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 while alien pests such as starlings swarm in and deer are confined to parks where they become the focus of conflicts with park neigbhours, animal activists and native peoples.
Normally it is not easy to get be a serious earth protector. Consider the challenges, as I have, of getting elected to serve on a municipal council. This is truly a formidable task, going door to door and facing hostile audiences, and facing hostile political machines.
Service on municipal councils, despite what you may read in the media, is so important because of the power of zoning. Sometimes, especially during times of rapid growth, municipal politicians feel unhappy at getting elected to provincial politics. That is because they then miss the attention from those concerned if a parcel of land will be zoned agriculture, environmental protection or some urban purpose.
Don’t want to be a municipal councillor? Then where do you appeal zoning decisions? The answer is go to the Ontario Municipal Board.
If there is anything more torture prone than running for municipal council, it has to be fighting an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING ONLINE
John Bacher is working on the Greenbelt Review for the Sierra Club of Canada and the Niagara-based citizens group, the Preservation of Agriculture Lands Society. This is the first in a series on articles on the review. Later articles on the review will deal with wildlife, forests, fruitland , water pollution, the Niagara Escarpment and forests.