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 Saturday, 22 August 2015 01:11
- Hits: 31
Candidates in the Simcoe North provincial byelection all tend to agree on the importance of protecting prime farmland and water sources but few will go as far as to sign the Food and Water First pledge.
Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner was in Tiny Township recently to show his support for provincial Simcoe North candidate Valerie Powell and Federal candidate Peter Stubbins. While there Schreiner and Powell solidified their support for Food and Water First campaign which calls on political leaders to do everything in their power to protect Class 1 farmland and source water regions in Ontario from further development.
They also called on Patrick Brown Progressive Conservative candidate for Simcoe North and leader of the opposition to sign the pledge. "We are challenging the leader of the opposition to take a stand on protecting food and water." Schreiner said at the time adding if Brown would not sign the pledge the constituents of Simcoe North could choose to vote for someone who had.
Powell Postmedia sought to pose the question not only to Brown but also to the other candidates in the byelection Brown who has been at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Niagara Falls this week has yet to return calls.
Fred Larsen Liberal candidatein the byelection pointed to the government s record on protecting farmland. "We are currently working with municipalities with the goal of expanding the nearly two million acres of environmentally sensitive land and farmland already protected from urban development by the Greenbeltwith the goal of exploringways to protect prime agricultural lands and ensure farming viability." Larsen wrote in an email, "Our Liberal government has directly supported agriculture by passing the Local Food Act setting up the Local Food Fund and putting 400 million into the agri food sector. Elizabeth Van Houtte running locally for the New Democratic Party was more specific in her support of Food and Water First but she stopped short of signalling she would sign the pledge. Our position is that we need to protect prime farmland and drinking water sources she said, "It is essential with the area that we live in with all of the lakes and farms.We very much need to protect that."
By Patrick Bales, sunmedia.ca
August 19, 2015
- Published on Saturday, 18 July 2015 00:52
- Hits: 169
Food & Water First will be there!
Join in the festival.
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 midnight
Location: Christie Lake, Dundas Ontario
Purpose: raise awareness of the importance or the Greenbelt harvest, local farmers, art, the outdoors and the eat-local movement
An outdoor concert featuring Arkells, Gordon Lightfoot, Iron and Wine and many more.
There is also a line-up of artists, farmers, food vendors, organizations and seminars.