Back in November, the Ontario government announced their plans to open up 7,400 acres of protected Greenbelt land for housing development. This was decided despite the many years and promises to leave it untouched. Tens of thousands of people from across Ontario oppose this idea and want the Greenbelt to stay protected. People are even turning to the Federal government in hopes that there is some way that they could intervene.
Earlier this month, Earthroots' very own, Gord Miller, sent a letter to the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, over the concerns that proposed plans by the Province of Ontario to allow housing subdivisions to be build on Greenbelt lands adjacent to the Rouge National Urban Park threaten rare animal species, as well as the ecological integrity of the park itself.
Dear Minister Guilbeault,
I am writing to express Earthroots’ concern that proposed plans by the Province of Ontario to allow housing subdivisions to be build on Greenbelt lands adjacent to the Rouge National Urban Park threaten rare animal species, as well as the ecological integrity of the park itself.
Earthroots is a longstanding Ontario grassroots environmental organization whose mission includes protecting wildlife.
We understand that there are numerous officially threatened and endangered species - birds, mammals and reptiles - in Rouge National Urban Park. These species at risk share a habitat spanning the park and the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve portion of the Greenbelt where housing subdivisions are now proposed.
The terrestrial and hydrogeological disturbances inherent in the province’s land use change and the resulting urbanization will almost certainly permanently damage at-risk wildlife species in the entire area, including in Rouge National Urban Park.
The area of Rouge National Urban Park abutting the land planned for development is the bio-rich Townline Swamp Wetland, filled with species at risk.
As you put it so well only a few days ago:
"Wetlands are some of the most critical ecosystems on the planet. They safeguard biodiversity, absorb carbon, and help us counteract the impacts of climate change. Wetlands are among the richest habitats for biodiversity and home to thousands of species, many of which are at risk."
”Today is World Wetlands Day, a day to raise awareness of how vital wetlands are, and how important it is to protect these areas.”
Here is a concrete and appropriate opportunity to protect a wetland and the large number of species at risk that depend upon it for food and shelter.
The risks posed by the proposed development - threats to species at risk in both the Rouge National Urban Park and the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve - are in my judgement sufficient to trigger review by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. I respectfully request that you take such action.
Chair of the Board
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