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Rally planned against forced urban expansions into area farmland

Province urged to approve Waterloo Regional Official Plan intact
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A group of local environmentalists who last came together to protest the provincial government's adoption of Bill 23 and its threat to the Ontario Greenbelt in a rally at Dumfries Conservation Area in Cambridge, is about to take to the streets again to get their message heard. 

The grassroots organizations Grand River Environmental Network, Nith Valley Ecoboosters and Keep The Greenbelt Promise have joined forces for a community rally in Waterloo on April 2.

In a press release, the groups say they want the province to uphold the the Waterloo Regional Official Plan (ROP), a planning policy that was "democratically adopted after extensive public consultation."

"It provides for sustainability, affordability and our housing needs to 2051, following the Province's mandated land-needs assessment process."

However, our ROP which awaits Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Clark's approval, is at risk, they say.

The province has ordered Halton to expand their urban boundaries by 2,200 hectares and Hamilton to expand by 3,350 hectares against their wishes.

"These compulsory expansions will devour natural spaces and farmland, increase infrastructure costs, vehicle traffic and pollution, and undermine building vibrant transit supportive communities."

Citizens are being urged to join community members from across the Grand River watershed to demand an end to provincially ordered urban boundary expansions, ensure respect for local decision making, and the repeal of Bill 23.

The rally is planned for 2 to 3 p.m., April 2 at 475 King St. N., Waterloo in front of the Inn of Waterloo, the site of a proposed future sustainable intensification development including affordable housing with a complete, walkable community approach.

A recent report from the Alliance for a Liveable Ontario demonstrates that in 2022, municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe already had sufficient land for twice as many housing units as the Province requires under Bill 23.

The groups say there is no need to force unsustainable boundary expansions in Waterloo Region, destroy irreplaceable farmland, and threaten our local water supply.

Confirmed speakers for the rally include provincial Green Party Leader MP Mike Schreiner and Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife along with youth advocates for the environment.

Citizens are encouraged to come out on Sunday with creative signage and ensure their voice is heard.