Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Ground Gained in Conservation of the Oak Ridges Moraine. (Notes)

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Ground Gained in Conservation of the Oak Ridges Moraine. (Notes)

Article excerpt

Lasting protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine has moved one step closer to reality, thanks to new legislation by Ontario's Conservative government.

On December 13th, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and land-use plan received third reading in the Ontario legislature. It includes banning development on 92 percent of the moraine and a land-swap deal to protect a key chunk of the moraine in Richmond Hill.

"The government has shown a commitment to enacting a comprehensive ecosystem-based plan that puts in place strong policies to protect ground and surface water, natural heritage and rural character of the moraine while directing new growth to settlement areas," says Debbe Crandall, executive director of Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM) Coalition, in praise of the bill. "We have been looking forward to this day for a long time now."

The Oak Ridges Moraine is a 160-kilometre ridge of sand, gravel and rolling hills that stretches across the top of the Greater Toronto Area from Orangeville in the west to Rice Lake in the east. It is a vital water resource for the region, contains the headwaters of 65 rivers and streams, and is comprised of a diversity of natural habitats. Ecologists have long argued that large-scale development would permanently damage this environmentally sensitive area.

The bill was introduced in November, just as a development freeze on the area expired. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chris Hodgson had announced a six-month moratorium on all moraine development this past May to give the province time to come up with a long-term protection policy for the region. …

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