The Toronto Star
NEWS, Thursday, August 16, 2001, p. B05
protection called weak
Environmentalists divided on response to Oak Ridges plan
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF
'If you look
at the report, it's glaringly weak. I find it quite strange that
they are placidly giving their quiet support to this advisory
At least one
environmental group says it cannot support a draft protection
plan for the Oak Ridges Moraine without serious revisions, including
a ban on expanded gravel pit mining.
of Earthroots, which was not represented on the 13-member panel
that came up with the draft plan, says it does not offer enough
protection for the moraine. The plan, which was released this
week, will be subjected to public input at a series of open houses
later this month and into September.
government then plans to draft a bill protecting the moraine when
the Legislature resumes this fall.
is probably the one chance we've got to find a solution, to get
a protection plan," Matlow told a news conference yesterday.
to support for the plan from some environmental groups, Matlow
said that "some might want to grab any bone that's thrown
if they feel that they're not going to get anything more from
this government." But he said he views the draft proposal
only as a starting point. "It's a haggling position; we need
to go all the way if we're going to get what we want."
The plan proposes
dividing the entire 195,000 hectares of the moraine into four
types of designated land: natural core areas, the most protected
natural linkages; stretches of land that connect core areas; countryside
areas where some development of golf courses, ski hills and some
residences would be permitted; and settlement areas where subdivisions
can be built to house up to 80,000 in 26,000 dwellings over the
next 20 years.
members are affiliated with environmental groups including the
Save the Oak Ridges Moraine group and the Federation of Ontario
Naturalists and all supported the principles of the draft plan.
environment critic Marilyn Churley said she worries that the Conservative
government may be pitting environmental groups against one another
in an effort divide their opposition when it comes to development
on the moraine.
is that it's more of a divide and conquer that's going on here,"
a lot of respect for the people on the committee but the pressure
is on, people are feeling that they have to compromise to get
something and I understand that pressure but I'm very concerned
about it as well."
Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) said he was baffled by the consensus
that was achieved by the panel, which also included representatives
of the development and aggregate mining industries, as well as
academics. He labelled the plan a "half-measure" at
look at the report, it's glaringly weak," he said. "I
find it quite strange that they are placidly giving their quiet
support to this advisory panel."
include the provision for rural residences in land to be designated
countryside. Colle and Matlow say that opens the door to estate
housing developments for the wealthy, which Colle called a worst-case
scenario when it comes to land use.
there is also a provision in the plan to let municipalities apply
to the province to expand their designated settlement areas for
subdivisions land that would initially be limited to 9 per cent
of the moraine.
is also asking the government to hold more extensive public consultations
than the four open house meetings planned in various communities
on the moraine. Matlow said Toronto should host a session since
the headwaters of the Don and Humber rivers are in the moraine
and ultimately flow into Lake Ontario.