Despite repeated promises that there would be no removal of lands from the Greenbelt, the Government of Ontario is planning to carve 7,400 acres out of the Greenbelt anyway. The proposal has shocked and outraged Ontarians of all stripes, and for good reason.
Broken promises are of course offensive in their own right. And so is a government that seems to care more about lining the pockets of developers and land speculators than it does about the health and well-being of the rest of us. People have every reason to be angry about the attack on the Greenbelt. The government’s excuse – that the land is needed to solve the housing crisis – is untrue. The amount of land already designated for development far exceeds what is needed to meet long-range housing targets. That includes 86,500 acres within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area alone.
What hasn’t got much attention amidst all the hullabaloo are the particular wetlands, woodlands, rivers and farmland that would be paved over for no good reason. To give you a sense of what is at stake, we highlight below 10 of the unique and special places that would be forever degraded or lost should this dreadful proposal go forward.
Major wildlife corridors and thousands of acres of farmland, sensitive woodlands and wetlands situated between the Rouge River and Duffins Creek watersheds, including the entire critical headwater reaches of Petticoat Creek.
A provincially designated wildlife corridor in King Township that provides a vital connection between the Holland Marsh and the Oak Ridges Moraine.
A valley of the East Humber River in Vaughan that supports the endangered redside dace.
A large wetland in Richmond Hill that is part of the provincially significant Rouge River Headwater Wetland Complex.
Critical wildlife corridors in Markham that connect the Oak Ridges Moraine to Rouge National Urban Park.
A large wildlife corridor in Markham at the sensitive headwaters for Robinson Creek, a tributary of the Rouge River, that supports a large cluster of provincially significant wetlands.
A band of protected farmland between Ajax and Whitby that connects the coastal wetlands and woodlands of Lynde Shores and a large block of woodlands and wetlands to the north along the former beach of Glacial Lake Iroquois.
A large provincially significant wetland in Clarington that is part of a sensitive groundwater recharge area.
Large woodlots, wetlands and prime farmland in Hamilton along a sensitive headwater tributary of Big Creek.
Farmland in Hamilton and Grimsby designated as Niagara Peninsula Tender Fruit and Grape Area.
The government’s proposal defies belief. Ontarians are facing the ever-accelerating crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, to say nothing of the ongoing loss of 319 acres of farmland per day. Yet the government can think of nothing better to do than rip holes in the Greenbelt.
It’s time to hold the government to its promises. Hands off the Greenbelt!
The deadline for comment through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO #019-6216 and #019-6217) is December 4, 2022.