June 23th, 2017



1. Great Lakes Campaign: Significant changes needed to tackle Lake Erie’s algal bloom problem

Lake Erie's algal blooms are hurting the lake's ecosystem, Ontario’s economy, and the health of communities that live around it.

An important part of Sierra Club Ontario’s advocacy work is the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes ecosystem, which constitutes the largest body of fresh water in the world. A major threat to the Great Lakes is the eutrophication of Lake Erie leading to algal blooms, and the presence of health-threatening microcystin, especially in the western basin of the lake. Harmful and nuisance algal blooms are negatively impacting Lake Erie’s environment and Ontario’s economy, and present significant risks to human health.

To mitigate this problem, Canada has been working with its partners to develop a Canada-Ontario Action Plan to help reduce the amount of phosphorus – a key factor causing algae – from entering the lake. Back in March 2017, the Governments of Canada and Ontario circulated a joint “Draft Action Plan” -- a discussion document to assist in the engagement of key stakeholders, First Nations and Métis communities, and the public in action plan development -- to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Erie, and achieve their 40 per cent phosphorus reduction target.Read more on Sierra Club Ontario’s website.


2. Greenbelt Campaign: It’s finally here – Greenbelt Plan 2017!

The (Greenbelt Plan's) amendments uphold the Greenbelt's most central legacy: its permanence.


On May 18th Minister Bill Mauro, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, officially presented the new Provincial Greenbelt Legislation.Two years after so many of us wrote submissions or attended Town Hall meetings to discuss the Crombie Report on Greenbelt and Growth Plans for the Greater Golden Horseshoe's Co-ordinated Land Use Planning Review, the results are finally in!

But was it a WIN for environmentalists and the Greenbelt? Or was it a LOSS? Or a bit of both?  Environmental groups are still dissecting the complexity of details to find the answers.  Even then, we won’t be sure until the legislation is gradually turned into implementation and implementation is accompanied by the effective monitoring and enforcement strategies that have been stipulated.   

That being said, the overall results are promising. The general consensus is that the new legislation is an improvement over the old, with greater protections for boundaries, more attention to curbing sprawl and more rigorous environmental assessment required.  Monitoring and enforcement plans are to be designed and followed… Read more on Sierra Club Ontario’s website.



3. BLOG: The case against urban sprawl in Midhurst, Simcoe County

"The Minesing Wetlands is a haven for wildlife in a denuded and biologically sterile environment, at risk of being washed over by shock waves of urban sprawl unleashed by a storm of developers’ greed."

Few Canadians know or appreciate the watershed of Midhurst’s Willow Creek, which while marvelous in itself as a wildlife migration corridor and a template for wise ecological recovery, is even more important for its downstream outlet, the Minesing Wetlands. The Minesing Wetlands provides a sense of the beauty and sacredness of an environment guarded by native peoples since the retreat of glaciers over 10,000 years ago. This wonder, however, is now at risk from the massive urban sprawl blessed by the monstrosity called the Midhurst Secondary Plan. The Willow Creek watershed is on the eve of becoming the focal point for bitter battles over subdivision proposals at the Ontario Municipal Board. (OMB)

The Minesing Wetlands which Willow Creek feeds is Ontario’s Lost World. The famous fictional book and movie, which imagined explorers deep in the Amazon discovering giant species from a distant past, approximates the reality of this 6,000 hectare refuge for native species. It gives a glimpse of what Ontario was like before the ecocidal invasion of what is now our province by Euro-Canadians.

The word Minesing in Ojibway language means island. This illustrates how it is a haven for wildlife in a denuded and biologically sterile environment, at risk of being washed over by shock waves of urban sprawl unleashed by a storm of developers’ greed… Read more on Sierra Club Ontario’s website.


4. Other Items: Join us in our #RunforNature; And we have a new Environmental Outreach Intern!

1. Join us in our #RunforNature, as we participate in the 2017 Scotiabank Charity Challenge!

Do you have a passion for the environment and want to help stop Climate Change? Would you like to be part of something bigger and make an impact in your community? Are you looking to get back in shape and achieve your 2017 fitness goals?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, then come join us as we partake in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as an official charity partner of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge!

Mark the event details in your calendar:

What: 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

[5K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon]

When: Sunday, October 22nd 2017

Where: Downtown Toronto

Find out more about the run on Sierra Club Ontario’s website!


2. A warm welcome to our new Environmental Outreach Intern – Stephanie Hulse!

Stephanie Hulse is a first-year masters of environmental studies candidate at York University. She has a passion for preventing plastic pollution, which has lead her research focus on zero-waste lifestyles and waste management. With a B.A.H. from Queen’s University, a journalism diploma from Algonquin College as well as experience interning for Greenpeace CA and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, Stephanie will be acting as the Environmental Outreach Coordinator here at Sierra Club Ontario. When Stephanie is not thinking about the health impacts of plastics or daydreaming about opening her own zero-waste grocery store, she can be found exploring the great outdoors and planning her next trail run.

Stephanie has recently written an article on National Indigenous Peoples Day, which took place on Wednesday, June 21st .

Read her blog here: Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day: a step in the right direction.

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