In 2011, The Highland Companies, filed an application with the province for the largest quarry in Canadian history on the best farmland in Ontario and at the headwaters of five river systems. The mega Quarry would have sprawled across 2,316 acres and would have plunged 200 feet below the water table on a 15,000 acre plateau of Class 1 farmland. The massive open-pit limestone quarry would have put rare agricultural soil and precious water resources at risk in Melancthon Township. A large and diverse group of rural and urban residents launched a Stop the Mega Quarry movement. It was a success.
On November 21, 2012, The Highland Companies announced it was withdrawing its Mega Quarry application and plans for a rail corridor through Dufferin County to Owen Sound. However, the fate of the land and water was unknown. Highland Companies still owned 6,500 acres of Class 1 farmland and could re-apply at any time.
Then on July 16, 2013, Bonnefield Financial, an investment firm specializing in acquiring farmland, bought all of Highland's land. Bonnefield's president, Tom Eisenhauser, announced the fields will continue to be farmed. After many years of uncertainty, it seems the best agricultural soil in the province and its bounty are safe for the time being.
While the Melancthon fields may be secure, Ontario's prime farmland and source water regions remain vulnerable. The present Provincial Policy Statement and Aggregate Resources Act still allow non-farming development on land and water that sustain us. Until legislation is changed, these vital resources are still at risk.
We must now ensure that our source waters and prime agricultural lands are protected, and not at risk of being destroyed.....thus the beginning of our:
Food & Water First campaign, round 2 of 2.
- Published on Friday, 25 September 2015 18:44
- Hits: 67
The Ontario government wants to know what you think about extracting aggregate on prime agricultural land. (We believe we sent that message loud and clear during the Mega Quarry fight!) The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has helped prepare a short questionnaire for farmers, stakeholders, academics, aggregate producers and YOU to provide some input.
The deadline is next Friday, October 2nd!
If some of the questions are not within your area of expertise, skip them. But please weigh in.
There are great questions about whether stringent soil studies,
monitoring of sites and rehabilitation are critical.
Check √. Check √. Check √.
Please feel free to share it!
- Published on Thursday, 24 September 2015 14:37
- Hits: 57
Schreiner, in Finch for the 2015 International Plowing Match, is reissuing his challenge to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Andrea Horwath and Patrick Brown to sign the Food & Water First Pledge.
"We can't eat subdivisions, quarries, highways or pipelines," says Schreiner. "Each of the party leaders say they like farmers. Yet, the land they farm is disappearing at a rate of 350 acres per day."
Only 5 per cent of Ontario's land mass is suitable for growing food and even less -- just 0.5% -- is prime farmland. The rate of farmland loss is actually increasing, and Ontario now faces an annual loss of farmland equal to the size of Toronto.
Losing farmland threatens our ability to feed ourselves and hurts Ontario's economy. The food and farming sector employs more than 740,000 people and contributes more than $30 billion to Ontario's economy.
"Every day prime farmland is threatened by development, such as the proposed mega development in Midhurst," adds Schreiner. "A country that can't feed itself is as insecure as a country that can't defend itself. I will continue to fight for policies that support profitable family farms and protect prime farmland."
The Food & Water First campaign is a citizen led effort inspired by the anti-mega-quarry campaign in Melancthon Township. The goal is to change provincial law so that Class 1 farmland -- the most fertile land -- and source water regions are protected in Ontario.
Schreiner is the first and only political party leader in Ontario to sign the Food and Water First pledge.
By Samantha Bird, Sep. 22,2015
Posted on WireService.ca