- Created on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 19:02
Earthroots is excited to see a new progressive plan for a Markham Foodbelt put forth by Markham Councilors Valerie Burke and Erin Shapero. In response to the extreme pressures of growth in Markham and concerns for the municipalities remaining agricultural land and long term food security, this proposal aims to preserve 2,000 hectares of prime agricultural land by freezing Markham’s current urban boundaries and focusing all future growth within these boundaries. While the benefits and necessity of preserving near-urban agricultural land have been clearly demonstrated in other parts of the world, Ontario is only starting to try and catch up with this progressive practice.
- Created on Friday, 29 January 2010 17:50
A massive proposed development in Fraserville, Peterborough County, has exposed a dangerous loophole in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP); it appears that developments outside of the Moraine’s boundaries can by-pass protection and pipe water from within protected areas of the Moraine to service their water needs. The Fraserville development would involve an expansion to the OLG Slots Casino at Kawartha Downs, 684 residential units, a new golf course with club house and additional residential units, an entertainment complex, hotel, recreation centre, community centre, big box stores, auto-dealerships, and the list goes on.
- Created on Wednesday, 13 January 2010 15:20
An area in Northern Ontario, located in the James Bay Lowlands, has been the centre of media attention and public scrutiny because of the thousands of mining claims that have been staked in the area. The "Ring of Fire" is found within the pristine wilderness of Ontario’s currently industry-free Far North. The area, surrounded by muskeg wetland that comprises one of the largest wetlands in the world, drains half of Canada’s largest rivers and is a massive store-house of carbon dioxide, while providing habitat to a variety of wildlife species.
Despite recent changes to Ontario’s Mining Act and the newly developed Far North Protection Act, both of which require extensive public consultation before development can occur, Earthroots is alarmed that the mining industry may be circumventing these laws. Fears abound that the McGuinty government is viewing the Ring of Fire as a panacea to our economic woes, since the area boasts mineral potential that rivals those found in Sudbury.
- Created on Thursday, 05 November 2009 17:40
Earthroots congratulates the Ontario provincial government on increasing the amount of protection afforded to Algonquin Park, Canada’s oldest and most visited provincial park. On November 2nd, 2009 the government increased the level of protection in the park by more than 50%. Currently logging is illegal in all of Ontario’s 631 protected areas with the exception of Algonquin and for several years, Earthroots has been calling for a ban on logging in the Park. By increasing the total area that is off limits to logging within Algonquin, the Ministry of Natural Resources is showing their commitment to preserving cultural values and is taking a necessary step towards creating more stringent measures to preserve some of the most popular canoe routes in all of Ontario.
- Created on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 13:38
For immediate release: Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Today at Queen's Park, Ontario's Environmental Commissioner (ECO) released his annual 2008-2009 report, "Building Resilience." The report is a critical assessment of the Provincial Government's management of our natural resources, highlighting shortcomings for a diverse spectrum of environmental policy issues. As Ontario's outspoken, non-partisan environmental watchdog, Gord Miller makes a series of urgent suggestions regarding the provincial government's management of our aggregate resources, biofibre, and the overall response to the biodiversity crisis currently unfolding in our province.
The Report delineates the mass extinction taking place on a global level, and highlights Ontario as an example of a biologically rich and vast region at a crossroads. The initial momentum of Ontairo's Biodiversity Strategy, introduced nearly five years ago has quickly died down as "serious shortcomings of the strategy have gone largely unaddressed." The Commissioner also underlined the Environmental Communities' frustration with the ambiguity of the Strategy by highlighting that it does not outline respective responsibilities of Ontario's ministries, or set out timelines to accomplish measurable targets. "Ontario has more species at risk than any other province," notes former Biodiversity Council member and Earthroots campaigner Josh Garfinkel. "We are at a critical juncture where our provincial government can become leaders in conservation, but they must first revise the Biodiversity Strategy."
Citizens from Across Ontario Gather in Temagami's Wilderness to Celebrate the Changing of the Seasons
- Created on Saturday, 19 September 2009 19:21
(Obabika Lake, Temagami). Today a group of 80 people, standing in solidarity for the permanent protection of Temagami's ancient pine forests, gathered in the wilderness to celebrate the fall equinox. The annual event was hosted by First Nations Elder Alex Mathias on his family's traditional land and included a ceremony, a group meal and guided hikes on the old-growth trails.
"The Changing of the Seasons ceremony is about giving thanks for everything the Earth provides. Every year I invite others to join me in recognizing the importance of our ties to the land", explains Mathias. "The ceremonial site is located in a very special place, one of the last stands of ancient red and white pine", Mathias adds.
Temagami is home to half of the world's remaining stands of endangered ancient red and white pine forests, and contains 4,700 kilometers of First Nations canoe routes and trails that have been used in the region for thousands of years.
- Created on Monday, 07 September 2009 07:54
Groups Enraged over MOE Approval of Logging Plan
(Toronto). Ontario's Ministry of Environment (MOE) has failed to modify a 10 year logging plan for Temagami, despite numerous concerns raised by four different environmental and recreational groups about the damaging effects of the plan. Environmental groups from across the province had hoped the MOE would extend an olive branch to the area's forests and ecotourism operators by requiring amendments to the forest management plan.
"The MOE's decision gives carte blanche for the current approach to logging in Temagami, one that prioritizes harvest volume over sustainability," said Mark Kear, Forest Campaigner for Earthroots. "The Ministry of Environment's decision does nothing to alleviate the tension between conservationists, tourism operators and logging companies, but only exacerbates it."
Alarm has been growing amongst Ontario environmental groups about the erosion of the public's ability to affect forest policy. Over the past year the Ministry of Natural Resources has made sweeping changes to Ontario's forestry rules in order streamline the planning process. Such streamlining efforts are increasingly leaving the public out of the loop, making the MOE's oversight role more important than ever before.
Human rights must be the Priority at Grassy Narrows: Social justice groups say province’s efforts to resume clear-cut logging could derail progress in Grassy Narrows
- Created on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 01:00
Public interest organizations say Ontario is treating the people of the Grassy Narrows First Nation as second-class citizens with second-class rights. Grassy Narrows is the site of a seven-year-old blockade against forestry practices that community members say threaten their culture and survival. In May 2008, the community and the province entered into talks over long-term management of the forests in the traditional territory of Grassy Narrows.
There are growing concerns, however, that the province may have already made up its mind to continue large-scale clear-cut logging in the territory, regardless of the consequences for the community. Even while talks are continuing, the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources has brought forward a new logging plan that includes provisions forpotential resumption of large-scale clear cutting on the disputed lands.
In a public statement issued today, 21 organizations concerned with Indigenous peoples’ rights, social justice and environmental protection strongly criticized the government of Ontario for failing to make the rights of the people of Grassy Narrows their first priority.
- Created on Monday, 20 July 2009 20:29
We need you to speak out against a controversial quarry that could threaten vital habitat, wildlife species and groundwater! The deadline for comments is this Thursday, July 23rd.
A proposed granite quarry, if approved, will operate just outside of the boundary of Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Park, Ontario's second largest park south of Algonquin. This park is one of the most diverse and least disturbed natural areas found in Central Ontario, containing more than 50 landform vegetation patterns.
Giofam Investments Inc. is proposing to mine 200,000 tonnes of granite annually, and will require a “Permit to Take Water of 8.1 million litres/day”. The impact that this industrial activity will have on wildlife corridors will be devastating, and this tremendous water taking will have severe consequences on both water quality and quantity in the region.
Our provincial government has made a commitment to improve biodiversity and to protect source water and groundwater; destroying contiguous wetlands and forest habitats that are dependent on groundwater sources contravenes several promises and objectives that have been clearly outlined by the Liberals.
We need your voice to help convince the Ministry of Natural Resources that this quarry license should be denied!
Please see our template letter below. You can copy and paste the template to form your own submission - please change the letter to reflect your own personal views as this will have a greater impact with the decision makers. To read the posting on the EBR or to submit your comments on-line through their website, please click here. Remember that the government, by law, has to consider each comment submitted through the EBR - this is a valuable tool for voicing concerns about environmental values! Take action by this Thursday, July 23rd.
Ministry of Natural Resources
Field Services Division
Peterborough District Office
300 Water Street - Floor 1
PO Box 7000 - South Tower
Phone: (705) 755-3110
Fax: (705) 755-3125
Dear Mr. Cutmore,
Re: EBR Registry Number 010-6875
As a citizen of Ontario, I feel privileged to reside in a province that holds such a diverse and extensive network of parks and conservation reserves, accounting for nearly 10% of the land base. Despite this network of protected areas, our province is still home to roughly 1/3 of the country’s species at risk, and biodiversity loss is taking place at an alarming rate. The significant decline in wildlife habitat as well as the threats to intact wilderness and biodiversity, have meant there is an even greater urgency to enact stronger protection for our protected areas - spaces which are supposed to act as refuges for wildlife, and in particular, for species that are facing extinction.
I am strongly opposed to industrial activities that threaten Ontario's protected areas and do not support the creation of a crushed granite quarry just outside of the boundary of Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Park, Ontario's second largest park south of Algonquin. Allowing a massive mining operation within five hundred metres of a unique and sensitive ecosystem will cause irreparable damage to the scenic beauty, uncontaminated lakes, and the abundance of wildlife that exist within and around its boundaries. This park is one of the most diverse and least disturbed natural areas found in Central Ontario, containing more than 50 landform vegetation patterns.
Quarries and open pit mines are very destructive: all the soil, plants and trees found in the extraction area are removed, the temperature and chemistry of surrounding streams are altered, natural habitat is eradicated. There is a high probability of endangered species and species at risk in this region therefore protecting biodiversity as well as maintaining natural corridors and connectivity is very important. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) should be doing everything in its power to protect all the natural attributes of this area, instead of considering industrial activities that will threaten them.
Giofam Investment Inc.'s proposal calls for mining 200,000 tonnes of granite annually will require a “Permit to Take Water of 8.1 million litres/day”. The impact that this tremendous water taking will have on both water quality and quantity will be devastating. Groundwater is the only source of potable water for all of the homes, neighbouring farms and businesses in the area, making this proposed mining operation a public health risk. Giofam currently plans to monitor wells within a one kilometre radius of the quarry. This means that as few as three properties may have their wells tested annually - this is not adequate. If water quality and quantity are to be sufficiently monitored, the well monitoring needs to be carried out in at least a three kilometre radius.
Water produced from dewatering the open pits will be fed into nearby watercourses, which will then flow into the Cranberry and Head River watersheds. If granted, Giofam's Permit to Take Water will be equivalent to the average consumption of approximately 10,000 households (based on Environment Canada’s published per capita residential consumption in Ontario of 260 litres per day, three persons per household). In addition to the risks of pulling millions of litres of water out of the ground, discharging this amount of water into the Cranberry River poses a huge threat to the vital watershed, as much as doubling the flow rate during low flow periods in the summer.
The new Clean Water Act ensures protection for our drinking water at its primary source and promises to prevent problems before they occur. If something transpires, there is no ‘Plan B’ for our drinking water; protection of our water resources is priority and law; therefore it must take precedence over a proposed quarry.
The impacts on local residents as well as the integrity of farms and surrounding communities cannot be overlooked. Blasting, dust, noise, vibrations, lights, truck traffic, fuelling and maintenance will have a profoundly negative effect on the environment. Furthermore, in the early stages of site development, granite will be moved to an Uxbridge quarry site for crushing into gravel; granite dust contains silica, a designated hazardous material, adding another risk to this already unhealthy and unsustainable operation.
The MNR must stop issuing below-ground water permits to the aggregate industry, and Ontario must reduce its demand for new aggregate. We must not forget why we have provincial parks in the first place - they meet a number of objectives: protection, heritage appreciation, recreation, and tourism. If quarries are permitted right beside our parks, these values will certainly be compromised. An area so important as Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Park should not be classified as “protected” if a massive quarry is allowed on the outskirts of its boundaries, destroying contiguous wetlands and forest habitats.
It is imperative that you deny this quarry licence. Approval of this proposal will critically affect public health and the quality of the natural environment.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this process.
- Created on Thursday, 25 June 2009 14:24
Earthroots is working to convince Vermillion to honour past land-use agreements and provincial legislation by reconsidering its plans for the Solace Wildlands. For the sake of ecosystem integrity, ecotourism operators and the legitimacy of the forest management planning process, we hope they listen.
- Created on Thursday, 25 June 2009 14:10
Forest management plans in Ontario are exempt from the normal environmental assessment process; however, this exemption comes with conditions attached. Earthroots has made the case to the MOE that the 2009-2019 Temagami Plan fails to honour these conditions, and consequently deserves the second, much closer look, that an EA would entail.
- Created on Monday, 08 June 2009 15:53
On June 2nd, the government introduced a bill to enable protection and planning in Ontario’s Far North. The proposed Far North Act will guide the way as the province moves forward into the unchartered territory of co-ordinated land-use planning in Ontario’s Far North. The proposed Act is a good first step on the part of the Ontario government but Earthroots has concerns that there are some critical oversights.
- Created on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:21
Photo: CPAWS Wildlands League / T. Simonett
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has recently released the draft of its Caribou Conservation Plan (CCP), a requirement under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). Earthroots has some major concerns with the province’s Plan. Although the document contains some high-level principles, it is missing essential aspects that are central to caribou conservation in Ontario.
The biggest issue with the draft is that it does not put an end to the single greatest threat to woodland caribou; the expansion of logging into intact habitat. Instead, the CCP has been placed in a forest management planning context that is allowing threats to caribou to be perpetuated. “Scientists have known for years that forestry activities like logging and road building pose direct threats to woodland caribou,” says Carly Armstrong Earthroots Northern Ontario campaigner. “Research has shown that they will not inhabit areas within 13km of roads. Yet, the province’s Plan allows for the continued expansion of roads and cut-blocks into some of the last remaining caribou habitat areas,” Armstrong adds. The draft comes as a major disappointment to Ontario’s environmental community, who have been working closely with the government throughout this process.
- Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit: Cormorant Refuge in the midst of an international slaughter
- Temagami's ancient forests are at risk!
- Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) Update - Individuals and Groups Mobilizing Across the Country
- Government Proposes Sweeping Changes to Forestry Rules
- Lake Superior’s Pristine Coastline in Jeopardy
- Government's Definition of Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Remains Dangerously Ambiguous