About Us

The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition (SCGC) is a regionally focused environmental organization (say that three times fast!), that advocates for expanding Ontario’s Greenbelt, for transparency and accountability in how we make decisions about growth, and for the power of community in addressing many of the challenges we face today.

We strongly believe that better land-use planning is one of the best ways we can enhance our environment and build equity in our communities.

The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is a not-for-profit group, living wage employer, that was established in 2015 as collaboration between various Simcoe County and provincial organizations aimed at growing the Greenbelt to better protect our water, natural heritage and farmland.

All members of our coalition have agreed in principle to this pledge:

“A healthy environment is critical to our communities’ future.  Farmland, water and natural heritage are key components of a healthy environment and thriving economy, and they need better protection.

Thus, I/we pledge to support the expansion of the Greenbelt in Simcoe County, so that current and future generations can benefit from clean water, local food and green spaces.”

Our coalition is comprised of roughly 40 member organizations. Please visit the page linked to via the button below to view them, or use the link in the navigation menu above.

Our People

Sandy Agnew

Sandy Agnew was trained as a certified chemical engineering technician (Seneca College, 1972) and worked in the fields of waste water treatment, waste disposal and recycling and health and safety. In 1999 he obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Ecosystem Restoration (Niagara College) and became accredited as a MNRF Managed Forest Plan approver in 2005. Now semi-retired, he worked in the ecological restoration and forest management fields operating his consulting business, Ecosystem Restoration Services from his property in Oro-Medonte Township, on which he established a Conservation Easement through the Couchiching Conservancy.

Sandy served as Councillor in Oro-Medonte Township from 2006 to 2010 and has served on the boards of the Nottawasaga Valley and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authorities. He currently sits on the provincial Lake Simcoe Coordinating Committee and AWARE Simcoe board as well as chairing the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. Sandy is also active in numerous other non-government environmental organizations.

Adam Ballah
Communications Director
B.E.S.(Hons), M.E.S.

Adam has a Masters and Bachelors of Environmental Studies, both from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. In his undergrad he focused on identifying and addressing risk and vulnerability associated with climate change, and for his Masters he focused on how modern technology mediates our experience of life.

Adam has been a community organizer and activist for as long as he can remember, spending time working for Greenpeace and Western Canada Wilderness Committee in Vancouver, participating in campaigns against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and more recently attempting to address the highly polarized style of debate taking place via social media by organizing community socials addressing politically salient topics.

Adam brings an understanding of political strategy and discourse methods to his work with SCGC’s communications, and a strong belief in the value of community. Adam has been a member of the SCGC since the start, and considers its work crucial to helping foster a healthier and more just society.

Anna Bourgeois
Georgian College – Graphic Design Advanced (Hons) Ryerson University - AICB, Business/Commerce, General

Anna worked for a financial institution for 22 years, progressing to a position as a Relationship Manager, with their Marketing/Information Technology Group. 

Anna’s move to Simcoe County in early 2003 found her living in a rural community after a 40+ years in Toronto. A change in career was needed and Anna decided to follow her first love of art and design by returning to school to be retrained as a Graphic Designer. 

Anna has volunteered her graphic design skills to several organizations over the past 15 years.  Anna is currently involved as part of the Fundraising Committee for Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition and is the Secretary for AWARE-Simcoe. Anna is also a Director with the Concerned Citizens of Ramara. Anna is committed to adding her voice to environmental and socio-economic issues. 

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in our hands to make a difference.” Nelson Mandela

Philip Brennan

Phil Brennan retired from the Ontario Public Service in June 2013. In the latter part of his career Phil provided leadership as senior manager in MOE in service integration for the approvals program; the environmental assessment program; and, the Lake Simcoe Project. For a number of years prior to that Phil also worked with the Ministry of Natural Resources in various capacities including Issues Manager for the Deputy Minister, acting District Manager and Forest Management Supervisor.

Phil has an B.Sc. in Forestry from the University of Toronto and a Certificate in Adult Training and Education as a Teacher of English as Second Language, from Seneca College.

Phil is also a Past President of the Ontario Association for Impact Assessment.

Phil Brennan

Tom Kurtz
Vice President
B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc.

Tom graduated from University of Windsor in 1964 as a Civil Engineer and went on to achieve a Masters degree specializing in hydraulics and hydrology in 1965.

Tom’s education, professional training and wide ranging involvement in water management activities brings a wealth of experience to the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. His career with the Ministry of Natural Resources ranged from service and advice to Conservation Authorities, policy development with municipal, provincial, federal and international agencies and support of professional organizations such as the Soil and Water Conservation Society where he served as the Canadian Director on the International Board.

He has been a member of the Oro-Medonte Planning Advisory Committee and is currently on the Steering Committee of AWARE Oro-Medonte and hopes to bring a perspective from that background to the work of the Coalition as well.

Tom Kurtz

Community supported, advocacy for a safe and secure future.

We rely on support from people like you.

Governments have failed to act to protect our communities and the futures of our children and grandchildren. They continue to treat our environment as if it’s incidental to life, rather than the foundation for it.

We need strong community organizations to fight for our future, now more than ever.

Please consider donating to support our work.

Kelly Gingrich
Youth Engagement Lead
B.A., M.Ed.

Kelly Gingrich (she/her) is SCGC’s youth engagement lead. Kelly has a background in Sociology and recently received her Master of Education from OISE at the University of Toronto, where she focused on environmental and sustainability education. She is committed to supporting youth in climate action, community-based learning, and rediscovering the value of Place. 

Al McNair
B.A., Hons.

Alan McNair has worked as a professional land use planner in Ontario since 1970, in both the public and private sectors. He was a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute from 1978 until retiring in early 2019. Al completed an Honours B.A. in Geography (1969) and additional courses in Economics and Engineering (1970) at McMaster University and a Certificate in Environmental Assessment and Land Use Planning through the Universities of Waterloo and Guelph in 1977.

Al has been actively involved in environmental issues with the Brereton Field Naturalists’ Club (now Nature Barrie) since 1991 and served as Huronia Regional Director of Ontario Nature (2000-2007). He has volunteered with the City of Barrie’s Environmental Advisory Committee, (2011-2018), Climate Change Adaptation and Age-Friendly Communities Strategies and various trail working groups. Al is presently a member of the City’s Active Transportation and Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Linda Myles

Linda Myles is a retired nurse with a Bachelor of Arts from York University in Health Studies. Linda worked in Hospital Administration and has always believed in volunteering and getting involved.
Her concern for the environment has been life long. She was one of the founders of the very first recycling project in the GTA back in the 1970s. The purpose of this project was to demonstrate to civic authorities that there was a strong public support in the recycling of household waste.
Linda and her family have always been involved in passive recreational activities. Her passions include hiking, canoeing, cross country skiing and most recently sailing a 34 foot sailboat she owns with her husband all around Georgian Bay.
She has held many volunteer positions in the past and was elected to the Board of Directors for the Horseshoe Valley Property Owners Association 6 years ago, the last 3 years as the President.

Ross Pityk
B.Sc., Ed.

Ross Pityk is an Elementary School Teacher, working for the Simcoe County District School Board in Innisfil. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1982 with a BSc.in Geography and Biology, followed by a post graduate degree in Education.

Ross has spent most of his life close to Lake Simcoe, and has been actively involved with initiatives that support the health of the Lake. For the last 17 years he has been a member of the Board of the Innisfil District Association (IDA), including five years as President. The mission of the IDA is to support the long-term sustainable development of the Town of Innisfil while protecting the health of Lake Simcoe and our natural environment. Ross has also worked with several other groups involved in protecting the Lake Simcoe water shed over the years, including RLSC.

Margaret Prophet
Executive Director

Margaret has a Bachelor of Education, specialized in Adult Education and a BA of Psychology from Brock University.  She worked in the corporate education sector for 7 years at a Director level including as Director of Communications and Operations.  Margaret decided to pursue her love of community and environment by volunteering for her local ratepayers association (Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association) while taking time to raise her family. This lead to her getting involved with complex land-use planning matters and municipal politics as the Communications Director for the association. Her work led to enlisting the support of Margaret Atwood, Maude Barlow and David Crombie in support of the MRA’s call to protect the internationally significant Minesing Wetlands from urban sprawl. In late 2015, Margaret and Sandy Agnew founded the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition with 15 like minded groups from across the region in support of an expanded Greenbelt.

Blythe Wieclawek
Inaugural Environmental Youth Advocacy Intern (2021)

Blythe is the inaugural environmental youth advocacy intern for SCGC. She is 16 years old and is going into Grade 11 at Twin Lakes Secondary School, located in Orillia. 
She grew up in an environmentally conscious home and learned the importance of taking care of natural environments and prioritizing the health of the planet very early. After participating in elementary school green teams, when she entered high school she joined the Sustainable Orillia Youth Council to get further involved in youth-led environmental initiatives. 
While working with SCGC she developed their Youth Advocacy Toolkit, created the Simcoe County Youth Coalition (Simcoe County Youth Advocacy Council? Need to double check the name) and focused on encouraging youth to start advocating for environmental justice in their municipalities by getting involved in local politics.
Starting in September she will be taking over as the president of SOYC, and is excited to begin sharing the skills she learned working with SCGC with her peers. She believes strongly in the power of local initiatives, collective action, and youth groups working together in order to create the most impact possible. 
She is also involved in competitive swimming and plays multiple musical instruments. 
When she has finished high school, she plans to pursue a career in science, travel, and remain involved in environmental initiatives wherever she goes. 

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