Recent Media Coverage

Raise your voice for our moraine

YorkRegion.com

March 26, 2015

Richmond Hill Liberal


Companies, schools and governments all want to showcase and promote their green environmental efforts. As Earth Hour and Earth Month approach, publicity machines gear up and churn out fervent and well-meaning press releases about protection and conservation efforts.

But for York Region, there’s one longterm environmental project that resonates and hits home more than any other — the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

In February, the Ontario government announced a review of its Greenbelt and Places to Grow plans, along with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Act was supposed to be reviewed 10 years after its creation, which would have been 2012. However, as the provincial Greenbelt Plan includes lands within the moraine and Niagara plans, the decision was made to initiate an unprecedented overall review in 2015 encompassing all these protection plans in the Greater Golden Horseshoe — a huge swath of southern Ontario.

What does that mean for you and your children, living on or near these protected green spaces, which filter our groundwater and provide a welcome respite from concrete and asphalt?

According to organizations such as Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM), Ontario Nature and Earthroots, among others, it means you have a vital stake in this provincial resource and even an obligation to voice your support for its protection.

These grassroots organizations suggest the laws that protect the moraine and other greenspaces in Ontario need to be strengthened and loopholes must be closed.

If you’ve ever wondered how commercial fill can be dumped on moraine lands or aggregate can be extracted from below the surface, you’ll want to raise your voice to ensure protection of the moraine really means it won’t be harmed by these activities.

STORM and other groups also want residents to help advocate for stronger protection of our natural heritage and prime agricultural lands and speak out in favour of a real freeze on urban sprawl.

“Of course there will be others, such as land developers, who will be advocating weakening the current protection in these pieces of legislation,” warns another environmental group, Oak Ridges Friends of the Environment, in its spring newsletter.

“This is why it is very important that the public speak up to encourage the province to maintain and strengthen the current statutes.”

The government does listen when many people speak. There are formal opportunities for input and the more residents who show they care, the more the government and its agencies will know the moraine and other conservation plans need to be renewed and reinvigorated.

As part of the review process, public consultations in the form of regional town hall meetings have been scheduled.

For York Region residents, one such event is set for Monday, April 13 with an open house offered from 6 to 7 p.m. and meeting portion running from 7 to 9 p.m. at Ecole secondaire Catholic Renaissance School, 700 Bloomington Rd. in Aurora.

Ontario Nature, STORM and other organizations have come together to provide information on the moraine and encourage residents you to become involved in the review process. To get the background and find out why the moraine is important, go to: marvellousmoraine.ca/#intro.

Raise your voice at this meeting and through social media and letters to the editor in your local newspaper. Speak up for our moraine and provincial green spaces.

BOTTOM LINE: Your presence and your voice can help persuade the provincial government to keep protecting the moraine.

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