Proposed greenbelt taking shape
Task force hears from Halton area
residents before submitting recommendations
John Burman - The Hamilton Spectator - June 17, 2004
The task force advising the Ontario government on the greenbelt proposed
to run from Niagara to Rice Lake has decided the corridor must not be
simply a holding area for future development.
And the task force, or its chair, Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac, believe
the connected green spaces should never be used for utility or transportation
"What we are trying to do is define what should not go there," MacIsaac
told about 200 people at the Burlington Convention Centre during the
sixth and final public meeting for submissions before the task force
makes recommendations to the minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
near the end of July.
In December, the province froze development while it establishes where
the greenbelt should go by prohibiting any changes to agriculturally-zoned
land in the area for a year.
MacIsaac said before the session began last night that the response
to the task force and its discussions has been generally positive in
meetings from Durham to Milton to |St. Catharines and, finally, Burlington.
At some of the meetings, farmers have objected to the idea of the greenbelt
being one more thing foisted on them by government.
Indeed, last night one man who identified himself as a north Halton
farmer calmly asked the task force to recommend the province compensate
landowners for loss of equity, production use and heritage if their
lands are affected by it.
MacIsaac told the audience the task force recognizes the agricultural
industry is under intense pressure from population growth and will be
recommending the province set up a task force to look at farming across
the province and make recommendations.
MacIsaac said earlier he believes such a task force is one of the most
important recommendations the group will make.
While there was some concern last night about a loss of farmland, there
was also strong support for the greenbelt and its expansion to include
Oakville's newly designated natural heritage system lands, and a large
parcel of Ontario Realty Corporation lands west of Sixteen Mile Creek.
Environmental groups Oakvillegreen, the Clean Air Coalition and Conservation
Halton chair Jean Williams supported the idea.
"We need nature in our neighbourhoods," said Williams.
Conservation Halton has asked the province to turn the Ontario Realty
Corporation land over to the authority for a "large park."