During the last year the province has been conducting its Land Use Planning Review, considering the Greenbelt Plan, the Growth Plan, the Niagara Escarpment Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. The proposed amendments were announced earlier in May: to continue to protect farmland, the natural environment and water resources and promote smart growth.
These are important issues for all Ontarians even though in Northumberland we feel far from the fray. A coalition of groups across the province have been working together to raise awareness and encourage people to be part of the process to make sure voices, supporting protection and smart development, are heard. Groups from Brant (which has just seen over 8,000 acres of mostly farmland be annexed into the city), Waterloo and Simcoe (each facing intense growth pressure from cities in those counties) emphasize the need for smart growth rather than sprawl and for the protection of prime farmland. With the expansion of 407 eastward, additional capacity developed on the 401, and the GO service pushing further east in the not so distant future, these concerns will grow in Northumberland.
Sustainable Cobourg has been involved since the first round of consultations began and started a Grow the Greenbelt: Northumberland initiative. Our second info session, Farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt: Possibility Grows Here, on June 14, will explore the implications and opportunities for farms, with Dr. Wayne Caldwell, from the University of Guelph, scheduled to speak. A Q&A will follow. There will also be a presentation by the Greenbelt Foundation.
Professor Caldwell’s report is available at: http://www.greenbelt.ca/farming_in_ontario_s_greenbelt_possibility_grows_here
Our hope is to inform and prepare the Northumberland community in advance of this final round of consultation so citizens can voice their opinion about the type of growth they hope to see in Northumberland.
Be part of the conversation: tell the province what you think!
For a final round of the consultation, which will go until September 30th, the government will host 11 open houses and conduct 4 technical briefings for stakeholders. In eastern Ontario: Oshawa Open House, June 23 at Durham College, or Peterborough Open House, June 28 at the Evinrude Centre. You can submit your comments on the proposed revised plans for the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review by September 30, 2016, online at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14851.aspx.