Simcoe County was listed as one of the priority areas to expand the Greenbelt in 2018. Our wealth of shorelines, forests, wetlands and moraines, makes Simcoe County a prime candidate to ensure large swath’s of Ontario’s natural heritage, farmland and water are protected.
With urbanization pressures and the health of Lake Simcoe declining, not to mention the dire need to act on climate change, for which the Greenbelt provides part of a natural solution, now is the time to ask the government to include Simcoe County and the remainder of the Lake Simcoe shoreline into an expanded Greenbelt.
The Greenbelt was created in 2005 to:
All of these pressures are particularly acute in Simcoe County.
This is why more than 100 community groups, including the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, asked the province to nearly double the size of the Greenbelt to add 1.5 million acres of land containing vital water resources.
In Simcoe County this includes almost 300,000 hectares of land covering the Lake Simcoe watershed, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River Watershed and the Minesing Wetlands, which supply and purify clean drinking water for most residents of the county.
More recently, it has become clear that the Greenbelt plays an important role as part of a natural solution to climate change.
By absorbing carbon from the air it helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and by slowing and absorbing water it helps adaptation efforts that address the impacts of climate change, such as flooding.
By growing the Greenbelt we can increase these benefits in a way that also enhances our collective health and wellbeing.
The Greenbelt also helps ensure that the way we develop our communities is done prudently. By putting a check on sprawl it encourages development of complete communities, within which people can live, work, and play without having to commute elsewhere. This benefits taxpayers as the cost of sprawl, including infrastructure maintenance, as well as externalities associated with increased pollution and environmental degradation, are reduced.
Governments have failed to act to protect our communities and the futures of our children and grandchildren, and they continue to treat our environment as if it’s incidental to life, rather than a foundation for it.
We need strong community organizations to fight for our future, now more than ever.
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