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Growing the Greenbelt

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The NFU-O has been awarded a grant through the Greenbelt Expansion Consultation Fund to help us promote engagement with Government of Ontario’s current public consultations on the Greenbelt.

These consultations, which close March 7, are about the potential expansion of Ontario’s Greenbelt to protect more farmland and natural features and especially to protect critical water sources from development and climate change.

Why is this consultation happening? The Government of Ontario is interested in expanding the Greenbelt in the near future; this expansion would be aimed especially at protecting water supplies.

What does the government want to know? “We want your thoughts on the proposal to protect important water resources, such as moraines, cold water streams and wetlands, by growing the Greenbelt in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

Is there an official NFU-O position on the Greenbelt? The NFU-O, regionally and at the Local level, has made a number of statements supporting the Greenbelt and appropriate farmland protection in the past.

Our specific approach to policy on this issue will—as always—be based on input from our Locals and our grassroots membership.

Deadline: The Government deadline for feedback is Wednesday, March 7, 2018.

How can we give input? Groups and regular people can give input through:

The NFU-O will also be collecting input from our membership via Local meetings, direct conversations, surveys, and discussions at Regional Convention. We will be preparing a province-level submission to the government, and will advocate for specific outcomes based on your input. We will also continue to advocate for sustainable farmer-friendly policy on the Greenbelt (and in general!) as the year progresses.

Wondering what to email to have your voice heard? We’ve drafted a form email you can submit to! Click here to copy and paste the text for an email. 

Our previous discussions have identified some general positions to guide our approach to this consultation process, including:

  • Expansion of the Greenbelt is a critical step to ensure food security, farmland protection, and safe and adequate water supplies.
  • Greenbelt expansion is needed both to mitigate climate change and to cope with future disruptions to food and water.
  • Protection of the land and water is a responsibility of all people in Ontario, farmers and eaters, rural people and urban people.
  • Indigenous people must be consulted about new developments on their traditional lands, and public policy must take into account their historic role as protectors and stewards of the land.

Greenbelt protections can also help to address other issues like skyrocketing farmland prices.

The focus of this consultation is to seek input on:

  • The Province’s approach to identifying moraines, coldwater streams, and wetlands as important features for protecting water in the outer ring.
  • The process followed for mapping a study area based on the locations of these features.
  • Other factors to be considered when mapping a proposed Greenbelt boundary, such as
    accommodating forecasted population and employment growth, and other provincial interests
    including agriculture, natural heritage, mineral aggregates and infrastructure, and any other local considerations.

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