Three Burlington council members were a little iffy with their support for ensuring that the rural part of the city is fully protected.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 12th, 2018



While Burlingtonians argue for a delay in the adopting of a new Official Plan and its impact on the downtown core their Regional government is trying to convince the provincial government that the greenbelt should include the white belt in the rural and semi-rural parts of the province.

Halton regional and Oakville city councils are calling on the province to expand the Greenbelt.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton brought forward a motion at a Regional Council meeting asking the province to extend its study area for Greenbelt expansion and to expeditiously grow the Greenbelt by incorporating appropriate Whitebelt lands within the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s “inner ring” to protect Ontario’s limited freshwater and natural heritage features.

White belt - green belt map

About 500 ha of white belt land exists in Burlington.

The Neptis Foundation, an independent, privately capitalized charitable foundation describes Whitebelt lands as those located between the outer edge of approved urban settlement areas surrounding the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton and the Greenbelt Plan area.

The Greenbelt is seen as an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands.

They are currently undeveloped, but are not protected from urban development in the future.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

Are there parts of rural Burlington that are in the white belt zone that should be moved into the green belt zone where they can be fully protected?

The Ontario government is currently seeking input as it considers expanding the Greenbelt to include areas most in need of protection, including moraines, cold water streams and wetlands located in the outer ring of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Burton said with these votes the councils have sent a clear message that they are against sprawl.

He noted sprawl not only causes traffic congestion and overcrowded schools, but also additional unwanted intensification in communities that are mandated to grow under the province’s Place to Grow Act.

“The Greenbelt is an integral component of land use planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, complementing the Growth Plan to encourage smart planning, the reduction of sprawl, protection of natural and hydrological features and agricultural lands,” said Burton.

“It’s important that a fulsome study of all potential Greenbelt expansion areas should be undertaken as part of this review in order to make the best, most consistent land use planning decisions across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

“Moving the Whitebelt into the greenbelt will protect agriculture which is viable employment in Halton,” he said.

Opponents of the motion at regional council argued it was rushed, that there wasn’t enough background information provided, that no consultation had been done with the public and that it was unclear what the possible implications could be.

Supporters argued a report had been provided, that regional council had been aware of the motion since January and that consultation had taken place.

The Burlington Regional Councillors were not unanimous in their support for motion. Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and Burlington Councillors Rick Craven, Marianne Meed Ward and Blair Lancaster supported the motion.

Councillors Jack Dennison, Paul Sharman and John Taylor did not support the motion. Surprising to see the Taylor vote

Dennison announcing

Councillor Jack Dennison

Sharmqan looking left Feb 5-2018

Councillor Paul Sharman


Councillor John Taylor, a surprising vote against an important Regional motion.


The resolution has been sent to the premier of Ontario, the minister of municipal affairs, all Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Environmental Defence, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Ontario Greenbelt Association, Ontario Nature, Earth Roots, Eco Spark, and Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM).

The distribution of the whitebelt lands is

Region of Halton; 11,700 ha
City of Burlington; 500 ha
Town of Halton Hills; 6,800 ha
Town of Milton; 4,300 ha
Town of Oakville; 100 ha

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5 comments to Three Burlington council members were a little iffy with their support for ensuring that the rural part of the city is fully protected.

  • Stephen White

    Excuse me but isn’t the supposed rationale behind the new Operating Plan, the Mobility Hubs and the Grow Bold initiative so that it will preserve and protect agricultural, recreational and greenbelt properties for future generations? Isn’t the explanation repeatedly given by Council members for the increased heights and density in the downtown core that we need to stop urban sprawl, and warehousing thousands of people in 20+ storey high rise condos is preferable to urban sprawl? And didn’t I hear certain Council members back in November and January ridicule all those nasty NIMBY advocates from ECoB who, heaven forbid, dared to question the merits and value of the new OP, and were told to get realistic and practical and that we need to preserve the enviornment?

    Well, at least Councillors Craven and Lancaster are consistent in their voting patterns.

  • Ken

    First of all, I would like to know if anybody would echo my opinion that I didn’t vote for the Greenbelt agenda?

    The land above the 407 and below the escarpment is owned by a patch work of farms that would generally be too small to be considered economic. We don’t have natural heritage in Burlington (what ever that really is?) sans the escarpment and our lakefront. And these farmers are really nothing more then land banking or rich horse owners.

    Since, informed and sage individuals understand that urban sprawl is an undesired outcome the City/Region and the province should work to understand how to avoid it. Right now Metrolinks has earmarked $21B to retro fit communities with better transit. If the same organization build rail lines to areas currently outside, or in this case inside, the greenbelt they could do so at pennies on the dollar and make a far more successful case for urban dwellers to use public transit instead of the car. Transit must be convenient and you can’t do that 30 years after you build a car based community.

    The area on the north side of the 407 could easily be developed for employment and support the airport which is Burlington’s only absolute economic advantage. This solution could end the stalemate with Paletta over Bronte Woods and employment lands immediately north of the QEW. The City could shrewdly negotiate with Paletta Section 37 benefits for the conversation of employment lands to mixed use. Albeit shrewd isn’t something the City does well.

    It is constantly ignored by politicians who clearly haven’t travelled this country that Canada is the world’s second largest land mass with 90% of its population living within 100 miles of the 49th parallel. According the Government of the Canada’s website Canada is only growing via immigration which at 300,000 persons per year totals less than 1% growth. Most of these immigrants did not come from an urban setting so forcing newcomers to relocate to underserviced municipalities would help reap the benefits of redevelopment in cities like London, Barrie, Aurora etc. Intensification has done nothing for us other then distort the local market place and fuel a bull market in development land and real estate in general.

    Also, a little kernel of information and perhaps someone more informed then I can comment but until recently the Provincial was opportunistically buying up land in the Greenbelt to build a bypass highway through the GTA and around Hamilton. And if Greenbelt was so important to the Region maybe they can offer an explanation as to why Milton is developing all the way down Tremaine to Dundas?

    Finally, if Mayor Burton actually said that Agriculture is an important source of jobs I’d like to correct him and suggest no one who earns a typical wage in agriculture could afford to live in anything but Halton’s subsidized housing. In brief “we” are not interested in those jobs.

  • P Casey

    I would like to know the reason or reasons why Dennison, Sharman and Taylor voted against the motion.

    We need to protect our rural lands at all cost.

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