Ontario announces first expansion of the Greenbelt in Oakville since its inception in 2005 and offers protection for urban river valleys

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance applauded the announcement today by the Ontario government that the Glenorchy Conservation Area will be added to Ontario’s Greenbelt. The 400-hectare area in northern Oakville is the first addition to Ontario’s Greenbelt since the Greenbelt was created in 2005.

“Adding Glenorchy to the Greenbelt is a solid first step for growing Ontario’s world-renowned Greenbelt,” said Erin Shapero of Environmental Defence. “The Greenbelt provides millions of Ontarians with clean water, a place for recreation and a working countryside. Growing the Greenbelt will help more Ontarians to enjoy nature without a long drive, support local farmers, and create more sustainable communities.”

The province announced that it will double the amount of trees to be planted in Glenorchy to help meet forest canopy goals set by the Town of Oakville, which aim to improve the region’s air quality.

Ontario also announced it will create new urban river valley protection as part of the Greenbelt Act, which would allow municipalities to add land to the Greenbelt. The change could encourage more municipalities to expand the Greenbelt by adding urban river valleys to the Greenbelt. Several municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, have shown interest in growing the Greenbelt.

The Ontario Greenbelt permanently protects 1.8 million acres of green space and farmland across Southern Ontario. Along with providing recreational opportunities and local food production, the Greenbelt helps curb unsustainable development across the GTA. Poorly planned development makes traffic worse, threatens fragile ecosystems, waterways, and contributes to global warming. 

Glenorchy – Scottish for “valley of tumbling waters” – includes rolling hills, forest, creeks, wetlands, the Sixteen Mile Creek valley and gorge. The area, which is considered environmentally sensitive land, is bound by Regional Road 25, Highway 407, Neyagawa Boulevard and Dundas Street. The addition is largely thanks to local citizens and community groups working with the municipality.

“It’s inspiring to see such strong local support for protecting green space. And it’s great to see the Province listening to municipalities who have long wanted to include urban river valleys into the Greenbelt,” said Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA).

“The Ontario government's decision to add Oakville's Glenorchy site to the Greenbelt is part of the government’s very wise decision to encourage the inclusion of urban river valleys in the jewel that is our Greenbelt,” said Dan McDermott, Director of Sierra Club Ontario.

The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance: (http://www.greenbeltalliance.ca) The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a diverse multi-stakeholder coalition of close to 100 organizations who share a common vision for protecting and expanding the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt. Environmental Defence is the coordinator of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.

Pictures of the Glenorchy Conservation Area can be downloaded here

Click here to see a video of the Glenorchy Conservation Area.


For more information, maps, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 258; (416) 570-2878 (cell) ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

In Oakville: Erin Shapero, Environmental Defence, (416) 725-5722 (cell)

Franz Hartmann, Toronto Environmental Alliance, (416) 596-0660; (416) 606-8881 (cell)