By: The Working Forest Staff
|GEORGINA — The government of Ontario is delivering on its promise to grow and enhance the Greenbelt by planning to add 360 hectares of privately owned lands, which is currently slated for development, to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. This enhancement will ensure that the environmentally sensitive wetlands in Georgina’s North Gwillimbury Forest are under the protection of the Greenbelt.
The lands to the west and south of Woodbine Avenue and Metro Road North received development permissions decades ago, before the establishment of the Greenbelt, and before Provincially Significant Wetlands were recognized. Transferring the lands to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority will ensure that these important lands will be conserved without development for generations to come.
“Today marks a huge moment for Ontario, and for the Simcoe community,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Under the previous government, these lands were slated to be developed. Under Premier Ford, we have ensured that these 360 hectares of green space will be protected by the Greenbelt and by the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority. I am also proud to commit to adding two acres of protected and enhanced green space for every acre of land developed through the use of an MZO. We are balancing responsible growth with protecting the environment for future generations.”
The Ontario government announced its intention to Grow the Greenbelt this winter and is currently looking at other opportunities to expand and enhance Greenbelt protections. Minister Clark will be issuing a Minister’s Zoning Order to ensure that the 360 hectares in Georgina’s North Gwillimbury Forest are under the protection of the Greenbelt.
“The wetlands in Georgina’s North Gwillimbury Forest are an important part of York – Simcoe,” said Caroline Mulroney, MPP for York – Simcoe. “We are a community that loves to be outdoors and conserving these lands will mean that residents and visitors can continue to experience what York – Simcoe has to offer. Ontario is taking the right steps to protect our beautiful green spaces, while also leading projects that will help us manage the province’s rapidly growing population.”
This is part of Ontario’s plan to grow the Greenbelt and enhance existing protections.
· Ontario’s Greenbelt protects farmland, communities, forests, wetlands and watersheds. It also preserves cultural heritage and supports recreation and tourism in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe.
· Ontario received nearly 5,500 submissions in phase one of its Growing the Greenbelt consultations. The consultations could result in the largest expansion of the Greenbelt since its creation in 2005.
· Minister Clark has committed to add two acres of protected or enhanced green space in Ontario for every acre that receives a Minister’s Zoning Order for development.
· Learn more about Ontario’s Greenbelt, the provincial land use plans that protect it and the role of the Greenbelt Council.