“I live in the (Niagara) watershed. (and) this is the worst news possible. How can we protect the green belt and its rivers and lakes when these greedy gangsters want to pave it over. It’s scary.” – a comment from one of Niagara At Large’s readers, Edila MacIlrelli, in response to news that the Ford Government has sent a letter to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and other Conservation Authorities across the province, directing them to “wind down” conservation activities that fall outside of whatever the province deems to be their “core mandate”.
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted August 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
“Promise made. Promise kept.”
It is one of the lines Ontario Premier Doug Ford seems to love to throw in when he claims he is fulfilling another pledge in a campaign platform that had to be one of the thinnest when it came to specifics in modern Canadian political history.
There was at least one pledge Ford made that he was real specific about – this one caught on a leaked video that was made without his awareness – while he stood before a group of friends and supporters in the development industry weeks before Ontario’s June, 2018 provincial election and told them he would be willing to carve up a “big chunk” of the protected Greenbelt running around Lake Ontario from the GTA and Hamilton, and through Niagara to the Niagara River.
Here is that video (click on the screen immediately below) of Ford making his “big chunk” promise to a group of developers who looked happy to hear it –
When this video leaked out, the pledge met such a public backlash that even Ford, as much of a battering ram as he is, scrambled to put it back in the box.
But now- just a little more than 13 and a half months into his first, and hopefully his last four-year term as Ontario’s premier, he is ever so closer to fulfilling that kind of pledge with everything he has been doing to reshape and weaken planning and environmental protection and conservation rules, and slash resources for field workers and enforcement officers in the environmental and natural resources areas.
“Promise made. Promise kept.”
And now, this August 19th, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, along with 35 other Conservation Authorities across the province, and their umbrella organization, Conservation Ontario, received the following, what Conservation Ontario described as a letter that left it “stunned” from Ford’s God-awful environment minister Jeff Yurek.All of this, put together, should outrage those of us who say we care about saving precious natural heritage areas like Thundering Waters in Niagara Falls and Waverly Woods in Fort Erie, and to protect and preserve what is left of our woodlands, wetlands and great watersheds, and the species that inhabit them for present and future generations.
Where are the voices of resistance to this kind of wanton environmental vandalism by the Ford government and its friends and supporters in the land speculation and low-density sprawl industry?
Where are our local municipalities who use our property tax dollars to pay for the bulk of the NPCA’s roughly $12 million annual budget? Conservation Ontario released a statement of concern about this. Where is their statement?
Or are we going to let Ford and his pals bulldoze on until there is little or nothing left?
To read a related piece Niagara At Large posted on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/08/19/ford-now-turning-his-war-on-our-environment-on-ontario-conservation-authorities/ .
To learn more about Ontario’s Greenbelt, click on – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenbelt_(Golden_Horseshoe) .
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