Greenbelt Growth Good News for Ontarians



    Ontario Greenbelt Alliance welcomes announcement of new process

    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance congratulated the
McGuinty government today for beginning the process of growing the Greenbelt
in southern Ontario.
    "This announcement couldn't have come at a better time, as citizens
outside the Greenbelt are facing huge new developments and threats to their
local green space and agricultural lands," said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive
Director, Environmental Defence.
    "I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the third anniversary of
the Greenbelt than with the announcement of the process to make it bigger and
better," said Caroline Schultz, Executive Director, Ontario Nature.
    The pattern of proposed development in southern Ontario is threatening to
hem in the agricultural and Natural Heritage Systems of the Greenbelt before a
comprehensive landform conservation plan is established, a fate suffered by
the 1970's Parkway Belt.
    Since its adoption in 2005, members of Greenbelt Alliance, environmental
groups, ratepayer groups and moms and dads have been asking that Ontario's
award-winning Greenbelt be expanded to protect areas of the province now the
target of "leap-frog" development.
    Ontario's leading environmental groups also united under the banner
"Priorities for Ontario" during last fall's provincial election campaign. The
coalition found that every mainstream political party supported the Greenbelt,
with three advocating for growing the Greenbelt to reflect the on-the-ground
reality of accelerated development applications outside the Greenbelt.
    The coalition of 13 leading environmental groups called on all political
parties to:

    
        Grow the Greenbelt by expanding its boundaries at least into southern
        Simcoe County and the region of Kitchener/Waterloo/Guelph - areas
        where sprawl is threatening to leapfrog the current Greenbelt; extend
        the Rouge protected area to include the Duffins Creek watershed; and
        pass a Lake Simcoe Conservation Act to protect this threatened
        watershed.
    

    The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance has also long called for the expansion of
the Greenbelt.
    The Greenbelt Alliance cautioned, however, that the hard work of growing
the Greenbelt has yet to begin.
    "Greenbelt protection must be expanded to protect the Duffins Creek
watershed. Duffins Creek is the last intact cold water ecosystem in the GTA,"
said Sierra Club of Canada, Ontario Chapter Director Dan McDermott.
    "It's no secret that some areas next to the Greenbelt are under more
threat than others; Simcoe county, the "Wild West" of land speculation in
Ontario, in particular is in need of Greenbelt expansion," said
David Donnelly, counsel to Environmental Defence. "Greenbelts don't happen
organically; they need leaders and strong action to grow. Today's announcement
sets the stage for finishing the job of protecting Ontario's future."

    About the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance: The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a
diverse multi-stakeholder coalition of more than 80 organizations who share a
common vision for protecting and expanding the Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.
Environmental Defence is the coordinator of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance.
www.greenbelt.ca.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext 232, (647) 280-9521
(cell)


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