Halton Hills Calls for Quarries to Demonstrate Need

The municipal Council for the Town of Halton Hills passed a motion at its meeting on Monday evening, April 13, requesting that "the Ontario Government amend the Provincial Policy Statement and the Aggregate Resources Act to require aggregate extraction proponents to demonstrate need for the particular supply of resource proposed for extraction."

The Concerned Residents Coalition applauds this questioning of the Ontario Public Policy Statement which, since 2005, has eliminated the requirement for aggregate project proponents to demonstrate need for new aggregate sources leading to an increasing number of contested aggregate pit and quarry sites across southern Ontario. In these contentious cases, citizen and municipal priorities are trumped by provincial policy, a policy which is equally at odds with other provincial priorities. Doug Tripp, President of the CRC, responded to the Halton Hills motion, saying: "Your resolution to take the matter to the Province is right on the mark in our estimation.

There is no question that the skewed policy framework that exists in Ontario has given rise to these quarry and pit battles that besiege so much of Southern Ontario—which the Province clearly needs to address." In introducing the motion, Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette referred to some of the submissions to the current review of the Aggregate Resources Act, including the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Environmental Law Society and Gravelwatch Ontario, all of whom called for the reinstatement of proof of need for aggregate.

Mayor Bonnette concluded: "The proposed Motion...seeks to level the playing field and lead to having more comprehensive planning for individual extraction sites that is transparent, shows justification and need, and results in more sustainable use of aggregate resources." The Mayor has been very vocal about this issue. In a recent speech to the Acton BIA, he said, "You can't sit on your hands for this one." The Concerned Residents Coalition (CRC), a large grassroots group based in Rockwood, Ontario, and representing residents in Guelph Eramosa Township, Halton Region, Milton and Halton Hills, has been assessing the potential impacts of the so-called "Hidden Quarry" proposed by James Dick Construction Limited on Highway 7 just east of Rockwood and west of Halton Hills. Among the impacts would be an additional 26 heavy gravel trucks an hour driving through Halton Hills over an indefinite number of years, adding to an already serious truck traffic issue in the heart of the Town.The proposed site is on the boundary of Guelph Eramosa Township (GET) and Milton, and also, therefore, on the boundary between Wellington County and Halton Region. All these stakeholders are assessing the application, but it is GET which must make the decision whether or not to re-zone prime agricultural and hazardous land to industrial/extractive. The site is in the middle of agricultural and environmentally sensitive land and just across the highway from the Green Belt at the headwaters of major rivers feeding the Grand River Watershed.

For more information see www.hiddenquarry.ca .

 

By Concerned Residents Coalition
Posted on Niagara Escarpment News, April 14, 2015

 

OMAFRA Seeks Input on Guideline Draft

The Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs has just issued a draft document, for input and discussion from the public, entitled Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas (February, 2015).  These Guidelines are being proposed to help municipalities, decision-makers, farmers, and others interpret the policies in the Provincial Policy Statement (2014)(PPS) on the uses that are permitted in Prime Agricultural Areas. 

This draft document outlines the PPS in its stated objectives of:

       1) maintaining the land base for agriculture;

      2) supporting a thriving agricultural industry and rural economy.

 

While the draft document doesn’t differ much in how permitted uses and what used to be called secondary uses have been approached in the past, it does mirror the PPS where it purports to protect and preserve prime agricultural areas in Ontario.  However, if you continue to read through Section 3 of the draft document, BEYOND PERMITTED USES, you will note that the PPS allows the removal of land in prime agricultural areas for “new or expanding settlement areas, limited nonresidential uses and the extraction of minerals, petroleum resources and mineral aggregate resources.” This section outlines the process by which land can be systematically removed from prime agricultural areas. Where is the protection of prime agricultural lands?

 

As it stands, these draft guidelines underline the fact that the PPS affords absolutely no protection for the preservation of Ontario’s best farmland. In fact the PPS allows a systematic method for the removal of land from prime agricultural use.  Why are there no ultimate protections for the preservation of Ontario’s best farmland?

 

We think there should be. Prime agricultural land should be defined and identified within an Ontario policy that disallows the removal of that land from agricultural use. As part of that, all existing urban boundaries and any urban growth plans in Ontario need to be examined in light of the objective of preserving prime farmland.  We are currently losing up to 350 acres a day of prime farmland here in Ontario and this cannot be allowed to continue.

 

Comments on the draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas (February, 2015) are being invited by the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs until May 23, 2015. The draft document can be found at the following link:  www.omafra.gov.ca/english/landuse/permitteduses.pdf  

You can fill out the Questionnaire posted on AMAFRA’s website

or email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or by letter to:

Draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses

Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Stone Road West, 3rd Floor

 

Guelph, ON   N1G 4Y2

 

Non-Agricultural Uses in Prime Agricultural Areas

OMAFRA’s new “Draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas” for input

Please note that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has posted on its website Draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses in Ontario’s Prime Agricultural Areas for review and input. 

The Guidelines are intended to help municipalities, decision-makers, farmers and others interpret the policies in the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement on the range of uses permitted in prime agricultural areas.  

To submit your thoughts and ideas, you can fill out the questionnaire posted on OMAFRA’s website or send an email or letter.  We are inviting comments until May 13, 2015

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mailing Address:

Draft Guidelines on Permitted Uses

Food Safety and Environmental Policy Branch

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

1 Stone Rd. West, 3rd Floor

Guelph, ON N1G 4Y2

The Dirt on the Year of the Soil

In a few months, Ontario’s rich agricultural soil will start feeding us once again. The fields and orchards will emerge from another winter, ready to produce a bounty of fresh local vegetables, grains and fruit.

The 2015 growing and harvest seasons will be especially significant because they will take place during the International Year of Soils. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has declared that over the next 12 months every country should be paying more attention to the soil that grows our food, filters our water, stores vast amounts of carbon and keeps us alive.

The Year of Soils is an opportunity for us to stop treating this vital resource like dirt. We can start here in Ontario, home to the best soil and climate conditions in Canada. This vast country is comprised of just 0.5 percent of Class 1 soil, the rarest in the world. Just over half of Canada’s Class 1 farmland is found in Ontario. Lucky us. Yet, we’ve destroyed nearly 20 percent of it.

We continue to pave it over for urban sprawl or mine it for aggregate, ignoring the fact that once this soil is gone, it’s gone forever.

Soils don’t have a voice and few people speak out for them.

Read more at: The Big Carrot

Farmland Going Public?

Ottawa based company cites potential for value of property it invests in to grow by four to five per cent annually over long term

by BETTER FARMING STAFF

A new company, counting on global trends that point towards increased demand for food, has announced intentions to sell public shares in Canadian farmland.

Bonnefield Canadian Farmland Corporation, based in Ottawa, announced Thursday that it plans to sell common shares in a scheme that will either buy farmland outright or, in jurisdictions like Manitoba and Saskatchewan that restrict public ownership of farmland, provide interest-only mortgages.

Investors would obtain “a liquid investment in primarily Canadian farmland, with the potential for long-term capital appreciation and dividend income,” the company’s preliminary prospectus says. The prospectus is filed with security regulatory authorities in all Canadian provinces and territories for review.

Read more...