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Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is circulating a petition to urge Simcoe County council to stop sprawl and build healthy, sustainable communities.
The petition urges the county to build “15-minute communities,” designed so residents can access all essential needs by walking no more than 15 minutes.
Other calls to action in the petition include protecting and enhancing the county’s natural and cultural heritage, increasing affordable housing, creating a local food ecosystem and considering climate change in all decisions.
“Sprawl is very costly for municipalities and for residents in reducing quality of life and affordability,” Margaret Prophet, the executive director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, said in a statement.
“While the county is considering how it should develop communities, we wanted to ensure that the future health and affordability of Simcoe County is top of mind. With the most severe climate impacts still to come for this region, now is the time to move towards healthier, more sustainable communities — not just more of the same.”
Prophet said the groups she works with are tired of seeing growth unnecessarily remove farmland and greenspaces. She acknowledged that changes won’t happen overnight but said officials can make decisions now that will affect community members for the next 30 years, which coincides with net zero targets by 2050.
Currently, Simcoe County is working on the first stage of public consultation of the municipal comprehensive review process – part of Ontario’s provincial growth plan. The review will establish development patterns and environmental management in Simcoe County, providing background to help with local planning.
The county is currently required by the Province of Ontario to plan for a population of 555,000 and 198,000 jobs by 2051.