- Created on Thursday, 04 September 2008 05:04
The old-growth forests of northern Ontario's Temagami region may fall victim to widespread clear-cutting if an Ontario government plan passes unchecked, say outraged environmental and tourism groups.
A draft forestry management plan for the next decade, released yesterday by the Ministry of Natural Resources, could also reduce the buffer zone around canoe routes and historical portage trails that make Temagami a sought-after destination, two environmental groups said.
"It would devastate the area in terms of recreation potential for at least the next 50 years," said Robert Olajos, spokesperson for Friends of Temagami and a local resident.
Especially at risk are old-growth forests – of white and red pine – that surround native spiritual sites, areas generally left untouched by forestry companies, says Mike McIntosh, spokesperson for Toronto-based Earthroots, an organization focused on the protection of Ontario wilderness and wildlife.
McIntosh said ministry documents show they are considering a massive increase in clear-cutting of old forests – up to 3,000 hectares in some places. Government guidelines have limited the majority of the cuts to 260 hectares. "These are bigger than the past plans and that is what has got so many residents upset," said McIntosh.
- Created on Wednesday, 06 August 2008 09:51
Due to the growing popularity of golf, a number of courses have sprouted up across Southern Ontario over the past few decades. These courses are now speckled across Ontario’s Greenbelt and sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine, areas the province has finally agreed to protect. While golf courses may have a façade of ‘greenness’ due to their appearance, the reality is that maintaining unnaturally-short, perfect green grass on such large areas requires staggering amounts of groundwater, alongside a slough of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
As part of a coalition of conservation groups, concerned citizens, and municipal leaders that pushed for the creation of Ontario’s Greenbelt and protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine, Earthroots is extremely concerned about the environmental impacts that golf courses are having on these allegedly ‘protected’ areas. Golf courses are allowed on the vast majority of the Greenbelt, including a large portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Due to our concerns, Earthroots has formed a partnership with Ecojustice, formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund, to begin researching the actual impacts golf courses are having on these sensitive areas. Unfortunately, because Ontario golf courses are only monitored through self-reporting and evaluation, it is extremely difficult to find any information regarding actual water takings, pesticide and other chemical use, or the environmental impacts of these activities.
- Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 06:53
Urban Affairs Reporter
The Toronto Star
Ontario's environment ministry is being slammed in a new report for allowing dozens of golf courses on the protected Oak Ridges Moraine to draw billions of litres of water a year with little or no oversight.
The report, being jointly released today by the Earthroots and Ecojustice environmental groups, contends the province has not done a proper study of the cumulative impact on the moraine of golf courses and other large water users.
The moraine is the headwaters region for 65 streams flowing into lakes Simcoe, Scugog and Ontario, and the source of much of the region's drinking water.
Earthroots campaigner Josh Garfinkel says their research shows the province doesn't have accurate information on where golf courses are drawing their water from – an important issue because of a history of water shortages and declining groundwater levels in the Aurora-Newmarket area.
"What we need to do is have a better reporting method and monitoring of how much water is being taken and better enforcement of the laws and polices we have," said Hugh Wilkins, a lawyer for Ecojustice. "The government has a system to regulate, but it's not being properly implemented.
- Created on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 18:00
TORONTO – An investigative report was released today highlighting the toll golf courses are taking on Ontario’s water resources. A joint report by Earthroots and Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund), Ontario’s Water Hazard reveals that golf courses located within environmentally sensitive watersheds are taking billions of litres of water each year and that there are serious inadequacies in how the Ontario government manages water taking permits.
“There are serious problems with how the province allocates water taking permits,” said Hugh Wilkins, staff lawyer with Ecojustice. “Our investigation has revealed that inadequate reporting methods and regulatory lapses have allowed some courses to continue operating with an expired water taking permit for as long as 17 years.”
The report specifically investigated provincial Permits to Take Water given to nine golf courses in the Aurora and Newmarket area, north of Toronto on the Oak Ridges Moraine. The analysis presents an unsettling picture of how much of the province’s water resources are being allocated for the use of golf courses.
“Ontarians would be shocked to learn that these 9 golf courses alone have been allocated more than 3 billion litres of water each year,” said Josh Garfinkel, campaigner for Earthroots. “This is enough to supply all annual water needs for a community of nearly 25,000 people.”
- Created on Wednesday, 16 July 2008 18:00
Proposed Development in Aurora Threatens Integrity of Oak Ridges Moraine Protection
The Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act (ORMCA) and the Greenbelt Act came to fruition after years of steadfast lobbying from determined environmentalists, concerned citizens, and members of municipal government. Both the ORMCA and the Greenbelt Act are highly lauded pieces of legislation that symbolize important strides in the right direction by affording more protection of valuable greenspace.
The Ontario Provincial Government has received acclaim for their initiatives to tackle the serious issue of urban sprawl in Southern Ontario. The government has done an admirable job of promoting the Greenbelt by putting up signs along the highway which inform drivers when they are crossing into the boundaries of the Belt. They have also produced informative guides illustrating the importance of supporting local farmers and the diverse range of food options the Greenbelt provides. However, now that a couple of years have passed and the celebrations have died down, what is actually happening on the ground?
- Created on Monday, 14 July 2008 04:46
Area One-And-A-Half Times The Size Of The Maritimes Set Aside For Permanent Protection
Ontario will protect at least 225,000 square kilometres of the Far North Boreal region under its Far North Planning initiative.
Scientists, First Nation and Métis communities will collaborate to map and permanently protect an interconnected network of conservation lands across the Far North. The McGuinty government will work with all northern communities and resource industries to create a broad plan for sustainable development.
As well, local plans will be developed in agreement with First Nations. And new mining development in the Far North would require early consultation and accommodation with local Aboriginal communities.
Ontario's Northern Boreal region is one of the last truly wild spaces on the planet. It is home to over 200 sensitive species of animals — such as polar bears, wolverines, and caribou — many of which are threatened or endangered. Preserving these spaces will help ensure Ontario's biodiversity.
Permanently protecting these lands will also help a world wrestling with the effects of climate change, as they are a globally significant carbon sink. Protecting this region is a key part of the Ontario government's plan to fight climate change.