Durham Report asks the province to weaken Greenbelt protection

Durham, ON – A report passed today by Durham Council recommends whittling away at the Greenbelt.

In 2015, the Provincial government will review the Greenbelt, Oak Ridges Moraine and Niagara Escarpment Plans. Many municipalities are currently providing comments on the effectiveness of the plans.

While some of the report's recommendations helpfully champion the need for increased support for farm businesses, other recommendations undermine the future of farming by paving over farmland and facilitating sprawl in rural areas. Most disturbingly, the report recommends taking land out of the Greenbelt and relaxing planning rules.

“The Greenbelt Plan was put in place to protect our remaining farmlands from urban development,” says Joyce Chau, Executive Director of Ecospark. “At the Greenbelt consultations in Durham, citizens supported improving the viability of farming and protecting water resources and nature.”

“Some of these recommendations are taking us back in time to a patchwork of inconsistent land-use rules, when the Ontario Municipal Board planned our communities,” says Deb Crandall, Executive Director of Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition. “If the province agrees to some of these recommendations, the Oak Ridges Moraine will be paved, not saved.”

"Many of these recommendations are not consistent with a regional approach to planning that organizes growth sustainably across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and protects near urban agriculture, clean drinking water for millions and a healthy economy,” says Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.

About 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 enhancing the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt. Environmental Defence is the coordinator of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.


For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 258; (416) 570-2878 (cell) ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca