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 Friday, 24 February 2017 02:01
- Hits: 29
We are pleased to announce the appointments of Karren Wallace and John Gruetzner as our new Board Members.
Karren Wallace our tireless volunteer who spearheaded the formation of NDACT in 2009 and has been an active and outspoken advocate and NDACT volunteer since its inception. She brings a wealth of experience through her many years with the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs. She is our current Secretary and has finally agreed to sit on the NDACT Board. Welcome Karren!
John Gruetzner brings a wealth of business experience to our Board. Welcome John! His credentials follow:
the principal and founder of Intercedent, a Canadian business and investment advisory firm founded in 1988 and focused on Asia
served as the head of the Canada China Business Council in Beijing.
worked for the National Broadcasting Corporation, De Laurentis Entertainment, and Filmline
received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto
was an Executive in Residence at the University of Manchester Business School
one of the 24 founders of the China Policy Centre being formed in Ottawa.
won a Medallion from the Governor General of Canada in recognition of his contribution to the bi-lateral relations between China and Canada.
- Published on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:09
- Hits: 58
On February 9, 2017, Bonnefield (who purchased proposed mega-quarry land from The Highland Companies) appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture & Forestry. The Committee is undertaking a "Study on the acquisition of farmland in Canada and its potential impact on the farming sector"
Exerpts of the presentation:
So our prime reason for meeting with you today is to ask this Committee to advocate for responsible, evidence-based regulations that protect our farmland, while ensuring that farmers have ample access to the capital they need to operate their businesses profitably – including institutional capital.
I would now like to turn to five key points we would like the Senate Committee to consider in its ongoing study.
POINT 1: Farmers, not investors, determine the price of farmland in Canada.
POINT 2: Recent increases in Farmland prices across Canada have, with very few exceptions, been driven by increases in farm profits and are in line with increased profit levels.
POINT 3: Farming is a capital-intensive business, and Canadian farmers need access to a broad range of capital sources – including institutional investors - to finance their businesses and to remain internationally competitive.
POINT 4: The biggest threat to Canadian farmland is not who owns it. The biggest threats are urbanization and re-zoning and the conversion of farmland for real estate development, quarries and industrial uses.
POINT 5: Foreign ownership of farmland is not a widespread problem in Canada
My bigger concern is not who owns Canadian farmland, but who farms Canadian farmland. We believe that Canadian farmers should farm Canadian farmland.