McGuinty Government Greenbelt To Protect One Million New Acres In Golden Horseshoe
Plan Will Curb Urban Sprawl
QUEEN'S PARK -- Protecting greenspace in the Golden Horseshoe will curb unplanned urban sprawl, improve quality of life today and preserve Ontario's natural heritage for future generations, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Our Greenbelt Protection Plan will help protect a total of 1.8 million acres -- an area the size of Algonquin Park -- forever," said Premier McGuinty. "We're protecting a million new acres from Rice Lake to the Niagara Peninsula. Preserving our greenspaces will help build stronger communities, improve our health and protect our water and air."
The plan adds one million new acres to the 800,000 acres in the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment that are currently protected.
The plan will set strict limits on urban boundaries. Areas not currently zoned for urban development will be protected. The plan will deliver policies and guidelines for how lands can be used, including policies on:
- Agricultural protection -- to protect lands that grow specialty crops, such as the Niagara Peninsula tender fruit and grape areas and the Holland Marsh
- Environmental protection -- to protect the quality of ground and surface water and to maintain essential natural connections between the Oak Ridges Moraine, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Simcoe, Lake Ontario and major river valleys
- Recreation and tourism -- to support sustainable tourism and to provide settings for sports, leisure and recreation opportunities
- Rural communities -- to sustain the character of the countryside and promote strong and prosperous rural communities
- Infrastructure and natural resources -- to provide for sustainable use of resources critical to the region's environmental, economic and growth needs.
The draft plan is based on the advice received from the Greenbelt Task Force and the advice of municipalities and stakeholder groups. The government will consult with the public and stakeholders and intends to have a final plan ready by December 16, 2004.
"Our plan will strike a balance between protecting our greenspaces and meeting the needs of growing communities," said Premier McGuinty. "It will help us build the kind of Ontario we all want to live in -- and that we can be proud to leave to our children."