Ontario Chapter

At Sierra Club Ontario, our work mainly focuses on protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, growing and protecting the Greenbelt, and promoting Green Energy adoption in Ontario. Sierra Club Ontario also works on very local issues, in coordination with smaller communities in Ontario.

Crombie Panel’s ‘De-Freezing’ Proposal Threatens Ontario’s Precious Niagara Escarpment Lands

One of the most effective strengths of the 2005 Greenbelt Plan and Act responsible for its creation was the good impact they had on protecting the Niagara Escarpment from urban sprawl.

In the preceding years, it had become apparent that the biggest glitch in the otherwise strong 1985 Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) was the relative ease with which urban expansions were allowed to take place – even when made the focus of complicated battles before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Mississauga moves to protect lands around Credit River

Author: 
Rachael Williams, The Mississauga News
Source: 
The Mississauga News
Date published: 
Sun, 12/13/2015

Mississauga council has voted unanimously to join the Ontario Greenbelt.

On Dec. 9, City council endorsed a motion to expand the Provincial Greenbelt Plan Area by designating publicly owned lands along the Credit River as Urban River Valley (URV).  This could mean more than 800 acres along the Credit River, would be protected lands, ultimately contributing to a healthier natural environment.

We've Commented on Bill 66- The Proposed Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015

The commenting period for the Proposed Great Lakes Protection Act (GLPA) is now closed but Sierra Club of Canada Foundation made a submission last week during the public hearings before the Standing Committee on General Government. Submission below:

 

Bill 66 (proposed Great Lakes Protection Act)

Submission to the Standing Committee on General Government

23 September 2015

 

Grant Crack, Chair

Standing Committee on General Government

99 Wellesley Street West, Room 1405

Whitney Block, Queen's Park

Toronto, ON

M7A 1A2

 

Sylwia Przezdziecki, Clerk

Tel: 416-325-3515

Fax: 416-325-3505

sprzezdziecki@ola.org

 

Living on tree-lined streets has health benefits, study finds

Author: 
Geoffrey Vendeville Staff Reporter, Pub
Source: 
The Toronto Star
Date published: 
Mon, 07/13/2015
By comparing satellite imagery of Toronto, an inventory of trees on public land and general health surveys, the team, led by University of Chicago psychologist Marc Berman, found that people who live on a tree-lined block are less likely to report conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease or diabetes.

Harper Goes Far Too Slow – Says All But ‘No’ – To Sound Plan For Canada’s Energy Future

Author: 
John Bacher
Source: 
Niagara At Large
Date published: 
Mon, 07/06/2015

An obscure regulation will come into effect this July as a result of an initiative of the Conservative government of Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. It prohibits the construction of any new coal burning electrical plant in Canada and will phase out those currently operating by the year 2061.....

......While provinces have the power to follow Ontario’s lead and shut down coal burning plants, the federal government has the opportunity to offer incentives to do so.

 

To read the entire article click here.

We Marched for Jobs, Justice and the Climate - and made history!

Marchers posing
This past Sunday over 10,000 people (some reports saying closer to 15,000) flooded Toronto to take a stand for climate justice and a green economy. The march began in Queen's Park outside Ontario's legislature and continued loudly down the streets of Toronto to the grounds of Allan Gardens. This rally was the second largest Canadian climate demonstration, the first was held in Quebec earlier this year, and came just days before the Pan American Climate Summit and Economic summits also being held in Toronto.

Claremont residents on two sides of possible development

Author: 
Kristen Calis
Source: 
Pickering News Advertiser
Date published: 
Wed, 06/03/2015

DURHAM -- More than 200 residents in Claremont want to see a piece of the Oak Ridges Moraine remain protected in the hamlet.

The Claremont Conservation Group is not pleased with the City’s recommendation that the Province allow opportunities for minor expansions of hamlets into the Greenbelt or the Oak Ridges Moraine. They believe this change could pave the way for a development on the northeast quadrant of Claremont that’s been discussed for decades, but hasn’t budged due to provincial land use restrictions......

Peter Rodrigues, a Whitevale resident and former councillor, felt recommendations by Ajax, which is also providing comment for the review, were in line with his thoughts.

“I’m mostly concerned with including more land into the Greenbelt, particularly the headwaters of the Carruthers Creek,” said Mr. Rodrigues.

Pollinator Progress at Heart Lake Conservation Area

Earlier this June we partnered with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to host a Pollinator Party at Heart Lake Conservation Area. The weather was great and we were thankful to have the 19 volunteers from Peel region who helped with light gardening and maintenance at the Medicine Wheel Garden and meadow plots.

Before we began work on the gardens the Four Colors Drumming Circle hosted an Aboriginal Drumming Ceremony and storytelling session to welcome spring and educate people on the features of the Medicine Wheel Garden (Gitigaan Mashkiki). It was a really neat experience which engaged everyone and connected us to the work we were about to do.

Leaders Promise a 40% Reduction of Phosphorus in Lake Erie by 2025

 

By: Alyssa Beurling

 

Beginning in the 1960’s as a result of algal blooms and nutrient management issues, Canada and the US began collaborating efforts to reduce the underlying problem - elevated phosphorus concentrations within the Great Lakes (GL), and Lake Erie in particular (Hill, 2015). This soon led to the creation of the federal Clean Water Act and the Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) which set specific phosphorus targets and improved lake conditions into the mid-1990’s (Government of Canada, 2014).

Ontario Passes Regs to Protect Pollinators

 

By Kristina Jackson

 

This month Ontario passed the first North American regulations on neonicotinoid pesticides that are tied to pollinator loss. “Neonics”, as they are often called, are a synthetic pesticide first created in the 1980’s and quickly expanded to become the most common pesticide used on crops worldwide. Neonics mimic naturally occurring insect repellants found in nicotine but the frequency and intensity of current use has been proven to kill bees, butterflies, earthworms and a variety of other insects.

Make Toronto into World's Coolest City: Turn White Belt into Forest

While Toronto may be famous for having green life veins flowing through its heart of forested ravines, the city is surrounded by a vulnerable mass of farmlands leased by developers and the federal government, (as a reserve for the Pickering Airport)  for cash cropping that is termed “the White Belt.”  While some may romantically call these lands a “food belt”, in reality most is used for grains grown for industrial feed stocks including bio-fuels or to dangerously fatten livestock in their last weeks of life for unhealthy  “marbling.”

Grow the Greenbelt - We've Submitted Comments on the 2015 Coordinated Review!

The commenting period for the 2015 Coordinated Review is now closed but Sierra Club of Canada Foundation has made a submission in support of Greenbelt growth and expansion.  Below is a summary of the submission.  

Moratorium on Expansion of Urban Development

At this opportunity to review the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Sierra Club asks the Province to consider a 10-year moratorium on expansion of urban development boundaries, in order to direct growth into increased density and cease the paving over of our fertile agriculture lands and treasured natural areas.

 

Urban River Valley Designation

Grow the Greenbelt: Add Carruthers Headwaters Protection

 

Sierra Club of Canada Foundation is working with Peter Rodrigues (former Pickering Regional Councillor, Ward 3) to protect the Carruthers Creek Headwaters which run through Pickering. The letter below was submitted to Richard Stromberg from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and reflects the work being done to rally support for the protection of the Carruthers Creek Headwaters.

GROW THE GREENBELT IN DURHAM -- Protect Carruthers Creek Headwaters

Heartlake Pollinator Party - June 6, 2015!

Come join us at Heart Lake Conservation Area in Brampton on Saturday, June 6th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m!

Learn about the Conservation Area, pollinator plants, and the Gitigaan Mashkiki Medicine Wheel Garden!

Help remove invasive plant species and plant native wildflowers.  Activities also include a guided nature walk and Aboriginal teachings.

 

For more information or to RSVP please contact our staff at ontariochapter@sierraclub.ca

Digging Into Spring!

This past weekend we had a great time planting trees and shrubs in an area of Erindale Park in Mississauga as a part of our Natural Capital Program. Following a quick planting demonstration by Credit Valley Conservation, around 50 enthusiastic participants worked for over three hours (in glorious sunny weather) to get 250 plants in the ground.

Mohawk Environmentalist Speaks Out For Greenbelt

 

Unusual for the participants in the Ontario government’s 2015 Co-Ordinated Review of the Growth Plan, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan is the perspective of the Mohawk environmentalist, Danny Beaton. (Turtle Clan, Six Nations).

At the Caledon session on March 26th, Beaton took part in a panel with the Sierra Club representative Dan McDermott, Robin Garret, of the Greenbelt Foundation and myself. Here he stressed that all the prime agricultural land in Ontario should be protected from development. This would require a dramatic expansion of the Greenbelt. 

Greenbelt Survives Niagara Meeting

In St. Catharines a meeting was held for the provincial plan review for the Ontario Greenbelt on April 15th, and was attended by about 350 people. This large attendance was quite important, since the meeting attracted around 80 opponents of the Greenbelt. They were led by landowner leader, Austin Kirby, who asked those who shared her perspective to indicate by applause. Her signed briefing note left at one of the tables recommended that they should “gather round one table to gain more attention.”

Abolish White Belt

One of the key weaknesses in the reformed land use planning system in Ontario that was developed around 2005 and is now subject to review through public meetings is the planning black hole known as the “White Belt.” This is an area between the Greenbelt and the edge of the urban area boundaries in Hamilton, Halton Region, Peel, York and Durham Region. On these lands urban boundary expansions can take place through every five years, instead of the ten plus protected through the Greenbelt.

The only Regional government around the Greenbelt not to have a White Belt is Niagara. This situation has arisen since one of the chief objectives for the Greenbelt here is to protect Niagara’s unique tree fruit growing lands.