Author Archives: Mike Boos

News Release: Smart Growth Waterloo Region Pleased to see Province Propose to Expand the Greenbelt, Encourages Local Citizens to Speak Up in Upcoming Consultations

For Immediate Release

Waterloo Region, Ontario – Smart Growth Waterloo Region is pleased to see the
province release plans this morning that could expand the Greenbelt beyond the
Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, including into Waterloo Region.
Over the next 90 days, consultations will be held in Waterloo, Guelph, Brantford, and
other Ontario communities. The provincial government is looking for feedback from the
public on these important plans to protect the important water resources we all depend
on from the growing pressures of development.

“Our water is increasingly under threat from development and climate change,” states
Kevin Thomason from Smart Growth Waterloo Region. “Stronger protections for our
essential water sources will help to ensure the resilience and the future success of our
communities, particularly with the rapid growth that Waterloo Region is experiencing.”
The Greenbelt permanently protects lands from urbanization, helps to ensure the
integrity of our agricultural system and natural eco-systems, and is one of the largest
and most significant in the world. Protecting water in wetlands, streams, headwaters
and groundwater recharge areas such as the moraines is critical to providing
communities dependent on groundwater like ours with abundant, clean, and secure
drinking water supplies.

Local community and environmental groups have worked for years to secure provincial
support for and reinforcement of our local water and natural heritage protections such
as our Regional Official Plan, Protected Countryside and Countryside Line designations.
“Waterloo Region has lead with numerous environmental protection initiatives over the
past decade. As long as the strongest of local and provincial rules prevail, an expansion
of the Greenbelt to the Waterloo and Paris-Galt Moraines will provide multiple layers of protection for these critical groundwater recharge areas,” says Mike Boos, a co-founder
of Smart Growth Waterloo Region. “Our members have long advocated for vibrant
urban centers surrounded by thriving countryside and this announcement today
provides a proposal that could strengthen that balance.”

Polling consistently shows extremely strong support for the Greenbelt with more than
90% of Ontarians agreeing that the Greenbelt is one of the most important initiatives for
the future of the province, helping to protect farmland, rural communities, water
sources, and natural greenspace.

Smart Growth Waterloo Region anticipates that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs will
host a consultation and town hall meeting in Waterloo Region sometime in January or
February during this 90 day consultation period. We encourage local citizens as well as
local organizations to speak up and provide feedback to the government supporting this
important water protection initiative. To learn more please visit
smartgrowthwaterloo.ca or the government website at ontario.ca/greenbelt.

Smart Growth Waterloo Region is a grassroots group started in 2013 by community
members to raise awareness and support for local and provincial smart growth policies.

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Kevin Thomason
Co-founder and Media Contact, Smart Growth Waterloo Region
Phone: 519-888-0519
Mobile Phone: 519-240-1648
E-mail: media@smartgrowthwaterloo.ca

smartgrowthwaterloo.ca

Poll shows widespread support for Region’s growth management

Waterloo Region’s Growth Management Strategy, as laid out in the Regional Official Plan, is an ambitious attempt to protect our farms and natural areas while also channelling growth to improve our neighbourhoods and communities. The Official Plan governs where new growth can take place and what form it will take across the entire Region. It’s important to check periodically that plans of this magnitude continue to have public support and understanding.

Fortunately, the Region now has fresh assurances that it’s approach to protecting countryside and building up urban areas are widely supported. As part of its strategic planning, the Region commissioned a representative survey to gauge resident’s priorities and levels of satisfaction with Regional policies and services. Questions were asked on topics which included economic development, the environment, healthy and inclusive communities, transportation, and responsive government services.

Here are a few things they discovered about how people feel about the Region’s smart growth approach: Continue reading