the Province’s vision for the Greenbelt—a resource that nine out of 10 Ontarians cherish.”
Crombie report hits the mark: Protect Ontario’s most vulnerable water resources Environmental groups applaud Advisory Panel for strong stance on protecting the region’s water
Growing the Greenbelt into areas of critical ecological and hydrological significance were among key recommendations put forward by David Crombie, Chair of the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review Advisory Panel, this afternoon in their report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041.” “We are thrilled to see that the Crombie Panel has recommended additional lands be added to the Greenbelt, focusing on vulnerable source water areas,” reported Joyce Chau, executive director of EcoSpark. “Ontarians were loud and clear that the protection of our water and natural systems needed to be elevated in areas beyond the Oak Ridges Moraine and adjoining the Greenbelt.” The report also highlights the untapped potential of the Greenbelt and Growth Plans to address climate change. “The Panel’s focus on climate change throughout this report is an important acknowledgement of what is possible with strong implementation of these plans,” says Caroline Schultz, executive director of Ontario Nature. “As we brace for extreme weather, flooding and droughts associated with climate change the enhancement of our natural systems is key to building resilience.” The Panel’s recommendations will inform the Province’s next steps as they prepare policy amendments early next year. “We are urging the government to act quickly to grow the Greenbelt during this review,” says Josh Garfinkel, senior campaigner at Earthroots. “Growth pressures are building quickly and we can’t afford to sit idle.” “We are indebted to David Crombie and members of the Advisory Panel as their advice will surely move us towards a more sustainable future,” says Debbe Crandall, policy advisor for STORM. “Now is the time for the Province to be bold and make these recommendations a reality to protect our land, water and communities.”
The Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership is a coalition of Earthroots, EcoSpark, Ontario Nature and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition. Our groups have been leading the charge to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine and important source water areas in the Greater Golden Horseshoe for more than 25 years. For more information please visit www.marvellousmoraine.ca.
PUBLIC POLLING: GREENBELT BOUNDARIES SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM ANY FUTURE URBAN DEVELOPMENT:
Results Released as Ontario Government Continues Greenbelt Plan Review
Recent polling shows that 86 per cent of respondents believe that the boundaries of the world’s largest Greenbelt should be protected from any future urban development. Conducted between August 19 and September 8, 2015, Environics online polling of 2,008 Ontarians found that about nine out of 10 respondents believe that it’s important to grow the Greenbelt to safeguard against urban sprawl. Additionally, three out of four respondents convey that the boundaries of the Greenbelt should be preserved forever. These polling results come on the heels of the release of 87 recommendations by an expert advisory panel chaired by David Crombie. The panel was tapped by the Ontario government to review the Greenbelt Plan and three other land use plans. “While the province carries out its legislated 10 year review of the Greenbelt Plan, it’s clear that the vast majority of Ontarians cherish the nearly two million acres of permanently protected farmland, greenspace, and natural heritage systems” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “A number of municipalities want to pave over the province’s treasured Greenbelt, but this recent public polling reveals that residents are just not on board.” When it comes to the Greenbelt’s benefits, protecting southern Ontario’s clean drinking water sources remains at the top according to one in three respondents. The second most important benefit is preserving farmland and green spaces (24 per cent). Relatedly, nine out of 10 respondents believe it’s important the Greenbelt is grown to include urban river valleys. The voting intentions of respondents were also gathered. More than half of those polled would consider changing their vote if protections for the Greenbelt were reduced or eliminated. For recent Environics polling on the Greenbelt, click here.
About the Greenbelt: Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, healthy local food, and a thriving economy with good jobs. At nearly 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect natural features. Join us in 2015 as we celebrate 10 years of success for the Greenbelt! Learn more at: greenbelt.ca or find us on Twitter and Facebook.