Corp Comm Connects

Council Connection: Historic announcement protects North Gwillimbury Forest
June 28, 2021

Province adds nearly 900 acres to Greenbelt, writes Mayor Margaret Quirk
Margaret Quirk

June 11 was a historic day in Georgina, as the province announced it was making the Maple Lake Estates lands part of the Greenbelt, and out of private ownership.

Almost 900 acres have been placed in public ownership under the stewardship of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, protecting it forever from development.

The provincial announcement stated: “The lands to the west and south of Woodbine Avenue and Metro Road North received development permissions decades ago, before the establishment of the Greenbelt, and before Provincially Significant Wetlands were recognized.

“Transferring the lands to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority will ensure that these important lands will be conserved without development for generations to come.”

Since elected mayor in 2014, my goal, and that of all members of council and staff, has been to protect these lands. This development has come before many councils, with a complex history of municipal, regional and provincial planning approvals dating back over 30 years.

I am very happy that the province has taken these steps to protect these important forests and wetlands.

I want to thank York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney for her work, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, as well as Premier Doug Ford, for this historic announcement and for protecting these lands.

I also want to thank and acknowledge the work done by the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance, led by Jack Gibbons.

Thanks also to Ward 3 Coun. Dave Neeson for his dedication to this issue.

Finally, I want to thank all members of council, past and present, and town staff that have worked on this file for many years. At times, our paths may have been a little different in terms of how we would reach this point, but we all had the same goal of protecting these environmentally significant lands.