Promoting Watershed Security in Ontario – Water for People and for Nature

Water is Life

The OHI is pleased to announce The Contested Countryside, a detailed mapping project to assist communities in local discussions as soon as the Province begins accepting draft official plans submitted by municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

If and where municipalities are granted boundary expansions into the Contested Countryside, the lands between existing urban boundaries and the southern boundary of the Greenbelt, extensive community discussions will be needed to refine and implement the new official plans.

What buffers will be used to protect water and wetlands in this important reservoir of natural heritage and agricultural lands in South-central Ontario? Which forests and meadows will be lost? Will sanitary sewage or its effluent harm our receiving waters?

To assist communities in these discussions, the Contested Countryside provides extensive mapping to outline three development scenarios:

  • A Full Urban Build-out that would develop 87% of lands in the Contested Countryside, which would probably tip numerous watersheds into unhealthy conditions;
  • A Maximum Conservation Approach that would protect 98% of the Contested countryside; and,
  • The Balanced Approach, which would accommodate short and mid-term population growth on 8% of the most suitable lands in the Contested Countryside, allowing time for the evolution of more sustainable development protocols for any further land development.

You can access the mapping, and view an introductory PowerPoint, at