Earthroots' Oak Ridges Moraine Campaign
|The Oak Ridges Moraine: A Natural Place for Everyone to Enjoy|
Too much development on the Oak Ridges Moraine means habitat loss for hundreds of plant and animal species. Even with over four million people living nearby, the Oak Ridges Moraine is still 30 percent forested. There are so few large areas of forest left in southern Ontario that the Moraine is crucial for the survival of many threatened birds. The Moraine also has thousands of wetlands, including unusual kettle lakes and rare kettle bogs with plant species like the rose pogonia orchid that are usually found in northern Ontario. Some drier upland areas have prairie plants like wild lupine and big bluestem grass.
The Oak Ridges Moraine is one of the last continuous corridors of greenspace left in southern Ontario. The Oak ridges trail crosses the length of the Moraine with a link to the Trans Canada trail- a great place to hike and ski that is only an hour's drive from downtown Toronto! We need a clean and green Moraine to save us from sprawling urban development.
The Ontario Municipal Board
The Ontario Municipal Board is an un-elected, un-accountable decision-making body, which is appointed by the Ontario government. It is this body that has the final say on all development proposals in Ontario. Although it is they who will decide the fate of the Oak Ridges Moraine, many municipalities including Richmond Hill have already voted against all of the developer's proposals. Earthroots has found that the provincial Tories received $700,000 in contributions from developers with an interest in the Moraine between 1995 and 1999. There is an obvious concern about a conflict of interest on the government's part.
Although Earthroots was successful in convincing the provincial government into passing legislation that will control new development on the Moraine, all proposals for further development including houses, estate homes and golf courses that were at the OMB before the legislation was enacted are still subject for approval. There may be new development on the Moraine, even on the most protected Core Conservation Areas.
Earthroots, along with, S.T.O.R.M. (Save The Oak Ridges Moraine), The Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Save the Rouge Valley System Inc. lead the way to pressuring the provincial government into enacting the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act. The campaign was strongly supported by The Greater Toronto Services Board (representing all GTA municipalities), the Don Watershed Council, the Waterfront Generation Trust, the Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition, 465 scientists and over 100 citizens groups across southern Ontario.
Public Opinion and the Moraine
In April 2000, Earthroots commissioned Oracle Research to do a survey of the residents on the Moraine. It showed that 89% of resident voters said that they want to see the Moraine protected. As well, 58% of Progressive Conservative voters would be less likely to support the party again should they take a position in favour of development. Earthroots commissioned Oracle Research again to do a survey of residents in Toronto and the GTA. It showed that 76% of 905 area residents and 81% of Toronto residents said that they would like Mike Harris to personally intervene to protect the Moraine.
The Oak Ridges Moraine - Another Water Crisis in the Making?
The Moraine's history and present situation (PDF).
Oak Ridges Moraine: A Spanpshot in Time
Earthroots' polling shows nearly two thirds of Tory voters stating an opinion may change their vote if the government does not act on Moraine protection