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Growing The Greenbelt

This week we attended a meeting, ‘Growing the Greenbelt’. The Ontario government has plans to greatly increase the Greenbelt boundaries and is going through the consultative process. The biggest driving force for the Greenbelt update is the protection of water. And you guessed it, our Puslinch area is the first study area under review.

I have summarized our talks with government reps and collected handouts. The government realizes that urbanization threatens the long term health of water systems. This urban impact can be through changing the landscape to hard and impermeable surfaces, such as roads, buildings and concrete which will not allow water to seep into the ground but runoff into drains and storm sewers. Of course, if water is not allowed to seep into the ground the aquifers are not recharged.

In 2005, the Greenbelt was established with 810,000 ha of green space. With the growing of the Greenbelt, an additional 10,000 ha could be added along with 21 urban river valleys. Public comment is required prior to the deadline March 7, 2018. Greenbelt designations are basically divided into 2 categories. 1 – Protected Countryside – The aim is to protect against the loss and fragmentation of agricultural land base and support agriculture as the primary land use. This means that settlement areas outside of the Greenbelt are not allowed to expand into these protected countrysides. 2 – urban river valleys.

So why is our Puslinch so important? It’s all about the moraines and associated cold water streams. Moraines are the result of glacial activity where the glacier stood in one place for an extended period of time. These moraines are associated with sand and gravel features important to recharging ground water. Cold water streams are fed by ground water discharging from moraines. They often form headwaters for rivers and lakes.

Focusing on Puslinch, we need to comment to politicians about such issues as agricultural practices, aggregate extraction, water taking and town growths. These are all valid concerns as the greenbelt expansion happens. There are various methods to have your voice heard. Go onto Ontario.ca/greenbelt for all the information.

This is your moment to shape Puslinch’s future. If we stay silent, in 25 years, the unchecked growth of the surrounding cities will swallow up Puslinch. And never forget, ‘Farms feed cities’.

Yours in conservation,

Marion Robertson