The Town of Shelburne has been added to the growing list of municipalities stepping behind the Food and Water First Campaign.
The North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) is leading the charge for the Food and Water First Campaign, which is an effort to change policies that allow rezoning that compromises of food and water sources.
“Food and Water First is essentially phase two in stopping the mega quarry,” NDACT co-chair Shirley Boxem told Shelburne council on Monday (Nov. 4). “Even though that application has been withdrawn by The Highland Companies … our food and water is still at risk.”
NDACT was created with the mandate to stop Highland's' quarry plans in Melancthon as well as influence change to the province's Aggregate Resources Act (ARA).
With the quarry application withdrawn, the group is now focusing on ensuring legislation exists to protect Ontario’s edible assets. The Township of Melancthon already endorses the campaign.
Toronto Coun. Josh Matlow also introduced a motion asking Canada’s largest municipality to support the campaign recently.
Boxem said the campaign’s goal at this point is gaining as many eyes and ears as it can.
“The primary aim is really to help build a critical mass,” Boxem said. “It’s to help spread the word. Elected officials are clearly not putting this as a priority. It’s not on their radar.
“This is just not something they’re looking at very seriously.”
Shelburne Mayor Ed Crewson didn’t take that as a personal attack, but he did explain to Boxem that many elected officials rely on funding from developers, who in return, expect land.
“I’m just saying as an explanation, when you have developers funding 75 per cent of elections … there’s some expectation of reciprocation,” he said.
That wasn’t the only time Crewson and council challenged Boxem during her presentation.
Council labelled the motion as too “soft” and needed reworking in order for the town to know exactly what it was they were signing onto.
Specifically, it was the mining of aggregates below the water table that Coun. Walter Benotto wanted to see added to the motion.
“It needs to be very specific,” Benotto said. “If you want to stop people from mining aggregate under the water table, you should say that in your motion.”
The motion was then reworked by Benotto, which was then given the thumbs up by council.
Food and Water First Campaign continues to plan to spread awareness across the province.
By Todd McEwen
Published in the Orangeville Banner, Nov. 6, 2013