- Published on Sunday, 25 November 2012 16:47
- Hits: 746
November 21, 2012
Provincial Policy Statement Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Provincial Planning Policy Branch
777 Bay Street, 14th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5
Tel: 416-585-6014 or 1-877-711-8208
Attention: Provincial Policy Statement Review
Re: Provincial Policy Statement Review, (agriculture and aggregates) (EBR # 011-7070)
Our File L1003
We represent the North Dufferin Agricultural Community Task Force (NDACT) an organization
involved in advocacy on aggregate and agricultural issues in Melancthon Township, Ontario.
NDACT is a not-for-profit corporation representing the interests of landowners, farmers and
residents in the Melancthon area. We thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft PPS.
The proposed amendments to the PPS prioritize a variety of land uses that compete directly with
agriculture, in particular resource extraction. NDACT opposes granting priority to these
non-agricultural land uses. Although it is a diminishing resource, Ontario contains a large portion
of the most productive agricultural land in Canada. The Province has a responsibility to balance
other policies with a strong, robust and forward-thinking agricultural policy, including an agricultural
land use policy with measurable objectives.
While the agricultural sector creates significant employment and economic productivity to Ontario,
the Draft PPS presupposes fundamentally that economic development and employment are
synonymous with converting agricultural lands to other uses. It gives lowest priority to agricultural
lands when compared with nearly every other land use discussed in the Draft PPS. Policy 2.3
appears to protect Ontario’s prime agricultural land for the long-term, but the exemptions to this
protection contained in other policies are sweeping. In essence, the Draft PPS fails to consider that
Ontarians need a secure food supply to ensure continued viability of agriculture in the province.
This is not a minor oversight. We have detailed a variety of necessary amendments in Appendix A
of this submission to adequately protect agriculture.
Click here to read entire letter.
To view the Draft Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), please go to: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page7243.aspx
To see our "Call to Action" regarding PPS comments, click here.
- Published on Friday, 13 July 2012 15:44
- Hits: 393
In a letter to the Standing Committe on General Government, dated July 9, 2012, supporter, Helen Purdy raise good points about the selection of individuals and groups selected to speak at the Hearings.
To read her entire letter, click here.
I am very concerned that other individuals like myself and certain public groups have been selectively turned away for some unknown and possibly questionable reasons. I require specific information at this point in time from the Legislative Services Division, Committee Branch so that I have factual information about the process that was followed and those involved in choosing presenters to appear at the public sessions held for the Review of the Aggregate Resources Act.
I also request information about the process that was followed and those involved in the choice of sites that the Committee has visited or will be visiting on its 4 fact-finding excursions. Even the Township of Woolwich raised concerns about the “narrow scope” of the sites legislators visited on the morning of July 9, 2012 (See Waterloo Region Record Article, July10, 2012 “MPPS Get Earful in Review of Gravel Pit Law, Committee Toured Local Gravel Sites”).
I would appreciate your response in a timely and forthcoming manner to the following requests for information:
Exactly how many requests were made in total by public groups and individuals to make oral presentations?
Exactly how many requests were made in total by municipalities and government agencies to make oral presentations?
Exactly how many requests were made in total by the aggregate industry and other individuals and groups associated with the aggregate industry to make oral presentations?
What was the process followed and the names of those involved in the choice of sites that the Committee visited or shall visit?
What sites have been visited or will be visited and the dates when these visits occurred or will occur.
Which oral presenters were involved with the site visits for the hearing sessions, either directly or indirectly?
Did the Minister of Natural Resources or MNR staff have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection of presenters for each hearing session, either directly or indirectly?
Did the Ministry of Natural Resources have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection and location of site visits, either directly or indirectly?
Did the Ontario, Sand, Stone and Gravel Association (OSSGA) have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection of presenters for each hearing session, either directly or indirectly?
Did the Ontario, Sand, Stone and Gravel Association (OSSGA) have any knowledge and/or input as to the selection and location of site visits, either directly of indirectly?
To read correspondence between Helen and Clerk of the Standing Committe of General Government, click here.
Helen was told by Clerk that she would be speaking in the Kitchener Waterloo Hearing but was turned down.
- Published on Monday, 02 July 2012 22:30
- Hits: 519
An open letter to David Orazietti, Chair of the Standing Committee on General Government, Reviewing
the Aggregate Resources Act, from Carl Cosack, Chair NDACT
July 2, 2012
Throughout this Review process, the public participants have been focused on preparing and delivering their presentations and have avoided taking issue with the mechanics of the Review itself. Participants have not made an issue of the short notice given for the initial Presentation Week in Toronto - with clearly more notice given to the Aggregate Industry. We appreciate the extension of the Review process to include key visits to prime sites in Ontario.
Specific actions taken, comments made and conduct by you and your Committee leading up to, during and after the June 27th Orangeville visit might be the turning point which caused people to lose faith in this process, its transparency and its guise of being unbiased. I am deeply concerned that our input to the Review and suggested changes to this outdated piece of policy are not valued, will not be considered and that these “Local Visits” are simply a public relations exercise.
- Published on Monday, 07 May 2012 09:58
- Hits: 1027
Carl Cosack, NDACT Chair, spoke on AM740 May 7, 2012, about the ARA Review.
In a public release May 4, 2012, the public was informed that the ARA Review (Aggregate Resources Act Review) would begin in Toronto on May 7, 2012. NDACT's response is as follows:
May 7, 2012
Standing Committee on General Government
Dear Mr. Orazietti
Re: Review of the Aggregate Resources Act (the Act)
I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman of the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, Inc. (NDACT), a not-for-profit organization with hundreds of members throughout Ontario. Our interests are aligned with various other organizations and citizens concerned about the impact of aggregate extraction on the environment, source water and our agricultural land resources. As you may be aware, NDACT was formed in response to the application made by the Highland Companies for a proposed 2,316-acre, below the water table Mega Quarry in Melancthon Township.
On September 20, 2011, the Liberal Government announced, as a pre-election promise, that it would be undertaking a review of the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA), presumably with a view to modernizing the legislation to take into account concerns expressed by various stakeholders regarding the adequacy of existing legislation in the context of current and future societal needs.
The Liberal Government, when making this announcement, made the following observations:
- “Our review will help Ontario move forward on both environmental protection and clearer policies that will support the industry and protect consumers.”
- The government’s announcement also went on to say that the review is to re-examine the Act to see if it could strike a better balance between “environmental, community and economic concerns and take into account best practices from other regions.”
At the time, there was a promise made that all stakeholders, including the public, would be provided with adequate input in the process.
Notwithstanding this stated promise, we learned only late Friday, May 4, 2012, by way of press release, that the committee would begin hearings on the next business day, May 7, 2012, and would only be providing a total hearing time of 12 hours.
I am writing to express NDACT’s extreme disappointment in the timing and format of the Standing Committee’s review of the ARA. There was no adequate prior notice given of these important hearings and the public has been allotted just six hours of the committee’s time over two days next week. There is little time for Ontarians to prepare presentations on such a complex issue as the ARA.
In your press release, you indicated there is already a schedule in place with specific time slots allotted to a number of organizations that include representatives of the aggregate industry. One must assume that if these organizations are already prepared to make detailed submissions during the time slots set aside for them, then they must have been given advance notice of the hearings, well before the last-minute, late Friday afternoon, notification afforded to the public. In our view, the promise of “adequate notice” has not been fulfilled, and there is apparent preferential treatment being conferred upon members of the aggregate industry. We view this as a breach of the public trust.
As well, the committee has decided to confine the hearings to Toronto and will not travel to those communities most affected by aggregate extraction. Given that quarries are one of the main challenges facing Ontario’s prime agricultural lands, it does not seem logical that the committee would limit public input to a few hours at hearings to be held only in downtown Toronto.
When the Ontario government announced in March that the all-party Standing Committee on General Government would conduct the review, it was believed the hearings would be both comprehensive and inclusive. We expected a detailed, and stakeholder inclusive, study of the out-dated ARA, which gives aggregate priority over every other form of land use in Ontario – including prime farmland, source water areas and environmentally-protected regions. But in its current form, the review appears rushed and biased. As previously stated, representatives from the aggregate industry have already been assigned time for their presentations this Wednesday. NDACT, the public and other agricultural organizations were not contacted in advance nor invited to attend. As well, the hearings are being held during the spring planting season when many farmers are unable to travel to the city to participate in the review.
On behalf of NDACT, I am asking committee members to immediately make amendments to the current planned process to incorporate the following:
- An extension of the time allotted to conduct more thorough ARA review hearings. This is both necessary and fair in order to ensure that the public and other stakeholders, such as environmental groups, farm organizations and rural municipalities, all of whom are, or will be, directly impacted by current and future aggregate operations, are given adequate time to prepare their presentations to the Standing Committee.
- For hearings to also be conducted in select rural communities, in particular those communities where aggregate extraction prevails. We would suggest, at a minimum, that hearings be conducted in the Guelph/Milton area, Dufferin County and in the Peterborough/Kawartha area.
This review will impact the future protection of Ontario’s prime farmland and water resources as well as responsible aggregate extraction. Much is at stake. Therefore, the committee must ensure its hearings are thorough, open and fair for all those who wish to participate.
We look forward to your response and thank you in advance.
North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce, Inc.
To view a PDF version of this letter, click here.
- Published on Thursday, 12 April 2012 14:16
- Hits: 699
Reaction to Bill 55
The Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, tabled for the first reading in the Legislature, Bill 55, "Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures) 2012". Bill 55 is an omnibus bill amending statutes including:
- Endangered Species Act
- Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act
- Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
- Public Lands Act
- Crown Forest Sustainability Act
- Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act
This Bill takes away people's right to comment. (Read more about Bill 55)
Reaction to this Bill is starting to come forward.
Ontario Rivers Alliance states:
ORA’s position is that by presenting amendments to these 69 Acts in Budget Bill 55, the government is literally taking away its citizens’ democratic right to comment on the numerous Acts administered under the EBR, by attempting to hide the amendments within an unrelated budget bill which is conveniently exempt from EBR postings and the public consultation process. Linda Heron, Chair of ORA says, “a bold move like this undermines trust and confidence in a government that has been entrusted to represent its citizens and make decisions in our best interests.”
ORA has studied Bill 55, and a recurring statement throughout many of these amendments
"ORA wishes to express grave concerns with the irregular means being used to amend numerous pieces of legislation by attaching the amendments to the budget bill. This appears to be designed to circumvent the normal process of public consultation."
More letters will be posted here as they come forward.