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Friday, November 25, 2016

Could Greenbelt Expansion be Next?

Regional | by Claire McCormack  

Grey Highlands mayor warns it could be, adds locals are needed on the next commission.

Getting local people on the the next Niagara Escarpment Commission is important.

That's according to Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen, who says Grey, Bruce, Simcoe and Dufferin Counties made up the majority of land in the recent proposed Niagara Escarpment Expansion plan.

That plan has been voted out of favour by the NEC, but stopping the expansion process still needs to be agreed upon by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.  

McQueen is one of eight municipal representatives on the commission, while there are eight spaces for public appointees.

In terms of local residents "We haven't had anybody from, I would say Bruce or Grey County for quite a long time. "

He does note, Commission Chair Don Scott is from Wiarton.

McQueen says Grey County must push for more local public appointees to the NEC while at ROMA, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference.

Even if the plan to expand is officially scrapped by the Minister as recommend in the NEC's final recommendation report, McQueen feels the County should be mindful of the "Considerations" section of the recommendation.

It notes the "strong difference in opinion" between municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the Greenbelt and Bruce, Grey, Simcoe and Dufferin.

The report also recommends continuing the plan to "Grow the Greenbelt" which does include parts of Bruce and Grey, including Flesherton, to Owen Sound and up to Tobermory.

The Grey Highlands Mayor doesn't think issue of expanding protected lands is over yet.

McQueen says anyone can apply for one of the public spots on the commission.

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