Coalition Eager to Push for Greenbelt Expansion, Sustainable Communities
2019-20 SCGC executive board: Charlene Strudwick, Phil Brennan,Tom Kurtz, Al McNair and Sandy Agnew.
News release from the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition
On Sunday, April 14, the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition (SCGC) held its annual general meeting to reset focus on upcoming priorities and vote in a new board. With 35 member groups from across the county as well as individual members, SCGC sees its role as a connector between all the various groups who are looking to build a Simcoe County that is fairer, healthier and sustainable.
The organization’s pledge remarks on the importance of water, farmland and green spaces to our economy and its future health. It is for that reason, that SCGC is working to ensure that Simcoe County grows in a way that doesn’t threaten the root of local jobs, but builds on it. Key issues going forward will be ensuring the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan stays strong, expansion of the Greenbelt over our most vulnerable water sources, forests and wetlands and encouraging community development that addresses affordable housing, climate change and financial sustainability.
Says Executive Director, Margaret Prophet, “People in Simcoe County don’t want their communities turned into sprawling nothingness. They don’t want communities that ignore their housing needs. As we saw in the Bill 66 push back, people don’t want policies that threaten our water, green spaces and farmland either. People that live here love the beauty, the lakes, the trails, the variety of communities and right now all those things are under threat. We can come together to do something about that. We can propose a different vision for Simcoe County.”
The organization announced in its AGM that it will be pushing once again to have the most sensitive water sources and natural areas better protected through Greenbelt expansion. The Greenbelt over these areas would be a cost saving measure for municipalities as they grapple with rising costs of mitigating climate change, flood prevention and water treatment. But the permanence and strength of the Greenbelt worries some industries like aggregate and land development.
“Right now there are proposals from the aggregate industry to open up some of the most sensitive areas in Ontario to quarries. There are industry calls to weaken protections for important wetlands and their surrounding areas for houses. All of this is so unnecessary since there is a surplus of land available for housing. This type of development costs the municipality more than it makes in new tax revenue. Simply, this type of development is a money pit. But we have a strong team of volunteers and member organizations that want to see Simcoe County move in a different direction that provides a net benefit to our communities.”
People who want to learn more about the organization or become a member are urged to go to the website: simcoecountygreenbelt.ca.
The newly elected board: President, Sandy Agnew; Vice President, Tom Kurtz; Treasurer, Phil Brennan, Secretary, Charlene Strudwick, Al McNair Member at Large. Executive Director: Margaret Prophet Community Lead: Adam Ballah