Created in 2005, the Ontario Greenbelt protects over 2,000,000 acres of green space and Class 1 agricultural land from urban sprawl. It safeguards our air and water, reduces flood risks, provides a home for wildlife and is a critical resource for growing food locally. It is not just there to be a pretty place for a picnic, it matters enormously to all of us. This interesting article from Toronto Life provides a terrific overview of what it's like and why it matters.
Despite having promised otherwise, the current Provincial government recently passed Bill 23 removing 7,400 acres, including 4,950 acres from the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Reserve on the boundary of Rouge National Park, from Greenbelt protection. We all recognize the vital need for much more affordable housing. However, the changes built into Bill 23 are dangerous and unnecessary and even worse, they will not provide more affordable homes. The statement from Environmental Defence issued of December 15th gives more detail.
The GARA Executive will continue to work with other community organizations to protect the Greenbelt and have the current regulations rescinded. We are pleased to be members of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance. Please contact us if you would like to be involved.