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Evergreen responds to Government of Ontario’s Updated Land Use Plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Last week, the Government of Ontario released its four updated land use plans to help grow communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Achieving protection of the Greenbelt coupled with the Growth plan is to be celebrated. We commend Minister Mauro for taking these steps. This ambitious plan aims to attract jobs and investments in urban centres while preserving and protecting greenspaces, farmland and ecologically sensitive lands and waters.

“With more than 100,000 people moving to this region each year, Ontario must be a leader in building its residents cities that thrive,” says Geoff Cape, Evergreen CEO. “The new plans show tremendous leadership in encouraging economic and social growth while setting higher protections of the area’s greenspaces and municipal climate change policies to ensure a clean and healthy environment for Ontarians to live and work.”

Since 1991, Evergreen been an active in protecting and restoring Toronto’s urban watersheds and ravines through community engaged restoration and more recently working closely with the City and other stakeholders on the creation of the Don River Valley Park and a City wide ravine strategy. By expanding the Greenbelt to include 21 urban river valleys and 7 coastal wetlands, millions of urban residents are now better connected to Ontario’s rural landscape.

Evergreen is proud to have participated in the extensive consolations for the development of this plan, and believe it represents the collective vision for our region. This is a world leading policy framework that integrates land use planning with the provinces ambitious Climate Action Plan and Long term affordable housing Strategy - these are the foundations for our region to flourish.

This latest step in the government's reform of Ontario's land use planning system offers opportunities to curb sprawl and protect farmland and green spaces, and build more complete communities. We hope these plans, in conjunction with the proposed changes to the Ontario Municipal Board will incentivize a greater mix of affordable housing options and encourage growth along the transit corridors. However, we are concerned that the 10 year delay in freezing development and the 2031 densification target of the Growth Plan are slow to support the kind of transit supported density that Evergreen would like to see to create more affordable housing and walkable communities.

We look forward to seeing how these updated plans will ensure growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and continue to promote better-designed communities that support a high quality of life for everyone living in the region.

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