Since we currently have 14% of the County in the Best Protected category, and 58% in the Somewhat Protected category, it is clear that we can achieve the targets of a minimum 10% wetland cover, 50% forest cover, with less than 10% impervious lands.
But, both the Best Protected and the Somewhat Protected category allow for a death by a thousand cuts, as changes to land use are permitted even in the Best
We have an opportunity to get it right in Simcoe County by permanently protecting an adequate amount of greenlands to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region.
Province of Ontario
- Maintain or strengthen the provincial policies that protect wetlands, forests and shorelines in provincial planning documents;
- Make efforts to engage Indigenous people and ensure their perspectives and Traditional Ecological Knowledge are incorporated into provincial policies that protect wetlands, forests, shorelines and other significant natural features they may identify;
- Work with municipalities and the County to implement the Growth Plan’s Natural Heritage System for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and related policies as soon as possible to protect linkages in particular;
- Prohibit the removal of greenlands and linkages from the Growth Plan’s Provincial Natural Heritage System;
- Preliminary maps of “high quality natural cover” have been developed by the province in the Lake Simcoe watershed. 17 Take the next steps and ensure the mapping is completed, and that these features are protected in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan;·
- Expand the Greenbelt into Simcoe County.
County and Municipalities
- Municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed that have not already done so, should adopt the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s Natural Heritage Strategy in their municipal Official Plans;
- Municipalities in the Nottawasaga Valley watershed should implement the Natural Heritage recommendations in the NVCA’s Integrated Watershed Management Plan;
- Set targets, implementation mechanisms and timelines to meet or exceed the Federal habitat protection guidelines above, on a subwatershed basis, and put biodiversity objectives in municipal planning documents;
- Ensure that the “high quality natural cover” features in the Lake Simcoe watershed are protected in Simcoe County’s Official Plan.
- Refuse requests to expand settlement boundaries, and instead develop “complete communities”;
- Increase environmental restoration activity, focusing on linkages, shorelines and riverbanks;
- Develop strong regional and municipal tree cutting bylaws and enforcement regimes using the Ontario Woodlot Tree Conservation By-law Template;
- Explore and invest in green infrastructure.
Landowners wanting to protect environmental or farm features on their lands forever can do so in a number of ways through a Land Trust.
Land Trusts are charitable organizations committed to permanent protection of lands with ecological, scenic, historical, agricultural and recreational values.
See the Ontario Land Trust Alliance website for information about local land trusts.