More than 100 Groups Call on Province to Grow the Greenbelt, Protect Water Supplies; Urban Sprawl Threatens 1.5 Million Acres of Critical Water Resources
Toronto, ON — Over 100 community groups, including the Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, are requesting that the provincial government grow the Greenbelt to protect 1.5 million acres of land containing vital water resources.
The ongoing Greenbelt Plan review represents a unique opportunity to permanently protect important headwaters, moraines, groundwater recharge areas and wetlands. These vital water systems supply clean drinking water directly to one million people and help provide a clean source of drinking water to millions more in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
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Expand the Greenbelt and freeze urban boundaries to protect Ontario’s fresh water supplies and farmland say over 35,000 Ontarians
OGA representatives delivered the over 35,000 letters to Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro and met with MPPs from all parties to urge the province to:
- Grow the Greenbelt to protect vulnerable water supplies and natural areas
- Support a thriving rural economy, including the $11 billion agriculture and food sector that provides 110,000 jobs for Ontario
- Stop sprawling our cities outwards by freezing urban boundaries and instead create liveable, walkable communities with a greater range of housing options in already built-up areas
The Greenbelt remains the most popular environmental initiative in Ontario’s history, with 90 per cent of residents in support of keeping it permanently protected. A new poll by Environics and released by Environmental Defence and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation this week also found that eight in ten Greater Golden Horseshoe residents support the Growth Plan, citing the protection of farmland and natural areas as the most important reason for their support.
To learn more about the plan
In 1829, John Bigsby conducted the first investigation of the moraine. He noted the elevation, and styled the area Oak Ridge, identifying the portion of moraine north of Toronto. The moraine’s extent was not established until 1863 when William Logan conducted the Geological Survey of Canada.
Taylor formally defined the landform as the Oak Ridges Moraine in 1913. He described its extent to be from King and Maple in the west to the Trent River in the east. He also proposed that its origin was overlapping, interlobate glaciation retreat, between the Lake Ontario Lobe and the older Lake Simcoe Lobe. This has become the accepted explanation for the moraine’s development, through research in the 1970s suggested the moraine may not be interlobate.
Research conducted in the 1990s revealed that the moraine has multiple origins: its eastern area has subglacial depositions (Gorrell and McCrae, 1993); early parts of the moraine were deposited in an esker (Brennand and Shaw, 1994); and that the moraine is not continuous, but is composed of multiple depositional environments: subglacial, ice-marginal and proglacial lacustrine (Barnett et al., 1998).
Current research efforts on the moraine are quite extensive. Because of the political implications of development on the moraine, and because its aquifers are a source of potable water for numerous communities, both federal and provincial governments have invested resources towards research on the moraine. The Geological Survey of Canada and Ontario Geological Survey both investigate hydrostratigraphy and hydrology throughout the moraine.
Palaeo-Indian hunter-gatherers were in this area between 10,000 – 7000 BC. The oldest artifact found in what is now Richmond Hill, Ontario, from these people, was a stone scraper about 40 mm long, at the Mortson Site, near Leslie Street and 19th Avenue. Other artifacts were found in a settlement site on the eastern shore of Lake Wilcox.
Archaic Iroquois artifacts c. 1800 BC have also been found at the Silver Stream site, near the headwaters of the Rouge River on Leslie Street just north of Major Mackenzie Drive, and at the Esox site, on the eastern shore of Lake Wilcox.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is a landform unique to southern Ontario. One of Ontario’s largest moraines, the Oak Ridges Moraine extends 160 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment in the west to the Trent River system in the east, and is on average 13 kilometres wide. One-hundred-and-fifty metres deep, the moraine stands out as one of the most distinct landscapes of southern Ontario. Its height above the flat lands to the north and south, its rolling hills and river and stream valleys and large blocks of mixed forest provide solace and a sense of connection to the people who live, work and play on the moraine, natural and wild habitat for flora and fauna, and untapped recreational opportunities.
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