Numerous issues keep AWARE Simcoe busy
It’s been a while since I posted a blog so I’ll start with good news. Thanks to AWARE Simcoe’s efforts spearheaded by Anne Learn Sharpe and Kate Harries, the Nottawasaga River has been reinstated for protection under the Federal Navigation Protection Act. The former Conservative government had scrapped the old Navigable Waters Act and eliminated almost all rivers from protection. See several articles elsewhere on this website with much more detail.
I am co-chair of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition along with Margaret Prophet of Midhurst. See our website here. We now have 29 groups who have signed the pledge requesting the expansion of the Greenbelt in Simcoe County. Currently only a small part of the County in Bradford West Gwillimbury is included. It is painfully obvious that local Official Plans do not adequately protect our farmland, water resources and natural heritage features. One only has to look at the Midhurst Secondary Plan to see that. And of course there’s the Burl’s Creek fiasco in Oro-Medonte. And don’t forget the parking lot that Oro-Medonte Township built right in a provincially protected wetland. Fortunately a local citizen alerted the LSRCA and the Township was forced to restore the area (as much as it can be) to its original condition.
Changing municipal Official Plans happens all the time so provincial Greenbelt legislation would help ensure that farmland, water resources and natural heritage features are protected. That’s why the development industry is pushing back hard against it. See articles on this website, including this one.
I’m sure anyone reading this knows that the Ontario Municipal Board is being reviewed by the province. The OMB has been a source of frustration for citizens across Ontario for decades. Trying to have input into the Simcoe County Official Plan OMB hearing was a very frustrating experience for AWARE Simcoe. We made a submission to the review that can be viewed here.
There are numerous other issues happening in the County which I’ll address another time. Most of them are already have references on this website.
AWARE Simcoe Chair Don Morgan has had some significant health issues lately so we wish him a speedy recovery.