Vaughan and Pickering, November 17, 2020 – Yesterday, 96 organizations signed a letter addressed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, opposing the use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) to over-ride policy protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs) in Ontario. The groups asked the Minister to revoke two recently issued MZOs that will lead to the destruction of PSWs in the cities of Vaughan and Pickering, and to refrain from using MZOs for this purpose in the future.
Wetlands are of immense value to communities, providing flood mitigation, water filtration, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, wild foods and medicines, and recreational opportunities. In southern Ontario alone, wetlands provide over $14 billion dollars in benefits every year, according to a study commissioned by the government.
Provincial planning law and policy rightly prohibit development on wetlands that are deemed to be provincially significant. The use of MZOs to sidestep these protections is unacceptable.
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Environmental Defence (environmentaldefence.ca) is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
Ontario Nature (ontarionature.org) protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and more than 150 member groups across Ontario.