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For our Water – It’s time to protect Ontario’s Bluebelt!

By Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel

Cook’s Bay in Simcoe County, CREDIT: Joe Mabel

 

The momentum that’s building around growing the Greenbelt (#GrowOurGB) couldn’t come at a better time. The provincial government is currently discussing where and by how much our Greenbelt will grow.

Last week, I attended a meeting in Barrie where 150+ people had gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event,Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoe’s Watershed Moment had a palpable energy as the newly formed Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition brought together community members, local experts, farmers and elected officials representing all levels of government. The motivating discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect valuable water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.

 Meetings like this are happening all across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Community leaders in GuelphWaterloo RegionNiagara,Brant CountyPickeringNorthumberland County and Toronto are sending the message that they want to grow the Greenbelt to protect their water, land, and communities.

Ontario Nature, Earthroots, EcoSpark and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition have been helping community leaders identify the areas most in need of immediate Greenbelt protection. Key headwater features, significant ground and surface water features, source water areas and urban river valley connections play an important role in protecting our water resources. Collectively, these areas are dubbed the ‘Bluebelt’.

It’s time to remind the government that Greenbelt expansion is the key to protecting our water! Earlier this week we sent the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry a letter urging them to champion Greenbelt expansion.

Now, we’re inviting you to help show the widespread support that exists to grow the Greenbelt. The time for you to act is now before the final decisions are made that will shape the future of our Greenbelt. We can #GrowOurGB with a bluebelt with your help! Please contact your local MPP to let them know that you:

“… want the government to commit to grow our Greenbelt and protect the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s most important water resource areas. Specifically, the government ought to put forward a list of features and areas to grow the Greenbelt. This must include: key headwater features, significant ground and surface water features, source water areas and urban river valley connections. The process to grow the Greenbelt should be set with a bold timeframe to map those features and areas”.

Josh Wise_ Aug 2013_135

Joshua Wise is Ontario Nature’s Greenway Program Manager