Protecting Simcoe’s water with the Greenbelt
AWARE Simcoe /Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition news release
A free public event to discuss issues surrounding Simcoe’s water, farmland and natural heritage systems, and how we can protect these important resources through expanding the Greenbelt in Simcoe County.
Saturday, January 30, 2016, 9:30-11:30 am
Liberty North, 100 Caplan Avenue, Barrie
After introductions, there will be presentations followed by Q&A session. Special Guest Speakers include:
-MPP Ann Hoggarth (welcoming address)
-Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman (introduction)
-Oakville Mayor Rob Burton
-Environmental Lawyer David Donnelly
-Local Water Expert and past member of Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority Connie Spek (one of those featured on Save Mihurst Village video)
Organized by AWARE Simcoe and Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition
The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is the result of over 20 community groups from across Simcoe and the province that have agreed in principle that the Greenbelt needs to expand into Simcoe County to ensure our water, natural heritage and farmland is protected.
With representation from farmers, naturalists, environmentalists and ratepayer organizations, the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is a balanced voice that believes that the Greenbelt would create a stronger Simcoe County.
At 4,841 square kilometres, Simcoe County is one of the largest regions in the GGH and dominated by a rich and interconnected water resource system that is critically important to residents, agriculture and businesses within the County, and beyond. Simcoe County’s main watersheds, the Nottawasaga and Simcoe Basins, contain:
● Lake Simcoe and its watershed, the largest freshwater body in the GGH, which supports a coldwater fishery and extensive forests and wetlands. It is already partially protected by the Greenbelt;
● Recharge areas and groundwater supplies, relied on by most of the County through wells and replenishing surface waters in Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay;
● The Oro Moraine that provides drinking water to 20,000 residents and groundwater to the Minesing Wetland;
● Globally (Minesing wetland) and provincially significant wetlands;
● Watershed forests that form a natural corridor/linkage extending from the Niagara Escarpment north to the Canadian Shield and south to the Oak Ridges Moraine;
● Important migratory bird sites and corridors (i.e. shorelines);
● Other significant headwater and groundwater recharge areas, including the Dundalk Till Plain, Peterborough Drumlin Field and Simcoe Uplands;
● Significant kilometers of shoreline tied to the local and provincial tourism economy.
● A recent joint report by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Environmental Defence showed that the Greater Golden Horseshoe (of which Simcoe is a part) is losing roughly 350 acres of farmland per day.
● The recently released land use planning review expert advisory panel report (AKA Crombie report) specifically mentioned growing the Greenbelt in areas of hydrological significance such as areas in Simcoe County.
● A growing trend of beach closures, water bans (Thornton summer 2015) and routine water restrictions across most of Simcoe County’s municipalities indicate that Simcoe’s water quality and quantity are at risk
● GTA styled developments across Simcoe (e.g. Midhurst, Everett) directly threaten our prime farmland and put further pressure on our water sources. Simcoe County is expected to grow to 667,000 people by 2031 – an increase of 53% from 2006.