June 21, 2007
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York proposes a strategy to protect natural heritage and integrate it into communities

Natural Heritage Discussion Paper will stimulate dialogue with stakeholders
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York today proposed an eight-item action strategy to protect and enhance the Region’s natural heritage and integrate it into new and existing communities across the Region.  The action areas were identified in the “Natural Heritage Discussion Paper,” a reader-friendly document that provides a complete context for natural heritage protection and planning in York Region.
“York Region’s continued growth and urbanization will place considerable pressure on the Region’s natural heritage,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We want to stimulate conversation with regional stakeholders about opportunities to protect green space and create a framework for an updated natural heritage system and strategy.”
The Natural Heritage Discussion Paper is an important component of Planning for Tomorrow, the Region’s growth management strategy, and complements the Region’s preliminary draft Sustainability Strategy, which outlines a new approach to decision-making to better integrate economic, community and environmental objectives.
“A protected natural environment is a core principle of sustainability,” said the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair James Young, Mayor of the Town of East Gwillimbury.  “The health of the Region’s natural heritage system is integral to ensuring overall sustainability.”
The discussion paper provides background on the changing provincial and local policy context and focuses on current approaches to natural heritage planning and protection.  It identifies eight potential natural heritage action areas, as follows:
• Update our Natural Heritage system
• Incorporate the Greenbelt Plan into the Regional Official Plan
• Connect system in new communities
• Restore and strengthen the Natural Heritage system
• Adopt a new approach to infrastructure
• Establish a regional trail network
• Advance the greening strategy
• Continue building awareness and dialogue
Members of the public and stakeholder groups are invited to provide their input.  A report on the discussions will be presented to York Regional Council this fall.  Please contact York Region at futureyork@york.ca or call 905 895-1231, ext. 1532, or send your comments by mail to:
The Regional Municipality of York
Planning and Development Services Department
17250 Yonge Street, 4th Floor
Newmarket, ON L3Y 6Z1
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York and our services, and to view the discussion paper under the Planning for Tomorrow banner, please visit www.york.ca

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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone: 905 830-4444 ext. 1238, 416 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
 Cell Phone: 905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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