• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

To your keyboards! ARA Committee Ignored Recommendations

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In Quarries
Nov 7th, 2013
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NDACT Call to Action November 4 2013
We have drafted a template letter for you to send to the members of the Standing Committee on General Government in response to the report on the Aggregate Resources Act.

Please add your own thoughts/expertise/experiences. Form letters can be ignored and our concerns
Here are the email addresses for the MPPs who served on the all-party Standing Committee.  Write them all at once or break this list into groups. If there are any problems with an e-mail address, please let us know!
Grant Crack –  gcrack.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Mike Colle — mcolle.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Jeffy Yurek  — Jeff.Yurek@pc.ola.org
Sylvia Jones — Sylvia.Jones@pc.ola.org
Rosario Marchese — rmarchese-qp@ndp.on.ca
Laurie Scott — laurie.scott@pc.ola.org
Sarah Campbell — scampbell-qp@ndp.on.ca
John Vanthof — jvanthof-qp@ndp.on.ca
Donna Cansfield — dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Dipika Damerla — ddamerla.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
John Fraser — jfraser.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Michael Harris — michael.harrisqp@pc.ola.org
Peggy Sattler — psattler-qp@ndp.on.ca
Bas Balkissoon — bbalkissoon.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Rick Bartolucci — rbartolucci.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Todd Smith — todd.smith@pc.ola.org
PLEASE COPY:
Premier and Agriculture Minister – Kathleen Wynne     premier@ontario.ca
Rural Affairs Minister – Jeff Leal     jleal.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Natural Resources Minister – David Orazietti      minister.mnr@ontario.ca
To the Members of the Standing Committee on General Government:
I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the findings of your review of the Aggregate Resources Act. The Committee ignored the recommendations made by leading agricultural organizations and stakeholders. It also misrepresented a visit to the site of the most controversial aggregate application in Ontario history.  Your report provides no recommendations for the protection of the province’s prime farmland and source water regions from aggregate operations, including another Mega Quarry.  I would like to know why.
The review of the ARA was sparked by the massive public outcry to the proposed Highland Mega Quarry on Class 1 farmland and at the headwaters of five river systems. Hearings were held in the spring and summer of 2012. Representatives from Ontario’s $34-billion agri-food sector, including officials from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Farmland Trust, the National Farmers’ Union and individual farmers, delivered detailed and eloquent presentations.  Their key recommendations were unequivocal: the ARA must be revised to include protection for Ontario’s prime farmland and source water regions.
Yet the Committee’s ARA review report offers no such protections, only a focus on rehabilitation of pits and quarries after excavation.  As well, there is no recommendation for an automatic Environmental Assessment for aggregate applications below the water table.
The ARA Review report also contains an inaccurate account of the Committee’s ‘visit’ or ‘viewing’ of the site of the proposed Highland Mega Quarry.  On June 27, 2012, Committee members were given a private, guided tour of aggregate sites south of Orangeville courtesy of the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. The Committee declined an invitation by local farmers to visit the Class 1 farmland adjacent to the proposed Mega Quarry lands later that same day. Instead, the MPPs’ bus drove north on Highway 124 for a few minutes, turned around and drove south. A brief drive-by does not constitute a visit.
I would like to know why the recommendations from Ontario’s agricultural stakeholders were omitted in the ARA report and why a misleading representation of the Committee’s ‘visit’ to the proposed Mega Quarry site was included and tabled in the Ontario legislature.  The lack of any acknowledgement of the recommendations or concerns raised by agricultural stakeholders is dismaying, as is the inaccurate portrayal of the Committee’s ‘viewing’ of the largest proposed aggregate site in Canadian history.
I understand the ARA recommendations are not binding.  This is encouraging and provides an opportunity for further dialogue and positive results.  I would like your assurances that you will convey my concerns to the Minister of Natural Resources, David Orazietti and the Premier and Minister of Agriculture, Kathleen Wynne. Mr. Orazietti was the chair of the Standing Committee on General Government during the 2012 public hearings and will, no doubt, recall the significant presentations delivered by the agricultural stakeholders.
I look forward to your response.
Respectfully,

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