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Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Oakville and regional councils call on province to expand Greenbelt

Vote looking at Greenbelt expansion close at regional council with 12-9 result

Oakville and regional councils call on province to expand Greenbelt
Photo by Alexandra Heck
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton put forward a motion at Halton Region council to support the Province in studying an expasion of the Greenbelt protected lands in the area
Oakville Beaver

Halton regional and Oakville city councils are calling on the province to expand the Greenbelt.

A motion, brought forward by Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, asking the province to extend its study area for Greenbelt expansion was approved unanimously by Oakville council Feb. 27 and approved in a 12-9 vote at regional council on Feb. 21.

The motion urges the province to expeditiously grow the Greenbelt by incorporating appropriate Whitebelt lands within the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s “inner ring” to protect Ontario’s limited freshwater and natural heritage features.

Whitebelt lands are located between the outer edge of approved urban settlement areas surrounding the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton and the Greenbelt Plan area.

“The Greenbelt is an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands."

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

They are currently undeveloped, but are not protected from urban development in the future.

The Ontario government is currently seeking input as it considers expanding the Greenbelt to include areas most in need of protection, including moraines, cold water streams and wetlands located in the outer ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

It hosted open houses in January and February for public input.

Burton said with these votes the councils have sent a clear message that they are against sprawl.

He noted sprawl not only causes traffic congestion and overcrowded schools, but also additional unwanted intensification in communities that are mandated to grow under the province’s Place to Grow Act.

“The Greenbelt is an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands,” said Burton.

“It’s important that a fulsome study of all potential Greenbelt expansion areas should be undertaken as part of this review in order to make the best, most consistent land use planning decisions across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

Oakville Ward 4 Coun. Allan Elgar, who seconded the motion, added that the motion is consistent with the region’s desire to strongly maintain agriculture in Halton.

“Moving the Whitebelt into the greenbelt will protect agriculture which is viable employment in Halton,” he said.

Opponents of the motion at regional council argued it was rushed, that there wasn’t enough background information provided, that no consultation had been done with the public and that it was unclear what the possible implications could be.

Supporters argued a report had been provided, that regional council had been aware of the motion since January and that consultation had taken place.

Those who voted in favour of the motion at the regional meeting included Burton, Elgar, Oakville councillors Tom Adams, Cathy Duddeck, Dave Gittings, Jeff Knoll and Sean O’Meara, Halton regional chair Gary Carr, Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Burlington councillors Rick Craven, Marianne Meed Ward and Blair Lancaster.

Those who voted against the motion included Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette, Halton Hills councillors Jane Fogal and Clark Somerville, Milton Mayor Gord Krantz, Milton councillors Colin Best and Mike Cluett, Burlington councillors Jack Dennison, Paul Sharman and John Taylor.

The resolution has been sent to the premier of Ontario, the minister of municipal affairs, all Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Environmental Defence, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Ontario Greenbelt Association, Ontario Nature, Earth Roots, Eco Spark, and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM).
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Growth , Greenbelt , Halton Region Municipal Council

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