Eight in 10 Greater Golden Horseshoe residents support the Growth Plan to protect farmland and encourage smart growth


Toronto, ON – A poll conducted by Environics Research and released today by Environmental Defence and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation found that nearly 80 per cent of Greater Golden Horseshoe residents support the Growth Plan and its goals for the region.

Ninety-three per cent of survey respondents see protecting farmland and sensitive natural areas as the most important goal of the Growth Plan.

The groundswell of public support for the two major planning policies shaping growth in the region, the Growth Plan and the Greenbelt Plan, is building momentum as the province prepares to release final amendments to the Plans as part of the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review, which takes place every 10 years. The Plans work together, with the Growth Plan directing growth primarily to existing urban areas and the Greenbelt Plan protecting farmland, forests and water sources.

“We have always seen strong support for the Greenbelt among Ontarians with nine in 10 consistently in favour of a permanently protected Greenbelt,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The level of support we found for the Growth Plan shows that residents want to see their communities achieve the smart growth goals that protect farmland and natural heritage.”

As well, 90 per cent of respondents identified maximizing existing infrastructure, such as transit, school and water treatment plants, before building new facilities, as another important Growth Plan goal.

“We are seeing a shift in public attitudes away from an outdated and costly suburban sprawl approach to growth, and towards smart growth policies like the Growth Plan,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. “The poll results clearly show that Greater Golden Horseshoe residents want to see better planned growth in areas that can utilize existing infrastructure, which greatly benefits the environment and municipal budgets.”

The survey found that 82 per cent of Greater Golden Horseshoe residents believe the Growth Plan is important for building compact, vibrant communities with a range and mix of housing, amenities and green space, and 81 per cent support directing the majority of housing and job growth to already built-up areas.

The survey interviewed 813 residents across the Greater Golden Horseshoe on November 10, 2016 and is considered accurate to within +/-3.44 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

About the GREENBELT: Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, healthy local food, active outdoor recreation, and a thriving economy. At nearly 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect natural features. Learn more at: greenbelt.ca.

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 247; (416) 356-2587 (cell); abraude@environmentaldefence.ca

Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, (416) 960-001 ext. 306; (647) 834-5657 (cell); ewoods@greenbelt.ca