The Greenbelt is a ring of protected land around the Golden Horseshoe, spanning almost 1 million hectares. With development pressure increasing, there’s concern that developers will look to encroach on this land. Last week, the Ontario government announced they will be considering developing almost 3000 hectares of the Greenbelt. Ontarians need to ensure that it remains protected from encroachment. The Greenbelt is one of the most beloved features of our region. It’s home to more than 250 species of birds and other animals, and supports more than 200 wineries and cideries. It also supplies drinking water for millions of people and protects watersheds for future generations. The Greenbelt was created to protect the natural beauty of our region from overdevelopment, but now we risk losing it. We can’t let that happen. Take action now!
Surprise! The Greenbelt is at risk
The Greenbelt is a ring of protected land around the Golden Horseshoe. It spans almost 1 million hectares of land, including forests, fields, and wetlands. The name is misleading, since about half the land is actually blue, not green—it’s water. While it’s protected from development, it allows activities like farming and fishing. Since the Golden Horseshoe is experiencing a population boom, with more people moving into the region than ever before, there’s a lot of concern about the increased development pressure that will come with that. There’s worry that developers will look to encroach on the Greenbelt to make up for the lack of other available lands. That’s what makes this such a critical time.
Why the Greenbelt is Important
The Greenbelt is home to more than 250 species of birds and other animals, and supports more than 200 wineries and cideries. It also supplies drinking water for millions of people and protects watersheds for future generations. But all of this is in jeopardy. First, development means more pollution and less wildlife. Second, development can also put water sources at risk. Take, for example, the loss of wetlands in the Windsor region due to the construction of the Detroit-Superior Bridge. Those wetlands had been filtering pollution from the river for decades, but were lost when the bridge was built. People downstream are still suffering the effects decades later, even though the reason for the pollution is gone. We can’t let that happen to the Greenbelt. It’s too important to lose.
5 Important Things to Know About the Greenbelt
- It is home to more than 250 species of birds and other animals.
- It is protected from development, but allows farming, fishing, and other activities that support the region.
- It supplies drinking water for millions of people.
- It protects watersheds for future generations.
- It is one of the most beloved features of our region.
3 Reasons Developers Want the Greenbelt
- The Golden Horseshoe is experiencing a population boom, and developers need more land to build on. There are concerns that there won’t be enough available land outside the Greenbelt for development.
- Developers want to make lots of money, and the Greenbelt is a vast, undeveloped area that they can build on.
- Without Greenbelt protections, developers would most likely build large, sprawling suburbs that would house the growing population but cost us all dearly in terms of our health, the environment, and our wallets.
The Ontario government is considering removing roughly 3,000 hectares from the Greenbelt across 10 municipalities.
The DeGasperis family, who formed Tacc Developments and Tacc Construction and are long-time builders located in Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto, owns 20 properties in three places within the Greenbelt the government is proposing to open up.
The list of landowners also includes businesses operated by Shakir Rehmatullah, president of Flato Developments, and Michael Rice, president and chief executive officer of Rice Group.
Does Doug Ford and the Ontario government know that development will harm our environment and water supply? Are political 'donations' from builders & developers worth jeopardizing the health and welfare of Ontarians?
Reasons Developers Try to Build in the Greenbelt
People love the Greenbelt. It’s beautiful, environmentally important, and a source of pride for people who live here. However, we don’t have great data on how many people love it to the point of being willing to defend it. The government may feel they need to appease the builders, who have a louder voice than the people who love the Greenbelt. Politicians may think that by removing protections from the Greenbelt, they can win the favour of developers and builders. Politicians might not know that development can harm the environment and water supply, or that building in the Greenbelt will lead to sprawl and increase traffic congestion.
3 Big Ways You Can Help Protect the Greenbelt
There are two big ways you can help: First, if you are planning on building a new home, make sure you build sustainably. This helps your local environment and the Greenbelt, and it helps you save money on your energy bills. Second, make sure the greenbelt is protected. Let your MPP know you care about protecting the greenbelt!
Commit to building only sustainably built homes.
The Greenbelt is home to more than 250 species of birds and other animals, and supports more than 200 wineries and cideries. That’s why it needs to stay protected. However, if we want to make sure it stays protected, we need to make sure we’re building sustainably. By using energy-efficient appliances, installing energy-efficient windows, and using materials like straw, bamboo, or recycled materials in your construction, you can help reduce the energy costs of your home while also protecting the Greenbelt and its wildlife.
Join your local advocacy organization.
There are a number of organizations that work hard to protect the Greenbelt. These are excellent ways to make your voice heard, and they’re also a great way to meet likeminded people. You can find your local advocacy organization with a quick google search.
Tell your MPP you support preserving the Greenbelt.
The Greenbelt is one of the most beloved features of our region. It is a vast, beautiful space that is critical to the health and quality of life of the millions of people who call the Golden Horseshoe home. However, there is concern that developers will look to encroach on the Greenbelt to make up for the lack of available land outside of its protections. That’s why it’s important to make your voice heard during Ontario’s municipal review. This is your opportunity to let the government know that you care about protecting the Greenbelt.
If you care about protecting the Greenbelt, make sure your MPP knows. The Protect the Greenbelt campaign has a handy tool to make it easy for you to send an email or make a phone call to your MPP. If you don’t know who your MPP is or how to find their contact information, there are a couple of ways you can find out. You can either use an online tool, like Who is My MPP?, or you can call your local city hall and ask who represents you in the provincial legislature.
The Greenbelt is more than just some land around the Golden Horseshoe. It’s critical to the health and quality of life of millions of people who call the Golden Horseshoe home. The Golden Horseshoe is experiencing a population boom, and there’s a lot of concern about the increasing development pressure that will come with that. There’s worry that developers will look to encroach on the Greenbelt to make up for the lack of other available lands. That’s why it’s important to make your voice heard now. We need to let the government know that we care about protecting the Greenbelt!