Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn announced Thursday (Jan. 10), the Glenorchy Conservation Area would be given an extra level of protection by officially being added to the Ontario Greenbelt.
Flynn said the addition will be made using the new Urban River Valley designation, which protects publicly owned lands near urban waterways that are connected to the Greenbelt.
The 255-hectare area of northern Oakville is the first addition to Ontario’s Greenbelt since being initially established in 2005.
“I am pleased that the first expansion of the Greenbelt is happening in Oakville with the addition of the Glenorchy lands,” said Flynn.
“I know that the residents of Oakville will benefit from the preservation of these lands, and breathe cleaner air with the addition of the many trees that will be planted in Glenorchy.”
The expansion increases the size of the Greenbelt to nearly two million acres of protected agricultural and environmentally-sensitive land across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Glenorchy — Scottish for ‘valley of tumbling waters’ — includes rolling hills, forest, creeks, wetlands, and the Sixteen Mile Creek valley and gorge.
Glenorchy Conservation Area is bounded by Bronte Road, Hwy. 407, Neyagawa Boulevard and Dundas Street.
Oakville Town Council voted unanimously back in November to support the inclusion of the Glenorchy lands within the Greenbelt.
The inclusion plan also received support from Halton Region.
Members of the public were invited to add their opinions to the discussion during public consultation meetings in December and online by e-mailing greenbelt@ontario.ca.
“Halton Region is committed to protecting Halton’s rural and agricultural lands,” said Halton Chair Gary Carr.
“By working with other levels of government to grow the Greenbelt, we are ensuring that Halton’s residents have even more green space to enjoy in this great region.”
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton called the Greenbelt addition important as it gives Glenorchy added protection against development.
“In Oakville, we are creating a cleaner, greener town,” he said.
“The protection of the Glenorchy lands is a key part of our commitment to preserving our natural environment and protecting Oakville’s green space to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Flynn said the Province has committed to planting twice the number of trees in Glenorchy than originally planned for 2013 under the 50 Million Tree Program.
He also said research shows the Greenbelt cleans the province’s air, regulates its water systems, and provides tourism opportunities — all worth $2.6 billion each year.