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 Thursday, 19 February 2015 21:10
- Hits: 94
As you hopefully know by now, the The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has declared this the International Year of Soils. That may not sound very exciting, but then soil hasn’t exactly gotten celebrity status in the media. NDACT, in particular our Food and Water First Team, promote the protection of food and water, and it is our land, consisting of mostly soil, that underpins all of this.
- Published on Thursday, 19 February 2015 12:59
- Hits: 57
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.
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