NEWS, Thursday, September 27, 2001, p. A21
protection plan draws cautious support
Provision for review worries some observers
and Gail Swainson
review of proposed legislation to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine
will simply delay development, not stop it, critics say.
is one of the recommendations in a final report released yesterday
by a blue ribbon provincial advisory panel on the moraine's future.
is expected to form the basis of provincial law protecting up
to 92 per cent of the environmentally sensitive area from further
review is an invitation for the development industry to buy up
land on the moraine . . . and walk in in 10 years and pave over
the Oak Ridges Moraine. A 10-year freeze is not a permanent freeze,"
said Glenn De Baeremaeker, president of Save the Rouge Valley
that former premier Bill Davis brought in legislation calling
for a greenbelt above Toronto 25 years ago. It was amended time
and again until it virtually disappeared.
is the Parkway Belt today? It does not exist," De Baeremaeker
said. "In a mere 25 years, that beautiful park has been paved
over. In my area, it is now called Markham."
members supporting the report predicted it will have residents
recommendations end up as the foundation of the laws protecting
the moraine, there will be dancing in the streets of Uxbridge
and in communities across the moraine," said Wynn Walters,
of the Citizens Alliance of Uxbridge.
Debbe Crandall, of Save the Oak Ridges Moraine, said the review
included in legislation protecting the Niagara Escarpment has
actually strengthened the law.
some people will say that the plan should never be subject to
a review, that this only opens the door to only negative amendments,"
Crandall said. But "if we look at the Niagara Escarpment
plan . . . during the two five-year review periods, only improvements
have been made to that plan."
the only one of 14 panel members, who represented diverse interests
in the moraine, to show up for the news conference.
development freeze is to be lifted Nov. 17, and Municipal Affairs
Minister Chris Hodgson said yesterday he'd like to have proposed
legislation on the table before that.
I have seen so far is encouraging," Hodgson said, dismissing
criticism of the 10-year review. "I don't even understand
where he (De Baeremaeker) is coming from, because it's 100 per
cent protection of the natural features, and that's permanent."
a 160-kilometre-long ridge stretching across the top of Greater
Toronto, filters rain to feed the headwaters of many rivers.
expressed support. Josh Matlow, of Earthroots, called it "a
small window of opportunity."
appear from these final recommendations that we are on the cusp
of something very good," agreed Gregor Beck, of the Federation
of Ontario Naturalists. "But we do need to wait to see what
the government brings forward."