193 James Street South Hamilton, Ontario L8P 3A8 www.niagaraescarpment.org email@example.com
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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE by Robert Patrick There have been many positive experiences for CONE and its member organizations since our last issue of ON THE EDGE. You will note that we have changed our look with this issue of ON THE EDGE, thanks to Josh Gordon’s creative redesign. We invited member organizations to highlight some of their recent activities in their own words - check out their updates below. We have also updated how you can communicate with CONE. We have a Facebook page and you can follow us on Twitter. We welcome the Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) to CONE. We share many of the same concerns about protecting water in the Niagara Escarpment. On January 18, I made a presentation on the Niagara Escarpment to an American Corps of Volunteers Youth Conference held at a Community Centre in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (with the help of Skype). The conference was to celebrate the start of many events to commemorate 2010 as the UNESCO Year of Diversity and World Biosphere Reserves. 2010 is the 20th Anniversary of the Ontario Section of the Niagara Escarpment receiving the UNESCO World Biosphere Designation. The American Corps of Volunteers leader, Sue Peterson, sent me twenty questions that the youth wanted answers to. They are aiming for the Wisconsin section of the Niagara Escarpment to also be considered for a UNESCO World Biosphere Designation. Many of their questions centred on this goal and the criteria that must be satisfied to obtain a UNESCO World Biosphere designation. They wanted to know what the designation has meant to Ontario residents and to CONE with respect to our continued efforts to protect the Niagara Escarpment from harm. As a result of this communication, I have been invited to present in person at a scientific conference on the Niagara Escarpment being held in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. September 27 to 30, 2010. On March 27, CONE held a Niagara Escarpment Celebration Day to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Ontario portion being designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990. CONE combined this with its Annual General Meeting. Although this was a departure from past practice, we received very positive feedback from those who attended. Children in attendance at this family event were captivated by the Conservation Halton presentation on the Mountsberg raptor program, complete with a Red-Tailed Hawk. There was an arts and crafts room for the children to capture their experiences and other great features of the Parks Canada Hamilton Discovery centre to explore. The adults were treated to a presentation by Dr. Bob Henderson on the rustic and rugged outdoor vacations enjoyed by many Norwegians in Nature First: Outdoor Life the Friluftsliv Way. Bob’s photo presentation was followed by an opportunity to chat
and purchase an autographed copy of his latest book. Many, many thanks to Greer Gordon and family for organizing and helping with so many wonderful activities. Two Niagara Escarpment staff, Karen Carruthers and Matthew Williamson, gave us new insights into the work of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the new enforcement options and challenges faced by Matthew as he encourages those living on the Escarpment to obey the rules expressed in the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act and regulations. Many commented positively on this presentation and the opportunity to learn about the Commission and its new approach to enforcement. CONE elected a new slate of officers and added four new Board Members: Ron Wilkie, Member at Large; Leslie Adams, Protect Our Water & Environmental Resources; Andrea Lossing, Member at Large; and Josh Gordon, Member at Large. Returning Board Members are: Robert Patrick (President), Bruce Peninsula Environment Group; Monte Dennis (Vice President), Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment; John Bacher, Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society; Bob Barnett, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy; and Alex Murray, Grey Association for Better Planning. We are pleased to welcome our new Board Members, who have already made a difference. Ron Wilkie has produced a video titled, Ontario’s Great Wall, which depicts the formation of the Niagara Escarpment. Ron introduced it at our AGM. Monte and I used it during the Eco Festival held at Royal Botanical Gardens, April 19 to 21, where it was viewed by hundreds of grade 5 to grade 8 students over the three days. I used the video a second time as part of a presentation at Envirovision for grade 11 and grade 12 students held on May 4and 5 at McMaster University. My talk at Envirovision was on how youth can use their skills to advocate for environmental protection. I used FOTEK (Friends of the Eramosa Karst) as a positive local example. Monte Dennis has been reaching out to youth with CONE display days at Niagara District Secondary School in Virgil and Robert Bateman Secondary School in Burlington. We reach students with our display at every opportunity. I have been attending the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) planning meetings for the proposed Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Corridor – a proposed new transportation corridor from Guelph to the western part of the GTA, including an Escarpment crossing. Monte has attended the Niagara to GTA Corridor (formerly called the Mid-Peninsula Highway) meetings. One of CONE’s concerns is that railways are a federal responsibility while roads are under provincial jurisdiction. In CONE’s view, MTO does not seem to be considering rail as a viable alternative to roads for movement of freight. MOT has rail on their radar only for passengers (i.e. GO Transit). Monte Dennis and I attended the Hamilton Environmental Award Banquet held at Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre on June 2, 2010 to see FOTEK presented with the Environmental Group of the Year Award. Monte and I also attended the Halton Conservation Environmental Awards on June 3, 2010.
THE LOOK OUT CONE’s Strategic Direction
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT COMMISSION REPORT On January 29, the Niagara Escarpment Hearing Officer upheld the NEC refusal of
CONE was able to retain Sheridan College student Terri Ding to perform a “360 study” on CONE earlier this year. She interviewed dozens of people connected to CONE in various capacities. We learned from her report that CONE members want more communications, more often. Hal Costie, a Centennial College student, completed a communications plan for CONE. Thanks to both Terri and Hal for their fabulous contributions to CONE!
an application for a development permit made by Warren Stewart (H/F/98-99/238).
CONE has teamed up with a member organization, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC), to offer you the opportunity to protect 100 square metres of the Niagara Escarpment in perpetuity through the EBC’s nature reserves system. Contact CONE at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
and all other opponents of this road development!
CONE has a vision for the Niagara Escarpment and we know what we need to do to realize that vision. However, to achieve these goals additional funding is required from you – our supporters.
Patrick presented CONE’s position, which is that the proposed road is not in the
CONE supported the NEC against an appeal by Warren Stewart to build a road extension near Hunter’s Point, Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, through an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) in order to access 78 building lots. This was a great victory for CONE, the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, the NEC
The decision followed a Hearing held in Owen Sound, September 30 and October 1, 2 and 15, 2009 at which I made a presentation. To quote from the report “Mr. public interest. CONE supports the NEC Staff Report findings, that the road cannot be considered “essential” without “a proper analysis of the suitability of the property to accommodate residential development in the various contexts of one dwelling, 13 dwellings or potentially 78 dwellings.” The Niagara Escarpment Commission voted on March 18 to advise both the Town of Niagara- on- the- Lake and the Regional Municipality of Niagara that it supports the Queenston Quarry Reclamation Company initial applications to amend their Official Plans to change the boundary of the Minor Urban Centre of St David’s. The focus of this decision is an area of the Minor Urban Centre approved by the OMB that is less than 12 ha (30 acres). The requested amendment will result in a net reduction to the Minor
If you’re a talented web developer or an outgoing, escarpment enthusiast,
WE COULD USE
YOUR HELP! Please contact CONE today by sending an email to email@example.com for more information on how you could help.
Urban centre of roughly a half acre. The applicant successfully argued that a Regional Official Plan Amendment and/or a Town Official Sub Plan Amendment that reduces the size of a Minor Urban Centre do not require a Niagara Escarpment Plan Amendment. The Niagara Escarpment Commission did not accept the staff report recommendation that this application needed to be addressed through a Niagara Escarpment Plan Amendment during the plan review slated to start in 2015. The commissioners felt the proposal had merit and needed to be allowed to proceed through the municipal Planning Act process. CONE believes the proposal represents the best rehabilitative use of this dormer Queenston Quarry site and is very pleased by the depth of discussion and the decision reached by the Commission.
A HERO AMONG US
Current Challenges Facing the Escarpment
Thank you to Margaret and Lou!
CONE’s Vice President, Monte Dennis, was granted participant status, attended, and requested participant status for CONE, in the James Dick Ontario Municipal Board hearing regarding the proposed Rockfort Quarry in Caledon. Monte’s OMB presentation appears in this issue.
Margaret Cranmer-Bying, a former CONE Board member and an avid supporter of Niagara Escarpment protection, graciously and generously approached CONE at our AGM. She offered to retain Mr. Lou Wise of Aerographic to take new aerial photographs of Mount Nemo for the use of CONE and PERL for the upcoming Nelson Aggregate Quarry Expansion Joint Board Hearings. On April 23, 2010 Lou Wise flew over and around Mount Nemo and took over 40 pictures of the top of Mount Nemo, getting great shots of the existing quarry and the proposed expansion lands from almost every angle. Margaret purchased his services and donated the disc of pictures to CONE and PERL. We thank both Margaret Cranmer-Bying and Lou Wise of Aerographic for obtaining this key evidence for us. They are our 2010 Escarpment heroes.
Monte also presented at the Rockfort Quarry OMB Hearing on Monday April 12, 2010. He indicated that CONE agreed with organizations opposing the application on the basis of the large size of the quarry and the long time line, deep extraction below the water table, a large experimental dam, and the haul routes. Monte left the details of those issues for others to speak to and focused on resource waste. “The highest and best use for limestone is in the manufacturing of cement and the making of concrete. Using limestone as road/rail bed, backfill, bank retention etc. is a waste of a valuable natural resource. For these uses, there are many other sources. These sources would cost a little more for transportation, however cost is relative, and when it is compared to further destruction of the Escarpment, these alternative sources become very inexpensive. These other sources could come from mining slag, Marmora granite boulders removed to gain access to minerals, recycled materials etc. To allow further quarrying of the Escarpment is to condone past wasteful behaviour. I encourage this OMB to deny this application.” CONE was represented at the Dufferin Aggregate Acton Quarry Open House and Community Information Meeting held at the Acton District Secondary School June 1, 2010. The meeting was well attended and the Dufferin staff and consultants were asked focused questions by concerned residents. Robert Patrick participated in an aggregate forum with five other environmental group representatives and six aggregate industry representatives. Over almost a two-year period, we have established a working relationship whereby we developed a joint proposal (see On the Edge, Fall-Winter 2009) and presented it to the Minister of Natural Resources. We are seeking to green the aggregate industry by raising the bar on environmental protection. We are working toward a certification process for greener products and recognition for those in the industry who go the extra distance for the environment.
GET TO KNOW YOUR
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT Did you know that there are over 30 species of orchids living on the Bruce Peninsula? Did you know that there are over 30 species of reptiles and amphibians that live on the escarpment? Did you know that the Niagara Escarpment displays over 100 waterfalls?
REPORTS AND UPDATES from CONE Member Groups MPH under another name is still MPH from Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE) Eight years ago, citizens around the Golden Horseshoe, from all walks of life, formed Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment - COPE, in opposition to the provincial government’s proposal to build a highway around the Golden Horseshoe named Mid Peninsula Highway - MPH. COPE members were concerned about cuts through the Escarpment and continued unsustainable reliance on cars and trucks to move people and goods. Building the new highway encourages this reliance; and, by necessity, MPH would make new cuts through the Escarpment, pave over farms, wetlands and woodlots. COPE, and others, urged government to seek alternatives to roads; to take the opportunity to develop an environmentally sustainable transportation plan for the 21st century. Tax dollars have been spent on consultants for a Niagara-GTA Corridor Planning and E.A. Study. The draft of the Study (Phase One) will be released at Public Information Centre #4 as follows: Thursday, June 17 Royal Canadian Legion, 383 Morningstar Ave., Welland 4:00pm to 8:00pm Upstairs Hall
Monday, June 17 Ancaster Fairgrounds, 630 Trinity Road RR#1, Jerseyville 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Wednesday, June 23 Holiday Inn, 3063 S. Service Rd., Burlington 4:00pm to 8:00pm Halton Hall
A preview has been given to the Citizens Advisory Group, where COPE has a seat. Rail and water transport systems under Federal jurisdiction have been mentioned in the study, but it is meaningless, because without participation of the Federal Government, no initiative can occur. Metrolinx, the major funding dependent transit initiative was embraced; relatively low cost High Occupancy Vehicle lanes and other ideas to alleviate traffic congestion have been put in place. No other new idea was apparent. Am initial statement of “unique approach” for “multi-modal transportation development strategy” and “no pre-defined undertaking” were all but cancelled out, when the report identified the impact to environmentally sensitive areas, but still road widening and/or, building of something recognizably similar to the MPH were deemed necessary. Only the name has changed. Since the study began, global warming, and climate change have became more evident. Global economic turmoil, peak oil, and a disastrous accident in oil drilling have occurred. Environmental science has increasingly attempted to introduce interconnectedness and ecosystem functions into human collective consciousness, by highlighting cost of replacing ecosystem function with man-made prosthesis. Building roads is destructive to ecosystems.
The single vehicle model to move people and goods is energy wasteful, as well as increasing contributions to global warming. Upgrades to transit and rail systems with advanced 21st century technology have been in development in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Meanwhile, is Canada even looking at the “most comprehensive rail vehicles portfolio in the world” offered by Canada’s own Bombardier? Please attend the upcoming Public Information Centre (P.I.C.) nearest you. Join COPE to help urge different levels of government to co-operate on an environmentally sustainable transportation plan for the 21st century.
Conserver Society of Hamilton and District – Peter Wobschall The Pleasant View area in Dundas was part of the OMB prehearings ongoing for the appeals to the City of Hamilton Rural Official Plan (ROP). The Conserver Society has participant status at these prehearings, as it wants to ensure that Pleasant View remains in the Rural Official Plan, not the Urban Official Plan for the City. As a party to the 1995 OMB hearing on Pleasant View, the Conserver Society wants to ensure that Pleasant View’s crucial 850 acres between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment continues to be protected. Besides appealing the ROP, the developers also asked the Province to amend the Parkway Belt West Plan to accommodate development in Pleasant View. In December of 2009, the MMAH Parkway Belt West office sent a letter of refusal to the developers. The developers were given an opportunity to respond to the refusal, which they did in January of 2010. Since then, the matter is before the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Jim Bradley, to respond to the developers. As a result, the OMB decided at the last prehearing in April, to put the Pleasant View issue on hold at the Rural OP OMB prehearings, until a decision is made by Minister Bradley. Any letters in support of continued protection for Pleasant View can be sent to Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, to request that the Honourable Jim Bradley say NO to the proposed amendment to the PBWP; and that he request Minister Jim Bradley to use Bill 212 to transfer Pleasant View to the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area. Letters can also be sent directly to the Minister, following the links below. Ted McMeekin, MPP Constituency Office: 905 690-6552 Queen’s Park Office - 416-326-1600 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact MMAH Minister Jim Bradley: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page350.aspx
REPORTS AND UPDATES continued... from CONE Member Groups Niagara-GTA Corridor Consultation Shows No Need For MPH from Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS) The most recent round of public consultations on the Niagara-GTA corridor shows that, from a purely transportation standpoint, there is no need for the construction of a new expressway in this study area. This is part of an environmental consultation process, which was imposed on the provincial government by the City of Burlington taking the province to court over the scoped Environmental Assessment of the former midpeninsula expressway. The consultation compares road widening, which have lower environmental impacts, with new expressways. The new expressways are only needed to accommodate urban growth strategies for the southern Niagara municipalities, and are not needed for normal transportation requirements. Provincial Government Considers Shrinkage of Area of Natural and Scientific Interest for Fonthill Kame In order to accommodate a proposal for quarry expansion, the provincial government is considering a reduction in the Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) feature around the Fonthill Kame. New quarrying operations on this feature pose a risk to the Fonthill Kame’s role as an important source of ground water to the only cold water streams in Niagara. These support Brook Trout and a variety of threatened wildlife species such as rare mussels. Shrinkage of the ANSI Geological Science feature in order to accommodate a quarry would be a major stain on the province’s record in protecting the Greenbelt. Jet Boat Disrupts Wildlife Habitat on Niagara River High speed jet boats are a major issue of controversy on the Niagara River. One of the major impacts is the disruption of breeding habitats of the Black Crowned Night Heron in trees above the Niagara River in the gorge section. This issue has been subject to extensive environmental litigation and is still unresolved.
Mount Nemo and the Niagara Escarpment from Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL) Soon after the application was made in 2004, a Joint Agency Review Team (JART) of experts from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and local government agencies (Halton Region, City of Burlington and Conservation Halton) was formed to review the quarry application. PERL worked closely with JART during this process. In early 2009 JART issued its report, which clearly determined that the application was in conflict with key environmental and
planning policies, and failed to meet vital requirements for approval. Subsequently, each of the government agencies independently reviewed the data and issued their own reports. These reports all agreed with the JART findings and recommended denial of the application. In the fall of 2009, the City of Burlington, Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted almost unanimously to DENY THE APPLICATION. Nelson Aggregate elected to take the matter to the Joint Board (Ontario Review Board (OMB) and Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT)), which is a quasi-judicial hearing presided over by three hearing officers. Ultimately the decision of whether or not to allow this quarry resides with the Ontario Cabinet. Current status of the hearings process Since December 2008, Nelson Aggregate, the Government Agencies and PERL and other parties and participants have been in the pre-hearing stage, appearing in front of a Joint Board to determine the terms of the actual hearings. It is expected that the actual hearing will start in September 2010. 2010 request to redesignate the Mount Nemo area In the fall of 2009 PERL asked local government agencies to join with us to ask the Ontario Government to re-designate the Mount Nemo area in order to protect it from further quarrying. According to the Niagara Escarpment Plan land designations, the land at risk (full of Provincially Significant Wetlands, Regionally Significant Woodlands, and Species at Risk habitat) should be properly designated as “Escarpment Protected and Escarpment Natural” instead of the decades-old and incorrect “Escarpment Rural” designation. These correct designations would protect the land because mineral extraction is not contemplated in Escarpment Natural and Protected areas. If executed in a timely manner this re-designation would eliminate the need for the extremely expensive (to taxpayers) Joint Board hearings. The City of Burlington, Halton Region and the Niagara Escarpment Commission have all voted to support this and within the past few weeks the request has been made to the Ontario Government to initiate this re-designation. PERL continues to work diligently to protect this environmentally sensitive area from further destruction and to develop a vision for a sustainable future for Mount Nemo and the Niagara Escarpment. We need your support.
REPORTS AND UPDATES continued... from CONE Member Groups FOTEK Update from Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) Brad Gautreau and Rita Giulietti Together with the Hamilton Conservation Foundation and local businesses, members of the Friends of the Eramosa Karst board and supporters participated in the first annual Family Tree Planting Day, during which over 850 trees were planted. Many dedicated people came out for the Saturday event at which at any given time there were over 100 people planting trees. After a fun morning of planting an acre of trees native to the Carolinian forest, many families shared pizza and drinks in the EKCA pavilion area. In addition to the tree planting, more debris was removed from one of the cave entrances. Last year larger boulders were removed from the cave entrance by FOTEK volunteers and the Toronto Caving Club, under the supervision of hydro-geologist Marcus Buck. That initial clean-up resulted in the removal of 6 tons of rocks, dirt and artefacts, mostly by hand. This year, with the larger rocks gone, the natural water flows have been washing away the remaining sediment which was dumped by farmers to try to fill in the sink points. This recent flushing has exposed farm artefacts. Recent findings have dated the artefacts to 1907. With the continued flushing from rain eventually the bottom of the bedrock will be exposed leaving a much larger opening to explore. This flushing of the caves silt and mud is one reason why FOTEK is advocating for the preservation of the Nexus Water Catchments. Changing the natural water flow cycles will have an effect on the caves ability to keep itself from filling up with silt. By replacing the natural storm water management of the karst itself with storm water management ponds proposed by developers, the karst’s ability to flush itself out will be compromised. Members of FOTEK were at Queens Park May 5th for question period, during which both PC Leader Tim Hudak and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller asked the government questions about its position on preserving the land. The answers received were only that studies were being reviewed and that no decision has been made in this regard. In our opinion the situation is simple. The City of Hamilton wants the land protected, the Hamilton Conservation Authority is willing to take
responsibility for it, but the Ontario Realty Corporation wants to develop it. If you are interested in seeing this land become part of the Eramosa Karst Conservation area, send a note to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, encouraging him to make the decision to preserve this land. The next event at the EKCA will be International Trails Day, June 5th. FOTEK will be conducting a hike in the morning, while hydro-geologist Marcus Buck will be conducting a hike in the afternoon. Drop in and have a visit at our display table at the park during Trails Day. Please visit our website at www.friendsoferamosakarst.org for more information about our group and our upcoming events.
UPCOMING CONE EVENTS CONE will be organizing a variety of 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Designation to the Southern Ontario Section of the Niagara Escarpment with partner organizations. This is a way to raise awareness about the Niagara Escarpment all along its length. The first was held in Hamilton at the Parks Canada Discovery Centre in conjunction with our Annual General Meeting.
Our second celebration will be held at the Featherstone Estate Winery, located on the Escarpment in Vineland on Sunday, July 18 at 11:30 a.m. It includes a winery tour, wine tasting, and lunch. The cost is $35.00 for CONE members and $40.00 for non members. Due to the winery’s size, the celebration is limited to the first 25 people who sign on and send in their payment and RSVP to the CONE office. Participants will be sent directions on how to get to the winery.
CONE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS Alpine Club of Canada (Toronto Section)
Beaver Valley Ratepayers Association
Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation
Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory
Bruce Peninsula Environment Group
Bruce Trail Conservancy
Caledon Countryside Alliance Canadian Environmental Law Association
Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment
Conserver Society of Hamilton & District
Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy
Friends Of The Eramosa Karst
Grey Association for Better Planning
The third celebration will be held in conjunction with a member group, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, on Saturday, August 14 at the new Conservancy acquisition, consisting of 39 acres of property on the Bruce Peninsula donated by Mr. Jack Adams. The celebration will take place at 2:00 p.m. at this beautiful part of the Cameron Lake Dunes ANSI, just south of Tobermory. Those wishing to attend will be given instructions on getting to this location. You may wish to make this part of a Niagara Escarpment weekend away!
Halton / North Peel Naturalists’ Club
Our fourth Celebration will be held in conjunction with POWER in the Georgetown area at their youth camp. Stay tuned for more information regarding the date and activities will follow.
Protect Our Water & Environmental Resources www.powerhalton.ca
Hamilton Naturalists’ Club
Nature League Ontario Nature
Owen Sound Field Naturalists
Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society
Protecting Escarpment Rural Land
Saugeen Field Naturalists Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition
South Peel Naturalists Club
Toronto Caving Group Wildlands League
Newsletter of the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment