Greenbelt plan and foundation presentation

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Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada presentation at the November 9, 2011 convening to discuss an economic strategy to support Bay Area agriculture.

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  • The Challenge of Regional Planning 7.5 million population rising to 11 m by 2013 Almost 40% of the housing and apartments built in the region by 2031 will have been constructed since 2001. Regional Impact -- Provincial Policy = permanence (there is no regionally planning for Golden Horseshoe, so it has to be province) Land use plan – designates where development cannot happen. Companion piece to Places to Grow for the region – designates where growth will happen. Part of whole revamp of planning directives for the province to turn the tide on sprawl. Planning Act changed along with PPS. Need: stretches around the cities GREENBELT IS SITUATED IN ONTARIO ’S ECONOMIC HEARTLAND, A REGION CALLED THE GREATER GOLDEN HORSESHOE; ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING REGIONS IN NORTH AMERICA, WITH POPULATION PROJECTED TO BE 11 MILLION BY 2031 GREENBELT ESTABLISHED IN 2005 TO PROTECT 728,000 HECTARES OF PRIME AGRICULTURAL LAND AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LAND WITH SOME 7000 FARMS, SIGNIFICANT NATURAL FEATURES AND WATERSHEDS, AND HABITAT FOR 66 ENDANGERED SPECIES … FROM THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF SPRAWL DEVELOPMENT INCLUDES and is governed by three land use plans – THE NIAGARA ESCARPMENT, RUNNING FROM CLOSE TO NIAGARA FALLS UP TO TOBERMORY ON THE SHORES OF LAKE HURON, A WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE (PLAN ESTABLISHED 1985) THE OAK RIDGES MORAINE, A UNIQUE GEOLOGICAL FORMATION EXTENDING 160 KILOMETRES FROM THE NIAGARA ESCARPMENT TO THE TRENT RIVER IN THE EAST; A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF GROUNDWATER (PLAN ESTABLISHED 2002) ROUGE PARK (ESTABLISHED ?) ALSO INCLUDES THE PROVINCE ’S ONLY TWO SPECIALTY CROP AREAS; IN THE NIAGARA AREA, PARTICULARLY SUITABLE CLIMATE AND SOIL CONDITIONS FOR TENDER FRUIT AND GRAPES, AND THE HOLLAND MARSH WITH ITS UNIQUE MUCK SOILS, TRADITIONALLY GROWING ONIONS AND CARROTS BUT BECOMING INCREASINGLY DIVERSE Support Public, municipal leaders, environmentalist, planners, regional bodies Opposition Developers/ Build Industry Agriculture: OFA called the Greenbelt the “most draconian piece of legislation farmers in this province have ever. seen” Other landowners 90% of the land is in private hands. 90% of farming in the region is inside the Greenbelt.
  • The Golden Horseshoe was designated as the region – therefore everything that was looked at as possibly being in the Greenbelt had to be within that boundary. This has lead to some controversy as it is a planning boundary based on existing regional government boundaries and therefore good farmland, water resources, etc were left out of the Greenbelt.
  • How the Greenbelt came to be: Inspired by Portland ’s growth management plan. However, their was some prescidence for the move. Add a green premier that likes to think in “legacy” and transformative ideas – now overhauling Ontario’s energy portfolio, education system etc Early 70s (or 30 years ago, provincial government retreated from regional planning (metro to) and established two-tier municipalities. However, this is the same government that later went on to establish protection for the Niagara Escarpment in 1980-85. This came about when Dufferin ’s Aggregate literally blew a hole through the escarpment ridge which was visble from highway 401 and shocked the public. The Niagara Escarpment has gone on to be designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the UN and the dynamite episode immortalized in a song. The Dufferin Gap
  • Next is the famous pinch point battle to save the Oak Ridges Moraine A 2 km wide strip in Richmond Hill at Yonge Street. In one month Toronto press ran 54 news stories on the battle. Activists organized a funeral for the moraine. City of Toronto gave $1 million dollars to the fight. There were arrest to stop a road through a forest. 2,000 residents showed up an a meeting – not heard of. Base was current government ’ s vote support. Traffic was a top reason residents were against this development. Developers got nervous and went above Richmond Hill Council and straight to provincial planning adjudicator. But this allowed numerous evidence to come forward on the environmental assets of the land, critical water resources for the region, endangered species, etc. Province stepped in, shut down the hearing and set up an Oak Ridhes Moraine Advisory Committee. Issue was settled with a land swap. 2001 Oak Ridges Moraine Act into play and Foundation established. Next is Greenbelt: Liberals promised to stop the land swap, could not. Began creation of Greenbelt. Fast and furious. Placed a moratorum on urban development in non-urban areas during the planning of the Greenbelt. American vs Canadian way. Centralized nature of government, but not really used by Ontario until 2005 with the Growth Plan and Places to Grow.
  • The “ Rainbarrel ” of south-central Ontario. 65 headwaters protected within the boundaries. 250,000 residents supplied with ground water. 6 million supplied by Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe – both fed from these headwaters. Not everything is perfect: Transitional development Cumulative impacts not considered enough Water takings/ impacts from development outside the moraine Data collection and monitoring is weak
  • Drawing the Boundaries – a layering exercise, with future growth taken into consideration (makes for a rocky piece of legislation). Example: For ag lands a Task Force looked at soil, climate, productivity, land fragmentation, existing designations, future growth consideration. . The concept of a GB and growth management at a central Ontario scale actually “ began ” in the mid 1960 ’ s with the first elements arriving in 1978 with the Parkway Belt West Plan, followed in the 1980 and 1985 with the Niagara Escarpment Act and Plan respectively Legacy of long range planning: provincial scale Environmental Comprehensive I want to start with the study area because, the government ’ s election platform said it is going to create a Golden Horseshoe greenbelt. Following this direction, a Greenbelt Study Area was created through the GPA, 2004. It is shown on this map. The study area included the Escarpment; the Moraine; and very importantly, municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area including the GTA. The GPA, 2004 placed a moratorium on planning applications that sought to establish urban uses outside of an urban settlement area between December 16/03 to Mar 9/05. Development freeze December 2004. Existing Uses is based on what existed at the date
  • Context: Greenbelt is cornerstone of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan that provides clarity and certainty on urban structure and how future growth should occur. Greenbelt states where urban development will not occur. 3 land use plans Municipal implementation 10 year review Vision The Greenbelt is a broad band of permanently protected land that: Protects against the loss and fragmentation of ag lands and supports agriculture as the predominant use Gives permanent protection to natural heritage and water resources needed to sustain human health in the region. Provides for a diverse range of economic and social activities associated with rural communities, ag, tourism, recreation and resource. Use. Greenbelt Policies (there are differences with the other two land use plans) The Greenbelt Plan policies have proven to be more protective than policies that govern these features outside the Greenbelt (ie wetlands), but not perfect in all cases. Therefore, education is critical, the more municipalities believe that the Greenbelt is needed the more they are likely to ensure that prime ag lands and natural features remain protected and are not encroached upon. Agricultural System Policies Three land designations: (i) Specialty crops (added protection, cannot be re-designated in municipal Official Plans). These lands are designated by the province and therefore provide the greatest level of protection. (ii) Prime agricultural (exceptions: rural and settlement designations can be made). These lands are designated in municipal Official Plans and can change. (iii) rural (exceptions). These lands are designated in municipal Official Plans and can change. All these designations existed before the Greenbelt. The first allow full agricultural and secondary uses (value-added activities). Specialty crop can lands can still be affected by Greenbelt Plan ’ s infrastructure and Natural Resources Policies. Prime Ag can also be affected by expanding Settlement Areas. Rural land policies allow for recreation, tourism, institutional and industrial and commercial activities connected to the mining and use of natural resources – aggregates, water taking, fishing. Full range of ag uses also apply. 2. Natural System The system is connected to and supports broader natural systems. Made up of Natural Heritage and Water Resources Systems (ie necessary to sustain healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and human water consumption. 2 types of designations – Natural Heritage and Water Resource The Greenbelt Plan policies provide protection based on a systems approach with specific protection for key features such as – Significant wetlands Fish Habitat Habitat for endangered and threatened species and species of concern Natural Areas of Scientific Interest (ANSIs) Significant Valleylands Significant Woodlands Significant Wildlife Habitat Sand burrens, savannah, tall grass priarie lands Alvars Permanent and Intermitent Streams Lakes Seepage Areas and Springs Agriculture is permitted, full uses provided they abide Minimum Separation Distance (from another provincial policy) from key features Non-Ag development is allowed but must not negatively affect key features, consider connectivity. Extra rules around disturbance – not exceed 25% disturbance of natural systems and 10% imperviousness – except for recreation (economic reasons) and non renewable resources ie aggregates reasons. Golf courses get away with a 40% rule on disturbance (economic reasoning) 3. Culture, recreation and tourism Allowed, encouraged and must adhere to Natural System policies 4. Settlement areas 2 designations – Town/Village and Hamlet lands Defined by municipal Official Plan prior to Greenbelt Act. Lands not subject to Greenbelt policies. Town/Village boundaries can be changed at 10 year review – with some constraints. Hamlets can only be rounded out, but not into Specialty Crop lands. Settlement Areas outside the Greenbelt cannot expand in. 5. Other Uses/General Policies General Policies Non Agricultural Uses – golf courses, trailor parks etc Infrastructure Natural Resources – forestry, water taking, fisheries, conservation, wildlife management, aggregates (few more policies attached) Cultural Heritage Resources Existing Uses Lot Creation
  • Aggregates are found all over the Greenbelt, especially in the water rich Oak Ridges Moraine and the rocky Niagara Escarpment. The Greenbelt Plan policies are viewed as too permissive for aggregate mining. There are also difference between the 3 land use plans that govern the Greenbelt. However, there is evidence that the policies bring greater protection than lands outside the Greenbelt. Highways is another issue, and probably an even bigger threat to the Greenbelt ’ s integrity than aggregates. Debate just getting underway about recycling aggregate– an industry that has gotten its way with little inference from governments until now. Recent requests for expand or start new aggregate operations are also coming under more scrutiny than iin the past, including one requests for approval denied and two more that are likely. No aggregate mining in significant wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitat and endangered and threaten species habitat and species of concern habitat – unless the mining can show how it will protect these key features and consider connectivity. Result: greater protection for key features inside the Greenbelt, than outside. In the case of aggregates there are also greater controls on operations and greater expectations on rehabilitation efforts.
  • Municipalities are also asked to consider how actions outside the Greenbelt affect activities/ farming and natural systems inside the Greenbelt. While statements to this affect in the Greenbelt Plan policies only encourage this behaviour the province also created a program to grow the Greenbelt as extra encouragement. In this case, applications to grow the Greenbelt are voluntarily made by municipalities. 6 areas are currently looking at growing the Greenbelt. The criteria will likely be tweaked in the future to better accommodate cities that want to grow the Greenbelt such as the City of Toronto ’s efforts to symbolically Greenbelt its river ways – the headwaters of its major rivers start in the Greenbelt (Oak Ridges Moraine) and feed directly into Lake Ontario. Whiteblet – 17.6% by 2031 – campaign stepping up to get ag and natural system lands into the Greenbelt. Markham Foodbelt battle, Guelph experience is showing how difficult this might be. However, areas like Halton and Peel Region may add 50,000 acres over the next year.
  • The Greenbelt Act and Plan is a controversial piece of legislation and policy that does not have the support of Ontario ’s 3 major political partier – making it’s future vulnerable. 10 year review helpful. Foundation: showing how the Greenbelt can change our collective future for the better and inspiring municipalities and residents to find new approaches that will sustain the region.
  • FOUNDATION CONTEXT FOUNDATION WAS ESTABLISHED IN 2005 SHORTLY AFTER THE GREENBELT ACT WAS PASSED, AND THE GREENBELT PLAN ESTABLISHED. FOUNDATION, LIKE THE GREENBELT ITSELF, IS NOW IN ITS SEVENTH YEAR … IT WAS SET UP AS A PUBLIC CORPORATION, WITH AN INDEPENDENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS (THAT INCLUDES 3 PROVINCIAL APPOINTEES?), AND HAS CHARITABLE STATUS FOR INCOME TAX PURPOSES. THE FOUNDATION PLAYS A LEADERSHIP ROLE TO CHAMPION AND CATALYZE A COLLECTIVE COMMITMENT TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE THE GREENBELT … ENSURING IT REMAINS A BENEFICIAL, VALUABLE AND PERMANENT FEATURES, ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ONTARIANS
  • FUNDING CONTEXT THE FOUNDATION RECEIVED A GRANT FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN 2005 OF $25 MILLION. OUR INDEPENDENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS DECIDED TO SPEND IT DOWN, RATHER THAN FOLLOW AN ENDOWMENT MODEL. THERE IS APPROXIMATELY $1.5 MILLION REMAINING OF THE ORIGINAL GRANT. IN JUNE THIS YEAR, THE FOUNDATION RECEIVED A GRANT FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF $20 MILLION. BOARD CONSIDERING HOW TO SPEND IT DOWN; TO COMPLETION OF THE 10 YEAR REVIEW (2015), FOR A 15 YEAR PERIOD … AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, IT IS A CHALLENGING QUESTION Stakeholder Consultations held – informed / shaped our work. Stats: 350 requests for funding $91m in requests 158 projects funded $15m allocated
  • Strategy #1: Develop and Tell Greenbelt Stories Brand: Commissioned - logo (Bruce Mau) Signage Inspiring stories: Greenbelt Walks TVO Kids – 250,000 Ontario kids and parents on TV and popular website. Greenbelt song, adventures My Local Greenbelt, Greenbeltfresh.ca Agriculture in Ontario ’s Greenbelt – what’s it look like Ontario ’s Greenbelt in an international context The Holland Marsh – its black earth visible to travelers but little known about the area – salad bowl of Ontario/ Canada Harbourfront Photo Exhibit The Greenbelt Quilt of Diversity and booklet World ’s Largest World Salad – the Greenbelt serves both diversity on the land and in our cities Tour de Greenbelt
  • Greenbelt Walks Knits together 3 major trail systems: Bruce Trail, Oak Ridges Trail and TransCanada Trail. The Bruce Trail alone is Canada ’ s longest footpath, with dramatic changes in scenary, difficulty and length
  • Strategy #2: Make Friends Sponsor Stakeholder Activities and Support Community Events: 40-50 rural and urban festivals for 2 summers: farm tours, chamber of commerce festivals, cultural events Agriculture AGMs, celebrations: various. Grape Growers of Ontario became early allies. We helped them with major policy change initiative that got the attention of many in the farm community. Was not without controversy. RAWF Niagara Escarpment projects Environmental Farm Plan and compensation ie ecological goods and services Support for 800 on-farm projects that improve environmental farming practices by reducing pesticides, recycling and reusing water, and planting trees. AGCare Raise awareness of hikers on and off the trails about environmental stewardship by farmers
  • Greenbelt Farm Stewardship Plan & Greenbelt Green Energy Project Viewed as one of the best grants we have made in agriculture – open to any farmer, they get a cheque from us – Greenbelt Foundation. View as compensation. We have continued this work by supporting research into how farmers and other landowners can be compensated for stewardship of ecological goods and services in a way that increases effective stewardship activities and ensures the most impactful enhances/ restorations are made.
  • Strategy #3: Support Strong Advocates To Keep the Vision Alive Ontario Greenbelt Alliance – Steering Committee that sets overarching agenda with a bursary program for groups to tackle local issues. Regional focus: hotspots, report cards, growing the greenbelt, 2015 review, municipal elections and campaign finances, green gravel reform Sierra Club volunteer clubs – establish in Halton and Durham, support existing work in Peel Region. GTA – AAC – Food and Farming Strategy Toronto Environmental Alliance – grounding support for the Greenbelt in the biggest city in the region. Inclusive – people, politics
  • Strategy #4: Fund Possibilities Projects that pursue a Greenbelt-inspired future: Bike Train, Park Bus, Cycle Route Cootes to Escarpment Park, Dundas Valley Gateway Project, Little Rouge Reforestation Growing the Greenbelt Local Food Plus: Support for development of a set of local and sustainable standards, and certification process Urban-rural connections – food being the most obvious, successful Outreach to Municipalities to profile their efforts to embrace the Greenbelt Farmstart: new places to grow, new places to go: Support for young and immigrant farmers growing conventional and ethnic vegetabes Holland Marsh Economic Study Holland Marsh Growers ’ Association Support for establishment of association for Marsh farmers, fostering collaboration on marketing and policy advocacy
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  • Strategy #5: Increase Influence Global Greenbelt ’s Conference Smart Cities Series on Challenges and Opportunities for Ontario ’s Greenbelt Wide-spread media coverage in both urban and rural outlets Greenbelt Farmers ’ Markets Network/ Greenbeltfresh – Ontariofresh.ca Local Food Procurement Policies – BPS Investment Fund Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt – 2015 Review, hotspots, growing
  • These are important numbers and keep the opposition at bay. In 2007 provincial election the poll was influential in the Conservative Party Leader going on record to support the Greenbelt, in the past the party opposed the Greenbelt legislation. “ What programs, initiatives or government acts have you heard of, if any, that will protect the natural environment …” Greenbelt/Greenbelt Plan – 8% Recycling/composting – 4%, Energy Conservation/alt. energy – 4% Drive Clean/Reduce car emissions – 3%, Close coal plants/nuclear – 3% “ Based on what you know of the Greenbelt now, do you completely support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or completely oppose the Greenbelt?” 85 % - Completely or somewhat support 6 % - Somewhat oppose 2 % - Completely oppose 6 % - Don ’t know
  • These activities garner a lot of attention by the media and others and go a long way in inspiring cynics that the Greenbelt is good policy.
  • This and our other local food work has lead to the government approaching us to define a program to get more local food into Ontario public institutions in a way that greatly impacts farmers This resulted in a $6 million grant for the BPS Investment Fund and Ontariofresh.ca
  • The provincial legislation has now gone through 2 elections and survived so there is growing acceptance that it is permanent and more and more allies are surfacing as it becomes less controversial. The legislation has refocused many of the communities inside and cities outside the Greenbelt. Economic attention is now going back to agriculture with the realization that it is important to the rural economy – not subdivisions and on-ramps to the highway system. Also more focus is going to attracting food related businesses and tourism – especially urbanites which account for 74% of visit to the countryside. This refocus is slowing bringing government (Provincial) around to seeing new possibilities and potentially spending money where it has not before ie more money to tourism outside Niagara Falls, recognition that farms in the near urban area need a different strategy etc We are seeing more and more visioning happening in municipalities ie Rouge Park becoming the first National Park in Canada to be sited in an urban setting and with farming inside its boundaries. The Cootes to Escarpment Park System has 8 major partners including 2 cities that will expand and connect an important ecological features. Dundas Valley Gateway next to this vision now wants to become a part of it. Productive urban-rural relationships are also starting to happen, starting with local food, This is both among residents, farm and foodie community (more allies for farmers) and municipal governments Increasing support for urban density Greater focus and demands for transit versus highways
  • Greenbelt plan and foundation presentation

    1. 1. Ontario ’s Greenbelt Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Shelley Petrie Program Director November 2011
    2. 4. Niagara Escarpment
    3. 5. Oak Ridges Moraine
    4. 6. ORM Water Resource Map
    5. 8. <ul><li>Agricultural System </li></ul><ul><li>Natural System </li></ul><ul><li>Parkland, Open Space and Trail </li></ul><ul><li>Settlement Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Other: </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Ag Uses, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Cultural Hertiage Resources, Existing Uses, Lot Creation </li></ul>Greenbelt Plan Policies
    6. 9. Infrastructure & Natural Resource Policies
    7. 10. Growing the Greenbelt <ul><li>Municipal applications can be made to grow the Greenbelt </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons must be consistent with vision/ goals of Greenbelt Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Public consultations are required </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria are causing some problems with growing the Greenbelt into urban areas </li></ul>
    8. 11. Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Taking the Greenbelt beyond a land use policy
    9. 12. Mandate Charitable, public, and independent Champion and catalyze a collective commitment to protect and enhance our Greenbelt
    10. 13. Funding $25 million from Ontario government in 2005 $20 million from Ontario government in 2011
    11. 14. Goals <ul><li>Supporting a robust agricultural sector </li></ul><ul><li>Protecting a natural environment </li></ul><ul><li>Championing a strong and successful countryside </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting smart patterns of urban settlement </li></ul>
    12. 15. <ul><li>Communications, Policy and Research, Grant- Making: </li></ul><ul><li>Build awareness, understanding and support for the Greenbelt </li></ul><ul><li>Fund and support organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct, fund and disseminate research </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate and convene </li></ul><ul><li>Track and report </li></ul>Approaches
    13. 16. Where we started <ul><li>Loud Complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Few Active Advocates </li></ul><ul><li>No Stories </li></ul>
    14. 17. <ul><li>Develop & Tell Greenbelt Stories </li></ul>
    15. 21. <ul><li>Connect/Make Friends </li></ul>
    16. 24. <ul><li>Support Strong Advocates </li></ul>
    17. 25. Greenbelt Expressway' the wrong way says Ontario Greenbelt Alliance <ul><li>Spending billions on new 'GTA West Corridor' through Vaughan would be better spent on alternatives like transit and rail </li></ul>
    18. 27. <ul><li>Fund “ Possibilities ” </li></ul>
    19. 28. Greenbelt 2.0
    20. 29. Greenbelt Express Bike Train
    21. 30. Cootes to Escarpment Park Vision
    22. 31. <ul><li>Increase Influence </li></ul>
    23. 32. Public Opinion <ul><li>1. Greenbelt most recognized environmental initiative </li></ul>2. Support for Greenbelt remains high in 2011 at 85%
    24. 33. Global Greenbelts Conference
    25. 34. Greenbelt Farmers ’ Market Network
    26. 35. What Happened High Public Support Greenbelt Branding Increasing Municipal Conformity Growing the Greenbelt Initiatives BPS Investment Fund Increased Environmental Protection Platform for Farming Issues
    27. 36. greenbelt.ca

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