Save Niagara’s Green Spaces – Speak Now or Risk Losing Them Forever!

We, As Citizens, Don’t Have Much Time Left to Act – To Stop Ford and his Government from Further Threatening Our Natural Heritage

A Call-Out from Ed Smith, St. Catharines community activist and member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Long-time St. Catharines citizen activist and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board member Ed Smith makes a plea to fellow Niagara citizens to speak up for Conservation Authorities and our green spaces. File photo by Doug Draper

We are days away from the greatest environmental catastrophe to be unleashed on Niagara by a sitting government. Once it occurs there will be no undoing the damage and it will result in mortal consequences to Niagara’s last few remaining wilderness areas.

Ontario’s Ford government has bundled into its recent budget legislation a section called Schedule 6.

Schedule 6 of the Budget Bill deals specifically with the 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Since taking office  more than two years ago, the Ford government has tried to take control of our environment away from any strict protections and hand it over to causes more sympathetic to the needs of developers.

In this case, if this Bill passes with Schedule 6 included then there will be no effective means of protecting nature in Ontario.  Endangered species-gone, Provincially Significant Wetlands-gone, protected woodlots-gone.  All of it will no longer be protected by informed science who study and monitor the situation, instead it will be left to the “opinion” of the Minister.

Don’t let Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the worst of his pals n the development industry destroy precious places like this – a haven for provincially significant wetlands in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The Minister is a government official, nothing more, nothing less, and he/she is appointed by the Premier…Doug Ford.  In effect Doug Ford will decide if a protected wetland should be protected or if a new condo development is more important.  Doug Ford will decide if an endangered species should be allowed to survive, or if instead we need a new race track.

Policy like this is madness and has to be challenged, head on!

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)  board has sent in it’s thoughts on the new policy, but it is far from being enough.

We need an aggressive response from citizens…reach out to Doug Ford and do it now.

The message for him is plain… Remove Schedule 6 from Bill 229 and remove it now.

This fight could be over in less than two  weeks, so if you care you must act now. They engineered this entire thing to try and rush it through as quickly as possible.  Speak now or lose it forever.

Vote was taken by show of hands.

  • Ed Smith, St. Catharines, Ontario

A Footnote from Doug Draper, reporter and publisher at Niagara At Large –

It was the current St. Catharines city council that appointed Ed Smith as its representative to sit on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors, and this past week, on November 23rd , St. Catharines council passed a motion in support of the NPCA and all Conservation Authorities across the province.

Here is the full wording of that motion, tabled by St. Catharines Councillor Karrie Porter, and seconded by a veteran on that council, Bruce Willianson.

Good for them for doing this –

St. Catharines City Councillor Karrie Smith put this motion on the floor to support our Conservation Authorities this past November 23rd. It was passed by the Council.

WHEREAS Conservation authorities work to safeguard, manage, and restore Ontario’s water through flood plain mapping, water quality monitoring, conservation land management, public education, and wetland stewardship; and

WHEREAS Conservation Authorities collect data on water quality, flooding, fish communities, wetlands, and benthic invertebrates, and this data contributes to policy, science, education and human health; and

WHEREAS the Ontario government’s recently proposed changes to Conservation Authorities in Bill 229 do not support climate resilience and may set back watershed planning and the implementation of an eco-system based approach; and

WHEREAS the proposal in Bill 229 that only municipal councillors be appointed by a particular municipality as members of a conservation authority does not strengthen oversight and accountability and will exclude citizen appointees chosen by municipalities for their experience and skills;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Council strongly recommends that Schedule 6 of Bill 229 not be enacted in its present form and instead by withdrawn from Bill 229; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ministry support and enhance governance at conservation authorities by developing best management practices for the recruitment and selection of authority members, including best practices for the appointment of both elected and non-elected officials in consultation with municipalities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that that the Ontario government immediately seek to ensure that the current mandate of the province’s 36 conservation authorities is maintained and enhanced, in order to effectively protect, restore and manage the watersheds where 95 percent of the people of Ontario reside; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this motion be sent to all Niagara MPPs, the municipalities of Haldimand and Hamilton, all Niagara municipalities, and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

How they voted on this motion –

Yeas: Councillors Porter, Phillips, Miller, Siscoe, Townsend, Williamson, Littleton, Kushner, Harris, Garcia, Dodge, and Mayor Sendzik

Nays: Councillor Sorrento

Finally, from Niagara At Large –

We urge you to speak out on this important issue for the sake of preserving what is left of our natural heritage for present and future generations.

The Ontairo’s legislature’s all-party StandingCommittee on Finance and Economic Affairs is going to hold hearings on this matter from November 30th of this coming week through to December 2nd, before the full legislature takes a final vote on the Budget Bill in question.

As Ed Smith said in his commentary, it could all be over within a matter of days, so WE HAVE TO SPEAK OUT NOW.

Take a few minutes this weekend and on Monday, November 30th at the very latest to fire of the members of that Standing Committee an email and let them know that you want Schedule 6, that would gut our Conservation Authorities, completely removed from the Ford government’s Budget Bill ….

Here are the emails for all of the Standing Committee members. Just bundle them all on the send to line of your email page, and fire your note off.

DON’T WAIT A MINUTE LONGER THAN THIS MONDAY, November 30th to do it.

Again, here is the email package for the committee members – amarjot.sandhu@pc.ola.org, jeremy.roberts@pc.ola.org, stan.cho@pc.ola.org, logan.kanapathi@pc.ola.org, david.piccini@pc.ola.org, dave.smith@pc.ola.org, vijay.thanigasalam@pc.ola.org, Iarthur-QP@ndp.on.ca, Smamakwa-QP@ndp.on.ca, Sshaw-CO@ndp.on.ca, mhunter.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

To learn more about the Ford government’s move to gut our Conservation Authorities, from news and commentary posted on Niagara At Large over the past number of days and weeks, here are some links you can click on – 

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/18/auditor-generals-report-confirms-ford-toies-will-to-destroy-climate-as-a-favour-to-their-insiders/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/13/action-alert-we-need-our-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/14/changes-to-ontarios-conservation-authority-act-will-impact-npca-watershed-protection-programs-in-niagara/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/16/niagara-centre-mpp-expresses-outrage-over-ford-tories-plans-to-gut-ontarios-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/12/ontarios-ford-government-is-moving-to-gut-conservation-authorities/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/10/ford-governments-changes-to-conservation-authorities-act-trigger-red-flags-for-conservation-ontario/

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/09/ontarios-ford-government-making-disastrous-changes-to-provinces-conservation-act/

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 Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

3 responses to “Save Niagara’s Green Spaces – Speak Now or Risk Losing Them Forever!

  1. How silly of me to think the policies of Trump and his Republicans were limited to the USA. Doug Ford and his government are surely the Trump and Republicans of the North. Open for business means Ford has opened Ontario for exploit for short term profit that benefits a few instead of policies that benefit all. Like Trump, they are opening pockets to money and closing ears to science.

    Like

  2. Robert Milenkoff

    The Premier stresses the fact that to beat this pandemic you have to follow the science. I guess the question would be ………………….. if you follow the science for the pandemic, why wouldn’t you follow it for the future of the environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have expressed my total objection to 229/6 by emailing all committee members reviewing this bill. And many other MPP’s. Premier Ford and his party members are only concerned about urban sprawl and economic gain at the expense of our communities.I am soooo disgusted with these unethical and undemocratic politicians. We have decades of science based evidence that is being ignored by this Premier at our expense. These are OUR…THE TAXPAYOR’S….COMMUNITIES and we all have a basic human right to live in SAFE AND HEALTHY communities. He has ‘no right’ to deminish our environmental regulations or to reduce the Conservation Authorities work to maintain our Natural Heritage And Water Resource Systems or to omit public representation on the CA BOARD’S This is undemocratic and unethical given Climate Change impact. WE deserve so much more.

    Liked by 1 person

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