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What’s Next for Ontario’s Greenbelt?

Ontario's 7,300 square-kilometre Greenbelt is undergoing a critical land use review that could determine the fate of one of Ontario's greatest environmental legacies.

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When Ontario’s 7,300 square-kilometre Greenbelt was approved by then-Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2005, reaction was mixed.

Some saw the protected space as the best defence against suburban sprawl and the gradual destruction of watersheds, forests, marshes and agricultural land in Canada’s most heavily populated area. Others worried the strict new rules would limit housing stock, jack up home prices and wipe out the nest egg farmers had built in the hope of selling their once-isolated farms to developers.

Now, 10 years after coming into force, the Greenbelt Plan—along with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe—is undergoing a co-ordinated land use planning review.

From March to May of this year, the province held regional town halls to solicit public feedback and encouraged municipalities, industries, regions and environmental groups to offer their thoughts on how to strengthen the existing plans.

Here’s why this matters.

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