(North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, Inc.)

We are an incorporated, not for profit, entity which was formed in January 2009 by concerned citizens from Melancthon and Mulmur Townships.

The NDACT executive board was formed by a group of volunteers nominated by community members.

At the inaugural meeting, members of the community gathered to voice their concerns and to find out more about The Highland Companies plans regarding the more than 6,000 acres of prime agricultural land that they had amassed as of that date. Up to that point in time, and for a lengthy period of time afterwards, Highland reiterated to the community that they had been acquiring large tracts of agricultural land solely with a view to creating a world class farming operation, but residents were highly skeptical.

By the date of the meeting, there was a growing suspicion in the area that other plans were afoot, although the applicant would not clearly admit so. There was significant evidence that the applicant was undertaking activities that were inconsistent with its stated intentions (of just being interested in potato farming) including well testing and drilling, archaeological studies, woodlot and fence row clearing and the demolition of homesteads. Highland stated that these activities were merely to improve their farming operations.

NDACT's submission regarding the co-ordinated land use review

Dear Ministers McMeekin and Mauro, Mr. Crombie and Review Advisors:

Thank you for the invitation to participate in the Co-ordinated Land Use Review of the Greenbelt, Niagara Escarpment, Oak Ridges Moraine and Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth plans. Our group, the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT), believes these vital provincial plans should be strengthened and expanded, so that Ontario’s best farmland and water resources are better protected for our economic and food security. NDACT has recent experience in campaigning for farmland and water resource preservation. From 2009 to 2012, we led a large and successful citizens’ movement that stopped the Highland Mega Quarry - the largest proposed quarry in Canadian history – on 6,500-acres of Class 1 soil at the headwaters of five river systems abutting the Greenbelt.

The campaign engaged thousands of rural and urban residents, and highlighted the need to protect critical agricultural land and water resources inside and outside the provincial plans. It also gave birth to the Food & Water First movement that continues to press for land-use revisions. NDACT and Food & Water First believe the Co-ordinated Land Use Review is an opportunity to bolster existing protections within these plans and extend them beyond their boundaries. In this, the United Nations International Year of Soils, the Ontario government can lead the country by protecting its farmland and water resources in a bold initiative that would benefit future generations.

We are impressed with the statement in the Discussion Document for the 2015 Co-ordinated Review referring to the unique natural resources of southern Ontario:


 “It has some of Canada’s most important and productive farmland. Its fertile soil, moderate climate and abundant water resources support agricultural production that cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the province or country.”


Thanks to our soil, water and climate conditions, Ontario is home to the largest agri-food sector in the country. It employs 740,000 people and contributes $34-billion to the economy each year. Our fields and orchards not only feed Ontarians, they help feed other parts of the world, as well.

Nearly one-half of Ontario’s fruit farms and one-fifth of its vegetable farms are within the Greenbelt. They must continue to thrive and grow. The drought plaguing California - the largest food producer in the U-S - is a stark reminder that Ontario’s role in feeding itself and other markets is becoming more important. We can no longer rely on cheap produce from California. We must build a resilient agri-food economy as climate change takes its toll. Therefore, NDACT supports tighter protections for agricultural lands within all four provincial plans.

 NDACT also recommends:

Read more.

Co-ordinated land review background information.

Carl Cosack Wins Queen's Jubilee Award

A genuine ‘thank you’ to community builders

By Matthew Kellway, MP, Beaches/East York • February 19, 2013

On Sunday, Feb. 10, I awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals to the following: Mustaq Ahmed, Beth Aikenhead, Carol Anderson, (Jude) Frank Babineau, Anne Butler, Michael Chambers, Mary Christie, Fuad Chowdhury, Jean Cochrane, Carl Cosack, Elizabeth Dove-Djuric, Ruth Ewert, Edward Fullerton, Dan Hill, Jane Huggins, Mike Larson, Jane Lennox-King, Jim Lister, Bernie Lucht, Malcolm MacPherson, Chris McKhool, Bob Murdoch, Arie Nerman, Victoria Nolan, Helen Pearce, Catherine Porter, Wayne Roberts, Jeannie Smith, Harold Timms, Terry Watada, and Joan Wood.

Following are the words that I shared with them, their families and friends:

It is my privilege to represent a community with so many talented, skilled and generous people. So many among us are worthy and owed, somehow, our very public thanks and praise. I can tell you that you, the recipients of the Jubilee Medal, stand out in the community, but you are also representative of a community that is generous, skilled and talented. That much became obvious in sifting through the many nominations submitted – it was a great reminder of how lucky we are to live where we do.

So, congratulations to you all!  The commemorative medal that you are about to receive – the Jubilee Medal - marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s ascension to the Throne as Queen of Canada.

Over the past year, Canadians have being honoured for significant contributions and accomplishments and/or distinguished service to their fellow citizens, to their community and to their country.

As a Member of Parliament, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say, I have been deemed to qualify for this Jubilee Medal. Personally, I think it’s a bit premature. I can only tell you that by the time the voters retire me from this vocation – or I retire myself – I hope to have met the qualifying standard and be as worthy of this honour as the rest of you.

Also as a Member of Parliament, I have been provided with 30 Jubilee Medals to distribute to those who, in my judgment, have met that standard.  I assure you that that is not an easy task.

With just 30 medals to give out, that made choosing the few amongst the 110,000 residents of Beaches-East York a big challenge.  And, of course, there are many more who are eligible for consideration by virtue of their influence or impact on our community even though they don’t reside here amongst us.

You will find, I think, when you get an opportunity to meet and chat with each other, that what all of you have in common with each other is a certain modesty – a modesty entirely inconsistent with your accomplishments and the gifts you have shared with this community and this country.

Beyond that modesty, your gifts to us, to this community and our country, have come in many forms: words – spoken, written and sung – music, ideas, time, triumphs and courage. But they are all gifts of such great generosity and value that it was only ever right that we find an opportunity to say thank you. The 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's ascension to the throne has provided us with that opportunity.

Sometimes we say “thank you” as a matter of course, as a matter of politeness.  But you will know that there are times when we say “thank you” because we can’t contain it.  It is an irrepressible urge and is done with joy and enthusiasm when the gift we have received is so great.

This, today, is that kind of “thank you” to you – one given with great joy and enthusiasm – because your gifts to us have been so great.  And, I can tell you, that it is a great privilege for me to be the one to say it, on behalf of our community.

Posted in "Beach Metro Community News", Feb. 19, 2013


MPs & TorontoniansTour Proposed Quarry Area

On Wednesday July 25th NDACT hosted a bus tour organized by MP Matthew Kellway of the Federal NDP party.

The bus tour:
  • started at 11:00 AM from NDACT Chair Carl Cosack's ranch 
  •  had lunch at Provincial Fisheries on River Road
  • proceeded to tour the span of the proposal
  •  then off to Wallington in Hornings Mills
  •  then to Vander Zagg's, walked over to French's farm
  • about 3 p.m. the bus headed back down to the city.          

Report of day from Donna T.

dave vander zaag city mega quarry tour july 25We are hot, dusty and tired, but the tour of the proposed mega quarry area by Toronto MPs and city folks was terrific! Our yellow school bus -- decorated with Stop the Mega Quarry signs -- bounced along country roads and made several stops: a spring gushing from a hillside downstream from the proposed mega quarry site, the Pine River, Dave Vander Zaag's potato farm, the French vegetable farm, and a stunning vista of both the proposed site to the West and what seemed like the rest of the world to the East.
Visit to Vander Zaag farm

A special thanks to Dave Vander Zaag, the Armstrong and French farming families for welcoming the MPs and city folks. They provided a great tour of the rare prime farmland and its bounty. Huge thanks, as well, to Carl Cosack for being a fantastic tour guide. And, of course, thank you to MP Matthew Kellway for organizing this old-fashioned Field Trip.

bill french mega quarry tour july 25 2012

Thanks to Donna T. for her submission.

Visit to French Farm

Year in Review -2011 to July 2012

Images from our Slide Show Presented at:

NDACT Golf Tournament July 2012

 Thanks to Volunteer, Karren W. for her making this presentation.

ARA Hearing - Carl Cosack Receives Ovation

"It was the first time in the 12 hours of hearings that applause broke out after a presentation. It certainly served notice to the MPPs on the committee that the fight to stop the proposed mega quarry is vigorous and vocal."


The following is Carl's presentation, Day 4 of the ARA Review Hearing, Wednesday May 16, 2012

(more about the ARA Hearings)

(notes and government transcripts of Hearings)


NDACT Chair Carl Cosack

Presentation before the Standing Committee on General Government

Hearings to review the Aggregate Resources Act

May 16, 2012


Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Carl Cosack and I am the chair of the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, or NDACT.

 Thank you for giving me the time to speak today and to share our thoughts on the review of the Aggregate Resources Act.

NDACT was formed three years ago when the larger North Dufferin community learned about the Highland Companies plans for a massive quarry in the potato fields of Melancthon, just 90 minutes northwest of Queen’s Park. We have several hundred members and thousands of supporters actively engaged in the effort to save the land and its water. My comments today will address Agriculture and Water issues only.

While these hearings are not about the proposed Highland Companies mega quarry, it is because of the mega quarry application that we are here today. The application for the largest quarry in Canadian history in the midst of a 15,000-acre plateau of farmland hashighlighted the ongoing conflict between aggregate and agriculture. This committee has the unique opportunity to bridge those conflicts because really, aggregate operators and agriculture have much in common. We all use aggregate, we all raise children, we all eat food and we all need clean, fresh water. Non-partisan thinking will develop better policies for a better Ontario.

Representatives from the aggregate industry argue that Ontario must maintain a “close to market” approach when it comes to aggregate. That approach is part of the PPS. The PPS is a policy, not law, and it is within your mandate to improve those policies that are not working for the people of this province. In southern Ontario, “Close to Market” means “too close to prime farmland”, the very land that is extremely rare, highly productive and a major factor in the province’s economy. “Close to market” policy should not be restricted to the aggregate industry.

Close to market” is equally important to the food producing sector of our economy.

You already know that a mere point-five percent of Canada is made of up Class 1 agricultural land. This is the finest soil in which to grow our food. Of that point-five percent, more than half of it is right here in southern Ontario. In fact, the farmland at the centre of the mega quarry controversy is Class 1 soil known as Honeywood Silt Loam. It exists nowhere else in Ontario in this contiguous manner.