Protecting greenspace in the Golden Horseshoe

Archived Release

Protecting greenspace in the Golden Horseshoe

Government Announces the Greenbelt Task Force's Vision; Consultations to Start May 20 QUEEN'S PARK, May 6 - The Greenbelt Task Force will begin holding a series of public meetings to ask Ontarians their views on permanently protecting greenspace across the Golden Horseshoe, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing John Gerretsen and Minister of the Environment Leona Dombrowsky announced today with Greenbelt Task Force Chair Rob MacIsaac. "Ontarians understand, and we understand, that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. Together, they mean stronger communities," said Gerretsen. "Consulting with people in the Golden Horseshoe will ensure we hear the views of the Ontarians who will be the most affected - the people who live and work here." Greenbelt Task Force Chair MacIsaac, also mayor of the City of Burlington, outlined the task force's vision for permanent greenbelt protection in the Golden Horseshoe; "The greenbelt will be a permanent and sustainable legacy for current and future generations. We look forward to hearing what areas should be protected and what is needed to achieve permanent protection." The task force will be holding public meetings on greenbelt protection, and will meet with stakeholder groups representing various interests including the environment, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, and tourism and recreation. The views and ideas collected in these sessions will help the task force craft its advice to the government on how to most effectively establish a permanently protected greenbelt stretching from Niagara Falls to Rice Lake. Its recommendations will help the government draft a clear approach to protecting greenspace in the Golden Horseshoe. The public will have a chance to comment on the details of this approach in the fall. "Urban sprawl could mean the loss of another 1,000 square kilometres of land of over the next 30 years - that's an area nearly twice the size of the City of Toronto. Protecting environmentally sensitive land and farmland within the Golden Horseshoe will enhance the quality of life in its communities," said Dombrowsky. "Creating a greenbelt will make these communities stronger and more livable - and that's real, positive change." Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 6, 2004 ONTARIANS TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON PERMANENT GREENBELT PROTECTION The McGuinty government announced today that public and stakeholder consultations on the creation of a greenbelt in the Golden Horseshoe will begin May 20. The consultations follow the appointment of the Greenbelt Task Force in February and the introduction of the proposed Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004 in December 2003 that would, if passed, create a greenbelt study area within the Golden Horseshoe, impose a one-year moratorium on new urban development on rural and agricultural lands within this area, and clarify the transition provisions on development applications relating to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001. The consultations will allow for the discussions of a number of topics and issues, including the environment, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, and tourism and recreation, which must be considered when developing a plan, policy or legislation for permanent greenbelt protection. The Greenbelt Task Force has drafted a discussion paper that outlines the issues and proposed approaches that will be considered. The discussion paper will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Internet site and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's website. Following the consultations, the Greenbelt Task Force will provide recommendations to the government on the scope, content and implementation of a proposed future greenbelt. The Greenbelt Study Area The proposed greenbelt legislation provides for the creation of a study area that would include Toronto, Hamilton, Durham, York, Peel, Halton, the Oak Ridges Moraine Plan area, the Niagara tender fruit and grape lands, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan area. How to Get Information The task force's activities will include public meetings with residents of the Golden Horseshoe, as well as workshops with groups representing municipal, development industry, recreational, natural resource, environmental and agricultural sectors in the region. Information on the proposed greenbelt, public meetings, and a form that can be used to send comments, can be accessed directly at www.greenbelt.ontario.ca. Information in also available at 1-866-751-8082. All comments are welcome, and will be considered. Consultation Meeting Locations and Schedule ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date City Time Location ------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 20 King City 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. King City Community Centre 25 Doctor's Lane, King City ------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 25 Oshawa 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Durham College 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa ------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 26 Hamilton 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Hamilton Convention Centre 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton ------------------------------------------------------------------------- May 31 Caledon East 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Caledon Community Complex 6215 Old Church Road, Caledon East ------------------------------------------------------------------------- June 10 St. Catharines 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Canadian Auto Workers Banquet Hall 124 Bunting Road, St. Catharines ------------------------------------------------------------------------- June 16 Burlington 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. Burlington Convention Centre 1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Drafting an Approach to Permanent Greenbelt Protection The task force will prepare its advice following the consultation period, and will deliver its recommendations to the government this summer. The government will then propose a detailed approach to permanent protection of greenspace in the Golden Horseshoe, based on the task force recommendations. This fall, the government will meet with stakeholders after drafting its proposed approach for greenbelt protection in the Golden Horseshoe. The public will be asked for comments on the proposed approach. Fact Sheet ------------------------------------------------------------------------- GREENBELT TASK FORCE RELEASES VISION AND GOALS Paper to be released online May 13 will frame public discussions The Greenbelt Task Force is holding public and stakeholder meetings on greenbelt protection in the Golden Horseshoe in May and June 2004. Greenbelt protection is proposed for the Golden Horseshoe to protect the environment, curb sprawl and enhance quality of life. If current growth trends are allowed to continue, urban sprawl could mean the loss of another 1,000 square kilometres of land over the next 30 years in this area. Greenbelt protection is one component of a number of government initiatives that will help manage growth and mitigate the effects of sprawl. In December 2003, the McGuinty government took the first steps toward permanent protection of a greenbelt by introducing Bill 27, the Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004. The Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004, would, if passed, create a greenbelt study area within the Golden Horseshoe, impose a one-year moratorium on new urban development on rural and agricultural lands within this area, and clarify the transition provisions on development applications relating to the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001. In February 2004, the government established the Greenbelt Task Force, a team of respected, knowledgeable and diverse stakeholder representatives, to gather information and formulate recommendations on a proposed approach. The task force met in March and April 2004 to draft a vision, goals and a discussion paper outlining issues related to permanent greenbelt protection. The task force wants to discuss these issues with stakeholders and the public before preparing its recommendations to the government on a proposed approach to greenbelt protection. Vision Statement and Goals Vision - The Golden Horseshoe greenbelt will be a permanent and sustainable legacy for current and future generations. The greenbelt will enhance our urban and rural areas with a continuous and connected system of open spaces that: - protects and enhances environmentally sensitive lands and natural heritage systems; - recognizes the region's social, natural and economic needs; - sustains and nurtures the region's agricultural sector; - conserves for sustainable use the region's significant natural resources; and - continues to provide high quality and compatible recreational and tourism opportunities. Goals - The greenbelt will enhance quality of life by performing an array of functions across the region, including: - providing greenspace between, and links to open space within, the region's growing urban areas; - protecting, sustaining and restoring the ecological features and functions of the natural environment; - preserving viable agricultural land as a continuing commercial source of food and employment, recognizing the critical importance of the agriculture sector's prosperity to the regional economy; - sustaining the region's countryside and rural communities; - conserving and making available natural resources critical for a thriving economy; and - ensuring that infrastructure investment achieves the environmental, social and economic aims of the greenbelt. Greenbelt Task Force Discussion Paper - Key Areas The task force has drafted a discussion paper to assist in obtaining comments from the public. The paper addresses the following issues. Environmental Protection The task force recognizes that the greenbelt study area contains significant natural heritage features including wetlands, kettle lakes, rare and threatened animals, and plants and habitat. It also features river and valley systems connecting the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, an internationally recognized area of ecological importance, to the Great Lakes and Lake Simcoe. The task force is considering defining a system of natural heritage and hydrological features and functions that would include provincial parks, and areas such as the Iroquois Shoreline, Rouge Park and the Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve. The task force also wants to discuss a hierarchy of environmental protection to ensure the region's valuable natural heritage systems can continue to provide environmental benefits to residents of the Golden Horseshoe. Agriculture and the Niagara Tender Fruit and Grape Lands The task force understands that agricultural lands are a valuable and finite resource providing the economic, environmental and social benefits of a countryside sector to a growing urban region. The task force also recognizes that land-use planning alone is insufficient to ensure that agricultural lands within the greenbelt will be farmed, and that viability issues must be examined. The task force wants to discuss protection of agricultural areas, such as the tender fruit and grape lands and the Holland Marsh, through restrictions on boundary expansions and severances in settlement areas. The task force is also looking at identifying, for permanent protection, other agricultural areas in the greenbelt study area with sufficient integrity to function as viable rural economies. Transportation and Infrastructure Currently, infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, water and sewer lines, electricity transmission lines, natural gas lines and fibre-optic cable crosses areas that may become part of a permanent greenbelt. The task force recognizes that population growth will require additional infrastructure in the Golden Horseshoe, and wants to discuss principles to maximize the use of current infrastructure and minimize impacts on greenbelt functions. Natural Resources The task force understands that natural resources, most significantly mineral aggregates, are essential building blocks for cities and necessary for the maintenance of existing infrastructure and industries in the Golden Horseshoe. There are economic and environmental benefits to protecting non- renewable mineral aggregate resources close to where they are needed. The task force wants to discuss how these valuable aggregate deposits can be protected from incompatible land use while protecting the environment, and provisions for rehabilitation to support adjacent greenbelt functions once the resource is depleted. Culture, Recreation and Tourism The task force appreciates that culture, recreation and tourism in the Golden Horseshoe represent opportunities to celebrate, educate and promote quality of life in the greenbelt and the Golden Horseshoe. The task force wants to discuss a network of public open spaces that showcase important cultural heritage, enhance recreational opportunities and trails, and celebrate tourism destinations for domestic and foreign visitors. Administration and Implementation The task force realizes that the administration and implementation of a regional greenbelt can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The task force wants to discuss a proposed method that will ensure permanence and consistency while having regard to local differences and existing administrative frameworks. The task force will consider a model that will accomplish this while knitting together existing plans such as the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Disponible en français. www.mah.gov.on.ca Contact Info For further information: Contacts - Patti Munce, Minister's Office, (416) 585-6333; Audrey Bennett, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, (416) 585-6014 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Contacts - Patti Munce, Minister's Office, (416) 585-6333; Audrey Bennett, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, (416) 585-6014