The Niagara region's new Official Plan threatens to promote urban sprawl, degrading key habitats for endangered species and impacting the region's thriving agricultural community.
These plans have been made without any scientific due diligence to assess the impact of pushing development outside of urban areas.
Dr. John Bacher recently spoke to the region's Planning and Economic Development Committee to stress three key points.
1. Urban boundary expansions
- All urban expansions would do serious environmental damage. Some proposed developments are on high-value agricultural land.
2. Proposed linear employment lands outside urban boundaries (i.e. lands reserved for business and economic activities)
- This is another way the Plan has attempted to incorporate urban boundary expansions. There are three linear employment lands being suggested. One is on both sides of the Queen Elizabeth Highway. This concrete wall is being proposed through the heart of one of the most significant Carolinian natural habitats through the future Employment Lands designations. A second is roughly along Netherby Road between Welland and the QEW. These developments would negatively impact old growth Black Gum forests in the Waverly Woodlot and the Archery Range in rural Niagara Falls. The language in the plan also encourages urban boundaries expansions in the Employment Land area in the future.
3. Canadian Motor Speedway
- The draft plan currently supports the Canadian Motor Speedway. This development would be built over a spring that feeds into Millers Creek. The speedway would also fragment protected wetlands.
You can watch the full Niagara Region Planning and Economic Development Committee Meeting here.
- John's presentation starts at 1:21.
Dr. John Bacher is an active environmentalist, working primarily on issues involving the protection of the landscape of Southern Ontario. He has extensively covered the ongoing threats posed by urban development to Ontario's Greenbelt, Carolinian forests and other vital natural areas. You can read more from John about these issues here.
Wondering how YOU can help? Let the Niagara region know you don't want urban expansions, by clicking HERE.