Environment

Yr in Evaluation: Defending Ontario’s Atmosphere


If you wish to assist us defend Ontario’s setting in 2022, please sign-up for month-to-month updates on native developments right here.

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We are able to’t say 2021 was an excellent 12 months for Ontario’s setting. At occasions, 2021 felt like an never-ending stream of losses – however there have been additionally many huge wins which helped maintain again the flood!  

The present provincial authorities rolled again or circumvented environmental protections wherever potential. However a couple of well-earned wins for involved residents really demonstrated that individuals energy works! 

Our Yr in Evaluation contains a lot of hyperlinks to information articles, blogs and webinars so you’ll be able to dive in deeper on the problems that matter to you!

Evasions, Rollbacks and Again-Sliding

The Massive Sprawl Oozes Throughout Southern Ontario

Whereas the provincial authorities’s modifications to the Progress Plan for the Higher Golden Horseshoe happened in August of 2020, the potential impacts of the Massive Sprawl got here into focus in 2021 as municipalities moved by way of their Municipal Complete Evaluations. 

Municipalities are being pressured to open up farmland and inexperienced area outdoors their city boundaries to sprawl builders by a course of which units unrealistically low progress targets for Toronto, transparently exaggerates demand for low-density car-dependent housing in suburbs, and squanders land by decreasing necessary minimal density necessities for growth on the huge tracts which can be have already been marked for growth.

To be taught extra about this doubtlessly devastating course of learn our introductory Weblog or try our webinar.

To see a map of the land in danger go to thebigsprawl.ca.

York Area Places the Greenbelt at Danger

Not content material with merely increasing their city boundaries throughout their Municipal Complete Evaluation, York Area has included some harmful modifications to Greenbelt Coverage of their newest official plan. 

The Regional Official Plan Modification 7 (ROPA 7) will redesignate Greenbelt areas from agricultural to rural, opening them as much as new makes use of together with serviced taking part in fields, golf programs, and rural residential, industrial, or industrial makes use of. This shift in classification may put the whole Greenbelt in danger if different municipalities observe go well with! The modifications are so egregious that the Greenbelt Basis issued a uncommon public assertion on municipal coverage

Sprawl MZOs

2021 additionally noticed the COVID-19 pandemic used as cowl for the continued unprecedented flood of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs).  

Whereas a couple of of those MZOs have been arguably respectable (comparable to fast-tracking supportive housing), many have been used to override environmental and public security protections and set up beachheads for environmentally damaging sprawl.  

Greater than 20 further MZOs have been proposed or issued – from Renfrew County to the controversial mega-warehouse in Cambridge Ontario. A latest MZO in Brampton occurred so quick that even company property house owners inside its boundaries have been caught unaware! Worse nonetheless, in Invoice 257, the federal government made MZOs much more highly effective – permitting them to disregard even the fundamental guidelines of fine planning contained within the Provincial Coverage Assertion

Verify the Yours to Defend MZO Map to see in case your favorite forest or wetland was MZO’ed.  

Continued Assaults on Endangered Species

The Crimson-Headed Woodpecker is endangered in Ontario. Picture by James Diedrick by way of Flickr Inventive Commons

Whereas the present authorities has by no means been a buddy to endangered species, 2021 was significantly bleak. The brand new ‘Pay-to-Slay’ fund introduced which species might be stripped of safety and be killed or have their habitat destroyed in alternate for a charge from builders. Ugh. When an unbiased panel of consultants added new species to the species-at-risk record, the federal government delayed protections for 20 threatened and endangered species – together with the Crimson-headed Woodpecker!  

Learn in regards to the delays in defending newly recognized at-risk species right here.  

Learn in regards to the six species designated for Pay-to-Slay right here.

Bradford Bypass (the Holland Marsh Freeway) Exempted from Environmental Evaluation

The provincial authorities is planning to push a sprawl-driving freeway straight by way of the Holland Marsh. Worse nonetheless, they not too long ago handed a legislation exempting the mission from any want for brand new environmental research or assessments – although the present environmental evaluation is from 1997 when Beavis and Butthead was nonetheless releasing new episodes.

Learn the Environmental Registry of Ontario discover right here.

Be taught extra in regards to the Cease the Bradford Bypass Motion right here.

Foot -Dragging on Lake Simcoe

Lake SimcoeRegardless of robust public assist for safeguarding Lake Simcoe, the provincial authorities has been reviewing the safety plan since no less than 2019, with no important progress. Rescue Lake Simcoe is urging the Minister of Atmosphere Conservation and Parks to pay the stability to construct the Holland Marsh Phosphorus Reclamation Centre (which already has federal funding in place)  

As a result of governments haven’t been capable of establish any environmentally-sound method to deal with and get rid of sewage throughout the Lake Simcoe watershed, native Environmental NGOs – and Environmental Defence – referred to as on municipalities and the province to reject any additional settlement space boundary enlargement in Higher York Area, Municipal Complete assessment.  There are additionally important issues in regards to the proposed Higher York Sewage Options plan.  

Observe Rescue Lake Simcoe and the Simcoe Nation Greenbelt Coalition for updates.

Why Burn Much less Fossil Fuel when you’ll be able to Burn Extra?

Regardless of the discuss contemplating a fossil gasoline phase-out, the provincial authorities continues to maneuver ahead with plans to ramp up our reliance on fossil gasoline energy crops. This can be of specific concern to individuals residing close to the Halton Hills Producing Station, the Goreway Energy Station in Brampton and the Portlands Power Centre in East Toronto all of that are more likely to ramp up manufacturing in coming years.

 Learn extra right here.

Shadiest Transfer of 2021? 

One of many shadier strikes of a really shady 2021 was the creation of the parks4burlington.com web site. Nelson Aggregates is trying to increase their quarry.  In the event that they get an enlargement, they’re proposing to donate an empty pit to the town of Burlington AFTER they tear up the countryside. In assist of their proposal, they launched an internet site asking guests to “Ask Council for Extra Park House” – when in truth council was voting on increasing the quarry. 

Try CORE Burlington if you wish to assist struggle again.

Auditor Common’s Experiences

In November 2021, the Auditor Common of Ontario launched 5 stories evaluating the present authorities on environmental points. We weren’t fairly certain whether or not to name this a win or a loss.  Whereas the contents of the stories report many losses for Ontario’s setting – it’s a giant win to see all these failures documented by the federal government itself!

The stories cowl Hazardous Spills, Waste Discount, Species-at-Danger, Reporting on Environmental Points and the federal government’s failure to uphold the Environmental Invoice of Rights.  The Auditor Common additionally launched a separate report on Minister’s Zoning Orders and Land-Use Planning.

Learn the AG’s Abstract.

Learn a blogpost on the Environmental Audits.

Learn a blogpost on the Auditor’s feedback on our local weather progress.

Learn a blogpost on the Land-Use Planning Audit.

And now for the excellent news….

Native Organizing Delivers Massive Wins!

2021 wasn’t all doom and gloom for Ontario’s setting; there have been additionally a number of huge wins and nearly all of them got here because of native organizing by individuals such as you!

MZOs Revoked!

Lower Duffins Creek Wetland in Pickering. Photo by Philip Jessup
Decrease Duffins Creek Wetland in Pickering. Picture by Philip Jessup

In Durham Area, native youth activists and environmental group EANAP teamed up with Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation to construct public opposition to an MZO for an Amazon warehouse within the Decrease Duffins Creek Wetlands. Amazon shortly pulled out of the mission and with authorized assist from Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Ecojustice the primary developer additionally withdrew their request for a allow a couple of months later. WETLAND SAVED!

MZOs for an enormous glass manufacturing facility in each Guelph and Stratford have been revoked even after being issued by the province because of native organizing by GETConcerned, GETConcerned Stratford and Clever Communities Stratford.

Federal Environmental Evaluation for Freeway 413!

Whereas the provincial authorities’s choice to resurrect the 413 zombie freeway was distressing, the loud and ongoing public opposition has been inspiring! After dozens of public deputations and lots of of letters to councillors, many municipal councils alongside the route referred to as on the Federal Authorities for a correct Environmental Evaluation – and the Feds determined to intervene in Might. That introduced planning and development to a halt, however this gradual and shambling freeway may nonetheless lurch again to life!  

In July and November native organizers held rallies and activists additionally organized a motorbike trip alongside the proposed route!  Greater than 100 teams signed on to a full web page advert within the Toronto Star opposing each the 413 and the Bradford Bypass.

New Protected Locations!

It’s necessary to do not forget that pure areas might be protected in many various methods – it doesn’t at all times must be a federal or provincial park. In Might, environmental teams like Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and the Wilderness Committee got here collectively to introduce most people to Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA), FSC Candidate Protected Areas, Provincially-Vital Wetlands and different types of safety with a webinar and on-line Story Map referred to as Your Protected Locations.  

Just some weeks in the past, it was introduced that the Nature Conservancy of Canada had bought an 18,000 acre property on Manitoulin Island with a purpose to defend it in perpetuity.  That’s one of many largest purchases of personal land for conservation functions in many years!

Massive Sprawl Stymied in Hamilton!

Hamilton Skyline. Picture By Nadine Shaabana by way of Unsplash

From an organizing perspective, Hamilton’s struggle towards the massive sprawl was one of the vital spectacular wins of the 12 months!  After months of relentless native organizing, with garden indicators, letters to councillors and savvy use of social media – Hamilton Metropolis Council voted for a new progress plan with ZERO city boundary enlargement

Many municipalities are nonetheless working their method by way of the Municipal Complete Evaluation course of, which the Ontario authorities is utilizing to railroad municipalities and areas to approve future low-density sprawl on farmland and inexperienced areas. If you wish to cease sprawl in your area try Cease Sprawl Hamilton’s organizing ideas.

Internet-Zero 2030?! Wow!

Early in December, Halton Hills grew to become the first Canadian municipality to set a 2030 Internet-Zero goal many years forward of the 2050 targets we’re getting so used to listening to about.  

Wanting Forward to 2022

We realized two issues in 2021:

  1. The present provincial authorities thinks that Ontarians favor highways, sprawl and fossil gasoline energy crops to inexperienced area, endangered species and a steady local weather.
  2. Native organizing works! And it will probably even strain governments and large corporations to step again from initiatives that threaten the setting!

With each provincial and municipal elections developing subsequent 12 months, 2022 goes to be a make-or-break 12 months for Ontario’s setting. Fortunately, the Yours to Defend program has huge plans to attract our native fights collectively right into a single loud name for higher environmental protections!

Mark your calendars for a province extensive Yours to Defend Day of Motion on April 23 and twenty fourth. If these go nicely, we additionally wish to maintain a large Yours to Defend Rally at Queen’s Park – proper on the federal government’s doorstep – in Might.  

If you wish to assist us defend Ontario’s setting in 2022, please sign-up for month-to-month updates on native developments right here.



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