Implications of varied land use designations and non-agricultural uses in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

Khan, Khulsan Ahmad
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University of Guelph

In recent times there has been an increased realization for agricultural preservation across the globe and in North America. The post-2000 era ushered a wave of major changes in land use policies across the Greater Golden Horseshoe GGH region which included the four plans; The Green Belt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan and The Growth Plan. Such wide range of provincial policies in addition to the adoption of various regional agricultural guidelines and strategies leads to complex decision making and prioritization. It has been shown that land use decisions across the GGH have been driven by policies which permit some non-agriculture uses on the agricultural land base. This is primarily because municipalities have varying growth pressures and priorities. Moreover, municipalities in the region designate agriculture areas based on conformity with the PPS and an open-ended view of what is permitted usage. It leads to inefficient management of the valuable land base resource that is important to the viability of agriculture in the region. This research paper recognizes the need for enhancing the criteria for designating rural and agriculture lands in a standardized manner and delineating them effectively, while also separating non-agriculture uses in the agriculture to cater a wide range of farming types. The research exhibits the need for consistent land use designation and nomenclature the Greater Golden Horseshoe, pointing towards a regional systems based approach for agriculture.

land use, policy, zoning, designation, prime agriculture, rural, non-agricultural use