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 Wednesday, 10 September 2014 18:33
- Hits: 37
The final version for adoption of the County of Dufferin Official Plan is now available.
The final version of the Official Plan will be presented to County Council for adoption on September 11th, 2014. If County Council adopts the Official Plan, it would then be forwarded to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval.
- Published on Thursday, 04 September 2014 01:29
- Hits: 64
The Ontario Legislature gets back to business early next month and one of the questions facing the Liberal government will be: What's happening with the promised Farms Forever program? During the spring election, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a special program aimed at protecting more of Ontario's prime farmland, especially near urban centres.
Farms Forever is modelled after a hugely successful program in Pennsylvania which has the largest farmland preservation system in the United States. Since 1988 it has protected nearly 500,000 acres of prime farmland for its $68-billion agri-food sector through a special easement program. Last month, Pennsylvania announced it had preserved another 2300-acres which happens to be the same amount of land the proposed Highland Mega Quarry would have destroyed in Dufferin County.
Food & Water First met with provincial representatives over the summer and is encouraged by the government's interest and engagement in this topic. We will be pressing the government to move quickly on Farms Forever and other protections for our vital food-producing lands.
Food & Water First News Team
- Published on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 16:30
- Hits: 350
Food & Water First will be there!
Dates: September 16 - September 20, 2014
Times: Daily 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Location: Simcoe County – Ivy, Ontario
Don't miss out on the fun!