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 Sunday, 25 November 2012 21:47
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November 21, 2012
Provincial Policy Statement Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Provincial Planning Policy Branch
777 Bay Street, 14th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5
Tel: 416-585-6014 or 1-877-711-8208
Attention: Provincial Policy Statement Review
Re: Provincial Policy Statement Review, (agriculture and aggregates) (EBR # 011-7070)
Our File L1003
We represent the North Dufferin Agricultural Community Task Force (NDACT) an organization
involved in advocacy on aggregate and agricultural issues in Melancthon Township, Ontario.
NDACT is a not-for-profit corporation representing the interests of landowners, farmers and
residents in the Melancthon area. We thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft PPS.
The proposed amendments to the PPS prioritize a variety of land uses that compete directly with
agriculture, in particular resource extraction. NDACT opposes granting priority to these
non-agricultural land uses. Although it is a diminishing resource, Ontario contains a large portion
of the most productive agricultural land in Canada. The Province has a responsibility to balance
other policies with a strong, robust and forward-thinking agricultural policy, including an agricultural
land use policy with measurable objectives.
While the agricultural sector creates significant employment and economic productivity to Ontario,
the Draft PPS presupposes fundamentally that economic development and employment are
synonymous with converting agricultural lands to other uses. It gives lowest priority to agricultural
lands when compared with nearly every other land use discussed in the Draft PPS. Policy 2.3
appears to protect Ontario’s prime agricultural land for the long-term, but the exemptions to this
protection contained in other policies are sweeping. In essence, the Draft PPS fails to consider that
Ontarians need a secure food supply to ensure continued viability of agriculture in the province.
This is not a minor oversight. We have detailed a variety of necessary amendments in Appendix A
of this submission to adequately protect agriculture.
Click here to read entire letter.
To view the Draft Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), please go to: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page7243.aspx
To see our "Call to Action" regarding PPS comments, click here.