Ontario Proposing To Grow the Greenbelt

Province Suggesting Changes to Adopt Recommendations of Crombie Panel

In the spring of 2015, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry initiated a co-ordinated review of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan.

We are pleased to inform you of the release of changes to these four plans and invite you to provide input. These proposals were informed by the feedback we received from the public, municipalities, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the Advisory Panel appointed to propose recommendations on how to make the plans better.

Please visit our website at www.ontario.ca/landuseplanningreview to find Shaping Land Use in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a guide to proposed changes to the land use plans and the four proposed revised plans. Information on how to provide input, as well as the dates and locations of public open houses will also be available on our website.

The deadline to provide input on the four proposed revised plans is September 30, 2016.

We would like to sincerely thank all those who participated in the review so far. We look forward to receiving input on how to further improve the plans and continue to strengthen and support communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt.

The news release and backgrounder can be viewed here.

Best regards,


Ted McMeekin
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor, 777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E5    

Bill Mauro
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Suite 6630, 6th Floor, 99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario 
M7A 1W3

Ontario's soil map getting first update in 40 years

The provincial and federal governments have teamed up to invest $5.1 million to update Ontario's soil map.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal, the MPP for Peterborough, made the announcement Friday at Hawthorne Ridge Heritage Farm in Douro-Dummer Township.

Funds will be invested over the next two years, with Peterborough County allocated $875,000 for aerial mapping, data collection and field logistics and staff.

Read more...

ARA / Co-ordinated Land Review Submission

Our submission

 

Re: EBR Registry Number: 012-5444
Food and Water First Review Comments (NDACT)
A Blueprint for Change: A Proposal to Modernize and Strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act Policy Framework, Ontario

Dear Ms. Rosa,

This review of the Ontario document ‘A Blueprint for Change: A Proposal to Modernize and Strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act Policy Framework” has been undertaken at the request of North Dufferin Agricultural and CommunityTaskforce (NDACT). This review is focussed on NDACT’s provincial Food and Water First Initiative to protect Ontario’s prime agricultural lands and water resources. This letter conforms to NDACT’s basic objectives but also contains views of the author.

The enclosed comments also reflect consideration of the Provincial Policy Statement (2005 and 2014), the Cornerstone Aggregate Standards (2015) and Crombie Report “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Horseshoe 2015-2041". This milestone report released December 7, 2015 is expected to lead provincial land use policy for south-central Ontario over the coming years. The Aggregate Resources Act Blueprint for Change document has not been harmonized with this document.

 

Read full document.

January 2016 Message from NDACT Chair

Greetings to everyone and a Happy New Year to you. Here's hoping you had some time to relax and reflect on what a wonderful region and country we live in.

In 2015 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared the International Year of Soils. That brought significant attention to the degradation and disappearance of soils around the globe. That which sustains us doesn't just produce good food, but also function as carbon sinks helping to avert climate change.

Last year also had a significant amount of activity on the issue of land use. The Aggregate Resources Act draft was finally completed and open for public comments until Dec 15. This is the key legislation that we have been lobbying to change for years. Remember that it was the Mega Quarry issue that triggered a review of the ARA. We sent notices out to all supporters that this was a key opportunity to speak up. There were improvements in the draft in the form of increased requirements for studies, however it fell short of the protections we have been asking for all along. NDACT responded with a detailed analysis, and also provided a template version for all of us to submit comments. We remained firm in our ask for total protection for class 1 farmland and no extraction below the water table. We posted and shared our draft with supporters and partner organizations and the support was tremendous. Many organizations weighed in with their own comments and drafts. There will be no further public inputs for this document, so we await the final outcome. That alone will make for an interesting 2016, though it does not stop there.

The year also contained key activity on the Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review. NDACT was invited to stakeholder sessions (as we were for the ARA). We expect a draft for public comments to be available any time soon, and this will also be a key time for all of us to have our voices heard. We have been vigilant so far and we need to keep up the pressure for protection. Our opportunities to do so will not be endless.

With the increasing focus on climate change there is all the more reason to protect the rich rain-fed food producing lands that we have here in Ontario. We are all voters and consumers. Our voices are the ones that matter. Let us use them in 2016 to move protections forward. We have accomplished so much together.

Thank you to our board members, volunteers, and supporters. Without you we could not have gotten this far.

Eat local and be heard – and have a happy and healthy 2016. Thank you for all that you do.

Shirley Boxem,
NDACT Chair

Let’s make groundwater an issue of national security

The year 2015 was the hottest year on this planet in recorded history. Drought, heat waves and forest fires were all symptoms of rising average temperatures in North America.

Temperature records invite Canadians to rethink the importance of groundwater. The resource is extensively used by communities, industries and farmers. It sustains rivers and wetlands, plays a key role in replenishing surface water systems and provides resilience in times of unpredictable weather.

The impacts of climate change are highlighting the strategic importance of groundwater in this country. As most Californians appreciate, groundwater, like money in the bank, can sustain societies through lean times of little precipitation. Canadians instinctively understand this.

Read more...