A Call on All of Us to Speak Out for Putting Our Species and Others before Stones and Gravel
A Call-Out from Ontario Nature, a not-for-profit, non-partisan citizens’ advocacy group for protecting and preserving Ontario’s natural heritage
Posted October 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Here we go again.
Relentless in the pursuit of its “open for business” agenda, the Government of Ontario wants to weaken protections for nature in order to fast-track development.
Specifically, the government aims to make potentially devastating amendments to Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) which would permit pits and quarries on sensitive landscapes across the province.
Ontarians cannot let these proposed changes fly under the radar. If you agree, please join Ontario Nature in voicing your concern.
To find out more, and to send a letter of concern to your Ontario representative before the Ford government’s October 21st deadline (yes, that is the same date as the federal election) for making a comment, click on –https://ontarionature.good.do/pitsandquarries/email/ .
For more information about the implications of these amendments you can read Ontario Nature’s blog by clicking on – https://ontarionature.org/pits-and-quarries/ .
A Commentary on the Foolishness and Counter-Productiveness of this Move from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
This latest regressive move by the Ford Government to weaken environmental protection rules for pit and quarry owners and operators – in the name, once again, of making Ontario “more open for business” – leaves me burning to ask a few rherotical questions.
Why would owners and operators of pits and quarries across provinces want Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government to weaken rules for safeguarding the surrounding environment?
More specifically, how could any owner and operator who has a record of operating responsibly think that such a move would benefit them in any way, or do anything to inspire public trust in their industry?
One would think that responsible owners and operators would welcome a solid set of rules, not only to provide added assurance to people living in the vicinity of their operations, but to protect them from having to compete with those who would cut corners and possibly cause damage that gives the whole industry a bad name.
In my four decades as a reporter and in all the years I spent covering environmental issues, I have been through two or three cycles now of provincial and federal governments (interestingly enough, always Conservative governments) cutting resources and rules for environmental protections in order to “grow the economy and jobs.”
There was never any evidence that the cuts grew the economy and jobs, but there would be the inevitable spills or other damage done to the environment and nearby communities that would cost the next government and the industries involved large amounts of money and time to abate and/or clean up.
On top of that, owners and operators of industries – even ones with a good track record, find it even harder to win public trust. It makes it all the harder to convince a community that its okay to operate in their back yard.
So I go back to my original questions.
What is the point of pit and quarry owners and operators lobbying, as they apparently did at a private summit with the Ford government earlier this year, for weaker environmental rules?
How, in the long run, do you think it is going to do you any good?
Right now, in the south end of Niagara, there is a group of residents concerned about a plan a quarry owner has to fill an old pit with “clean fill.”
In the case of the company that has tabled this plan, there is a long history of operating responsibly. But good luck winning any more community acceptance if a government that has already cut back on resources for policing the province’s environment rules, moves forward to weaken them.
There is no win-win in gutting resources and reulations for protecting the environment for anyone. There never has been.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
Here is a newsletter from members of the community in Simcoe, Ontario that suggests that the Ford government has possibly been working quietly with representatives of the quarry industry for many months now to weaken the rules and regulations for quarry operations – http://aware-simcoe.ca/2019/03/whats-going-on-here-residents-protest-at-secretive-aggregate-summit-held-in-caledon/ .
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