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New Hope for the Ontario Tree Seed Plant

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In AWARE News Network
Jul 18th, 2018
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Jim Wilson, now Ontario's minister for economic development, job creation and trade, shown with Fred Somerville outside the tree seed plant during the recent election campaign.

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson made the closing a campaign issue. Now Ontario’s minister for economic development, job creation and trade, Wilson is shown with Fred Somerville at a protest outside the tree seed plant in May. -AWARE Simcoe photo

UPDATE with message from AWARE Essa and and Friends of Utopia Mill and Park July 20 2018

Great news!

The newly elected Ontario government has agreed to review the decision to close the Tree Seed Plant and consult with stakeholders. With the September 2018 closure deadline approaching, the announcement from new Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek comes just in time.

This is a step forward for government accountability and an opportunity to examine the Importance of tree seeds and the central role the Ontario Tree Seed Plant could play in creating and maintaining healthy forests.

But for the moment, we are relieved and grateful. Many thanks to our local MPP in Simcoe-Grey, Jim Wilson, who responded to the concerns of his constituents and brought the issue to government.

And thanks to all of you who signed the petition. Your support counts.

Province to review Wynne government’s decision to close Angus seed plant this fall

By Brad Pritchard Alliston Herald

The brakes are being pumped on the former Liberal government’s planned closure of the Angus seed plant.

In a statement released July 18, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek, announced a new course of action for the facility that was slated to close this September.

“After hearing concerns related to the closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant and consulting with my colleagues, I have directed my ministry to review the closure decision,” he said. “We will be taking the time to hear from stakeholders, including sitting down with the tree nursery industry and other interested parties as part of this review. I am committed to taking a closer look at the details of the situation and making sure decisions are made in the best interests of the people of Ontario.”

Fred Somerville, owner of Somerville Nurseries in Everett, called this “a great day for Ontario.”

“It’s really forward thinking, because forestry is a legacy in Ontario, and that would have pretty much knocked it out, because that’s the genesis of it, the seed,” he said.

Somerville’s business relies heavily on the facility for its seeds and he was making plans to transition through the closure. However, he was waiting on making any major investments until after the provincial election.

Prior to the election, Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson spoke out about the closure on many occasions and promised a review would take place if his party was elected to power.

“We knew Jim Wilson got a high portfolio, and we knew he supported it, so kudos to him. He really championed this thing,” Sommerville added.

Resident Susan Antler, a member of the Friends of the Utopia Gristmill and Park who has been a strong advocate for preserving local heritage, credited Wilson for being “a man of his word.”

“We are grateful that he has championed this issue on behalf of our community and with his cabinet colleagues and our province,” she said. “There is still lots of work ahead but at least we now have a hopeful future for this important facility and service.”

Minister’s Statement Regarding the Ontario Tree Seed Plant

Ontario government news release July 17 2018

Today, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Jeff Yurek released the following statement:

“After hearing concerns related to the closure of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant and consulting with my colleagues, I have directed my ministry to review the closure decision.

We will be taking the time to hear from stakeholders, including sitting down with the tree nursery industry and other interested parties as part of this review.

I am committed to taking a closer look at the details of the situation and making sure decisions are made in the best interests of the people of Ontario.”

x x x

Petition launched last year after closing was announced:

Save the Ontario Tree Seed Facility

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