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Protecting Water Resources by Growing the Greenbelt

Archived Backgrounder

Protecting Water Resources by Growing the Greenbelt

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of North America's most dynamic and fast-growing regions. It is home to a vibrant economy and contains world-renowned natural features and some of Canada's most productive farmland. Currently home to more than nine million people, the Greater Golden Horseshoe has a population forecasted to grow to about 13.5 million by 2041.

The region's growth and urban development is a potential threat to some water resources. Urbanization and human activities are impacting the region's rivers, wetlands and underground reservoirs (called aquifers), and can impact both the quality and quantity of water available to local communities, industry, and plants and animals.

Water resource areas

Ontario is taking steps to protect and preserve critical water resources by launching a public consultation on moraines, coldwater streams and wetlands under pressure from urban development in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, but outside of the current Greenbelt. The consultation seeks feedback on a study area for potential Greenbelt expansion in the outer ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The study area includes the following seven areas:

  • The Waterloo and Paris/Galt moraine complex in Waterloo Region, Brant and Wellington counties.
  • The Orangeville Moraine in Wellington and Dufferin counties. The moraine is located southwest of Orangeville and east of Fergus.
  • 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, which has a high concentration of wetlands and coldwater streams.
  • The Nottawasaga River corridor in Dufferin and Simcoe counties. The corridor also includes the Minesing Wetland and other significant wetlands along the Nottawasaga River.
  • The coldwater streams and wetlands west of Minesing in Dufferin and Simcoe counties. This location also includes catchment areas that connect the Minesing Wetland to the Niagara Escarpment.
  • The coldwater steams, wetlands, and sand and gravel areas in southeast Simcoe County.

Participate in the public consultation

Read the consultation document to learn more about the seven water resource areas proposed for protection.  

Give feedback:

Protecting Water
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Provincial Planning Policy Branch
777 Bay Street, 13th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

The feedback deadline is March 7, 2018.

Input received through the consultation will help inform decisions on how to move from a study area to a proposed Greenbelt boundary. The province will hold additional consultations before making any boundary decisions, and is not seeking input on a proposed Greenbelt boundary at this time.

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