Threats to Ontario’s Greenbelt

Ontario’s Greenbelt is approximately 2 million acres of protected land (that’s larger than Prince Edward Island!). It is the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt.  It protects environmentally sensitive areas, productive farmland, and natural spaces for plants, animals, and recreation. It is the source of the major watersheds that supply so many of us with drinking water. MK greenbelt 2

This year the Greenbelt and Places to Grow Plans will be reviewed by the Ontario government. Some developers and municipalities want to remove lands from the greenbelt and weaken the rules that keep it whole.

Threats facing the Greenbelt include:

  • Infrastructure such as new highways that encourage urban sprawl, contribute to poorer air quality, and generate more greenhouse gases
  • Soil contamination from construction sites that may be polluting the drinking water and food sources of families in the Greenbelt
  • Destruction of natural areas and farmland by poorly planned development
  • A new, unnecessary mega-airport on prime farmland
  • Loss of natural areas and farmland that accelerate the impacts of climate change

The value of the Ontario Greenbelt:

  • It encompasses 535,00 acres of lakes, rivers, wetlands, and forests
  • It protects 78 species at risk
  • The Greenbelt provides the province with $9.1 billion in economic benefits and 161,000 full-time equivalent jobs
  • The forested area of the Greenbelt alone can offset the equivalent of 27 million cars driven over one year
  • Greenbelt-grown food travels less than 250 km to reach your plate, while on average food travels 2500 km before reaching you.
  • There are approximately 5,500 farms in the Greenbelt
  • 10,000 km of recreational trails to hike, walk, ski and more
  • $2.3 billion in ecosystem services such as clean water, air filtration and flood control, essential to managing climate change
  • A healthier future for millions of people

MK image greenbeltTo take action to strengthen the Greenbelt, sign the  petition here. There are also provincial town hall meetings   taking place all over Ontario, so members of the community  can share their views.  

The next town hall meeting is taking place in Scarborough on April 30th. For more information, please visit the Environmental Defence  website