Georgina is celebrating the creation of a new 890-acre nature reserve in the North Gwillimbury Forest announced by the province today.
“There is reason to celebrate in Georgina today. It is a day that I have dreamed of, and am so happy that it is finally here," Georgina Mayor Margaret Quirk said.
Following decades of "many twists and turns" surrounding Maple Lake Estates, the province is providing the land to the stewardship of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, which will protect it from development.
In Georgina today, June 16, York-Simcoe MPP and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney and Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark made the announcement that was also welcomed by the East Gwillimbury Forest Alliance, which has battled the development proposals for the land that is "a priceless ecological asset" for Georgina, the Lake Simcoe watershed and Ontario.
In a news release, the alliance acknowledged Mulroney "for persuading the Government of Ontario to create this wonderful nature reserve in the North Gwillimbury Forest."
The reserve includes all the lands owned by the DG Group between Boyers Road, Metro Road and Woodbine Avenue, including the Maple Lake Estates property, and is adjacent to the Arnold Matthews Nature Reserve, which was created by residents in 2008, according to the release.
"Throughout this process, council and staff have remained committed to protecting this significant forest and wetland," said Quirk in a statement. "This development has come before many councils, with a complex history of municipal, regional and provincial planning approvals dating back over 30 years.
"Georgina is a community that loves and appreciates its outdoor green spaces. While we plan for future growth, we also need to balance that with protecting the environment. Today, we have received a special gift that we can give to future generations. It’s been a long fight, and one worth fighting for."
Quirk acknowledged the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance as "a tireless advocate in protecting this land."
See the dedicated Maple Lake Estates webpage for more information.