Promoting Watershed Security in Ontario – Water for People and for Nature

Water is Life

The OHI has never previously asked you to contact your MPP, but these are unusual times and we ask you to call or e-mail them now, on Bill 23, as there is no time to waste. We ask you to consider stating the following: “I am deeply concerned that the contents of Bill 23 will not be given the time needed for detailed analysis and informed discussion. Please ensure that the Bill is given significant time for both public consultation and consideration at a Standing Committee”.

Rationale:  Early this week, on October 25, the Ontario government tabled a 175-page omnibus bill – Bill 23, More Homes Build Faster Act (2022) –  to make amendments to ten acts. The amendments address a broad swath of planning and development issues, amends yet again the operations of the Ontario Land Tribunal, and reduces for the 4th or 9th time in just over four years, depending on what you count, how Conservation Authorities protect the health of our watersheds. You can read the Bill here.

Items at risk in the Bill include draining and building on wetlands, removing the conservation of lands and pollution as key CA permit considerations, preventing municipalities from entering into agreements with conservation authorities to review planning applications on their behalf, and to possibly re-purpose conservation lands, often donated to a conservation authority for natural use in perpetuity, to housing.

These are serious issues, requiring detailed analysis and informed discussion. Not just in the Legislature, where closure has already been imposed on second reading on October 27, but at Standing Committee and in public consultations. But the government appears to be steaming toward third reading and passage as soon as possible.

In its haste, it has even launched public messaging that voices of caution are not to be tolerated. That they have gone beyond bashing NIMBY-ism to suggesting that those with concerns about the Housing Action Plan are now embracing BANANA – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.  Let us be clear:  the OHI and most of our sister organizaions are not NIMBY-ists. We do not express concerns about the Housing Action Plan because we have massive holdings near proposed development, but because watercourses and wetlands are part of the global commons of water. Because society needs to protect regional biodiversity and food security. And because it is imperative to build sustainable, low-carbon communities with access to nature in an era of the climate crisis and energy profligate sprawl. Let’s discuss those things. Let’s not push through 175-pages of un-examined, desperate measures.  

Please send a message by telephone or e-mail to your local MPP, whose contact info can be found by entering your postal code at Members | Legislative Assembly of Ontario (ola.org).

As stated above, please consider including the following: “I am deeply concerned that the contents of Bill 23 will not be given the time needed for detailed analysis and informed discussion. Please ensure that the Bill is given significant time for both public consultation and consideration at a Standing Committee”.

Andrew McCammon

More Info:              

 Media Release from Conservation Ontario   2022_CO_Media_Release_Changes_to_CA_Act_Oct_2022_FINAL.pdf (conservationontario.ca)

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