us the money, greenbelt panel told
The Standard (St. Catharines)
Friday, June 11, 2004
says if she loses money growing grapes on her Beamsville farm,
the government shouldn't be allowed to stop her from planting
another type of crop.
But if a greenbelt
plan is adopted, she believes it will do just that by designating
her land for grapes only.
can't make money selling grapes, I should be able to move into
something else," she said.
one of 200 concerned citizens at the CAW Hall Thursday night for
the province's Greenbelt Task Force meeting.
The task force
is gathering public opinion on a proposed greenbelt area in the
Golden Horseshoe. In December, the government introduced Bill
27, the Greenbelt Protection Act, which was the first step towards
protecting agricultural land. It has yet to be passed by the legislature.
Over 30 farmers
and representatives from large agricultural associations, wineries
and environmental groups spoke on the controversial plan and the
task force's discussion paper.
It was the
fifth meeting for the task force, which will wrap up its two months
of sessions at the end of June and send its recommendations to
the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
worry among citizens who spoke during the three-hour session was
that the government will limit their rights by freezing development
on their lands without any compensation plan.
the government wants to take land that is her future and her children's
her family sold their grapes at break even prices. She figures
they'll have to do it again this year and likely next year too.
The prices have gone down 30 per cent since she started 10 years
ago, she said. So even if she got out of the business, anyone
else purchasing the farm would be in the same predicament if required
to produce grapes.
can't make money growing grapes, no one else is going to make
money growing grapes," she said afterwards.
on private land without any benefit was a common complaint.
hard not to become upset and mistrustful," said Doug Whitty,
owner of a farm on Seventh Street in St. Catharines. His experiences
haven't made him confident the provincial government knows what
it's doing. The greenbelt legislation is so poorly written, he
said, that the city interpreted the wording restricting new structures
to mean that he could not improve his roadside produce stand tent.
of the Preservation of Lands Society also told the panel there
has to be compensation for landowners. "We don't just believe
in saving the land, we believe in saving the farmer," she
One of the
few who spoke out in favour of the plan was Melissa Tkachyk of
St. Catharines, a member of Earthroots environmental group. "I
think this plan isn't just about protecting the environment, but
protecting farming," she said.
how many people remember clean waters in Port Dalhousie, adding
she doesn't because that opportunity was taken from her generation.
The same could
happen with farm lands, she warned.
want to be part of the generation that takes those opportunities
away from the next generation."
task force, chaired by Burlington Mayor Rob McIssac, had six of
its members in attendance Thursday, including Inniskillin president
Donald Ziraldo, former Niagara planning and development director
Alan Veale and Niagara farmer Mary Lou Garr.