On September 28, 2018, you requested, on behalf of the Ontario Rivers Alliance and other partners, that the City be required to prepare an individual environmental assessment for the replacement of Riverside Dam. I am taking this opportunity to inform you that I have decided that elevating the project to an individual environmental assessment is not required.
The ORA is opposed to this proposal that would gut the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) and the Environmental Assessment (EA) program. Since the EAA was amended in 1996 there have been many official calls for an improved EAA and EA program, amongst those calls were the Environmental Commissioner for Ontario and the Auditor General of Ontario. Over this time, the EA program and EAA have become more and more streamlined, and this has led to increasing uncertainty for stakeholders and proponents.
We strongly encourage the Ministries to hold fulsome and meaningful public consultations, aimed at ensuring that the proposed budgetary, legislative, and any future regulatory changes meet the desired vision of improving Ontario’s resilience to climate change. Until such time as a full assessment of the proposed changes is complete, we call on the government to delay enacting Bill 108, Schedule 2.
We, the undersigned organizations, strongly oppose proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) put forward in Schedule 5 of Bill 108. The changes contained in Schedule 5 will strip Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals of crucial legal protection.
If enacted, the proposed changes will effectively gut the Act, result in the loss of biodiversity in the Province, eliminate most of the current protections for species at risk, and reduce the likelihood of their recovery. These draconian changes are clearly designed to restrict the number of species that are listed as at risk, to permit large-scale developers to harm species at risk and destroy their habitat, and to delay the implementation of any protection measures that remain under the Act.
The government’s claim that the proposed changes will improve outcomes for species at risk is grossly misleading.
The ORA wishes to express our full support for the proposed changes to the Application for Authorization Under Paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act Regulations. We also support the proposed schedule of the new proposed Regulations to come into force at the same time as the new fish and fish habitat protection provisions proposed in Bill C-68.
In 1982, the Bill Davis government implemented the Community Fisheries Involvement Program (CFIP) and Community Wildlife Involvement Program (CWIP) to support community members and volunteers in efforts to initiate environmental projects that benefitted fisheries and wildlife in Ontario. In the first year alone, 3000 volunteer work days were donated to 22 projects across the province. Due to the success of the program, the Mike Harris government increased the funding to these programs to $1,000,000.00, which according to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) lead to 35,000 anglers, hunters, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts donating 200,000 hours to 600 on the ground projects in the program’s final year.
We, the undersigned, are reaching out to all MPPs to urge you to uphold the spirit and intent of the ESA as well as its focus on demonstrable benefit to species, and to ensure that it is not weakened during the ongoing review.
We note, with deep concern, that environmental deregulation – making it easier for industry and development proponents to proceed with activities that harm species at risk and their habitats – appears to be the overall focus and intent of the options put forward for consideration. Reassuring statements that the review is intended to “improve protections,” “improve effectiveness” and provide “stringent protections” (p. 2) are misleading, in light of the actual proposed changes that MECP is inviting the public to consider. These include options that would undermine the very cornerstones of the law: science-based listing (including Indigenous Traditional Knowledge), mandatory habitat protection, and legislated timelines for planning and reporting.
MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 28 February 2019
Hanlon Creek Weir Project – Guelph
GUELPH – The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) has only a few days left on a crowd funding Campaign looking to raise $2,050 for the Hanlon Creek Weir Project. We need your help to reach our goal by the 4th of March! Donations will go towards the design work and permitting in this critical first phase of the Project.
An amazing original acrylic painting by Sydney Campbell, will go to the person making the largest donation. All donations are welcome and will help move this important project forward. Please go to this link to take part: https://chuffed.org/project/hanlon-creek-weir-project
Hanlon Creek is a coldwater Brook Trout stream, with its headwaters rising within the City of Guelph, and the Hanlon Creek weir was built in 1972 to measure stream flow. The Grand River Fisheries Management Plan identified issues and management strategies to improve the coldwater tributaries of the Speed River Basin, which includes the Hanlon Creek.
The problem is that the Hanlon Creek weir is a barrier to fish passage, it interferes with sediment transport and causes upstream ponding which results in increased surface water that warms in the sun. This warming of the creek has negative impacts on the Brook Trout that require clear, cool waters below 24°C.
ORA and partners have a plan to mitigate this issue by removing a centre portion of the weir to lower the upstream water level. This will narrow the channel, resulting in cooler stream temperatures and improved Brook Trout habitat. Most importantly, it will improve the fishery’s resiliency to climate change.
Our partners in this project are the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, Grand River Conservation Authority, Trout Unlimited Canada, City of Guelph, in consultation with the Grand River Fisheries Management Plan Implementation Committee. Each partner has taken on a portion of the responsibility for bringing this Project to completion. ORA has taken on the challenge of raising the amount required for these crucial first steps of the Project.
“ORA is reaching out to the public at this critical first phase of the Project, where up-front funds are required to complete the engineered design and pay for a key regulatory permit, so all donations are appreciated”, said Linda Heron, Chair of the ORA.
The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization acting as a voice for several stewardships, associations, private and Indigenous members who have come together to protect, conserve and restore healthy river ecosystems.
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Chair, Ontario Rivers Alliance
OntarioRiversAlliance.ca Tel: (705) 561-9027