Greenbelt is Protected Again

Further to my post Request To Open Up the Greenbelt! about a report to be debated at York Region on October 8th.  After some debate a majority of Council voted to approve the recommendations which were somewhat amended.  This was clearly very disappointing.  But…very quickly there was a response from the Province to the requests and the answer was a firm “no.” Specifically the following was said by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing when asked about York Region’s intent to ask for a process to enable future approval to develop lands in the Greenbelt: Speaker, and I can tell the members of the House and every head of council and every councillor in every community across Ontario that if you’re going to give us a request to develop property within the greenbelt, we have one short answer: No.   Evidently York Region Council  was not influenced by the >200 letters sent in expressing opposition to the recommendations; but, the Province had heard and remembered other instances when  Ontarians expressed loudly that the Greenbelt is valued and loved.  I want to thank all of those who did express opposition with either personal letters or signing petitions etc.  This was a very good reminder of the need to be vigilant in protecting what we value.  Decisions are made regularly on important issues which challenge the status quo;  there is a need to be an active, engaged stewards and be ready to take action when it appears to be going in the wrong way. We will need to do so again for sure when there will be opportunity to modify the Greenbelt Plan in2025, the next scheduled review.

5 Responses to “ “Greenbelt is Protected Again”

  1. Nancy Hopkinson says:

    Hi Debbie,
    I want to thank you for writing to York Regional Council objecting to removing land out of the Greenbelt, even though the majority of King Council supported it. I noticed that our Mayor Steve Pellegrini mentioned that there had been a unanimous vote about the Economic Development Report which had proposed this in the first place. I suspect that you had not realized at the time that this was sneaked into the report. It is very difficult when you only receive detailed reports on a Thursday and Council is expected to review all the agenda and all the reports before Council the following Monday. Was this a recorded vote? If not, then how can he say it was adpted “unanimously”?

    On 10/22 I added the following to my answer.
    At York Region Council today the reports and recommendations made at the YR Committe of the Whole 2 weeks ago were approved by Council; the latter included the decision to request that the Province create a process whereby lands could be removed from the Greenbelt and be re-designated as employment lands. I did not view the live stream of the meeting but I have been told that Mayor Pellegrini did comment today that the decision was justified as it was the only way to reduce taxes. Such short sighted thinking annoyed me enough that I I finally did the research to check on his statement that the Council had unanimously voted to support such a request to the Province. Indeed Sept 26, 2016 there is a staff report reviewing feedback to the Province about draft amendments to the various provincial plans including the Greenbelt. . page 6 does includes a paragraph on this various issue. there is no indication in the minutes that there was a recorded vote on that item but rather that it was approved. As I haven opposed to this idea since the day I heard of it I am sure that I did not agree with it but in my naivete, I guess, I did not ask for such nor to separate this particular issue from the rest of the report. I have checked back in my blog and it does confirm for me that I had not “missed” the items as being in the report.

    • Debbie says:

      Nancy, I have not had chance to go back and read minutes; it is correct that a unanimous vote would only be noted in minutes if it was a recorded vote and the latter is not done often. Having said that I can imagine a different scenario. There were many specific issues in the report and I agreed with most of them, perhaps all, except this specific one. If true it was naive on my part to not ask for that one to be pulled out and to be voted on separately and recorded. Lesson for me.

  2. Angela Rose says:

    It is indeed shocking and disappointing that King’s Council is open to opening the Greenbelt. I can’t understand which part of environmental point-of-no-return they don’t get. WE need the GB – it’s protection is critical – not only for King residents but the residents of nearby major cities. I get we need an enhanced tax base – I’m willing to pay more to protect our future and the future of millions of others.

  3. J. Bruce Craig says:

    This is very encouraging news Debbie! Now we can urge the province to follow their own message and abandon the proposed GTA West Highway 413 which would remove a large swath out of the protected Greenbelt from Hwy 400 to Hwy 401 passing north of Brampton – 50 km long. Prime farmland and many natural heritage features, such as the Humber River Valley would be disturbed. There are sensible cost-effective alternatives for moving goods and people in the western part of the GTA that would sustain the integrity of the Greenbelt and maintain protection on farmland and natural features.

  4. Susan Beharriell says:

    Thanks so much and yes, it is nice to see such a firm answer. I urge everyone to thank the Minister for this assurance! I have already done so. It is important to not only object to things, but to express gratitude for good decisions as well!

Leave a Reply to Susan Beharriell Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *