Grow the Greenbelt

Feb 19, 2021

CCKT supports growing the Greenbelt and is proud to be included as one of over 90 organizations that support this expansion proposal.

Recently, the Honourable Steven Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, publicly talked about his desire to expand the Greenbelt. This document sets out the requirements and next steps that would be most effective in achieving this goal from the perspective of the endorsing organizations and individuals who have helped create, protect and celebrate the Greenbelt.

To begin, it is important to acknowledge the vision for the Greenbelt, as set out in the province’s Greenbelt Plan:

“The Greenbelt is a broad band of permanently protected land which:

  • Protects against the loss and fragmentation of the agricultural land base and supports agriculture as the predominant land use;
  • Gives permanent protection to the natural heritage and water resource systems that sustain ecological and human health and that form the environmental framework around which major urbanization in south-central Ontario will be organized;
  • Provides for a diverse range of economic and social activities associated with rural communities, agriculture, tourism, recreation and resource uses; and;
  • Builds resilience to and mitigates climate change.”

The successful realization of this vision for the Greenbelt centres on effective collaboration among the Province, other levels of government, First Nations and Métis communities, residents, private and non-profit sectors across all industries and other stakeholders.”

Permanently protecting lands in the Greenbelt is key to maintaining and improving the resiliency of local food systems and the physical, social and economic health of Ontarians. Healthy ecosystems are the foundation of human prosperity and will become increasingly important for building a climate resilient Ontario.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made these facts clearer than ever before. Since the pandemic started, we all rely even more on Greenbelt-protected natural lands for our mental and physical health. We appreciate even more the Greenbelt-protected farmland and farmers that supply us with healthy local food and jobs. And we are profoundly grateful that Greenbelt-protected water resources provide us with a clean and secure water supply.

Collectively, people rely on Greenbelt-protected lands for nearly 180,000 jobs and $9.6 billion in annual economic activity. Meanwhile, the combined activities of plants, animals, insects and microorganisms in its wetlands, forests, farmlands and rivers generate over $3.2 billion in annual ecosystem services such as:

  • fresh water;
  • flood and disease control;
  • spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits.

Because of all these attributes and benefits, expansion of the Greenbelt is clearly in the public interest. Bringing more lands under its permanent protection is a necessary precondition for a more climate resilient and prosperous future and the sooner this happens, the better for all of us.

Discussions about expanding the Greenbelt have been happening since it was first established in 2005. It’s important to acknowledge that at present, the Greenbelt only covers 21 per cent of the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

Click here to read the five requirements and next steps to expand the Greenbelt.