Greenbelt: Protected lands, (until they are not)

Ontario’s Greenbelt is an aggregation of farmland, wetlands, woodlands and river valleys that surrounds the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area from Niagara-on-the-Lake to just west of Port Hope. The Greenbelt was established in 2005 and was supposed to be protected from development forever. Both the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing have long promised that the Greenbelt would remain intact under their leadership.

Despite this, the provincial government recently announced the removal of 7,400 acres of protected Greenbelt land. They did so without any public process, transparent criteria for land selection or opportunities for input from landowners, municipalities or the public. While the Ford government maintains it has replaced the lost acres with more land parcels in other areas, critics say the added land is not as ecologically valuable as what is being removed.

Perhaps more troubling than the broken promise is the fact that multiple media outlets have reported that some of the Greenbelt land identified for removal was purchased by developers a mere weeks or months before the changes were made public. Why would a profit oriented developer purchase un-developable land for tens of millions of dollars? The change of status of these lands will result in huge windfall profits for these developers, many of whom have made significant contributions to the Ontario PC party.

If you are unhappy about the Ontario government’s decision to remove greenbelt lands, here is your opportunity to let your MPP know how you feel. Tell them to share any information they have about the removal of land from the greenbelt with the O.P.P. in order to restore public trust in how important environmental decisions are made.  Your letter will be sent to your MPP based on your postal code.

The public has a right to know if any of these developers had advance knowledge of the government’s plans. Environmental Defence and Democracy Watch are calling for an investigation.  Politicians, and public servants who provide confidential information to a third-party, who stands to gain financially from that information, may be in breach of trust under section 122 of the Criminal Code. 

Season’s Greetings from the Brampton Environmental Alliance

Backyard deer

The members of the BEA Board want to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and loved ones, all the very best this holiday season. We look forward with optimism and excitement to 2023 despite the economic, social, and environmental challenges we face.

This year the BEA advocated at all government levels for legislation and actions to bring harmony and balance to social, environmental and economic issues. We partnered with conservation authorities and other agencies to sponsor events that highlight environmental problems and bring specific actions to our neighbourhoods. And we’ve supported our members in their work, restoring and protecting habitat, cleaning our neighbourhoods, planting trees and riding bicycles.

This coming year we will maintain our prime objective to have Brampton grow as a sustainable community. We will stay focused and strive for the future. We look forward to working with you as we continue building momentum for a caring and balanced Brampton community that is healthy and resilient, economically, environmentally and socially. Think of the planet as you complete your seasonal shopping.

Merry Christmas!!

Come Join the Brampton Environmental Alliance at our Annual General Meeting

The Brampton Environmental Alliance will be hosting an in-person annual general meeting on January 11th, 2023.  It will be a hybrid meeting starting at 7:00pm running ’til 9:00pm. Register to attend through Eventbrite. Everyone is welcome to attend and observe. Members will be voting to define organizational priorities for 2023, to review and approve the Treasurer’s Report, to vote on meeting schedule, and to select Board members.

Individual annual memberships are $15.00. Organizational memberships are $20.00. Membership fees are used to purchase insurance for our member and advocacy events and for things like hiring student interns to help run campaigns.

Nominations are open for all BEA Board positions. We are an operational volunteer Board. Time commitment typically is a few hours per month. You may nominate yourself or another individual. Visit the Executive Team – BEA page for information on Board positions and to submit nominations.

Brampton asking for resident input to improve neighbourhoods

Loafers Lake Cherry Blossoms

Brampton city staff, from the Community Safety and Well-being Office, are looking for your input on the Nurturing Neighbourhood Program. Now in its 4th year, Nurturing Neighbourhoods is designed to give residents an opportunity to have conversations with staff and members of Council to share their experience on a range of topics that will help create vibrant and inclusive neighbourhoods where everyone feels safe and connected.

Since the program started, staff and Council have visited with residents from 15 neighbourhoods across all 10 city wards. Now they are looking for feedback that will help set their plans and priorities for 2023 and beyond. They want to understand what you like and don’t like about the neighbourhood where you live. They want to know how safe you feel, what your concerns are and how the city could do better.

Members of the Brampton Environmental Alliance are invited to participate in an on-line survey.

Brampton Environmental Alliance joins protests over the Province’s Bill 23 New Homes Build Faster Act

Saturday morning dawned cold, wet, and blustery. By noon, the rain had stopped and about 50 people braved the low temperatures and wind chill to protest the Ontario government’s intent to remove land from the Greenbelt and to implement the New Homes Built Faster Act 2022, a bill that would further erode protections for environmentally sensitive areas in the province.

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BEA and Lead Now talk carbon caps with Brampton North’s MP Sahota

On Friday, Dayle and David Laing, joined Bette-Ann Goldstein and Lead Now volunteer, Liz Garrison to visit Brampton North MP Ruby Sahota. The meeting’s purpose was to show support for the Government of Canada’s plan to impose a hard carbon emissions cap on the oil and gas industry as part of this county’s Climate Action Plan.

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Bill 23 means Brampton residents will be paying much higher property taxes

In last week’s blog, I indicated Bill 23, the Provincial Government’s Building New Homes Faster Act 2022 would mean higher taxes for Brampton property owners. The Bill was passed by the Ontario legislature on Monday. Brampton staff have been working hard to analyse the bill and now the extent of the impact is emerging.

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Ford’s Bill 23 will mean higher property taxes for existing Brampton homeowners

Greenbelt Sprawl

If you are a residential property owner in Peel Region, then you will be paying more property tax in the coming years if the Provincial Government’s Bill 23, New Homes Built Faster Act is passed by the Ontario legislature. Bill 23 is the Ontario Government’s response to home affordability. It is intended to make it easier and more profitable for developers to build new housing. The logic is that increased supply will reduce the pressure that is driving up home prices. This makes sense on the surface. But there are huge implications and unintended consequences of the approach this legislation is using to achieve the government’s aim.

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