ORA submits that Schedule 5 of Bill 66 is a regressive, unwarranted and potentially risky proposal that is inconsistent with the public interest and does not adequately safeguard the health and safety of Ontarians. Does the MECP really want to set the stage for another Grassy Narrows mercury disaster? Instead, the MECP should be focusing on improving the TRA and its regulations to better protect communities.
Drought conditions could place additional stress on riverine ecosystems, while more extreme rainfall will heighten the risk of dam failures (18 dams were breached in a South Carolina flood in October of 2015) with rapid release of high volumes of water. There have also been recent dam failures right here in Ontario – the Gorrie Dam failure last year in Wingham was the most recent, putting more than 150 property owners at risk.
Unfortunately, water protection is not equal across the province; therefore, ORA submits that this proposal, and other provincial initiatives, must go much further to protect freshwater resources throughout all of Ontario. This is especially important in areas of intense mining or industrial development.
ORA would like to point out that the proposed list does not address an in-water pipeline scenario, it only addresses pipelines above, below and under a water body. Therefore, it is extremely important that the following be added:
The focus of the Strategy’s five goals should not just be on “Natural Resources”, but rather on the resilience of the province’s natural heritage landscape, using a watershed approach, in consideration of the cumulative effects of all past, present and future development on our air, land and water. Additionally, the scope of the Strategy must be broadened to encompass a review of all policies, guidelines and legislation that do not support the resiliency, conservation and protection of our streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands in this warming climate. Continue reading
Stream-side forests are crucial to the protection and enhancement of freshwater resources. They are extremely complex ecosystems that provide useful ecosystem services such as mitigating or controlling non-point-source pollution as well as providing optimum food and habitat for stream communities. As a component of an integrated management system including nutrient management and sediment and erosion control practices, stream-side forests have important effects on water quality. They remove excess nutrients, pollutants and sediments from surface runoff and shallow groundwater and they also shade streams to optimize light and temperature conditions and provide dissolved and particulate organic food for aquatic plants and animals.
We see this proposal as necessary step toward fulfilling the commitment the Ontario Legislature made through the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015 to set target(s) for reducing algal blooms within two years of the legislation’s passage. Further comments about the framing of the proposed target are included below.
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