By Timothy Tan.
The Greenbelt West Coalition is proposing an ambitious plan to expand the Ontario Greenbelt southwest of the Niagara Escarpment to protect farmland, natural heritage and our groundwater resources. The expansion will include the Paris-Galt Moraine, the Haldimand Tract, the Grand River Watershed and precious groundwater resources.
Many groups are part of the coalition including Protect Our Moraine, Better Brant, Hike Ontario, Grand River Environmental Network, Concerned Citizens of Puslinch, Langford Conservancy, Brant Land Trust and Wellington Water Watchers. Our coalition includes farmers, hydrogeologists, planners, retired professionals, researchers, non-profit representatives, veterinarians, community leaders, and others who all believe southern Ontario's future is worth protecting. We are also building relationships with Indigenous peoples and nations that could be impacted by the Greenbelt expansion proposal.
The proposed plan would protect the future of one million people by protecting:
-532,000 hectares of land, (10 times more land than the Greenbelt expansion study area used for consultation in 2021by the Province of Ontario),
-6,000+ kilometres of waterways & shorelines
-the entire Grand River including 1st, 2nd& 3rd order rivers, streams and tributaries, and significant Farmland
We are calling for the:
-protection of farmland, watercourses and natural heritage that abuts the existing Greenbelt,
-the protection of groundwater,
-minimizing development in the Haldimand Tract, and no land swaps for Minister’s Zoning Orders.
The coalition has created a Greenbelt expansion map with the help of grassroots organizations, First Nations and professionals for expanding the Greenbelt (see above). You can also read our submission here to the Ontario government’s April 2021 consultation to better understand our perspective on this Greenbelt expansion.
The Greenbelt West Coalition’s successes thus far include:
-Bringing grassroots groups in the region together to form an unprecedented new coalition.
-Supporting local organizations, partners and local residents for a robust response to last spring’s Ontario government Greenbelt Expansion consultation, and
-Successfully launching the Greenbelt Expansion campaign in mid-December with elected representatives from the provincial Legislature (New Democratic Party, the Green Party and Liberals) and many local municipalities.