Advisory Panel Recommendations Get it Right

Preserving natural heritage and water resource systems, enacting comprehensive watershed planning and adopting more robust climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are what Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region needs to sustain the 13.5 million people projected to live here by 2041. These are some key recommendations in “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth,” released Monday by the Advisory Panel on the Coordinated Review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

Earlier this year, the Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition (CAMC) released their Report Card on the environmental health of the Oak Ridges Moraine and Greenbelt. It revealed water quality in streams and rivers was becoming increasingly degraded. The Report Card called for renewed partnerships, tools and funding to enhance and restore natural heritage and water resource systems. The Advisory Panel listened and agreed.

CAMC Coordinator David Burnett said the panel did a commendable job reinforcing the work of conservation authorities across the Oak Ridges Moraine. “These recommendations support conservation authorities and the work they do daily –enhancing and restoring lands and waters across the Moraine and Greenbelt and protecting natural systems from the pressures of urban development and climate change.”

The Advisory Panel made a number of recommendations that address other comments made by the CAMC. These include strengthening policy directions in the four Plans to further protect water resources and mitigate climate change impacts through the use of green infrastructure and Low Impact Development techniques; providing increased flexibility for agriculture while retaining strong environmental protections; improving the oversight and regulation of large-scale fill activities and investing in programs to monitor and report on the plans’ implementation.

The panel’s recommendations will inform the Province’s next steps to prepare policy amendments to the four plans early next year. “We appreciate the panel’s recognition of the role of conservation authorities in implementing the Plans,” said Burnett. “We look forward to continue being a strong partner in renewed measures for the protection and enhancement of the natural heritage and water resource systems of the Moraine and Greenbelt and their connections through the Growth Plan lands to Lake Simcoe and the Great Lakes”.

The CAMC is a coalition of nine Conservation Authorities that manage the watersheds covering the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM). Formed in 2000, the Coalition collaborates with numerous groups and individuals in order to: take action for the protection and restoration of the ORM; provide expert advice on environmental planning and policies; undertake science-based research; and provide opportunities for recreation. A full copy of the Report Card and links to the Coalition members is available on-line at