4. July 2012 10:26
July 17th Deadline - Aggregate Resources Act Review
As Ontarians we rely for our health and wealth on many natural resources supplied by our environment and much of this is found in our rural landscapes. This is a legacy of geological, biological and climatic processes at work. Some are renewable, if we steward them, and some simply cannot be replaced. The sources of our food, our lumber, our water and the natural ecosystems that we live in, need to be protected and conserved. These areas also provide the sand, gravel and stone to build our structures and roads. Here lies the conflict – society needs the resources but we destroy productive land and impact watersheds to get them. The province’s land use policies (Provincial Policy Statement) and natural resources regulations including the Aggregate Resources Act reflect this confusion with several varying statements about which values will guide our decisions. On balance our current system favours aggregate extraction and trumps farmland protection. Because aggregate is costly to transport in dollars and energy, there has been strong policy at the provincial level which requires municipalities (esp. in southern Ontario near urban areas) to designate areas in their Official Plans so that aggregate extraction is a permitted use, subject to the regulatory licence requirements of the Aggregate Resources Act.
A number of battles have been and are being fought in the countryside surrounding the granting of licences - from Duntroon near Collingwood; through the “mega-quarry” in north Dufferin; south to Puslinch and Flamborough - the resulting conflicts have been playing out in tribunal boardrooms.
Now that the Province is reviewing the Aggregate Resources Act and the Provincial Policy Statements under the Planning Act, many are arguing that farmland needs better protection as a strategic resource. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) are all making their voices heard (see links below). Have your say too - we encourage rural stakeholders to share their point of view.
Written submissions should be forwarded to the Clerk of the Committee at the following address by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. David Orazietti, MPP, Chair / Tamara Pomanski, Clerk pro tem., Room 1405, Whitney Block, Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
The terms of reference for the review are available on the Legislative Assembly website at: www.ontla.on.ca
Norman Ragetlie, Director, Policy & Stakeholder Engagement
OFA -Standing-Committee-on-General-Government-Aggregate Resources Act.pdf (2.06 mb)
Ontario Farmland Trust - Brief to Standing Committee on General Government regarding Review of the Aggregate Resources Act, May 14, 2012.pdf (156.53 kb)
CFFO Submission to the Standing Committee on General Government re ARA review 2012.pdf (161.58 kb)