Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

It is a decision that is a tremendous win for Jack Gibbons, the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance and the Lake Simcoe Watershed.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has amended the Town of Georgina’s Official Plan by designating the Maple Lake Estates’ (MLE) wetlands and woodlands as an “Environmental Protection Area.”

The new Environmental Protection Area designation applies to 92% of the 200 hectare MLE property, which is located in the North Gwillimbury Forest.

The LPAT decision was made as a result of the NGFA’s successful appeal of the Town of Georgina Official Plan, which had designated these ecologically sensitive lands as “Urban Residential.”

The NGFA’s appeal was opposed by the DG Group (owner of the MLE lands), the Town of Georgina and the Region of York.

In a news release, Gibbons says the Town of Georgina is now legally obliged pursuant to Section 26(9) of the Planning Act to amend its MLE Zoning Bylaw to bring it into conformity with the Official Plan’s new Environmental Protection Area designation. That means it must create a new MLE Zoning Bylaw that prohibits development on MLE’s wetlands and woodlands.   

In addition, the Town must now immediately pass an Interim Control Bylaw to prevent the DG Group from building a residential subdivision on the MLE’s ecologically sensitive lands and allow the Town time to amend the Zoning Bylaw.

Georgina Councillor Dave Neeson said in a news release that he applauds Environmental Protection Area designation for the local wetlands.

“The LPAT decision is an environmental victory – not just for the North Gwillimbury Forest, but for the long-term health of our community and Lake Simcoe,” said Ward 3 Councillor Dave Neeson. “I congratulate the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance, citizens and supporters who fought hard to have the environmental value of these lands recognized.” The LPAT decision was made as a result of efforts by the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance (NGFA) to challenge the current Urban Residential designation of the MLE lands.

“Significant wetlands and woodlands cannot be replaced. Our decisions related to these lands going forward must be guided by what’s truly in the best interests of our local residents and the environment,” said Councillor Neeson.

Town of Georgina issued a statement saying a verbal update on the matter will be brought before the January 15, 2020, meeting of Town Council.

Neeson has been a long-time advocate for the environmental protection of the MLE property, a 200-hectare parcel of land located north of Deer Park Rd in Ward 3.

Gibbons has asked that supporters please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and members of Georgina Council and ask them to pass an Interim Control Bylaw now.  Here are their email addresses:

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For more information on the history of the MLE property and the NGFA, please visit savengforest.org/.

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