World Water Day offers us a chance to reflect on our connection to water and how we can best protect it. Across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), expanding urban footprints are threatening lands that filter water, control flooding and recharge aquifers. By guiding development in existing urban centres and protecting natural features, we can protect the source of drinking water for millions of residents. “Grow the Greenbelt to protect vulnerable water supplies” has become a rallying cry for the more than 35,000 Ontarians who wrote to the provincial government demanding greater protection for their water.
The momentum that’s building around growing the Greenbelt (#GrowOurGB) couldn’t come at a better time. The provincial government is currently discussing where and by how much our Greenbelt will grow.
Last week, I attended a meeting in Barrie where 150+ people had gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event, Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoe’s Watershed Moment had a palpable energy as the newly formed Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition brought together community members, local experts, farmers and elected officials representing all levels of government. The motivating discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect valuable water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.