MLE Debacle, continued: Mauro refusal to consider Zoning Order a “slap in the face”
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro called on to act
From the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance
Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro, has told TV Ontario that he is not contemplating issuing a Zoning Order to prohibit the DG Group from building a giant residential development on the Paradise Beach-Island Grove Provincially Significant Wetland.
From TVO: ‘Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro isn’t moved by this case. “I’m not contemplating an MZO,” he told TVO.org. “On land-use planning, as a government, we’ve got an incredibly strong record on enhancing, preserving, and protecting green space … We’re just not considering any kind of action at this time.”’
Minister Mauro’s statement is an undeserved slap in the face to York-Simcoe Liberal candidate Loralea Carruthers, who has worked with the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance since 2014 to save our wetlands. In response to our 2014 provincial election questionnaire, Ms. Carruthers stated that if the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) gives the DG Group permission to destroy the wetland, the Minister of Municipal Affairs should issue a Zoning Order to preserve it.
If the Government of Ontario continues to refuse to protect our wetlands, the Town of Georgina must:
-Pass an Interim Control Bylaw to prevent development on the NGF’s wetlands while it studies its options and reconsiders the Town’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Law, which permit wetland destruction; and/or
-Go to the Divisional Court to seek a Judicial Review of the LSRCA’s illegal decision to permit the DG Group to destroy the North Gwillimbury Forest’s wetlands.
What you can do
-Please contact Premier Wynne (firstname.lastname@example.org)and ask her to direct Minister Mauro to issue a Zoning Order to prohibit development on the NGF’s wetlands.
-Please ask your local candidates in the coming provincial elections to support a prohibition on development on the NGF’s wetlands.
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority fails its own test in Georgina
Ontario Greenbelt Alliance bulletin April 3 2018
In Georgina, we are seeing a classic case of buck passing by an agency tasked with protecting the environment.
Last week, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) decided to issue a Section 28 permit to developer DG Group to allow for the construction of a 1,073 unit subdivision in a Provincially Significant Wetland. The LSRCA board supported a staff report recommending issuing the permit despite the fact that the report was riddled with legal errors and that it found that DG Group’s application failed to meet the Conservation of Land test required to issue a Section 28 permit. That didn’t stop the LSRCA, which decided that it could still issue the permit in return for DG Group giving up control of lands within the Greenbelt Protected Countryside that it has no authority to develop.
This kind of “land swap” has been previously proposed as a way to preserve DG Group’s development interests, although the previous proposal envisioned building a subdivision on prime agricultural lands rather than the wetlands – a Faustian bargain that the provincial government smartly turned down.
This kind of political gamesmanship in place of proper public policy making is why the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance is asking Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro to immediately issue a zoning order to prevent development in the wetland and to preserve the integrity of the North Gwillimbury Forest – one of the ten largest remaining forest areas in the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Fortunately, Georgina Council recently made a major U-turn on this issue once it realized that it could not count on the LSRCA to protect the forest and wetlands. It has now called for every possible measure to be taken to protect the Paradise Beach-Island Grove provincially significant wetland.
Our public agencies tasked with environmental protection should not be making completely unnecessary deals with developers that compromise the integrity of the Lake Simcoe Watershed. Their job is to use their legal authority to protect the watershed – not to protect a developer’s bottom line. You can learn more at SaveNGForest.org.
Tuesday April 3 Ontario Nature letter calling on Bill Mauro to issue a Zoning Order prohibiting the Maple Leaf Estates development, which “would contravene section 2.1.4 of the Provincial Policy Statement which strictly prohibits development in significant wetlands in Southern Ontario. It would also damage or destroy the habitat of several species at risk, including butternut. monarch butterfly, barn swallow, eastern woo pee-wee, eastern wood thrush and snapping turtle. Western chorus frog, Blanding’s turtle and northern map turtle, all species at risk, have also been found in the area and may be using this wetland habitat… It is important to note that the strict prohibition on development of PSWs in the Provincial Policy Statement does not allow for offsetting of harm.”
Tuesday April 3 email from the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance:
On Wednesday, April 4th, Georgina Town Council will meet with its legal counsel in a closed session to review and consider all the options at its disposal to save the Maple Lake Estates’ (MLE) wetlands.
The best option is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Bill Mauro, to issue a Zoning Order to prohibit development on the MLE wetlands. With a stroke of a pen, Minister Mauro can issue a Zoning Order that will save the MLE wetlands forever, at no cost to taxpayers.
To date more than 2,000 people have signed Karen Crate’s online petition requesting Minister Mauro to issue a Zoning Order.