Ontario’s conservation authorities and the Greenbelt are an extraordinary legacy for the province of Ontario.
Forward-looking, they provide essential environmental protections, significant knowledge resources and contribute to both the economy and the quality of life for communities.
The conservation authorities were created out of the environmental and human disaster that was Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt was created in 2005 to prevent further loss of farmland and natural heritage and to restrict urban sprawl.
The Ford government’s Bill 23 proposes to drastically erode these visionary environmental protections with housing initiatives which are not visionary, but cookie-cutter repeats of the sprawl that has eaten up much of the best farmland in Canada, and which risks damaging precious water resources and habitats at a time when climate change is bearing down on us.
Bill 23 is a make-do solution to housing needs, with an eye to removing environmental considerations and public involvement. It is time for the province to take a serious look at imaginative, efficient, high-density and community-building housing solutions.
It is not time to put aside the best of our province’s environmental legacy.