Note: This website is no longer being actively mainated, and is currently online for archival purposes only.
For current news and updates on all of our Greenbelt-related campaigns, please visit our main website at www.earthroots.org
Urban Sprawl, Greenspace, Agricultural
Lands and The Greenbelt
In May 2004, Earthroots
launched its new Greenbelt Ontario Campaign. This campaign
renews and builds on our successful Oak Ridges Moraine
and Niagara Escarpment campaigns. Over the past five years,
Earthroots has taken a lead role in protecting southern Ontario’s
natural green spaces.
supports the Ontario government’s
initiative to create a comprehensive Greenbelt plan
for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Golden Horseshoe
that will improve Ontarians’ quality
of life, protect valuable agricultural lands, and connect
the largest biodiversity hotspots in the region.
the GTA’s population projected to increase to
six million people by 2021, we must act now to ensure
an environmentally and economically healthy future
for our region. We must protect our natural spaces
by creating a large Greenbelt and using urban planning controls or we will face a
smoggy, traffic-congested megalopolis, sprawling from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario to Lake
Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an un-elected, un-accountable
decision-making body, which is appointed by the Ontario government. It has the final say on all development
proposals in Ontario.
Earthroots’ Greenbelt Ontario Campaign will also
work towards real OMB reform.
website, www.greenbeltontario.org, is designed
to raise public awareness about how urban sprawl
destroys our environment. It includes links
to other organizations and individuals who share
our campaign goals.
We will be spreading the word at public meetings,
community forums and Queen’s
Park deputations while urging the government to make good decisions regarding
green space protection. Earthroots will build a strong grassroots campaign by
supporting local Greenbelt initiatives across southern Ontario. We need your support to ensure there is a strong public
voice for Greenbelt protection!
purpose of this website is to inform and engage the
public on the issues. There is a discussion board "chatroom" on
the site to provide an electronic forum for us to network
and to share activism ideas, strategies and stories!
site may be of interest to fellow members of the Ontario
Greenbelt Alliance, government staff, environmental
activists and whoever cares about protecting southern Ontario's green spaces, forests, wetlands, wildlife and clean
For more information,
please contact Josh Matlow, Earthroots’ Campaign
Director and Greenbelt Ontario Coordinator at (416)
599-0152 x14 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenbelt must be larger to make urban sprawl smaller Taskforce must enlarge study area and stop
Earthroots says that if the government’s Greenbelt
Task force is to fulfill it’s recently announced
vision and goals, the Province must expand its study
area to include surrounding regions such as “South
Simcoe” including Barrie and
Kitchener-Waterloo. Earthroots has concerns that the
current Greenbelt Study Area may unintentionally promote
unbridled leapfrog development.
suggests that the Province increase the Greenbelt study
area to resemble the Central Ontario Smart Growth zone
and create programs, along with a trust fund, to support
easements for farmers and municipalities.
government should truly balance growth demands with
a focus on transit and the environment’, said
Josh Matlow. Earthroots’ Campaign Director, “This
plan must also ensure that farmers and municipalities
receive the support they need for it to be successful.”
suggests that the Ontario government:
wilderness and water connections between Lake
Simcoe and Lake Ontario throughout
the region’s parks and rivers. This will better
protect our region’s natural systems.
and make more efficient the GO transit network for
southern Ontario between Toronto,
and Kitchener-Waterloo which connects to a larger network
including Ottawa and
functional incentive programs supporting farmers
in the study area including consideration of establishing
a trust to provide farmers with financial compensation
when needed. Between 1976 and 1996 the GTA lost
150, 000 acres of prime farmland to urban sprawl (an
area almost the size of the City of Toronto).
incentive financial programs for municipalities, such
as a share of the provincial gas tax, so
that they do not rely so much on promoting sprawl
in order to collect additional revenues from
the construction of new highways through the
Greenbelt Study Area initiated by the previous
government. New highways may not be houses
but they are certainly another form of development.
These highways directly contribute to environmental
degradation while providing key infrastructure
for future sprawling development.
extension which is already encouraging leapfrog development
north of the current Greenbelt Study Area in Alliston,
Beeton, Bond Head, and Barrie
Penninsula which might impact the Niagara
Escarpment and encourage sprawl onto the Fruit
Northwards extension which promotes urban
sprawl north of Newmarket
Hill Expressway which will redirect
creeks 18 times and blow the largest hole into
the face of the Niagara Escarpment ever seen.
McGuinty platform states that his government will protect
600, 000 acres of green space within the proposed Greenbelt and
another million acres around surrounding communities.
Increasing the size of the current Greenbelt Study
Area will achieve the fulfillment of this promise.
Taskforce’s vision must go further than the current Greenbelt study
area,” said Matlow. "Their vision should
extend beyond the short-term and piecemeal solutions
of the past and offer Ontarians a clear picture of
what our province will look like one hundred years
into the future”.