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As Ontario eyes Greenbelt expansion, housing minister in Vaughan recognizes Humber as protected urban river

More than 5,500 submissions saw overwhelming support for adding river valley to Greenbelt
July 15, 2021
Dina Al-Shibeeb

At Vaughan’s Boyd Conservation Park, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark unveiled a new sign July 13 recognizing the Humber River as a protected urban river valley within the Greenbelt.

The news comes as Ontario is eying to intensify growth, which translates to developing the remaining 80 per cent of the whitebelt in York region.

“The (Doug) Ford government understands that there needs to be a balanced approach to managing growth while protecting the natural environment for future generations,” said Clark.

“That is why we are adding urban river valleys to the Greenbelt and also enhancing and protecting two acres of land for every single acre where a Minister’s Zoning Order has or will be issued.”

The Humber River is one of 21 urban river valleys that connect the Greenbelt to the Great Lakes, inland lakes and areas beyond. These are the valleys of rivers that pass through cities or towns and act as urban gateways to the Greenbelt.

Other officials joined Clark, including Vaughan-Woodbridge MPP Michael Tibollo, King-Vaughan MPP Stephen Lecce, chair of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Jennifer Innis, and chair of the Greenbelt Council Norm Sterling.

“Today’s unveiling is an occasion for us to celebrate the Greenbelt and look forward to ways in which we can further conserve these types of natural spaces,” Tibollo added.

According to a press release by Tibollo’s office, more than 5,500 submissions have been received through a consultation process that saw overwhelming support for adding urban river valleys and the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt.

The government of Ontario is also in the process of undertaking what it says “could be the largest expansion of the Greenbelt since its creation in 2005.”

The Greenbelt gives protection to the environmental, groundwater, and agricultural resources.