MISSISSAUGA – After tens of thousands of residents, municipalities and organizations across Ontario called for the provincial government to remove Schedule 6 from Bill 229, the Province is now making Schedule 6 even more damaging.
While some positive changes were made yesterday by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, new clauses were approved that did not have the benefit of review and comment by the many delegations to the Standing Committee speaking to the removal of Schedule 6. The new provision forces conservation authorities to issue permits where a Minister’s Zoning Order has been issued by the Province in support of development, regardless of the impact on woodlots, valley lands and provincially significant wetlands.
“Simply put – this proposed legislation will cause harm. It will increase risk to people, property and infrastructure and threaten environmentally sensitive areas,” said Karen Ras, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) Chair and Regional Councillor for Mississauga Ward 2. “It contradicts recommendations by the Premier’s own Special Flood Advisor regarding our role in land use planning.”
If passed, the legislation will allow developers to by-pass conservation authorities’ well-established watershed policies and science-based regulations by appealing directly to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry to issue permits in place of a conservation authority. These policies and regulations are in place to help steer development to appropriate places where it will not harm the environment or create risks to people and property. This move serves to take science out of the equation, effectively politicizing the permitting process.
“Unconstrained development in wetlands and flood-prone areas can result in costly repairs by municipalities – ultimately paid for by taxpayers,” said Ras. “This legislation removes the checks and balances that ensure the safe development of communities. CVC and our municipalities have called for Schedule 6 to be removed from Bill 229 and we appeal to the province to do the right thing and heed our call. No amount of development and growth is worth this cost.”
CVC is calling on the Province to remove Schedule 6 from the omnibus budget bill 229 so that these significant changes can be properly debated and informed through consultation.
About Credit Valley Conservation
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a local conservation authority established by the Ontario government in 1954 to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed. That watershed is the area of land where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drains (“sheds”) into lands and waters flowing into the Credit River. CVC creates connections between people and nature, knowledge and action. It inspires a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
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