Greenbelt expansions key to protecting Ontarios vulnerable water sources

This is a guest blog by Joshua Wise, Ontario Nature, Greenway Program Manager & Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Steering Committee member. For more information about Ontario Nature please visit http://www.ontarionature.org.

Canada Water Week couldn’t come at a better time. In Ontario momentum is building for the province to grow the Greenbelt to further protect vulnerable water sources at risk in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

Key headwater features, significant ground and surface water features, source water areas and urban river valley connections play an important role in protecting our valuable water resources. Collectively, these areas have been dubbed the Bluebelt, a new frontier to protect as millions of Ontarians depend on the waters that flow above and below ground in the GGH.

With the province nearing the completion of the 10 year review of its award-winning Greenbelt Plan, Ontario Greenbelt Alliance members (OGA)Ontario Nature, Earthroots, EcoSpark and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition – have been working with community leaders from across the GGH to identify the water resource areas most in need of immediate Greenbelt protection.

It’s heartening to see strong support growing for these at risk areas.  Last month, a meeting was held in Barrie where over 150 people gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event, Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoes 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 inspiring discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect important water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.

Meetings like this are happening all across the GGH. Community leaders in Guelph, Waterloo Region, Niagara, Brant County, Pickering, Northumberland County and Toronto are sending a clear message that they want to grow the Greenbelt to protect their water, land, and communities.

It’s a critical time to remind the province that Greenbelt expansion is the key to protecting our water.  With your help, we can show that widespread support exists to grow the Greenbelt. Now’s the time to act before the final decisions are made that will shape the future of our Greenbelt. With your help, we can grow the Greenbelt and make sure that a new Bluebelt of water resources across the region are better protected for generations to come.

Please sign this petition to grow and strengthen the Greenbelt and forward it to your local MPP to let them know you: “… want the government to commit to grow our Greenbelt and protect the Greater Golden Horseshoes 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.

Thanks for helping to protect our ever important water supplies and natural systems for the long term.

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