What's Up Neighbour?

From: "Bonnie Littley"
To: "Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition"
Subject: Fw: What's Up Neighbour?
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 08:29:08 -0500

Greetings All,

Welcome to the 2nd email edition of What's Up Neighbour? Watch for our printed version coming to your door soon! In this newsletter, and those to follow, we will be discussing current events that affect us the most - LOCAL ISSUES.

The Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition is a group of many individual citizens, resident & environmental groups advocating sustainable, eco-based urban planning & preservation of farmland for present & future generations. To achieve this, we keep our ears open to the community, educate & spread awareness on the path to a economically sustainable future. WE GET POLITICAL because that's how the decisions get made for us - the public, the taxpayers.
We'll have "Call to Action" items where community involvement is vital, get involved - an occasional city council meeting or call us to volunteer. We want to hear from you. 
We publish a commentary from the community in our "The Guest Speaker" column, please feel free to send us your letters & comments.
Thanks & enjoy,
Bonnie Littley, for RDGC
Join the Growing List of Support for the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve - IT'S GROWN AGAIN!!

Government Bodies   
Region of Durham
Ontario Liberal Party
Ontario NDP Party
Ontario PC Party
Ontario Green Party
Rouge Park Alliance
Town of Markham
Provincial Environmental Organizations
Ontario Nature
World Wildlife Fund
Ontario Wildlands League
Sierra Club of Eastern Canada
Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM)
King Environmental Groups
Farming Organizations
Christian Farming Federation of Ontario
Local Community Groups
Whitevale and DistrictResidents’ Association
Green Door Alliance
Last Green Door Co-op
Voters Organized to Cancel the Airport Lands (VOCAL)
Durham Conservation Association
Uxbridge Conservation Association
Green River Residents Association
Cherrywood Residents Association
Greenwood Ratepayers Group
Claremont Community Association
Friends of Altona Forest and Petticoat Creek
Altona Forest Stewardship
Friends of the Farewell
407 Action Group
Friends of the Rouge Watershed
Save the Rouge Valley System
Pickering Naturalists
Fairport Beach Neighbourhood Association
Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition
including many individual citizens
and growing strong!
contact info@rougeduffins.ca to add your name or association to the list!

What the Public Needs to Know - Pickering needs to get with the program.
Other municipalities, provinces and countries around the world are looking at how to live and plan communities more sustainable without raping our habitat - sensitive, prime agricultural land and air quality.  The value of prime farmland has finally been recognized by this provincial government and lobbied for protection by environmental, conservation and urban institutes for years. It's a limited, non-renewable, national resource for food security and threatened by sprawl. "Some of the best in the world" is right here in southern Ontario, in Pickering.
The majority of our local council & planners are still trying to pave over the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve (DRAP) with it's Growth Management Study. The Province's plan is willing to work with the Preserve as an agri-business, economic, employment area - the city is not. The Province has consulted various groups that support this vision - the city has not. Our Coalition is lobbying maximum protection for Sensitive land (aquifers, natural & cultural heritage) in Seaton. We maintain it should enjoy the same protection given the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Our Preserve is protected by agricultural easements held in perpetuity by the city as well as the Liberal election promise to protect the preserve and 2/3 of sensitive lands in Seaton. So, despite attempts to make it a competition between Seaton and the Preserve, they are two separate issues.
The fact that Mayor Ryan has been told the preserve is off limits to development and that the City continues to ignore the province is why Pickering has lost it's planning rights again (first the Tories, now the Liberals).  North Pickering will be the first development plan prepared under the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994 (OPDA) See MMAH site at www.mah.gov.on.ca <http://www.mah.gov.on.ca> , North Pickering - Ontario Planning and Development Act Plan
The province is in the process of public and stakeholder workshops to develop an urban plan for Seaton, including Natural and Cultural Heritage systems and an economic strategy plan for Agri-entrepreneurs on the Preserve.  The goal - A sustainable development plan that can be used as a model for other communities in the GTA - A Showpiece -an opportunity other municipalities would give their eye teeth for!
"Pickering council and it's residents have an extraordinary opportunity here to develop options to sprawl for the next generation and we hope that they will take advantage of it and come out and participate in our workshops and open houses - or put their thoughts to us in writing."
John van Nostrand, Lead Consultant, North Pickering Planning + Development Project
As a community, we have an opportunity to look at alternatives to the city's Growth Management Study, we need to ensure we get the best of all our natural assets. We need our council to get in there and negotiate that deal for us. Enough squabbling, if our local council can't get with this kind of program, and we need to vote in a new one.

Make your comments known to the Mayor & Council at 905-420-4660, or email mayor@city.pickering.on.ca; Ward 1 Regional - mbrenner@city.pickering.on.ca; Ward 2  Regional -  bmclean@city.pickering.on.ca; Ward 3 Regional - rjohnson@city.pickering.on.ca; Ward 1 City kashe@city.pickering.on.ca Ward 2 City - waiting by-election; Ward 3 City - dpickles@city.pickering.on.ca
Public Open House Oct 6th, 7 p.m. Rec Centre, Comments to the North Pickering Planning & Development Project, contact Graeme Burt, Planner,The Planning Alliance 416.593.6500 X 270

Provincial deal made in Seaton Land Swap

A deal has been reached with Richmond Hill developers to swap land they own on the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) for provincial land in Pickering.  Although general comments were positive on the protection of precious water source lands on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the fact that the Liberal government was handed a difficult situation from the Tories, reviews are mixed about the announcement Friday September 23.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing's press release states in part; "The lands to be exchanged represent less than 25 per cent of the provincial land holdings in Seaton.  Due to their significance, another 53 per cent of the government lands have already been identified by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority as priority environmental lands.  These priority environmental lands will remain in public ownership.  The remaining lands will be carefully examined for cultural and environmental value through the environmental assessment and land use planning processes.  Through these processes, the government is working towards our goal of protecting two-thirds of the Seaton lands from urban development."  
"We hope this statement is not a step back from the Liberal Election promise that 2/3 of the Seaton lands would be added to the GTA Greenbelt. We do not want another back-track like the one that allowed thousands of homes to still be built on the ORM, despite the swap", says Jim Robb of the RDGC
"We are pleased that the Developers are contributing 3.5 Million to ORM Foundation for parklands and a trail system in Richmond Hill, however, what are the developers doing for Pickering's parkland system? We would expect that the Ontario government and the developers will make a much bigger contribution to the establishment of trail and wildlife corridors linking the Lake to the ORM and the Rouge, Petticoat and Duffins natural heritage systems in Pickering." questions Jim. He goes on to say "No one will really know if it's a good deal for the taxpayer until the details of how the land was evaluated are released."
We will remain cautiously optimistic about the Province's plans for North Pickering as they unfold in the coming months.
To be informed, we have to know what our options are and have opportunity to comment don't we?

MPP ARTHURS & Pickering Council's Contributions Questioned
As we reported in our Summer Newsletter people are concerned about influence from developer contributions and are advocating restrictions.
Both the News Advertiser and TVO's Studio 2 reported Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge MPP Arthurs received 25 separate $1000.00 cheques from different companies, but the same address that of developer Jerry Coughlan, one of the developers paying for Pickering's Growth Management Study.  TVO went further and reported the financial contributions from developers to Pickering Council. We did receive several emails from outraged citizens after these reports.
Although, the donations are not illegal with the current rules in place, many municipalities are considering an all out ban on corporate and union donations to ensure transparency in public government.
September 30th, the City of Toronto Council adopted these measures and the Town of Ajax is considering it as well.
There are still a lot of questions out for debate:  Will it help new comers, or poorer citizens seeking election? Should an individual citizens' contribution be tax deductible in an attempt to engage the general public in local government?
We'll put it to you the public, tell us what do you think?

Talk of the Golden Horseshoe is... How & Where to Grow
The plight of Canadian Cities
- "It's about why a dramatically new approach to Canadian cities is critical to Canada's prosperity. Our cities are in decline. Our political leadership has failed to understand what's at stake. But as long as we still have to burn a litre of gas to buy a litre of milk we're developing a society that's physically unhealthy. Health and health care, they go back to the issue of cities. We have to look at building healthy communities.
" Urban advocate, Glen Murray, ex mayor of Winnipeg excerpts from Toronto Star, Sept 28/04
There are many exciting discussions papers coming from the province on planning reform recognizing the need to curb urban sprawl, plan better for growth and build healthy communities, while protecting water sources, sensitive land, prime farmland and air quality. Decline of cities and rural spaces also costs us money.
"Places to Grow, A Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe" from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Renewal has received overall good reviews but very good suggestions by way of submission papers from these prestigious contributors: Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development, www.pembina.org <http://www.pembina.org> ; The Neptis Foundation, www.neptis.org; Ontario Smart Growth Network, www.greenontario.org/smartgrowth; Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, www.christianfarmers.org/index.html  & our local Green Door Alliance, www.greendooralliance.ca  among a few. Check out Michigan Land Use Institute, "How to establish a new kind of economy that conserves the best of what the region offers..." at http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement/fullarticle.asp?fileid=16757 - and be enlightened!

Download the discussion paper at www.placestogrow.pir.gov.on.ca  Also see the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing site for Planning Reform discussion papers and legislation, the Greenbelt Protection Act at www.mah.gov.on.ca
Be informed, check out these sites!

"The Big Pipe" Massive Moraine Drain
The question is, if Premier McGuinty is as dedicated to protecting our water sources in the Oak Ridges Moraine as his election promises stated, why is Environment Minister, Leona Dombrowsky allowing the removal of 66 Billion Litres of water from the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) aquifer system. She announced that she would not require a full environmental assessment for the construction of two sections of the York Durham Sewer System twinning. We've just swapped our Seaton lands because of the importance of the Moraine. Is it all for not?
Fresh water is a necessity for all life. There are alternatives to the 66 Billion Litre Moraine Drain. To re-build his credibility, the Premier must require that York Region utilize these alternatives to service compact transit-supportive growth, not urban sprawl.
The Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition will continue to publicly and legally fight to stop current Big Pipe plans which represent a massive Moraine Drain and a betrayal of the principles of water source protection and smart growth.
For more info contact Jim Robb 416-431-4556, send your comments to info@rougeduffins.ca, Premier McGuinty, dalton.mcguinty@premier.gov.on.ca
JUNE 29 Council voted to go forward with the City Initiated Growth Management Study. Part of Resolution #100/04 includes changing our Official Plan and urban boundary to include part of the Agricultural Preserve.  We question the legality of changing rural to urban designations - Provincial Zoning Order -  Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994 (OPDA), Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004, and contradicts the Regional Official Plan.
Send your comments to the Mayor & Council & attend Oct 14.WARD 2

Think SMART GROWTH this election
Decisions on governance, growth, land use & development, transportation & transit, housing, parks & recreation & agricultural land will be in the hands of people we elect.
Did you know Pickering is identified as an "Emerging Urban Centre" in the Province's Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan? Are the candidates talking about it? How to grow will be an important issue in the very near future.
Look for an Election Guide, "Get Smart about Smart Growth" to help you choose smart growth savvy candidates. It's a joint community effort by RDGC, the Green Door Alliance, and Durham Environmental Network.
Be sure to exercise your democratic right - VOTE & Think SMART GROWTH in this election!
Ward 2 Candidates
Joe Brown joe.brown@rogers.com 905-831-1420
Paul Crawford paulc6@hotmail.com  905-831-7662
Doug Dickerson info@dougdickerson.com 905-839-3684
Brian Evely brian@evely.com 905-839-0400
Serge Gizzo 905-619-0133
Eileen Higdon ehigdon@rogers.com 905-839-8809
Terry James tbjames11@hotmail.com 905-839-8890
Pat Mattson pattmatt@idirect.com 905-839-2563

Greenwood - Hanging in the Balance
AS PREDICTED Greenwood is off to the OMB.
The tiny rural North Pickering Hamlet of Greenwood now waits for a pre-hearing date (expected in November) to be set for the OMB as Tribute / Runnymede takes the City of Pickering, the Region of Durham and the Province to Court.  Their argument?  Tribute seems to feel that their application for 381 homes on approx. 480 acres does not constitute an urban boundary expansion of the existing Hamlet of 110 homes and consequently feels that they should be exempt from the Greenbelt Protection Act.
The residents of Greenwood, an area surrounded by Class 1& 2  farmland, classified as Major Open Space in the Regional Official Plan, urge both the City and the Region to follow the lead of the Province in requesting that the OMB refuse to consider this application as it directly contravenes the intent of the Greenbelt Moratorium.
Greenwood has recently initiated its own survey to formally assess community opinion and to create a vision for its future.  The City of Pickering has committed at a recent meeting with the ratepayers group, to use these findings as the formal position of the community as they approach the prehearing at the OMB.
Greenwood eagerly awaits news on the Greenbelt, Bill 26, and the many layers of Policy Reform and Planning Initiatives that are underway currently that are sure to shape our future in the months to come.
Contact the Greenwood & Area Ratepayers Association at yvonne.sweatman@rogers.com
(The Greenbelt Protection Act, 2004 places a moratorium on rural to urban boundary changes.) MMAH www.mah.gov.on.ca

Provincial Workshop turns into a ZOO!
The June 22nd Provincial Planning & Design Workshop was more like a town hall meeting than a constructive workshop. Developers, their lawyers, environmentalists and environmental laywers, politicians, first nations reps, and bewildered residents were in attendence. All seem to agree that there isn't any "consulting" in the Province's approach to the consultation process.
Let's hope we get to actually have input October 6th, 7 - 10 pm, Pickering Rec Complex. Be there!

"maybe you could suggest ways in which the people of Ward 2 could go about demanding to choose their new representative rather than just being handed a member of the Pickering Boys' Club"
John, Ward 2
Well John, we would advise all our neighbours in Ward 2 to be careful of any candidates endorsed by the "Boys Club" as you call it. Look for the Election Guide distributed in your Ward, "Get Smart about Smart Growth, and use it to ask the candidates their position on local issues as they relate to Smart Growth principles and vote accordingly. Beware of those using the term "Smart Growth" to justify any urban initiative.
TO:  Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition
Please add our Association to your list of concerned residents of Pickering. We represent over 200 families in the community of Fairport Beach. We want this process to be totally transparent and not motivated by pure greed of developers to propagate urban sprawl that continues as we stand by.
We want to see true leadership from our elected officials and not ones that always call on outside parties to do the dirty work as was done by a study paid for by developers. The public sees this for what it is. It appears these same developers have donated monetarily to most of the Pickering councillors campaigns and therefore are in direct conflict with the majority of the wishes of concerned citizens.
I believe, Pickering council has operated in a vacuum for too long and in some cases are not working for the best interests of its citizens.  If the process was truly transparent why would the Province be stepping in to do the job that our elected officials should be doing?
Not everyone is capable of stepping up to the plate and having the time to take on complex issues related to massive future planning. That's why we support and congratulate what you are doing. Keep up the excellent work and please feel free to forward this e-mail to all interested parties.
Paul White-President
Fairport Beach Neighbourhood Association
Thanks Paul, we think all of Pickering are interested parties...

TOP PICK You should be famous QUOTES
"the conservation easements on the Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve should be turned over to the Ontario Farmland Trust (from the City of Pickering)"
Elbert van Donkersgoed, P.Ag. (Hon.) Strategic Policy Advisor of the Christian Farming Federation of Ontario, submission to Places to Grow, A Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe discussion paper.
  • Oct 6,  7 - 10 p.m.
    Second North Pickering Planning & Design Open House
    Come and see what all the fuss is about!
    Pickering Rec Centre, O'Brien Room
    Contact Graeme Burt, Planning Alliance, 416-593-6500 X 270
  • Oct 14,  7 p.m.
    City of Pickering Initiated Growth Management Study
    Report Available Oct 8,
    Bruce Taylor, City Clerk
    905.420-4611, 1-866-683-2760
    Fax: 905-420-]9685
    e: clerks@city.pickering.on.ca
    Send comments to Council and Planning & Development, planning@city.pickering.on.ca
  • Oct 20,
    Seaton Environmental
    5 - 7 p.m. Open House,
    7 - 9 p.m. Presentation and public comment
    Agape Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church
    1999 Fairport Rd., Pickering
    Liberal's promised 2/3 protection for environmentally sensitive Seaton. Make your comments known.
    Marshall Macklin Monaghan Ltd.
    Stephen Willis, Manager of Planning & Environmental Design
    tel: 905-882-4211 x 448
    fax: 905-882-0055
    e: seaton@mmm.ca
Many thanks to everyone that send letters and comments to the Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition. The issues we discuss are hot topics about local issues. Our goal is healthier planning for healthier communities considering our most basic needs, clean water, clean air, food & shelter - while creating a vibrant economy.
Finding a balance today and for the future.
Our voices are getting louder everyday!
Keep those letters and comments coming!
To send your comments, volunteer, advertise in our printed newsletter or donate contact:
Rouge Duffins Greenspace Coalition
c/o 1499 Sandhurst Cres.
Pickering, ON L1V 6Y6
Tel: 905-509-1930  Fax: 905-509-2825
Email: info@rougeduffins.ca
Web: www.rougeduffins.ca