facebook link
twitter link
Stop Light Monitor - Green


Have you made your annual contribution? Click the"Make a Commitment"
button below.

Make a Contribution

News Archives


Tuesday, February 28, 2006
First Anniversary of Ontario Greenbelt Plan

Today marks the first Anniversary of the Ontario Greenbelt Plan. One year ago, the Provincial Government announced the final permanent Greenbelt Plan and companion regulations under authority of the then recently passed Greenbelt Act. FORCE continues to applaud the permanent Greenbelt and the specific provisions related to greenfield aggregate development within the Greenbelt. They add significantly to our case against the proposed Lowndes Holdings Corp. proposed quarry development and raised the approvals bar. FORCE will continue to monitor the Greenbelt Plan's implementation and the development of policies and procedures related to it.

Monday, February 27, 2006
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation Releases Grant Program Guidelines

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is open for business. The Foundation which has an initial $25 million endowment has released its grant program guidelines.

Key program areas are:

  1. developing a viable agricultural and viticultural sector,
  2. promoting vibrant rural communities,
  3. protecting, restoring and enhancing the natural environment with an emphasis on integration amongst the program areas.
All applications are encouraged to include public awareness and public engagement activities. Grant Program Guidelines (4 MB).

Monday, February 27, 2006
FORCE submits comments to Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding Planning and Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Reforms (Bill 51)

FORCE submitted comments, on behalf of the community, to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs regarding the land use planning and OMB reforms proposed in Bill 51 - the Planning and Conservation Land Statute Amendment Law Act. In general, FORCE supports the directions contained in the legislation and the proposed companion administrative reforms. The key omission is the lack of provision for intervenor funding to assist community groups to participate before administrative tribunals, such as the OMB. FORCE has called for intervenor funding to be instated. Cover Letter (70 KB) and FORCE submission (176 KB).

Monday, February 27, 2006
Flamborough Springs Permit to Take Water (PTTW) Application Generates Comments

Given the importance of groundwater resources in the area, FORCE submitted comments in a January 15, 2006 letter (99 KB) and a February 27, 2006 letter (88 KB) regarding the Flamborough Springs Permit to Take Water (PTTW) application. We have pointed out that the requested maximum permit amount is much higher than existing takings and higher than what is forecast for the business. This appears to be in conflict with the intent of the regulation to preclude water reservation. Specifically, FORCE has requested that the Director apply the full spectrum of the revised PTTW regulation to the decision making process and that all relevant factors be considered, including the Lowndes Holdings Corp. aggregate development proposal.

MOE January 18, 2006 correspondence (89 KB) outlines the Ministry response to Flamborough Springs regarding the initial application and the public consultation requirement.

The February 24th edition of the Flamborough Review, "Flood of issues surrounds water taking application" (180 KB) documents the range of issues being generated by the application.

Sunday, February 26, 2006
Neptis Foundation releases report on Near Urban Agriculture and How Best to Support It

In January 2006, the Neptis Foundation released a report " Prospects for Agriculture in the Toronto Region: The Farmer Perspective (652 KB)." The report, prepared in August 2005, is based on interviews with 64 farmers in the GTA and provides a farmer's perspective on issues such as the economics of farming and land use preservation.

According to the farmers, the best way to protect farmland is to ensure farmers can make a decent living. Land use policy is not enough on its own. The report identifies a number of economic challenges facing the farming community, such as the cost/price squeeze, foreign market competition, BSE scare, government regulations and policy. The cost/price squeeze is the difference between the cost for farmers growing food and its selling price. This was the most significant concern identified.

Being so close to a large metropolitan area is both a challenge and an opportunity for farmers. There are ongoing urban/rural conflicts with the shared use of roads for their equipment, and neighbours complaining about noise and odours. But there is also a market close by. Farmers running pick-your-own operations, wineries, and market gardens had the best economic outlook, presumably due to the proximity to markets.

The authors state that reports are not enough to gain insights into the agricultural sector; to develop effective policy and programs more knowledge of individual and local farming situations is needed to truly understand what is required to support the viability of agriculture.

Sunday, February 26, 2006
FORCE submits comments to MNR regarding Aggregate Policies in Greenbelt Plan

In January 2006, FORCE submitted comments to MNR regarding two documents:

1. Rehabilitation Requirements for Existing Operations in the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt Plan Area and
2. Establishing the Maximum Disturbed Area for Existing Operations in the Protected Countryside of the Greenbelt Plan Area
(260 KB)

FORCE raised questions regarding the policies and implementation, including roles and responsibilities and the level of detail provided. While these proposed policies would apply to existing operations, it is important to establish transparent and clear criteria before any transferability is imparted to new, greenfield applications such as the Lowndes Holdings Corp. proposal.

Download the full FORCE submission. (110 KB)

Sunday, February 26, 2006
FORCE submits comments to MNR regarding the Updating of Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) Policy and Procedures Manual - Late Posting

In August 2005, FORCE submitted comments to MNR regarding the ARA Policy and Procedures Manual. The Policy and Procedures Manual is an important tool to assist MNR staff in their duty to execute the intent of the ARA. FORCE believes it is important to update the manual to reflect not only the latest statutory changes to the ARA from the late 1990s, but also to reflect the most recent statutory and regulatory changes across government initiatives. FORCE focused its comments in the areas of MNR's role in providing a comprehensive review of aggregate applications, interpreting the ARA and the discretion exercised by staff in the absence of public review, the need to reflect the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2005, the need to involve Ministry of the Environment (MOE) staff up front with respect to surface and ground water analyses and to consider the Permit to Take Water (PTTW) early, and the need to engage other ministries appropriately to fulfill their duties, among other issues. Download the full FORCE submission (107 KB).

Saturday, February 25, 2006
FORCE submits comments to Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal regarding Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Management Plan

FORCE tabled a submission with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal (PIR) regarding the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Management Plan. The Plan is an important first step towards more sustainable urban development patterns in the Hamilton/Halton region.

FORCE's comments build on those made in its September 2004 submission (150 MB) to PIR regarding the draft Plan. We believe that the Plan should incorporate a stronger focus on the completion of an ecologically viable permanent Greenbelt and greenways network in the region. In addition, the protection of agricultural land is limited with its focus on prime and specialty crop areas and lack of attention to near urban agriculture.

FORCE indicated that the Plan appears to place greater emphasis on managing the demand for aggregates than did the draft Plan and than some other recent government discussion papers. We noted that it falls short of the type of comprehensive conservation framework called for by the Environment Commissioner of Ontario in recent annual reports and by the Pembina Institute (Rebalancing the Load - January 2005 - 2.5 MB). The Plan fails to articulate specific strategies to achieve its &wise use& goals and these specific strategies - to reduce demand for aggregate materials and to better balance aggregate extraction with other competing land uses, such as source water and natural heritage protection - are also lacking in corollary government initiatives, such as the draft Provincial Policy Statement. A strong 3Rs conservation framework is provided in the Plan for energy and waste management and FORCE has recommended that something similar be required of aggregates.

Download FORCE's full submission (59 KB) or visit FORCE Government Submissions in the Resource Room.

Saturday, February 25, 2006
FORCE Posts Summary Document of our Community Case as shared with the Combined Aggregate Review Team (CART)

The Combined Aggregate Review Team includes individuals with a broad base of interests, experience and expertise to represent the municipalities, conservation authorities, school boards, and other government agencies involved in the review of the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application and technical studies. This matter is one of critical importance to our communities and we look forward to the thorough review and contribution to be made by CART members. To facilitate their work, FORCE produced and circulated Summaries of FORCE CART Reports Re: Lowndes Holdings Corp. Application, City of Hamilton OPA-04-17 and ZAC-04-89 (256 KB). The document is a compilation of the Executive Summaries from submissions made by FORCE, on behalf of the community, in regards to the land use planning application. CART members were also provided with the full reports and associated graphics on a companion CD. The Summary Document is now posted for community information in the Community Case Overview section.

Friday, February 24, 2006
FORCE Registers Concerns with City of Hamilton regarding Omissions with respect to the Natural Environment Peer Review

On January 20, 2006, FORCE submitted a letter (112 KB) to the City of Hamilton, on behalf of the community, regarding omissions found with respect to the Natural Environment Peer Review. FORCE registered the concerns to ensure timely circulation of materials from the proponent to stakeholders, such as FORCE, and to ensure that all work submitted by the proponent is subject to full peer review.

First, the Peer Review Report circulation package received from the City in December 2005 included a document from the proponent, authored by Stantec Consulting Inc., entitled Proposed Dolostone Quarry, City of Hamilton Environmental Impact Statement Terms of Reference (3.4 MB) dated March 4, 2005, along with a peer review document (114 KB) of same (Dougan & Associates). We highlighted that the original Stantec document had not been circulated to FORCE and the community until December 2005. In subsequent conversations with the City, we understand that, at the time the document was delivered to the City, it was characterized as an annotated table of contents for future work and was viewed as an "in process work product". As such, since it was not a final deliverable, it was not circulated to stakeholders. We accept that explanation but have asked that, in the future, any submissions from the proponent be circulated to stakeholders in a timely manner, particularly when they are being circulated for peer review as this document was.

Second, we registered community concern that the original environmental work, Preliminary Level 2 Natural Environment Report (7.1MB) prepared by Stantec on September 7th, 2004 and submitted by the proponent along with their original application, does not seem to have been peer reviewed. As that is the body of work that has been submitted to support the application, we feel very strongly that it needs to be subject to a full peer review. FORCE has had their team review the documents and the results of that work have been submitted to the City for circulation and consideration. The City should do the same and circulate the findings of that review. FORCE indicated that we consider this omission to be serious and a threat to the integrity of the application review process. We requested that it be rectified as soon as possible.

The City's reply correspondence (50 KB) of January 23, 2006 undertook to continue to provide an open process and to release documents in a timely manner. The "in process work product" explanation noted above was reiterated. City staff also committed to ask the Environment Peer Reviewer to consider the proponent's original Preliminary Level 2 Natural Environment Report in the context of any new supporting information and reports provided.

Friday, February 24, 2006
Peer Review Reports to City of Hamilton Posted on FORCE Website

The Peer Review reports of the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application and companion technical reports, prepared by independent technical experts, for the City of Hamilton have been posted on the FORCE website. The Peer Review reports have been posted for community information and review. The City's independent experts raise many of the same substantive concerns that FORCE has tabled, on behalf of the community, over the past year. There is also a clear theme contained within the comments that the application is incomplete and non-definitive.

Examples include:

Jagger Himms (hydrogeology peer review): States that "There are notable errors and inconsistencies as well as missing information in the key documents reviewed."

Valcoustics (noise and vibrations peer review): More detail is requested about the proposed quarry's operational plan and associated sound emissions. The conclusion that the proposed quarry is viable is challenged in the absence of this information.

IBI (transportation peer review): Finds that "...no definitive conclusions or recommendations are provided" regarding the proposed haul routes, impact of truck traffic, and/or if mitigation is required.

To review the Peer Review documents in full, visit:
Government & Agencies/City of Hamilton/Peer Review Reports - December 2005

Friday, February 24, 2006
Province Expands Greenbelt

The Ontario Government expanded the Greenbelt on February 3, 2006 for the first time since the Greenbelt Plan was released in February 2005 - illustrating its ongoing commitment to take active steps to defend and expand the Greenbelt. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen announced that the Province is permanently protecting sensitive parts of the Rouge River Watershed in Richmond Hill.

"Protecting the Rouge River Watershed is extremely important," said Gerretsen. "We have decided to extend Greenbelt protection to additional parts of major river tributaries in the Rouge River Watershed because it is one of the critical headwater areas in Southern Ontario." The extension protects a key natural area and ensures strong lake to moraine connections.

The government originally provided environmental protection in the Rouge River Watershed through an amendment to the Greenbelt Plan - Transition Regulation (O.Reg. 61/05). This amendment meant that 19,924 acres of the Rouge River watershed was protected under the Greenbelt. This included 425 acres of Rouge River tributaries in Richmond Hill. The extension, announced February 3, 2006, added another 15 hectares.

Friday, February 24, 2006
Province Steps in Taking Action to Protect Greenbelt: City of Vaughn directed to Remove Boyd Park from Pine Valley Transportation Corridor

The Ontario government has stepped in once again - as it did in the case of the Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve - to permanently protect one of the environmental gems of the Greenbelt. Boyd Park, a natural park, which has high biological and habitat values, in the City of Vaughan had been under threat from a proposal to build a four-lane highway right through its ecological heart. This is another positive signal that the Province will be more active in municipal land use planning to defend the Greenbelt and to ensure appropriate development as part of its Places to Grow initiative.

The Ontario government has directed the City of Vaughan to remove the Boyd Conservation Area as a possible route to address transportation problems in the Pine Valley corridor, Environment Minister Laurel Broten announced on February 15, 2006. "We believe that a roadway through the Boyd Conservation Area could have significant environmental impacts," Broten said. "I have amended the environmental assessment work plan to exclude the conservation area as a possible route. There will be no road through Boyd Park." The road would have destroyed a provincially designated ancient Hemlock forest and wetland complex and degraded a major recreation destination. The park is referred to by the Ministry of Natural Resources as the finest forest south of the Oak Ridges Moraine in all of the Greater Toronto Area.

Environmental Defence Canada and Friends of Boyd Park celebrated the end of a long fight to protect the park from the proposed roadway.

Friday, February 24, 2006
Thank You to our Councillors: FORCE Holiday Skate was a Fun, Successful Event

Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) would like to thank Councillors Margaret McCarthy and Dave Braden for once again generously sponsoring the Free Two Hour Family Skate, on behalf of FORCE, on Friday January 6th, 2006. The event was another success, well attended and a fun way to bring the school holiday break to an end. FORCE collected non perishable food items for the Flamborough Food Bank during the event and has received a Thank You letter (233 KB) acknowledging receipt and the generosity of the skate's participants.

Monday, February 13th, 2006
Councillor McCarthy to hold a Public Meeting Regarding Flamboro Spring's Permit to Take Water Application.

Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy is holding a Public Information Meeting at 7:00 pm on Thursday February 16th at the Carlisle Community Centre, 1496 Centre Road to discuss the application from Flamboro Spring for a Permit to Take Water from their existing well located on the 11th Concession. The application requests a significant increase in the maximum volume of water permitted to be taken. As the well is located just a few kilometres west of the proposed Lowndes Holdings Corp. Quarry FORCE is monitoring the situation. FORCE has written to the Ministry of the Environment requesting that the application be given a full and comprehensive review taking into account all of the relevant legislative requirements. ( FORCE letter to the MOE - 99 KB). Further details about the meeting can be found in the Flyer from Councillor's McCarthy's office (70 KB).

Monday, February 6, 2006
City of Hamilton Begins Planning for April 2006 Public Information Meeting Re: Lowndes Holdings Corp. Quarry Proposal

The City of Hamilton is planning a Public Information Meeting for April 2006 to update residents on the Lowndes Holdings Corp. Quarry Proposal and the City's Review Process. This is a normal part of the process. The City will host the meeting which will include presentations by the proponent and FORCE. The meeting will also provide an update on activities since the application was submitted in September 2004. In additon the City will outline what can be expected as next steps.

Some area residents have already been, and others can expect to be, contacted by telephone from City representatives as the City develops its notification list for the meeting. A mail out notice is planned. City staff are in communication with the proponent and with FORCE with respect to the meeting content, participation and logistics.

More details will be provided at www.StopTheQuarry.ca as soon as they become available.

Monday, January 30, 2006
City to hold Public Information Centre on the Carlisle Water System

The City of Hamilton is holding a Public Information Centre on the Carlisle Water System as part of a study being conducted on the Well System Infrastructure. The study will review the wells that make up the water system and consider the options for either using or decommissioning some of those wells.

The Public Information Centre will be held on Wednesday, February 1st, 2006 from 7 to 9pm at the Carlisle Arena upstairs meeting room, 1496 Centre Road. Further details can be found in the flyer (427 KB) from the City of Hamilton.

As the impact from the proposed Lowndes Holdings Corp. Quarry on the Carlisle Municipal Water System is a major concern, FORCE Steering Committee members will be attending and we encourage interested parties to attend as well.

Friday, January 20, 2006
City to hold Public Information Open Houses on draft policies for the Hamilton Official Plan as it relates to the Rural Communities.

The City Hamilton is holding Public Information Open Houses on draft policies for the Hamilton Official Plan as it relates to the rural communities. From the meeting notice (26 KB):

City of Hamilton staff will be holding a series of open houses throughout Rural Hamilton. The open houses are intended to provide residents, businesses and organizations with an opportunity to review and provide input on draft Official Plan policies for the Rural area of the City.

Subjects include:
  • agricultural and rural land use,
  • rural settlement areas,
  • natural heritage system (i.e. wetlands, woodlots, etc.),
  • aggregate resources, and
  • cultural heritage and archaeological resources.
Displays, maps and draft policies will be available for viewing and staff will be on hand to answer questions. A presentation on the material will be made at 6:15 p.m. The open houses focus on city-wide land use information and policy approaches, therefore, ongoing site specific planning applications will not be discussed on these evenings.

The first of these meetings will be held Tuesday January 24th from 6 to 8pm at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, 1624 Centre Road. While these draft policies will not be the policies under consideration when processing the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application, they will set the direction of the City's Official Plan and could influence the eventual outcome of our fight. FORCE Steering Committee members will be attending and we encourage interested parties to attend as well.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
FORCE Submits Expert Critiques of Lowndes Holdings Corp.'s Natural Environment Report to City of Hamilton

On behalf of the community, FORCE recently submitted a Natural Environment Report Critique (620.1 KB) and an Aquatic Biology Report Critique (3.7 MB) to the City of Hamilton for circulation to the Peer Review Team and Combined Agency Review Team (CART). Both expert critiques conclude that the proponent's Preliminary Level 2 Natural Environment report fails to adequately document the natural heritage and hydrologic features, species and functions and aquatic baseline conditions. The material is found to be insufficient in detail, is limited in scope in terms of its various field programs, contains many design and technical errors, lacks comprehensive analysis of environmental impacts, and does not provide meaningful mitigation measures. Both authors find that based on the preliminary nature of the report submitted, the proponent's consultants cannot make any meaningful conclusions with respect to impact, mitigation, nor conclude in favour of the application.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Conservation Halton Approves Strategic Plan

Conservation Halton's Board of Directors approved the new Strategic Plan "Towards a Healthy Watershed" in December 2005. The final plan reflects long term strategic directions and current priorities and is the culmination of an extensive consultation process on the draft plan. FORCE and its supporters participated through the on-line survey component of the public and stakeholder consultation. Of key importance to our communities is the strategic plan's addition of a source water protection plan - to integrate surface and ground water and to ensure protection and enhancement of drinking water.

The final plan is now available for viewing on Conservation Halton's website at www.conservationhalton.on.ca.

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Province Passes Legislation to Uphold Greenbelt Plan and Protect Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve

The Ontario Legislature permanently protected 4,700 acres of agricultural land in Pickering and stood up to protect the integrity of the Greenbelt by passing the Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act on December 15, 2005. Significantly, the legislation was passed with the support of all three parties. Passage of the Act to protect southern Ontario farmland and environmental features shows municipalities that the Province will not support attempts to undermine the Greenbelt and that easements are a valid tool for conservation. The Agricultural Preserve was supposed to be protected by easements adopted by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) at a hearing in May 1999. The Province, Durham Region, City of Pickering and two local citizens' groups were all signatories to the agreement that established the easements. The Act became necessary when the OMB refused to review the City of Pickering's unilateral removal of the easements that were supposed to protect the land "in perpetuity." The Agricultural Preserve is a key component of the recently announced Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt. The Act reinforces the easements and ensures the land is permanently protected for agriculture and conservation.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 - Milton Canadian Champion Article
2005 a successful year in quarry fight

The Family Skate, being held Friday at Carlisle Arena, will mark the end of a busy year for Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment(FORCE) and the group's fight to stop the Lowndes Holdings Corp.'s proposed limestone quarry in Flamborough.

The Family Skate, sponsored by Flamborough Councillors Margaret McCarthy and David Braden, is free of charge and is a chance to unwind after a year of hard work, said Graham Flint, FORCE's chairperson. Read the Full Article (169 KB)

Monday, December 26, 2005 - Flamborough Review Article
Lowndes quarry application headed public meeting in the spring

It may seem quiet at present, but the lull in activity surrounding the Lowndes quarry application is about to end. A status report presented to Hamilton's planning and economic development committee earlier this month revealed that the first phase of independent peer reviews of the applicant's supporting technical reports has been completed. Initial findings will be presented for public review on the city's website next month. Read the Full Article

Monday, December 19th, 2005
Free Holiday Family Skate: Friday January 6th, 2006 from 1-3 pm at Carlisle Arena

Mark your calendars for a fun social event! Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment (FORCE) is pleased to announce a Free Holiday Family Skate, Friday January 6th, 2006 from 1 to 3:00 pm at the Carlisle Arena. Councillors Margaret McCarthy and Dave Braden have generously sponsored a Free Two Hour Family Skate on behalf of FORCE. Please come out and enjoy the skate with your friends and family. It will be a great opportunity to share holiday stories and actively spend time before the kids return to school the following week. The skate is free but in the spirit of the season, FORCE will be collecting non perishable food items for the Flamborough Food Bank during the event. Thanks again to Margaret and Dave for all their support throughout the year and for making this holiday event possible again.

Monday, December 12, 2005
Province Announces Changes to Ontario Municipal Board Role and Mandate

Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, John Gerretsen, announced legislation - the Planning and Conservation Land Statute Law Amendment Act - that would reform Ontario’s land-use planning system and clarify the role of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The initiatives build upon the planning reforms undertaken in 2004/5 with the Strong Communities Act and revisions to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).

The legislation addresses the following key areas:

To learn more, visit http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page200.aspx. The legislation introduced will be available for review in a few days on-line at: www.e-laws.gov.on.ca

The directions outlined sound promising. FORCE will review the legislation introduced and participate, as necessary, in the Ontario Legislature's review of the Bill to seek any improvements needed. In general, we look forward to the legislation's timely passage.

Monday, December 12, 2005
FORCE Submits Community Issues Review Report to City of Hamilton

In the spirit of balancing the proponent's Planning Report and companion technical reports, the Community has undertaken through a series of submissions to document our concerns. Our latest submission to the City of Hamilton, its Peer Review Team, and the Combined Aggregate Review Team (CART) is the Community Issues Review Report(341 KB). The report is an overview of the balance of issues, concerns, gaps/omissions and inconsistencies that were identified as the FORCE Technical Volunteers Committee examined the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application. The report covers topics in the subject areas of haul routes and truck traffic, agriculture, incompatible land use, real estate values and municipal tax base implications, aggregate supply and demand, noise and vibration, pedestrian and vehicular safety, and dust (air particulate) and emissions. This report complements the commissioned reports previously submitted regarding hydrogeology and natural environment.

Thank you to the following volunteers for their efforts on behalf of our community: Corrie Almack, Dan Curran-Blaney, Dr. Cliff Dominy, Gintas Kamaitis (BSc., P.Eng.), Jeff Leader, Greg Pieczonka, Dr. David Rosenbloom, Don Taylor, Len Vanderstar (BSc.F), and Dr. Ellen Wall.

Monday, December 12, 2005
FORCE Releases Provincial Ministry Comments About Lowndes Holdings Corp. Application

The City of Hamilton has provided FORCE with a copy of the Provincial Ministry Comments about the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application. The comments are being posted on the website to keep the community fully informed. The comments are the first set of comments that the City has received from the Province. The process used to develop comments is called the "One Window" process and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) acts as the coordinator because it is ministry which is the direct liaison to municipalities (in this case, to the City of Hamilton) with respect to the land use planning process.

In this particular series of comments, there are a number of references to the Province finding that the application and its reports are preliminary and lacking in sufficient detail to permit comprehensive assessment and decision-making. Some ministries make the statement about not reviewing the material again until the reports are either final or represent the reports required by the Aggregate Resources Act licence approvals process. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs provides a good overview of the applicability of the Provincial Policy Statement sections and the Greenbelt Plan. The majority of feedback is from the Ministry of the Environment MOE) outlining concerns, methodology issues, and further information needed. This is because of the importance of drinking water, groundwater, surface waters, and wetlands. Read the Provincial Ministry Comments (November 2005) (897 KB). On an ongoing basis, please note that this document will be placed in the Government & Agencies section, Province of Ontario subsection.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Staff Information Report Tabled Re: Lowndes Holdings Corp. Application and FORCE Presents at Hamilton Planning & Economic Development Committee Meeting

Planning and Economic Development Staff have tabled an Information Report regarding the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application which was received at the Planning & Economic Development Committee Meeting on December 6, 2005. The information report is a result of FORCE's meeting with City Staff and Councillor Margaret McCarthy in October 2005. The report is a snapshot status update: where the process is and what is expected to happen next. The report does not contain any summary of the Peer Review work, to date, because it is still pending review by CART - the combined agency review team made up of adjacent area municipalities, provincial ministries and other agencies. Nor does the report give any indication of the City's position on the application given the early stage in the process. Read the Hamilton Quarry Update Report (Dec 06) (110 KB). Please note that this document will be found on an ongoing basis in the Government & Agencies section, in the City of Hamilton subsection.

FORCE Chair and Spokesperson, Graham Flint, represented the Community at the Committee Meeting along with some other volunteers. Given the nature of the report, we did not have any issues or concerns with the Information Report itself. Graham emphasized the following basic points in his presentation:

FORCE also informed the Committee of the fact that Lowndes Holdings Corp. had failed to respond to numerous requests to inform the Community about activities occurring on site and to grant permission for FORCE experts to visit the site in order to complete their work. Councillors Brian McHattie and Margaret McCarthy both publicly expressed their disappointment in this situation.

For the first time Lowndes Holdings Corp. lawyer, Allan Leibel, attended the meeting and spoke on the proponent's behalf. Unfortunately, he was not able to comment on the reason FORCE's requests had not been responded to and said he would have to "check with his client".

Monday, December 5, 2005
Province of Ontario Introduces Clean Water Act to Protect Drinking Water

Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten introduced the Ontario Clean Water Act, new legislation designed to protect the natural sources of drinking water and to safeguard human and community health.  This legislation is a significant and welcome development for the protection of drinking water as part of our Community Case in opposition to the Lowndes Holdings Corp. application.  We are very pleased that the legislation is dynamic, directing communities to look at future activity that could threaten drinking water, not just existing operations and activities.  FORCE will review the legislation introduced and participate, as necessary, in the Ontario Legislature's review of the Bill to seek any improvements needed. We look forward to the legislation's timely passage.  In announcing the new law, Broten was quoted as saying, "Everyone has a right to clean water. It is a priceless resource and we all have a responsibility to protect it. To keep our drinking water clean, we need to keep pollution from seeping into our aquifers, streams, lakes and rivers.”

The proposed Clean Water Act:

Communities are also directed to work together across watersheds in full and public consultation to develop and execute plans to protect their drinking water sources. This new approach is based on good science, increased vigilance and the necessary foresight to avoid potential problems, not just deal with immediate ones. 

Municipalities will be given special authority to take action on significant threats to vulnerable drinking water supplies and to develop and implement strategies - like by-laws, education programs, incentives, land use planning initiatives, and partnerships - to manage risks around municipal water supply wells and intakes. They will have the authority to require businesses, farmers and other landowners to take steps to remove significant risks to drinking water. Conservation authorities will coordinate planning across watersheds by supporting local municipalities, gathering information, assessing and ranking threats, consulting, and integrating the municipal strategies into larger watershed plans to protect drinking water.

To learn more visit http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/water/cleanwater/index.php.   The legislation introduced will be available for viewing on-line in a few days at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca

To ensure that communities are able to fully complete these studies and action plans, the Province recently announced an investment of $67.5 million - $51 million over five years for technical studies and $16.5 million for conservation authorities over the next year to build the staff and resource capacity to deliver on this initiative.

The legislation is another part of the Province's response to the Walkerton tragedy.

Friday, December 2, 2005 - Flamborough Review -
December layoffs as Dundas Quarry digs in for slow winter months

The Flamborough Review reported that Lafarge has announced its normal seasonal winter layoffs in Greensville earlier than usual this year, prior to the holiday season. Reporter Diane Cornish noted an e-mail source also indicated the scale of the layoff is much larger than usual and is not following the normal post-holiday phasing which would begin with layoffs of junior employees. Despite industry claims of an immediate and pending aggregate "supply crisis", local and corporate company spokepersons spoke of available inventory on the ground exceeding customer demand. Notably, David Guptill, VP - Human Resources for Lafarge Canada was quoted making the following series of remarks: "...layoffs are, as always, as a result of supply of product, demands of customers, and the highly competitive pricing structure of the Southern Ontario marketplace..." "that means laying people off when the demand for our products decline as they have for the past year." Guptill also described 2003 and 2004 as record breaking years but said that such a level of demand cannot go on forever. Read the full article.


Together We Will Succeed!