A provincial plan to protect more farmland and water sources from urban sprawl has struck a nerve with the Town of Innisfil. The town has a plan to use the Highway 400 corridor to attract new employers and in turn, create more jobs. Mayor Gord Wauchope says the town isn’t against the Greenbelt expansion, but he doesn’t want areas already slated for growth to be part of it. ”It could certainly impact the areas where we are anticipating the growth for industrial commercial areas,” he says.Town planners argue the Greenbelt study is redundant because provincial policies and studies have already been done to protect the environment, as recently as last year. “We‘re anxious to get the official plan approved reflecting those provincial policies,” says Time Cane, town planner. “To have this moving target all the time is frustrating for us to spend the time and resources to constantly update these planning rules.” There’s no guarantee that the areas the province is studying will be used for a larger Greenbelt, but advocates argue the study is necessary to ensure fresh water sources are protected. “Unfortunately there’s still gaps in provincial policy for how source water protection plans protect private well owners, our farms, our business,” says Margaret Prophet, a spokesperson for Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. The town will send its concerns to the province, which is currently taking feedback on the Greenbelt review until March. There’s no timeline for a decision.
Mike Walker, CTV News Barrie, 08/JAN/ 2018
Background: Ontario is looking for public input on protecting water resources when it comes to expanding a protected area known as the Greenbelt. It is currently about 810,000 hectares of protected land – including farmland and forests – that borders the Greater Golden Horseshoe area that surrounds Lake Ontario. The government says the Greenbelt is also home to more than nine million people, but is experiencing significant growth and pressure from urban development. Ontario is seeking public consultation on seven areas whose water the province deems most in need of protection, including moraines, cold water streams and wetlands in the outer ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. About 10,000 hectares were added to the Greenbelt this year, which the government says include 21 new urban river valleys and associated coastal wetland areas that connect to Lake Ontario.
The government says the study area isn’t a proposed new Greenbelt boundary. The seven areas are:
- The Waterloo and Paris/Galt moraine complex in Waterloo Region, Brant and Wellington counties
- The Orangeville Moraine in Wellington and Dufferin Counties
- Several small moraines, including the Gibraltar and Singhampton moraines, along the brow of the Niagara Escarpment in Dufferin and Simcoe counties
- The Oro Moraine in northeast Simcoe County, west of Orillia and Lake Couchiching
- The Nottawasaga River corridor, including the Minesing Wetland, in Dufferin and Simcoe counties
- The coldwater streams and wetlands west of Minesing in Dufferin and Simcoe counties
- The coldwater streams, wetlands, and sand and gravel areas in southeast Simcoe County
People can send feedback to the government on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website at http://ontario.ca/greenbelt or directly on the province’s environmental registry website at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTMzNzcz&statusId=MjAzNDU4 by March 7