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 Tuesday, 07 March 2017 01:01
- Hits: 92
We are pleased to welcome....
Alia Jalbert as our new Chair.
Alia, a former NDACT Board Member, has replaced former Chair, Shirley Boxem. Shirley will remain as a regular Board Member.
Congratulations to all!
- Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:09
- Hits: 169
On February 9, 2017, Bonnefield (who purchased proposed mega-quarry land from The Highland Companies) appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture & Forestry. The Committee is undertaking a "Study on the acquisition of farmland in Canada and its potential impact on the farming sector"
Exerpts of the presentation:
So our prime reason for meeting with you today is to ask this Committee to advocate for responsible, evidence-based regulations that protect our farmland, while ensuring that farmers have ample access to the capital they need to operate their businesses profitably – including institutional capital.
I would now like to turn to five key points we would like the Senate Committee to consider in its ongoing study.
POINT 1: Farmers, not investors, determine the price of farmland in Canada.
POINT 2: Recent increases in Farmland prices across Canada have, with very few exceptions, been driven by increases in farm profits and are in line with increased profit levels.
POINT 3: Farming is a capital-intensive business, and Canadian farmers need access to a broad range of capital sources – including institutional investors - to finance their businesses and to remain internationally competitive.
POINT 4: The biggest threat to Canadian farmland is not who owns it. The biggest threats are urbanization and re-zoning and the conversion of farmland for real estate development, quarries and industrial uses.
POINT 5: Foreign ownership of farmland is not a widespread problem in Canada
My bigger concern is not who owns Canadian farmland, but who farms Canadian farmland. We believe that Canadian farmers should farm Canadian farmland.
- Published on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:55
- Hits: 105
Fundraiser and Announce Party
Date: April 5, 2107
Time: 7 - 9 PM
Where: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., Toronto
Join them at the Gladstone Hotel to support Wellington Water Watchers "Say No to Nestlé campaign and for the Toronto launch and official announcement of Waterstock - Water For Life, Not Profit - a joint presentation with Riverfest Elora!
With special performances by Caroline Brooks of the Good Lovelies with Ben Whiteley, and Molly Johnson. As well as a special reading from the play "Devine".
Admission $20. 7-9pm (Doors open 6:30). Cash bar. Snacks provided.
- Published on Thursday, 02 March 2017 15:58
- Hits: 123
Join Ontario Farmland Trust.....
as they explore the future of farming and farmland protection in Ontario.
There will be presentations and discussions about:
- the potential impacts of shifting farmland ownership,
- the significance of soil classification to inform land use planning,
- and how Ontario compares to the rest of Canada in farmland protection.
In light of Ontario’s own policy changes from the Four Plan Review, hear about the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s experience with setting firm urban growth boundaries.
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (registration opens at 8:30 AM)
Where: Mariposa Inn & Conference Centre, 400 Memorial Ave., Orillia