Toronto Council Agrees to Grow Greenbelt into Don and Humber Valleys

February 23, 2010

For Immediate Release

Toronto Council Agrees to Grow Greenbelt into Don and Humber Valleys

Today, Toronto City Council expressed its support for the inclusion of publicly owned lands in the Don and Humber River valleys into Ontario’s world-renowned Greenbelt.

“Council made it clear today that Toronto’s precious green spaces deserve strong and permanent protection”, said Toronto Environmental Alliance Campaigner, Jamie Kirkpatrick. “Adding the Humber and Don River valleys to the Greenbelt will insure these signature pieces of Toronto’s natural heritage are preserved for the enjoyment of present and future generations of Torontonians.”

Toronto seized the opportunity to be an Ontario leader in natural heritage protection by being the first municipality to declare its intention to grow the Greenbelt right through the heart of the City. This will further strengthen Toronto's position as a green leader and opens the door for Peel and York Regions to join Toronto and add public lands on the Don and Humber River valleys to the Greenbelt.

“With the fifth anniversary of the Greenbelt just around the corner, I can’t think of a better way for Toronto Council to show its recognition and support for the Greenbelt,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. "By bringing the Greenbelt further into Toronto we are connecting the City’s two and a half million residents with the farmers and farmland that provide Torontonians with local food and the green space that help clean our city’s air and water."

The Ontario Greenbelt is an area of 1.8 million acres of agricultural, rural and environmentally sensitive lands around the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It was created by legislation in February of 2005 to protect key environmentally sensitive land and farmlands from urban development and sprawl. The Greenbelt protects the headwaters of all major watersheds in the western Greater Toronto Area that were not protected by the Niagara Escarpment or Oak Ridges Moraine plans. Within the City of Toronto the Rouge Valley is currently designated as part of the Greenbelt.