Food & Water First: fighting the larger battle

In case you weren't at the Food and Water First General Meeting on April 5th, reporter, Marni Walsh has written a terrific article about it.

Read Marni's article.

A ‘regressive document’

Re: Provincial Policy Statement (PPS 2014)

The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) is the statement of the government’s policies on land use planning. It includes policies on key issues that affect our communities, such as:

• he efficient use and management of land and infrastructure

• rotection of the environment and resources

• nsuring appropriate opportunities for employment and residential development, includingsupport for a mix of uses

The PPS is an extremely powerful document that is issued under section 3 of the Planning Act:

“The Minister, or the Minister together with any other minister of the Crown, may from time to time issue policy statements that have been approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on matters relating to municipal planning that in the opinion of the Minister are of provincial interest.”  and all decisions affecting land use planning matters “shall be consistent with” the Provincial Policy Statement.iiii

“A decision of the council of a municipality, a local board, a planning board, a minister of the Crown and a ministry, board, commission or agency of the government, including the Municipal Board, in respect of the exercise of any authority that affects a planning matter, (a) shall be consistent with the policy statements issued under subsection (1) that are in effect on the date of the decision; and (b) shall conform with the provincial plans that are in effect on that date, or shall not conflict with them, as the case may be.”

It is developed ‘behind closed doors’, without review in the legislature, effectively supercedes and takes precedence over legislation, and requires municipal plans to conform. It is because of this extraordinary power that we are concerned about the surreptitious process by which it is created and how weak or absent, are the justifications for many of its clauses.

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NDACT not relaxing opposition to ARA

North Dufferin Agriculture and Community Taskforce (NDACT) is seeing a glimmer of hope in the government’s response to the 27 recommendations of the Standing Committee on General Government’s 2013 review of the Aggregate Resources Act.

The response was issued last Thursday, (Feb. 20) by Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti.

NDACT was disappointed when the recommendations were released in December because there had been no specific reference to protecting prime farmland.

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Paterak calls for aggregate recycling workshop

Caledon group wants effects of aggregate recycling explored

Ward 1 Regional Councillor Richard Paterak is looking for an educational forum on aggregate recycling.

However, some council members wanted a more fulsome meeting covering the best practices.

“I understand what [councillor] Paterak wants from this motion, but I believe we should use this as a starting point to a bigger exercise,” said Ward 3 and 4 Area Councillor Nick deBoer. “As a community we have always looked to be at the front. I would like to have a commitment we aren’t going to start right there (with status quo). Maybe we look at new age recycling methods being done in Europe, who knows? But what a great opportunity to send that message up to the province this is what Caledon is looking at. Maybe it makes sense to have it in a gravel pit? We’re looking at two options, one is recycling in a pit, the other is recycling in a dedicated location.”

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Jones’ Q&A reveals her true quarry colours

These are my personal comments, not endorsed by NDACT.

Dear MPP Sylvia Jones,

My name is Carl Cosack and I heard your presentation and subsequent Q&A at Melancthon council Thursday, Jan. 9, regarding the ARA review report.

As proud as you are of the dismal Aggregate Resources Act Review report, I am as disappointed in your efforts to help your constituency deal with the mega quarry issue and its continuing efforts to protect water and agricultural lands in the riding you represent.

Tens of thousands of your constituents would have had to deal with the fallout of the approval of the mega quarry application, yet the ARA Review recommendations you so proudly support would still allow a mega quarry today.

David Tilson, our Conservative MP, even though it was not his jurisdiction, worked tirelessly on this file, along with Conservative MP Michael Chong, Green Party MP Elizabeth May, as did the federal NDP’s Matthew Kellway.

The Green Party’s Rob Strang and Mike Schreiner spoke loudly for the preservation of water sources and prime agricultural lands, as did the committed Liberal candidate Lori Holloway, providing effective help to the greater community in securing both the Environmental Assessment, as well as the review of this terribly outdated Aggregate Resources Act from the government at Queen’s Park.

You, as a member of the standing committee reviewing the act, and our voice, are supposed to support the concerns of your constituency.

Your mark is nowhere to be found addressing the serious concerns of over a hundred delegations made during the ARA review process.

At the Melancthon council you continuously deflected the good and pointed questions asked by the councillors by referencing “consensus”, “not in the mandate”, “does not apply”, “I couldn’t”, yet you were able to thank, in writing, the aggregate industry and its CEO, Moreen Miller, for their invaluable help in supporting the committee’s work.

When tens of thousands of people of all political stripes, from Melancthon, to Toronto to every corner of this beautiful province, show up on a volunteer basis defending the right of all Ontarians to good planning, precautionary principle, protection of source water regions and prime food producing land, where is our elected Progressive Conservative MPP Sylvia Jones?

Carl Cosack

Published in the Orangeville Banner, Jan.15, 2014