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Farmers say proposed Greenbelt expansion 'another level of legislation we don’t need'

Open house on growing Greenbelt attracts crowd in Barrie
2018-02-01 Greenbelt expansion open house
Several hundred people attended an open house at the Southshore Centre on the proposed Greenbelt expansion. Wendy King/BarrieToday

Some local farmers are raising questions about an expansion of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.

About 250 people turned out to Barrie’s Southshore Community Centre Wednesday evening to find out more about the Ministry of Municipal Affairs plans to potentially expand the Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.  The study area is on the outer edge of the current Greenbelt.

Springwater Councillor and farmer Perry Ritchie had a few concerns regarding the proposed Greenbelt expansion.

“It is just another level of legislation we don’t need. Farmers have concerns about what limitations there will be if their property is included (in the Greenbelt). Sometimes they have to get permission to put up a shed or a silo on their own property."

Ontario is taking steps to protect water resources by launching public consultation on moraines, coldwater streams and wetlands under pressure from urban development.

The province forecasts the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s population will grow 50 percent or by 4 million people in the next 25 years placing tremendous pressure on water resources.

Springwater Township Mayor Bill French says farmers have concerns about “new red tape” but have no issues about “protecting water sources or flood prevention but they also don’t want agricultural land taken out of service."

French continued “If you need a poster child for sprawl, just come to Simcoe County."

Several attendees were disappointed there was no formal presentation suggesting they were getting no new information from the open house set-up.

Mayor French says Simcoe County Council has asked the province to extend the deadline past March 7 to allow for more comments.  They first saw the recommendations in December.

Anna McDonald of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs says they are anxious for feedback and are hosting 5 more information open houses through the end of February.

The study areas include:

The Oro Moraine in northeast Simcoe County.

The Nottawasaga River corridor in Dufferin and Simcoe Counties

Catchment areas and wetlands west of Minesing in Dufferin and Simcoe Counties

Important surface water and recharge features in southeast Simcoe County

Several small moraines including the Gibralter and Singhampton Moraines

Waterloo and Paris/Galt moraine complex

Orangeville Moraine




About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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