The Standing Committee on General Government starts writing its report on the review of the Aggregate Resources Act this Monday, May 27th! The MPPs will be incorporating the suggestions presented at last spring's public hearings into the ARA. These include the calls made by agricultural stakeholders to protect prime farmland and source water regions.
We encourage you to contact the MPPs on the Committee! Below is a sample letter and the e-mail addresses for the members. As always, please add your own thoughts/expertise to your letters. And start hitting the SEND button!
Bas Balkissoon, Chairman firstname.lastname@example.org. orgDonna Cansfield email@example.com. org
Rick Bartolucci firstname.lastname@example.org. org
Sarah Campbell email@example.com
Mike Colle firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosario Marchese email@example.com
Laurie Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Smith email@example.com
Jeff Yurek firstname.lastname@example.org
To the members of the Standing Committee on General Government:I understand you will begin writing the Committee's report on the review of the Aggregate Resources Act beginning this Monday, May 27th. This important process was launched in the fall of 2011, followed by public hearings one year ago. The review of the ARA was ordered in the midst of the controversy over the proposed Highland mega quarry. As you'll recall, the proposed mega quarry would have destroyed 2,300-acres of the rarest agricultural land in Ontario and impacted the water resources for up to one million people downstream in perpetuity. It was because of the mega quarry that the review of the outdated ARA was ordered by the Ontario government.
As you write your report, I would like to remind you of the key suggestions made by the agricultural stakeholders and farmers who appeared before you last year. They all stressed that under the ARA, Ontario's prime farmland is at risk. This strategic and perpetual resource is vital to our $33-billion agri-food sector, our economy and our food security, yet it is unprotected. As well, the Highland application revealed that Ontario's source water regions are also vulnerable under the current ARA. Highland intended to pump 600-million-litres of water from the mega quarry every day, forever. As one of the farmers stated at the public hearings: It's time to put food and water first.
Therefore, I urge you to include protection for prime farmland and source water regions in your report on the ARA review. Tens of thousands of Ontarians are engaged in this issue. They look forward to seeing their views on the preservation of prime farmland and water resources reflected in the Committee's findings.