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.

Positive Caledon Review Follow-up

 

Below is a cheery update following the Caledon Review meeting last Thursday night on March 26th. 

 

"Hello Sierra friends and supporters,

The Greenbelt Review event on Thursday night, March 26th, in Caledon was crowded, maybe 300 there, with many provincial representatives, councillors, and also members of the Advisory Panel that will process the information from all 16 town Halls across the Golden Horseshoe. 

We sat at tables of 10, debating 6 topics - protecting land - creating jobs - liveable communities - climate change - moving people - and realigning the plans. Debates were lively and interesting, and support for strengthening and realigning Greenbelt legislation was overwhelming.

Sierra Club Helps Rescue Green Life Line

 

On March 23, 2015 the Vice-Chair of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), Susan de Aveller Schiller issued a historic ruling. By her denial of Amendment 106 of the Niagara Falls Official Plan, it rescued what the Sierra Club of Ontario has termed “the Green Life Line”. This is a narrow green corridor between the northern and southern parts of the eastern edge of the Niagara Escarpment.

There is only a thin green lifeline of farmland and forests between the Welland Canal and the Niagara River south of the Niagara Escarpment. This lifeline is only 1.7 kilometres in width. It stretches from the forested buffer of a landfill/quarry and the Queen Elizabeth Expressway. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Natural Heritage Guidelines, this is the bare minimum for a wildlife corridor, using the findings of the respected ecologist Reid Noss.

Urban Sprawl Keeps Killing Off What Is Left Of Niagara’s Wildlife – Get Engaged In Ontario’s Greenbelt Review

Written in Niagara at Large, this piece by John Bacher highlights the detrimental effects of urban sprawl on wildlife and ecosystems in Niagara, such as habitat fragmentation and genetic uniformity. The article also serves as a platform to urge Ontario residents, specifically around Lake Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe, to engage in the 2015 Greenbelt Review and help prevent forms of urbanization which are fatal to wildlife. Read article here.

 

Come to the Town Hall nearest you. Bring your friends.  Air your views. Your voice is important!

Outdated Planning Studies Continue to Threaten What is Left of Niagara, Ontario's Natural Areas

Written in Niagara At Large, Sierra Club’s John Bacher talks about how outdated planning studies are guiding development in Niagara Region and the significance of updating these plans to ensure protection of important wildlife and biodiversity in these areas.  Read the article here.

Prophetic Voice of Dr. Mike Carr Should Give Guidance in Greenbelt Review

By John Bacher

Photo: Urban Sprawl on Oak Ridges Moraine threatens health of Lake Ontario. By: Mary Lou Bacher

The province of Ontario is engaged in what is termed a decade long review of the Greenbelt Plan and its complimentary legislation, Places to Grow. (the latter is intended to provide higher densities so that sprawl does not jam up against urban boundaries). A public meeting on the review, appropriately enough in a location accessible to cyclists, walkers and transit, is being held on March 30, from 6 to 9pm at the central Yonge Street Toronto Public Library.

The recent death of a prophetic voice of concern for the earth, Dr. Mike Carr, should give some guidance to the deliberations of the public. It is to be fervently hoped that as many people cram into the Toronto Reference Library to give voice to concerns for the fate of the planet as occupied St. James Cathedral square.

If You Care About Protecting Green Lands, Be There At Upcoming Public Consultation Sessions On Greenbelt Protection In Niagara

Author: 
Dr John Bacher
Source: 
Niagara At Large
Date published: 
Fri, 03/06/2015

Many people care for our wounded earth here in the Niagara Region, but frequently despair about what can be done to preserve and protect it.

Farmlands are gobbled up, forests are slashed and streams are entombed in cement. Fish, frogs and turtles lose their homes with the waters. Native bird species vanish...

Biodiversity Benefits Human Health

With the link between biodiversity and human health strongly documented it is welcomed that an extensive and complex report, prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), is highlighting the need for sustainable development policy to reflect this relationship.

The full report can be found here: http://www.cbd.int/en/health/stateofknowledge

Natural Capital Events in Peel

As a part of our Natural Capital Campaign, Sierra Club has also been active in Peel Region!  There will be a couple of events offered in Peel, after receiving funding from TD- Friends of the Environment  and Community Foundation Mississauga Grants.

April 25th – One Million Trees Celebration and Earth Market

Hosted by the City of Mississauga, we will have volunteers at the morning tree planting and a table at the Earth Market. Come out and visit us to say Hi! There will be information booths, vendors, live music, prizes, a food truck, kids’ activities and workshops.

Spring Activities in Ajax

Last year with funding from RBC's Blue Water Grants, Sierra Club Ontario joined Town of Ajax, and Toronto Regional Conservation Authority to remove stormwater outflow pipes along Ajax’s beaches and replace them with bioswales to help improve water quality. Bioswales are human-created wetland features which slow the flow of stormwater, allowing nutrients and contaminants to be absorbed and filtered by the plants and soil, before the water reaches the beaches.

Last spring we had a successful tree planting at the Paradise Beach bioswale, and will be hosting another Tree planting and additional workshops and events this spring. List of events and volunteer opportunities below:

March 4th – Annual Waterfront Open House

Ontario’s Greenbelt Through Niagara And Beyond – As Controversial As It May Be To Some Farmers and Land Developers – Must Be Expanded

Author: 
John Bacher
Source: 
Niagara At Large
Date published: 
Thu, 01/15/2015

In the 2015 Greenbelt Review one of the most important objectives should be to expand the Greenbelt on lands within the watershed based borders of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA.)

These lands are the agricultural and environmental protection -zoned lands within the southern part of the City of Hamilton, the western edge of the County of Haldimand and the entire Niagara Region. This area is the southern edge of Ontario’s Greenbelt.

Greenbelt review chance to include Lake Gibson/Moodie lands: report

Author: 
Paul Forsyth
Source: 
Niagara This Week
Date published: 
Fri, 11/21/2014

THOROLD — The looming 10-year review of Ontario’s Greenbelt is an opportunity to try to have sensitive lands in the area of Lake Gibson and Lake Moodie in Thorold included into the plan, Thorold politicians have heard in a new report.

The province introduced the plan in 2005 with the goal of permanently protecting more than 1.8 million acres of agricultural land, environmentally sensitive land and ecological features across much of the Golden Horseshoe area, where there are huge development pressures as the population in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond continues to swell.

Credit River Trail from Mississauga to Caledon -- it is possible!

At our next Sierra Peel Group meeting guest speaker Susan Robertson of The Credit Valley Heritage Society will tell us about the proposal for a continuous trail along the Credit River from Mississauga to Caledon. There are some beautiful lengths of trail along the Credit and many people are working to connect them. According to Credit Valley Conservation, "Trails in the Credit Valley Watershed cover a wide variety of geographical features, including the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment, providing picturesque settings for a leisurely stroll or a challenging, rugged hike." The CVC website has a great page organizing maps of the trails and what to expect on them: http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/enjoy-the-outdoors/activities/trails/. Come learn more about the plans to make these trails contiguous, more accessible and enjoyable for all.

What’s In Your Water?

By Alyssa Beurling

The Town of Ajax sits along seven kilometres of beautiful and uninterrupted shoreline along the northern side of Lake Ontario, and for over 50 years now the Town’s Council has focused on creating an open, swimmable, green and accessible waterfront for residents. Although drastic improvements have been made the lakeshore is now experiencing nuisance algal blooms, and a recent study indicates effluent from the nearby Duffins Creek Wastewater Pollution Treatment Plant (DCWPTP) in Pickering is to blame.

Sierra Club Works to Save Irish Grove Forest

By Dr. John Bacher

A new threat to the environment and the future of the Greenbelt on the eve of its 2015 Review has emerged in Niagara. It is a proposal to extend through the Greenbelt in Grimsby,  a Niagara Regional Road, Livingston Avenue (Niagara Regional Road, 512)  in the middle of the old growth Irish Grove Forest.

The Irish Grove Forest is a 26 acre forest which has never been farmed. It contains huge Red and White Oaks that have been estimated by experts to be 450 years old. It also contains towering super-story White Pines of a hundred to 150 years in age. Most of the trees in this climax Carolinian forest are climax mature  Sugar Maples and Shagbark Hickories which are regenerating well.

More Mississauga Riparian Restoration Opportunities: Oct 2014

ACER (Association for Canadian Educational Resources) has a number of programs but one very special one is their use of citizen scientists to collect climate change data. This year ACER is planting a number of sites to restore forests around Lake Ontario and is seeking volunteers to plant and help with monitoring of trees. Their Riparian Rangers program.

As a volunteer for Riparian Rangers Mississauga you will gain hands-on knowledge concerning the restoration and monitoring of riparian ecosystems. Specifically, volunteers will clean the sites so they are free from litter, identify and remove invasive species, as well as measure and monitor 10% of each tree species that has been planted in terms of growth and health.

Volunteers will be needed for two restoration sites: