Is Your Community About To Get Burned?

Emerald Energy from waste plant

by: Liz Benneian Ontario Zero Waste Coalition

Incinerator/Waste-to-Energy corporations are once again trying to sell their polluting plants to municipal councils

[Editor’s note: Emerald Energy From Waste, a Brampton based company recently submitted a proposal to the Ontario Government requesting permission to increase its incineration capacity up to 5 times from current levels. Peel Region Council cancelled its contract with Emerald in 2017 meaning the waste burned in the Emerald plant is imported from other municipalities. If allowed to proceed this expanded plant would be the largest mass burn facility in Canada with a capacity to consume 1/3 of all of Ontario’s garbage.]

After years of bad press about failed incineration/waste-to-energy projects, plants polluting their communities, municipal bankruptcies due to “put or pay” contracts, fires at various sites, stiff opposition to new plants from citizens and an end to some lucrative government subsidies, incinerator proponents largely disappeared from the Canadian landscape. Now, however, they are back.

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Brampton Environmental Alliance hosts Annual General Meeting

AGM Announcement Tile

The Brampton Environmental Alliance (BEA) hosted its second annual general meeting this past Wednesday March 13th. Twenty-two individual and organizational members attended along with 9 non-members and 5 guests. Among the guests was Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor who engaged with members at the conclusion of the meeting.

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Exciting news for Loafer’s Lake

Loafers Lake Announcement

Members of the Brampton Environmental Alliance were in attendance last Monday March 4th as the Ontario government announced it is investing over $2.5 million through the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program to enhance wetland areas in four locations of the Etobicoke Creek watershed in and around Loafer’s Lake and Conservation Drive Park.

The ceremony was hosted by Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor supported by Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Andrea Khanjin.

“Wetlands are incredibly important to our communities. They make up the natural infrastructure that protect us from drought and flooding, while keeping water clean and providing homes for many at-risk species of plants and animals.”

Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Attending dignitaries included Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown, Regional Councillors Navjit Kaur Brar, Michael Palleschi and Rowena Santos as well as representatives from TRCA and Ducks Unlimited.

“This is an incredible investment by the Province of Ontario to support the enhancement of Loafer’s Lake. Investing in the restoration and preservation of wetlands is an investment in the future of our city, ensuring the protection of countless species, like the fish and turtles that call Loafer’s Lake home. Many thanks to Brampton North MPP Graham MacGregor for his outstanding work on this project and I look forward to enjoying the new trails and viewing platforms with the community.”

Patrick Brown – Mayor of the City of Brampton

Loafer’s Lake is one of four priority lakes identified in the City’s “Lake Enhancement Strategy” , the other three being Norton Place Lake, Donnelly Ponds, and Professors Lake. These lakes are representative of the majority of Brampton’s 14 lakes, historical aggregate extraction pits that are now filled with ground water. There is an opportunity to improve public awareness, appreciation and utilization of these lakes. The Lake Enhancement Strategy looks to transform these lakes into “signature features” in the City for recreation and appreciation of nature.

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Loafer’s Lake likely to receive a Provincial Makeover

Loafers Lake from bridge
Loafers lake announcement

Brampton North MPP Graham McGregor along with Wards 2&6 Regional Councillors Navjit Kaur Brar and Michael Palleschi will be hosting what is being billed as a “huge” announcement on Monday March 4th, 12:45pm at Loafer’s Lake Park situated in central north Brampton. Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Andrea Khanjin, will be in attendance along with local community organizations, conservation authorities and businesses. Interested members of the public are welcome to attend.

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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. 

We need you to speak out against Bill 23

David Laing speaking on Bill 23 at the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy on November 10, 2022

Yesterday I had the privilege to present to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy regarding Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster Act 2022 that is currently in second reading at the Ontario Legislature.

As stated in a previous article this Bill, unless substantially altered, has the potential to inflict massive environmental damage on communities all across this province but especially on those in the greater Toronto area. Below is the text of my opening remarks to the Committee. If you are like me and believe in building communities that are healthy and happy through environmental, social and economic sustainability, then I urge you to let your MPP know that Bill 23 needs a significant overhaul. An easy way to do that is through the David Suzuki Foundation’s letter campaign.

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