Rejects Regional Government’s & Developers’ Requests To Remove Land From Greenbelt Protection
News from the Niagara Region Sierra Club
Posted October 18th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Proposal to add 2,280 acres to the Greenbelt supported by Niagara Region (Ontario) Sierra Club
Niagara, Ontario – The Sierra Club of Niagara is calling on the Province to stand firm in its recommendation to add 2,280 acres of land to the Greenbelt in the Niagara region, amid concerning requests from Niagara Region and private developers to remove land from Greenbelt and Niagara Escarpment designation.
While the Sierra Club commends the Province and Niagara Region for supporting the inclusion of two parcels of land in the Greenbelt, the Sierra Club is troubled by a request from Niagara Region to remove a large swathe of protected fruit-growing land in Grimsby from the Greenbelt. In addition to the loss of vibrant peach and apricot orchards, the removal of this land from the Greenbelt would endanger the 28-acre Irish Grove Woodlot.
“The Province’s initial recommendation to grow the Greenbelt in Niagara Region is a strong proposal to protect Niagara’s $1.1 billion agricultural economy and the environment,” said John Bacher from the Sierra Club of Niagara. “This strong recommendation is now under attack by developers and municipalities asking to remove land and pave over orchards and farmland for private development.”
Local activists in Grimsby have been campaigning to save the Irish Grove Woodlot from a proposed extension of Livingstone Avenue to Oakes Road, which would run through the middle of the woodlot and compromise one of Ontario’s largest remaining Lake Ontario Plain Forests. The application to the Province to remove protected fruit land in Grimsby would further jeopardize the future of the woodlot.
Developers and municipalities are also attempting to have Greenbelt protections weakened through the creation of a new category of Greenbelt lands, known as a “special policy area”, which would permit urban development on now protected fruit lands along highways travelling through the heart of the fruit belt in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
“We need to support the proposal to improve Niagara’s Greenbelt, not weaken it,” said John Bacher of Sierra Club. “I hope the Province will keep its resolve to strengthen the protections of the fruit belt and rare natural areas. After all, Niagara is home to one of only two specialty crop areas in the Greenbelt, and we have a duty to protect it.”
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