This term, I am serving as a Co-Chair of the Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt. This is a group of more than 50 Mayors and Councillors from Niagara, York, Waterloo, Wellington, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, Durham, Hamilton and Toronto. The other Co-Chairs are Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Ajax Mayor Steve Parish, and Toronto Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker.
Tuesday night, we hosted a reception in Toronto with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Rick Bartolucci. The reception coincided with a conference called Greenbelts: Local Solutions for Global Challenges. The conference has attracted people from around the world who want to learn more about Ontario’s Greenbelt legislation.
The Greenbelt was created six years ago. As a protected and carefully managed green space wrapping around the most densely populated urban region in the country, the Greenbelt makes a major contribution to the health and livability of our cities and towns.
The Municipal Leaders group believes that a strong economy and a well-protected Greenbelt go hand in hand. We have committed to supporting the Greenbelt as a permanent feature of Ontario’s landscape, encouraging the development of Natural Heritage Systems in every community that links to it, and ensuring that planning decisions influencing the Greenbelt adhere to the Greenbelt Plan. There is still policy work to do to make sure the Greenbelt is sustainable including addressing the financial sustainability of rural communities and farming within the Greenbelt.
In Guelph, we are working to grow the Greenbelt through the inclusion of our river corridors.