Sierra Club Blog Posts
By: Alyssa Beurling
Beginning in the 1960’s as a result of algal blooms and nutrient management issues, Canada and the US began collaborating efforts to reduce the underlying problem - elevated phosphorus concentrations within the Great Lakes (GL), and Lake Erie in particular (Hill, 2015). This soon led to the creation of the federal Clean Water Act and the Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) which set specific phosphorus targets and improved lake conditions into the mid-1990’s (Government of Canada, 2014).... Read more »
By Kristina Jackson
This month Ontario passed the first North American regulations on neonicotinoid pesticides that are tied to pollinator loss. “Neonics”, as they are often called, are a synthetic pesticide first created in the 1980’s and quickly expanded to become the most common pesticide used on crops worldwide. Neonics mimic naturally occurring insect repellants found in nicotine but the frequency and intensity of current use has been proven to kill bees, butterflies, earthworms and a variety of other insects.... Read more »
While Toronto may be famous for having green life veins flowing through its heart of forested ravines, the city is surrounded by a vulnerable mass of farmlands leased by developers and the federal government, (as a reserve for the Pickering Airport) for cash cropping that is termed “the White Belt.” While some may romantically call these lands a “food belt”, in reality most is used for grains grown for industrial feed stocks including bio-fuels or to dangerously fatten livestock in their last weeks of life for unhealthy “marbling.”... Read more »
Unusual for the participants in the Ontario government’s 2015 Co-Ordinated Review of the Growth Plan, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan is the perspective of the Mohawk environmentalist, Danny Beaton. (Turtle Clan, Six Nations).
At the Caledon session on March 26th, Beaton took part in a panel with the Sierra Club representative Dan McDermott, Robin Garret, of the Greenbelt Foundation and myself. Here he stressed that all the prime agricultural land in Ontario should be protected from development. This would require a dramatic expansion of the Greenbelt. ... Read more »
In St. Catharines a meeting was held for the provincial plan review for the Ontario Greenbelt on April 15th, and was attended by about 350 people. This large attendance was quite important, since the meeting attracted around 80 opponents of the Greenbelt. They were led by landowner leader, Austin Kirby, who asked those who shared her perspective to indicate by applause. Her signed briefing note left at one of the tables recommended that they should “gather round one table to gain more attention.”... Read more »
One of the key weaknesses in the reformed land use planning system in Ontario that was developed around 2005 and is now subject to review through public meetings is the planning black hole known as the “White Belt.” This is an area between the Greenbelt and the edge of the urban area boundaries in Hamilton, Halton Region, Peel, York and Durham Region. On these lands urban boundary expansions can take place through every five years, instead of the ten plus protected through the Greenbelt.
The only Regional government around the Greenbelt not to have a White Belt is Niagara. This situation has arisen since one of the chief objectives for the Greenbelt here is to protect Niagara’s unique tree fruit growing lands.... Read more »
Official Submission to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR):
Sierra Club Ontario Chapter and the SCCF Great Lakes Committee support the GL Protection Act [GLPA] because the proposed legislation creates significant new legal and policy tools to protect Ontario’s portion of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. This Act is timely because the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem shows signs of deterioration with particular reference to persistent chemicals, habitat and wetland loss and increasing nutrient load. The proposed Great Lakes Protection Act represents a positive step, but like all enabling legislation it requires adequate funding support and thorough, transparent evaluation of its effectiveness through regular review.... Read more »
On March 23, 2015 the Vice-Chair of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), Susan de Aveller Schiller issued a historic ruling. By her denial of Amendment 106 of the Niagara Falls Official Plan, it rescued what the Sierra Club of Ontario has termed “the Green Life Line”. This is a narrow green corridor between the northern and southern parts of the eastern edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
There is only a thin green lifeline of farmland and forests between the Welland Canal and the Niagara River south of the Niagara Escarpment. This lifeline is only 1.7 kilometres in width. It stretches from the forested buffer of a landfill/quarry and the Queen Elizabeth Expressway. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Natural Heritage Guidelines, this is the bare minimum for a wildlife corridor, using the findings of the respected ecologist Reid Noss.... Read more »
Urban Sprawl Keeps Killing Off What Is Left Of Niagara’s Wildlife – Get Engaged In Ontario’s Greenbelt ReviewSubmitted by Anonymous on Tue, 2015-03-24 13:25
Written in Niagara at Large, this piece by John Bacher highlights the detrimental effects of urban sprawl on wildlife and ecosystems in Niagara, such as habitat fragmentation and genetic uniformity. The article also serves as a platform to urge Ontario residents, specifically around Lake Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe, to engage in the 2015 Greenbelt Review and help prevent forms of urbanization which are fatal to wildlife. Read article here.
Come to the Town Hall nearest you. Bring your friends. Air your views. Your voice is important!... Read more »