The Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt are elected officials committed to advancing the protection of the Greenbelt and Growth Plan and advancing progress towards low carbon communities. Our membership includes mayors and councillors from across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.
The Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the fastest growing regions in North America. Over 9 million Ontarians presently call it home and the region is expected to grow to 13.5 million residents and 6.3 million jobs by 2041. Meeting the needs of that growth is both a challenge and an opportunity. Much of the region’s past growth has been in the form of low-density, car-dependent suburbs. However, this form of development has resulted in loss of farmland, increased infrastructure costs, traffic congestion and energy use, reduced air and water quality, impacts on human health, and the loss of green space, habitats and biodiversity. The changing climate and increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events also creates additional pressures on the region’s communities, agricultural production, infrastructure and natural systems.
Our network is committed to building complete low carbon communities and growing the Greenbelt by providing transit and cycling infrastructure, supporting local agriculture, and advancing the linkages between these complementary goals. For example, we must curb sprawl and build more compact communities in order to reduce servicing costs, support transit, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect valuable agricultural and natural lands. Natural features and functions, including water resources and biodiversity, are essential to support healthy, prosperous, livable communities that are resilient to climate change. Many forms of infrastructure increase energy use and pollution. Signficant actions are needed to improve conservation of our water supply, build resiliency into our stormwater systems and increase energy efficiency of water systems. Traditionally moving people and goods has been one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and lower carbon options are necessary like transit, cycling, walking, and freight to create healthy communities. Drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential to reduce our contribution to climate change and advance our region’s participation in the emerging low carbon economy.
There is widespread support to use land more efficiently, create livable communities, reduce commute times, protect valued resources and support a strong and competitive economy. Our residents value a diverse mix of land uses and housing types, a range of employment opportunities, high-quality public open space, a variety of transportation choices, and easy access to stores and services. Climate change is not only a critical driver that needs to be brought into the mainstream of all our planning and development activities, but is now a requirement in Official Plans. Building compact and complete communities, and protecting agricultural lands, water resources and natural areas will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
What You Can Do
If you're an elected official, take the pledge to show your support for building complete low carbon communities, growing the Greenbelt, supporting agriculture, providing appropriate infrastructure and advancing the linkages between these goals in order to create the low carbon, resilient and competitive communities Ontarians desire.
You don't have to run for office to support the Better Communities pledge. You can also contact your local candidates and encourage them to take the pledge.