Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society Calls On All Niagara Councillors to Oppose Ford’s Bill 66

“Our Niagara’s Greenbelt tender fruit and grape lands and other prime farm lands should not be “open for business”    other than that of tender fruit and grape, cash crops and other farming, and farm-related uses.” – from Gracia Janes and Doug Woodard of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society

A Call-Out from the Niagara-based Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS)

Posted January 15th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Gracia Janes, a Niagara resident and veteran citizen activist, has joined with her group, the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS) in calling on Niagara’s municipal politicians to oppose the Ontario Ford government’s Bill 66.

As the oldest farmland preservation group in Canada, and credited in the Provincial Legislature for being the impetus behind the establishment of the Greenbelt land use protections, the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS) strongly opposes Bill 66 the Open For Business Act.

This week,  as the January 20th  deadline for comment on  the proposed  Legislation closed in ,  PALS  is sending letters to the Regional  Council  and all 12 lower-tier municipalities, asking them to let the Government of Ontario  know that our  Niagara’s  Greenbelt tender fruit and grape lands and  other prime farm lands  should not be  “open for business”    other than that of  tender fruit and grape , cash crops and other farming, and farm-related uses.

 PALS also urges Niagara’s 12 lower- tier municipalities to officially   go on record, that   they will not use these re-zoning powers should Bill #66 be approved.

According to PALS Board member Gracia Janes,  “ We know that Bill 66  refers to commercial development , but this will bring with it  sewer, water,  and road  extensions,  which in turn use  good farmland and put pressure on nearby farmlands and farming.

“Additionally, developers, emboldened by the proposed “Open for Business “ planning  powers, which by-pass Regional planning policies and processes,   are bound to  press for   urban expansions into the  unique and threatened tender fruit and grape lands. This is particularly important as Niagara Region develops its new Official Plan.”

PALS President Doug Woodard  adds, “If  lower-tier  municipalities take advantage of  Bill 66 , and side-step good planning, by shutting out  public input and ignoring important Regional planning  and  other protective Legislation such as the clean Water Act, Great Lakes Protection Act, Greenbelt Act, Places to Grow  Act and, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act ,   they will put  at severe risk  fruit lands, other prime farmlands,   water resources,   environmentally sensitive areas and  air quality  in Niagara and  Ontario , which we all, urban or rural ,  rely on . ”    

PALS sent   the attached letter to the Regional Niagara Chair and Councillors, ahead of Thursday’s Regional Council meeting, and is sending a similar letter to all local municipal Councils.

What follows is the full text of the letter the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society has sent to Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley and all members of the Region’s Council –

The Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS)

The Oldest Farmland Preservation Group in Canada Supporting Farmers &  Working to Protect the Best Farmlands in Canada Since 1976

January 15, 2019

Dear Regional Chair Bradley and Council

Niagara Region’s new Chair, Jim Bradley, has had a long history as a St. Catharines MPP, working with late Niagara MPPs Mel Swart and Peter Kormos in fighting for the protection of the region’s farmlands and other green spaces.

As the oldest  farmland preservation group in Canada,  and credited in the Provincial Legislature  for being the impetus behind the establishment of the Greenbelt land use protections,  the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS)  firmly  opposes the Ministry of Municipal Affairs’  proposed Bill  66 “ Open For Business Act .

Therefore, we  call upon  the Regional Municipality of Niagara to let the Government of Ontario  know that our  Niagara’s  Greenbelt tender fruit and grape lands and  other prime farm lands  should not be  “ open for business”  other than that of  tender fruit and grape , cash crops and other farming  and farm-related uses.

While PALS knows that  Bill 66  refers to commercial development, history tells us that this will bring with it  sewer, water,  and road  extensions,  which in turn use  good farmland and put pressure on nearby farmlands and farming. 

Additionally, developers, emboldened by the proposed “Open for Business “ local municipal council  zoning   powers, which under Bill 66  can  by-pass Regional planning policies and processes,  are bound to  press for urban expansions into the unique and threatened tender fruit and grape lands .  This is particularly important as the Region moves further along in the development of its new Official Plan.

We would add, that If  lower-tier  municipalities take advantage of  Bill 66, and side-step good planning, by shutting out  public input and ignoring important Regional planning  and  other protective Provincial  Legislation such as the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Protection Act, Greenbelt Act, and  Places to Grow  Act, they will put  at risk  fruit lands,  prime farmlands,  water resources,  environmentally sensitive areas and  air quality  in Niagara , which we all, urban or rural, rely on .

Therefore,  PALS will also  urge   Niagara’s 12 lower- tier  municipalities  to  go on record, that   they will not use these re-zoning powers during their terms of office  should Bill 66 be approved

– Douglas Woodard, PALS’ President

About PALS – The extraordinary rate of urban sprawl over the best lands in Canada, the fruit lands of Niagara, led in 1976 to the formation of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS). Backed by over 500 urban and rural members, PALS Board members and volunteers have worked hard to preserve the unique fruit lands and the agricultural industry in Niagara and to promote food land preservation province and country-wide. PALS is based in Niagara, but has reached out over the years to help other farmland groups across Ontario and Canada to protect prime class 1-3 farmlands.

For more on the citizen’s advocacy work of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society, click on the organization’s site at – http://members.becon.org/~pals/index.html .

For a look at what then Conservative Leader and candidate Doug Ford said  last year to a group of developers about his plans for Ontario’s Greenbelt, watch this video by clicking on the screen below 

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

Advertisements

One response to “Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society Calls On All Niagara Councillors to Oppose Ford’s Bill 66

  1. Gail Benjafield

    Many individuals and groups are appalled by this Omnibus Bill, and no matter what Niagara’s Sam Oosterhoff sates about it being a miseeading of the Bill, it is not. Red tape means cutting out oversight into our wetlands, our agricultural areas, and even our urban planers who must adhere to the Ont. Heritage Act, in not demolishing heritage structures. The last time the PC’s put the red tape commission at work, with Niagara’s MPP Franks Sheehan in charge, the result was the death of 7 people in Walkerton and many others made deeply ill. Currently, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario is fighting this bill as hard as they can. Please google the ACO and see where they stand. One St. Catharines city councilors is putting a motion to try to stop this Bill before council. Will we all be bulldozed by this Ont. Government? And our green spaces?.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.