Keeping new mines & roads OFF the Escarpment
Watershed Trust supports the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s ban on future extraction
Dec 4, 2014
Collingwood, ON – The Niagara Escarpment running along the west shore of Georgian Bay is a unique landscape as well as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Biosphere. Since it is a sensitive ecological area, land use on the Escarpment is restricted and subject to the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act (NEPDA).
This fall the Niagara Escarpment Commission made a ground-breaking decision to ban future aggregate mining on the Escarpment. It has found that quarrying is incompatible with the goals of the NEPDA and that it has, over the years, caused immense environmental degradation to this unique landscape.
On November 23rd 2014 the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust took a strong stand in defending the ecological integrity of the Niagara Escarpment. The local environmental organization publicly challenged the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) and the Township of Clearview to respect the original principles of the 1973 Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, which clearly state that the unique landscape of the Escarpment shall be sustained as a continuous natural environment.
The Watershed Trust letter of November 23rd to The Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, indicates our strong support for the of the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s decision. The Watershed Trust has also asked other environmental NGOs for their support, given the fact that the powerful aggregate industry is actively lobbying Queen’s Park to reverse this ban on new mining licenses in Escarpment areas.
On a related issue, the Watershed Trust has formally opposed an application by the Township of Clearview to transform Sideroad 26/27 into an all season arterial highway. This new road would carry upwards of 500 vehicles per day in an east-west direction—traffic that would cut across Escarpment lands designated Natural Areas (the most protected category).
The organization’s detailed report, submitted to the Thornbury office of the NEC, prepared by Watershed Trust members Don Avery and George Powell, demonstrates serious flaws with the Township of Clearview submission. These include serious design and engineering problems, and the likelihood that road construction in this sensitive landscape would cause serious environmental degradation.
“There is ample evidence that poorly planned and unnecessary roads on the Niagara Escarpment have already caused considerable ecological damage,” says Don Avery. “Such roads also destroy and fragment wildlife habitat. Hopefully SR 26/26 will not be part of this negative legacy.”
About The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation (Watershed Trust), Ontario’s first watershed trust, was founded in 1994. During the past 20 years, the Watershed Trust has dedicated itself to the task of protecting the Silver Creek and its Wetland, one of the region's most valuable natural features. The Silver Creek Watershed offers $10.5 million worth of non-market ecological services to the province each year.
The mandate of the Watershed Trust is to “develop awareness and promote partnerships that are required in order to successfully implement watershed planning in the Blue Mountain watersheds”.
The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization supported by donations and fundraising. The organization exists in order to raise awareness of and protect watercourses in the Collingwood/Blue Mountains area including Silver, Townline, Batteaux and Black Ash Creeks; the Beaver and Pretty Rivers; and Indian Brook.
For specific media inquiries, please contact: Carl Michener, Outwrite Communications, 416 476 7484.
To reach the Watershed Trust, please contact Norman Wingrove, President, 705 445 0357 or visit watershedtrust.ca for further details.
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