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May 14, 2002
Oak Ridges Moraine Steering Committee releases report offering solutions for dealing with impact of population growth on the GTA
  
The Oak Ridges Moraine Steering Committee of the City of Toronto released a
summary report today titled Growing Together: Prospects for Renewal in the
Toronto Region.

The report relays the findings of GHK Canada and Earth Tech Canada
Incorporated. The team studied how the future population growth of Toronto and
its surrounding neighbours will impact on the economic vitality of the area,
the quality of life for residents, and its surrounding natural environments -
particularly the Oak Ridges Moraine.

"The report found that solutions to our urbanization problems are possible
without threat to the Oak Ridges Moraine," said Councillor David Miller, Chair
of the Oak Ridges Moraine Steering Committee. "In fact, the Oak Ridges Moraine
will not need to be used to accommodate new urban development even if the
population was to reach 10 million, expected in the next 50 to 80 years."

The report acknowledges that large areas of agricultural land will have to be
converted to urban areas (60,900 hectares by 2031) if we are to accommodate the
population growth of Toronto and its surrounding cities. In order to minimize
the urbanization of agricultural areas, the report proposes that population
densities increase within cities by permitting rental suites to be created
within detached, semi-detached and row housing.

The report also evaluated the affect of the forecasted population growth on
greenhouse gas emission levels, air pollution, and natural environments. It
determined that if air pollution continues to rise, road congestion is not
addressed, and drinking water sources and natural environments are ignored,
then quality of life will decline dramatically. It will also negatively affect
the economic stability of urbanized areas.

The report stresses that to address growing population demands, cities need to
significantly improve public transit networks, allowing people to rely less on
the automobile. It further proposed methods for limiting urbanization by
redeveloping older communities, creating friendly pedestrian environments and
limiting the rezoning of our countrysides.

Leading the GHK Canada and Earth Tech Canada Inc. team were: Dr. Eric Miller,
Joint Program in Transportation, University of Toronto; Robert Wright and Peter
Gozdyra, Centre for Landscape Research, University of Toronto; and Mary
Neumann. It was prepared for The City of Toronto's departments of Works and
Emergency Services and Urban Development Services, and the Oak Ridges Moraine
Steering Committee (Councillor David Miller, Chair, Councillor Raymond Cho,
Councillor Ron Moeser, Councillor Irene Jones and Councillor Joanne Flint).


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