Protect our Moraines!
All our work to keep our water in our watershed would be for naught if we pave over our moraines – those wonderful geologic features that do all the work for us to ensure we have pristine groundwater. The same is true for our significant wetlands and river corridors. We need to protect these important ecological treasures from the impacts of sprawl.
During the month of May, we anticipate a final proposal from the Province about what lands are to be included in the expanded Greenbelt areas. Wellington Water Watchers together with 100 other organizations formed a coalition called the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and have mapped out the areas we believe should be included in an expanded Greenbelt, to protect farmland and essential source water protection features. See the map below for the areas specific to this county.
Once the Province announces its proposals, there will be several months of an open comment period. This is our last opportunity to include vital source water protection features within Wellington County in the expanded Greenbelt.
We need your help. If you are able to support our efforts by joining our team, please attend a meeting on May 16th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at 10 Carden. Please RSVP here. Following the meeting we will head over to the Bookshelf for The Greenbelt: Protecting and Cultivating a Great Ontario Treasure book launch.
Enjoy a fun and refreshing way to explore the beauty of our local Greenbelt with the Brewery Discovery Routes!
Self-guided Brewery Discovery Routes Maps provide complete itineraries for folks looking to indulge in the flavours of artisanal cheeses, lovingly prepared culinary treats using fresh, local ingredients, premium craft beverages, farmers’ markets and scenic outlooks.
The Guelph area route explores quaint villages nestled in rolling countryside, spectacular views from atop 400 million year old limestone cliffs, a Canadian Heritage River and the critically acclaimed restaurants, breweries and accommodations of Guelph. Download the Guelph area Brewery Discovery Route here.
An Inspired Conversation Follow-Up
On February 18th, Wellington Water Watchers hosted An Inspired Conversation, bringing together regional decision-makers, stakeholders and rights holders to discuss an expanded Greenbelt in Wellington County. The thoughts of plenary speaker David Crombie and the rest of the panel were indeed inspired, and raised excellent points and important questions about the provincial Land Use Planning Review. A full transcript and follow-up report on the event is available below, as well as a brief transcript version for information at a glance.
Last chance to tell Ontario to strengthen and grow the Greenbelt and choose smarter growth!
The current Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review (Review of the Greenbelt and its proposed expansion areas) represents a unique opportunity to permanently protect Wellington County’s important moraine headwater areas including the Orangeville and Galt-Paris moraines, which supply clean drinking water directly to 171, 889 people.
A recent primer completed by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation titled Growing the Green, Protecting the Blue, includes a portion on the Grand River watershed moraines:
“With 8 in 10 residents in the Grand River watershed dependent on wells for their drinking water, and an estimated 500,000 people moving to the area by 2041, the need to protect groundwater is clear. A trio of moraines – massive hills of sand and gravel left behind after the last ice age – filter and recharge most of the region’s groundwater on less than one third of its land area. They cut across at least 19 municipalities and three conservation authorities, creating a complex patchwork of local policies and regulations. Local groups and elected officials are now calling for stronger provincial protection to ensure that growth pressures, drought and climate change do not endanger water supplies in the future.” – Growing the Green, Protecting the Blue
As citizens of the upper portion of the Grand River watershed, we have a responsibility to protect source water here for future generations within Wellington County but also for those downstream.
The Wellington County Official Plan already does well to describe protections for the Paris-Galt moraine, but does not do so for the Orangeville moraine. Greenbelt designation can provide the protection needed for these significant groundwater recharge features.
The approximately 2700 acres for Greenbelt expansion, identified by Wellington Water Watchers, lie outside land already designated for urban development needed to accommodate population growth until 2041 and beyond.
The Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine Plans have been successful at maintaining watershed conditions, including forest condition and surface/groundwater quality. The landscape connections through Wellington County, including our River Corridors, Orangeville Moraine and Galt-Paris Moraine will provide for a more comprehensive and regional protection of potable water resources, working lands and natural heritage systems.
The positive impacts of the Greenbelt will only become more important over time. In May, the province announced its proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan, as part of the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review. In the Province’s suggested amendments to the Greenbelt Plan, the requests of the over 100 community groups, including Wellington Water Watchers, the Moraine Partnership and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, were well heeded by the inclusion of river corridors through the GTA. Very few expanded areas were included though. We continue to urge the province to understand the importance of including the proposed areas within Wellington County.
We have one last chance to tell Ontario to strengthen and grow the Greenbelt and choose smarter growth here in Wellington County. Now is the time to make your voice heard. The Ontario government is hosting one last round of public consultations on proposed changes to the Greenbelt and Growth Plans.
- Growing the Greenbelt Q & A
- Foundation investments for Bluebelt partners
- Growing the Green, Protecting the Blue, a recent primer completed by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
- The province’s Coordinated Land Use Planning Review (including the proposed ammendments to the Greenbelt)
- Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015-2041
- Executive Summary from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Celebrating 15 Years of Oak Ridges Moraine
- Celebrate Earth Day 2017 in Ontario’s Greenbelt with this Toronto Star feature
- Statement from Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation CEO Burkhard Mausberg Regarding Provincial Announcement on the Land Use Planning Review
- Media Release, WWW – Wellington Water Watchers host a Town Hall to Support Growing the Greenbelt in Wellington County
- Media Release, WWW – Wellington Water Watchers calls decision-makers, stakeholders and rights holders to An Inspired Conversation – on growing the Greenbelt in Wellington County
- Media Release, WWW – Wellington Water Watchers calls on province to grow the greenbelt, protect water supplies
- Article: Environmental groups hope to nearly double size of the Greenbelt – Toronto Star
- Media Release – Ontario Nature: Groups call on province to grow the greenbelt, protect water supplies
Photo credit for photographs used on this page: Friends of the Greenbelt