KLEINBURG, Ont. (CP) – Premier Dalton McGuinty laid out the final map of Ontario’s contentious greenbelt Monday, slightly revising its boundaries in response to fierce debate among farmers and landowners.
About two dozen protesters wielding signs that read Hands Off Our Lands greeted McGuinty in this town northwest of Toronto as he redrew the greenbelt’s borders.
McGuinty said small changes were made after consulting with municipalities that would be affected under the plan.
The greenbelt, which became law last week, designates as off-limits to developers a 7,200-square-kilometre area stretching from Niagara Falls to Peterborough.
While there’s support among opposition politicians for a greenbelt to protect farmlands and curb urban sprawl, critics say the government’s approach is flawed.
Farmers, landowners and developers have said the borders made little sense, sometimes dividing farms in two, with half inside and half outside the protected area. But environmentalists have lauded the plan.
“This plan is great news for Ontarians,” Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, said in a statement issued Monday.
“It means cleaner air, healthier communities and a better quality of life.”
(c) The Canadian Press 2005