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Protecting water resources in rural municipalities in Southwestern Ontario

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Title: Protecting water resources in rural municipalities in Southwestern Ontario
Author: Rodriquez, Heather
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Rural Planning and Development
Advisor: FitzGibbon, JohnLongboat, Sheri
Abstract: Ontario's Greenbelt has locational and natural advantages due to its proximity to urban centres, its vegetative production, and recreational benefits of its natural features. The Greenbelt Plan (2017), protects 533,000 acres of lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams feeding the great lakes, and gives vital services of clean drinking water. As Ontario's population grows, the Province announced to move towards changes that will further protect Ontario's water resources. In December 2017, The Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs announced a study area of a potential Greenbelt boundary expansion, focusing on the important water features under pressure from urban development. Based on the premise that municipalities located in the outer edges of the Golden Greater Horseshoe will be experiencing significant growth pressures compared to the inner areas, the Ministry proposed to expand the outer boundary of the Greenbelt to offer more water resource protection. This study investigates the implementation successes and challenges of Ontario's land use planning policies of the Greenbelt Plan and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, within the context of Southwestern rural municipalities. This study used a case study approach and semi-structured interviews with planning professionals to further investigate the proposed boundary expansion. The results of this study suggest that the Province should be expected to provide detailed explanations of enhanced and specific protections the Greenbelt expansion will have on affected municipalities. From a municipal and political perspective, affected municipalities feel that the Ministry's proposal is not offering significant changes and could potentially cause additional policy implementation complications.
Date: 2018
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