Ontario is losing farmland at the rate of 175 acres per day. 939 acres surrounding Orillia, including some of Canada’s best, Class 1, 2 and 3 farmland, is at risk of disappearing due to an Urban Boundary Expansion. In a time of climate change and food insecurity, all farmland around our city is prime and every wetland is significant. Meanwhile, the City of Orillia is developing a Climate Change Action Plan to meet the great challenge of this century but refuses to acknowledge that sprawl is not sustainable nor affordable. Planning for the future of our community should not be determined solely by consultants and staff behind closed doors. We want our City Council to know that we care deeply about what Orillia will look like in thirty years and beyond – and we want a say. We can have vibrant, walkable, sustainable communities that accommodate future population growth within the current urban boundaries of Orillia. There is no need to grow outward.
Stop Sprawl Orillia
This project aims to convince a majority of Orillia City Council (at least 5 of 9) to vote against staff’s annexation recommendation of 939 acres of prime agricultural land and wetlands from development.
We are in a climate crisis NOW. Fast tracking decisions 30 years from now is not sustainable. There is already plenty of land to accommodate the provincially mandated growth projections to 2051. But it will require building more sustainable compact communities within our urban boundaries to create vibrant, walkable communities with residential, employment, and recreation spaces. We don’t need another land grab for the benefit of developers.
Suburban sprawl costs us all. New developments require expensive infrastructure, including miles of roads, sewers and hydro. When it comes time to maintain and replace that infrastructure, the local taxpayer must pick up the tab. Investing within current boundaries brings in a larger tax base using existing infrastructure, increases ridership for transit systems, reduces car dependency and carbon emissions, and offers residents safer, healthier lives. “Gentle density” makes housing more affordable and lowers taxes.
The process for Orillia’s growth planning has been non participatory and undemocratic thus far. The City held a ‘virtual public open house’ on December 1st led by consultants, for the community to help determine the best lands in the surrounding townships to annex. But when was the community consulted to decide whether we even wanted to annex land in the first place?
We believe that the majority on Council want to do the right thing – but they currently lack the courage. We need your help and that of the whole community to come together to do the hard work to make our community a place we all want to live.
But this work needs money, so please donate today! Your gift will help us connect and inspire our community to build a greener and more affordable future.