Developing the Greenbelt will come with a heavy cost to Ontario: Western experts

Questions on whether Ontario should move ahead with developing the Greenbelt have been widespread following the release of the auditor general’s report.

Two professors at the Ivey Business School at Western University are available to speak with media about the environmental cost to developing the Greenbelt.

Diane-Laure Arjaliès is an associate professor of sustainability, managerial accounting and control, and general management. She is the founder of the Sustainable Finance Lab at Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable.

Tima Bansal is a professor of general management, sustainability and strategy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She is the founder of the Network for Business Sustainability and Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value.

Diane-Laure Arjaliès

Diane-Laure Arjaliès (Ivey School of Business)

Tima Bansal

Tima Bansal (Ivey School of Business)

“What is missing in the discussions is the heavy cost to Ontarians in losing the natural infrastructure which is critical for climate resilience,” said Bansal.

“We are witnessing the devastating impact of floods worldwide primarily because of heavy development with little natural infrastructure to absorb and purify the water.”

Arjaliès and Bansal said that developing the Greenbelt is likely to increase the risks and costs of floods, which will have a direct economic cost to Canadians, especially Ontarians.

“In 2021, weather events related to climate change cost Canadians $2.1 billion in insured damage and could reach $139 billion by 2050. Natural infrastructures like wetlands, ecosystem corridors and buffers are important for water management,” said Arjaliès.

Arjaliès and Bansal said that housing is a critical issue across the country but argue there are more cost effective and desirable ways to provide housing for Ontarians.

They point to solutions such as smart city planning to intensify urban spaces and open up more green spaces.

Commentary reflects the perspective and scholarly interest of Western faculty members and is not an articulation of official university policy on issues being addressed.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zadorsky, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 226.377.1673 (mobile),