Toronto, ON – The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (OGA) is pleased with the recommendations on Ontario’s Greenbelt and Growth Plans put forward by the panel led by former Toronto Mayor David Crombie. If further refined and implemented by the Province, the panel’s recommendations will increase the Greenbelt’s size, boost urban intensification to curb sprawl and ensure both plans have a strong climate action focus.
“The panel’s call for greater urban densities that limit sprawl and enable better transit is a clear, smart solution,” says Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “It sets the stage for the Province to provide transit funding incentives that are contingent on growing more compactly and for Ontario to clarify to communities that land cannot be removed from the Greenbelt to ensure sprawl is slowed and stopped.”
The OGA supports the panel’s recommendations to:
- Grow the Greenbelt by adding vulnerable source water areas and urban river valleys (URV’s) through a new provincially led process.
- Increase municipal density targets and intensification and support integration of transit, land use planning and infrastructure
- Map natural heritage systems and agricultural systems in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
- Require integrated watershed planning to protect source water areas
- Increase available tools such as agricultural impact assessments to ensure farming thrives for the long term
- Recognize the need to address climate change by requiring municipal climate change plans with a focus on mitigation and adaptation
“The panel took an important stance in recommending a provincially led process to add vulnerable source water areas to the Greenbelt across the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” says Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature. “We urge the Province to act on this advice and protect ecological gems like the Oro moraine and Lake Iroquois Shoreline. We are very pleased to see the panel’s direction to expand the Greenbelt boundaries.”
“We are pleased the Crombie panel has understood the critical role good provincial and municipal planning can play in addressing climate change in Ontario. Ensuring connected natural heritage and agricultural systems are protected will help us meet the challenges ahead in both the Greenbelt and the Whitebelt,” says Faisal Moola, Director General, Ontario and Northern Canada, David Suzuki Foundation. “These systems need to be mapped by the province and key areas protected as part of the Greenbelt. Identifying and mapping prime farmland is key to ensuring that the province’s most important economic sector thrives and remains vibrant in near urban areas for generations to come.”
About the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (http://www.greenbeltalliance.ca): The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a diverse multi-stakeholder coalition of over 117 organizations who share a common vision for protecting and enhancing the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt. Environmental Defence is the coordinator of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.
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