• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Greenbelt Grabs – There is Still More You Can Do

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In Climate Change
Aug 30th, 2023
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We’d like to interrupt your summer break just for a few minutes to bring you up to speed about important Ontario news and what we’re doing about it – with your help! 

  1. The Greenbelt grabs stink. It’s official. 
  2. Bradford Bypass: Watch short videos & attention well owners! 
  3. Upcoming events 
  4. From the Community

 

#HandsOffTheGreenbelt

Wow, what a wild story! In short: We told you, and the opposition parties told you, and now Ontario’s Auditor General’s (AG) latest report confirms that the provincial government has been doing a horrendous job with land use planning.

Specifically, the AG investigated the sudden removal of lands from the Greenbelt last fall and concluded that “the process was biased in favour of certain developers and landowners who had timely access to the housing minister’s chief of staff.”  Doug Ford and Steve Clark, the Ministers responsible, say they knew nothing, that the Premier knew nothing, and they put the blame all on an unelected civil servant who has resigned. This is completely implausible.

The AG made 15 recommendations, and the province has committed to implementing 14 of those. But the one they refuse to implement?  To revisit the land swaps and possibly reverse those decisions.

On Wednesday, the Ontario Provincial Police announced they are asking the RCMP to take over the potential investigation into the Greenbelt land swap. The RCMP hasn’t said definitively if it will launch an investigation, but confirmed it has received information from the OPP.

Telling us that we need the Greenbelt to meet Ontario’s housing targets is a lie. Giving Strong Mayor Powers to more and more municipalities is perverting democracy. And none of this is necessary.

We have an affordable housing crisis that cannot be resolved by building McMansions in farm fields. The priority must be on building affordable housing and rentals in existing urban and suburban areas. Doing so also protects farmland, water quality, and our Lake Simcoe! Other provinces are taking action, and so can Ontario.

The fact that the government will not do the most important of the Auditor General’s recommendations, to NOT build on the Greenbelt, is shocking. Demand better!

So, what can you do? 

  1. Call your MPPright now and say whatever you want, but include this:“I am counting on you to protect Ontario’s environment and greenspace. Return all the Greenbelt lands to the Greenbelt. Anything short of returning the lands is inadequate.”Find your MPPs contact information here!

    2. Attend local rallies and events 

  • Uniting For a Sustainable Future: Public Forum on the Greenbelt
    • Date: Tuesday, September 12
    • Time: 7 – 8:30 pm
    • Location: Grace United Church 350 Grove Street East Barrie, ON L4M 2R7the
    • Coalition of citizens and community groups will share ideas and coordinate how to take action to protect our natural spaces. Featuring special guest speakers: David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto and former chair of Greenbelt Council, Tim Gray, ED of Environmental Defence Canada, Margaret Prophet, SCGC, Franz Hartman, Alliance for a Liveable Ontario

REGISTER HERE

Bradford Bypass 

We know there are some people who care about Lake Simcoe who also think the Bypass is a good idea. Let us remind you, with the current stink in mind, the process for the Bradford Bypass is opaque, and contains almost no requirements to take care of the environment or human health. The price has ballooned to up to $4 Billion. They are leaving a LOT to the detailed design stage, and that makes us very uncomfortable. You need to learn more and share with your contacts. We can stop this massive waste of time, money, and water quality.

If you missed our Bradford Bypass townhall series you can watch the presentations on our Youtube Channel

Find super – short videos on our shorts playlist
And longer segments of the Bypass Townhall talks 

Topics include: Bill Foster on traffic, history and process; Margaret Prophet on costs, alternatives, and what we really want; Claire Malcolmson on water impacts to Lake Simcoe, groundwater, and well users; Laura Bowman on health impacts in particular to vulnerable people including children.

Take Action  

We’ve sent this letter to municipalities around Lake Simcoe, asking Councillors to introduce and pass motions that support better planning and justification of the Bradford Bypass.

Will you support this action by reading the letter and calling your Councillor to support it? You can email if you’re shy! But a call, even a message left after hours, is even more effective. Use our Council contact list.

Sign the petition: Support Responsible Planning and Spending on the Bradford Bypass, and read our press release: Environmentalists urge province to reveal health impact of Bypass

SIGN THE PETITION

This summer, our awesome Federal Summer Student Tynan and volunteers went around the areas where wells are likely to be affected by the Bradford Bypass with this postcard:

Upcoming Events 

Lake Simcoe Defender’s Program at Keswick Library
Saturdays between September 16th and October 14th. Register here or visit the Georgina Library website for more information.

Protect the Lake Paddle
Learn about protecting Kempenfelt Bay with a guided tour from Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition. Enjoy a leisure paddle & summer sunset from a dragon boat, while meeting a variety of local environmentally friendly communities.

BUY TICKETS HERE

From the Community 
  • Join Ontario Nature in urging Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to partner with Indigenous Nations and engage the public in developing and implementing a strategy to protect 30 percent of lands and waters in Ontario by 2030.

 

SEND AN EMAIL TO YOUR LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE

  • Canada on fire getting you down? Join Mothers Marching for Climate Action on the global day of action to end fossil fuels. 
    • WHEN: Sunday, September 17th at 11:00 am
    • WHERE: Southeast corner of Davis and Yonge, Newmarket

 

March to MPP Dawn Gallagher-Murphy’s office to deliver letters that express the fear of the future if we do not take immediate action, and demand that our provincial government take the steps needed to help stop further climate change.

Please bring a letter (or letters) to give to MPP Gallagher-Murphy. This will be a family-friendly event so please feel free to bring all members of your family.

They are also looking for volunteers to be safety marshals and points of contact for bystanders who may have questions about climate change or the March.

RSVP HERE

  • Take Action against Sarjeant and water-taking on the Oro-Moraine

For the purpose of washing aggregate, Sarjeant Company Ltd. is requesting a new permit to take water from a well in the Township of Oro-Medonte, Ontario for 10 years. This permit, is “anticipated to have the highest potential of causing unacceptable environmental impact or interference”.

The process of taking clean water and using it for the aggregate washing before returning it to the moraine could have an impact on the watersheds that the Oro moraine is part of – important to all of us since the Oro moraine drains south to the Lake Simcoe watershed, as well as other nearby watersheds.

No scientific research has been conducted on the current state of the aquifer and there is no known data to support any ‘for’ or ‘against’ position for development of any kind.

Our goal is for MPP Doug Downey, the provincial representative for the region, to push for a thorough review. We want proper environmental oversight from the province before this application can be considered. So a decision can be made based on actual evidence.

Water is a precious resource. Contamination and disturbance of groundwater sources can be complex and costly.  Protecting our groundwater must be a top priority in Ontario.

Alternatives are available for washing aggregate, without disturbing precious water resources. For example, Ontario could protect water resources by requiring this industry to install a system to collect, recycle and reuse aggregate washwater. The following link provides one instance of a water recycling system for washing aggregate, “reducing the need for fresh water by 90%”.

Ontario officials need to provide direction and leadership to encourage the industry to adopt sustainable solutions now. Given the absence of any current data regarding the health and resilience of the ecosystem against the ‘potential of causing unacceptable environmental impact’’, as well as the availability of alternate solutions, this application should be denied.

Let provincial officials hear your concerns before September 2, 2023.

Public comments on a local request for a Permit to Take Water are due by September 2, 2023, on Ontario’s Environmental Registry at: https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-7446

With thanks to Kelly Clune for the above wording.

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