Sierra Club Ontario members oppose proposed urban expansions in Niagara

Proposals have been put forward to urbanize vast swaths of land via the Niagara Region’s new Official Plan. These planned urban expansions threaten Canada’s most biologically diverse Carolinian zone. These expasions would impinge on land currently restricted for rural purposes and threaten the habitats of many endangered and declining species.During a recent meeting of the Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, a number speakers spoke to oppose such planned urban boundary land use changes. Speakers highlighted:- The proposed development would lead to the degradation of habitat for key species- The proposed development would come at the expense of farmland and green spaces, impacting the region’s thriving agricultural community- The proposed changes in land use directly conflict with the region’s environmental goals to address climate change projections- The lack of scientific integrity in the environmental impact study process- The potential costs of: the loss of wetlands, the increased flooding for residents, and the reduced carbon storage Proposed developments undermine the need to develop an environmentally responsible plan for the Niagara Region. Natural areas — which are already under stress via climate change — have the ability to mediate the effects of climate change and should be preserved. Building in wetlands would be disastrous for homeowners and for the native species dependent on wetland habitat. Additionally, projected population growth does not appear to support the additional infrastructure proposed. The haste with which these plans have been put forth without sufficient review of the natural heritage features and farmland is concerning. Read more about the potential impacts of the proposed urban expansion here.  Two members of Sierra Club Ontario were present at the meeting to oppose the planned urban expansion —  Dr. John Bacher (Researcher, Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society) and Danny Beaton (Mohawk of the Turtle Clan). Both Dr. Bacher and Mr. Beaton urged councillors to consider the potential impact of urban expansions on local flora and fauna. To watch the presentations of Dr. Bacher and Danny Beaton, click HERE.Let your voice be heard! Provide YOUR feedback on the Niagara Official Plan here.—-To watch the full complement of speakers and their opposition arguments, click HERE.         – Start at 1:08:04 to hear opposition arguments