From Peterborough to Barrie, Toronto, St. Catharines and Waterloo, hundreds of people are participating in the provincial review of the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine, Niagara Escarpment Plan and Growth Plan. Not only has the turnout and level of engagement exceeded expectations but the thoughtful questions and comments show that people want to make these plans work even better.
Ontario’s Greenbelt is helping our cities grow in smarter, better ways. It isn’t driving up housing prices, despite what some in the development industry would have you believe.
Where citizens were engaged on development issues, incumbents lost and new green Councils were elected.
It’s fall. And, Ontario’s forests are their most beautiful right now. So it’s especially poignant that an Ontario woodland is at risk.
Ontario’s Greenbelt aims to protect sensitive natural areas and farmland. But Ontario is planning a highway that would cut through the greenbelt and damage both farmland and green space.
The proposed highway, GTA West, would pave over 2,000 acres of prime farmland in the Greenbelt.
In fairness it may not be paradise, but the Greenbelt is some of the only protected green and agricultural space that the ever expanding Greater Toronto Area has left.
Last week the government announced that it is starting construction on the proposed eastern expansion of the 407. The expansion and the connector to the 401 will cut directly into the Greenbelt.
In late August I wrote about how a lack of truly affordable housing in the GTA drives sprawl in surrounding rural areas. Land speculation, too, has shaped the landscape around the GTA and in Simcoe County.
On January 19 the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure enacted Amendment #1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, also known as the Simcoe Sub-area Amendment.