“We call on all community members to come out and oppose the approval of biodiversity offsetting in the Niagara Region!”
From Brent Patterson, Political Director for The Council of Canadians, Ottawa, Ontario.
The Council of Canadians’ South Niagara chapter opposes a “biodiversity offsetting” plan being considered by Niagara Regional Council.
The regional council (at a meeting scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., this Thursday, April 7th at Niagara Region’s headquarters in Thorold) could allow 13 acres of provincially-significant wetland in the city of Niagara Falls to be destroyed to accommodate a $1 billion “Paradise” development project, which includes a hotel, entertainment facilities, apartment housing, and a private school. A group of Chinese investors led by CITIC Asset Management is behind this plan.
Niagara This Week reports, “Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, who helped broker the investment over a pair of trips to China, most recently in 2015, expressed concern over what he called ‘a special interest group’ attempting to derail the project. ‘My concern is there is some special interest group trying to use them (wetlands) to make a point’, he said. Diodati questioned how the group could be opposed to a proposal by Paradise investors that would actually increase the amount of wetlands through what’s known as biodiversity offsetting. Offsetting policies can see developers destroy green space in return for paying cash to restore equivalent space elsewhere.”
A final decision on the project by Niagara regional council is expected this April 7th.
The South Niagara chapter will be holding a protest at the time of that meeting.
Their media release states, “We call on all community members to come out and oppose the approval of biodiversity offsetting in the Niagara Region! A protest will take place at the main entrance of the Niagara Regional Headquarters (1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way, Thorold), on April 7, 2016 at 6:00PM, ahead of the Regional Council meeting that will begin at 6:30PM. …”
“The Regional Council wants to push approval for this $1 billion project without considering the long-term effects ‘biodiversity offsetting’ has on both the environment and Niagara’s local economy. Biodiversity offsetting involves destroying one wetland and attempting to reproduce it in a different area. We, the community members of the Niagara region, know that the precious concentration of biodiversity located in the wetlands cannot be replaced.”
The province is also key to this.
The St. Catharines Standard notes, “The Niagara Falls land where a $1-billion development is proposed to be built could be used as a provincial pilot project for biodiversity offsetting. …”
“Niagara Region’s planning and development committee put its support behind the pilot project [on March 30], calling on the province to allow for biodiversity offsetting on the property. …In a discussion paper on wetland conservation released last year, the province introduced biodiversity offsetting as a potential policy direction with a no net loss provision — meaning for every acre of wetland decommissioned, one acre would be restored elsewhere.”
CKTB adds, “The project was announced last fall in China during a visit there by Premier [Kathleen] Wynne. …The province must sign off on a plan to move the wetland from its current location, something called biodiversity offsetting.”
For more on the South Niagara chapter’s protest against biodiversity offsetting, please see the Facebook event page here.
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