is steam rolling ahead with its intention to prepare the feeder lands
to Eramosa karst for sale for development.
June 26, 2008
The Ontario Realty Corporation is Steam rolling Ahead with its Plans
to Prepare lands adjacent to the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area for
The Ontario Realty Corporation, in seeking to sell its surplus lands
for development, is placing the newly formed Eramosa Karst Conservation
Area at risk. Recent public consultations held indicate clearly
that in spite of significant public support behind the expansion of
the Conservation Area to include the feeder creek lands presently owned
by the ORC, the agency is steam rolling ahead with its intention to prepare
the lands for sale for development.
At a recent consultation of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for
the Trinity Church Neighbourhood Secondary Plan, the consultants for
the ORC and ORC staff themselves acknowledged that if the lands were
left to re-naturalize, no mitigating storm water management ponds would
be required. It is only the possibility of development itself
which puts the water quality and ecology, not to mention the geology
at risk of irreparable harm.
Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK) reiterates its strong opposition
to the stated preferred disposition option for the lands adjacent to
the EKCA. ORC consultants failed to convince the citizens present
at the meeting held June 19, as to the necessity for the development.
Surrounding lands are presently being developed and planned to provide
extensive residential, institutional and commercial opportunities.
Citizens stated that the land being “surplus” to the province
does not provide sufficient justification for its development.
The Ontario Realty Corporation concludes that “to sell lands &
protect sensitive lands while pursuing land use approvals” will
“not result in negative impacts to the ANSI”. It is
unclear how these conclusions were reached given that not all of the
required studies are complete. These include a lack of inventory
of aquatic life within the caves; tracing of direction of water flow
from certain points in the feeder area; an incomplete understanding
of a formation creating a sink point near the corner of Richdale and
Fairhaven; a lack of knowledge as to the source of water in the woodlot
near the same area; lack of study of the carbon footprint to be caused
by the development of the lands which is contrary to the Ministry of
Natural Resources mandate for the reduction of carbon emissions, to
name a few.
The ORC’s insistence that their preference for development is
consistent with the existing official plan documents for the area and
with the desires of the City clearly are an attempt to deflect the responsibility
for their plan over to the City of Hamilton. City staff and Council
are aware that the existing secondary plan is no longer tenable since
the discovery of the karst system. This insistence serves only
to fill provincial coffers, and does little toward protecting the environment
or meeting the needs of the City of Hamilton or it’s citizens.
Many present agreed that the term “maximum value”, used
by the ORC to justify its position, is defined strictly in monetary
terms. Residents reminded the proponents of development that there
is value to improving quality of life for the community by expanding
the conservation area.
On this basis, the Friends of the Eramosa Karst urge the Provincial
Government to scrap its plans to develop the lands and instead turn
them over to the Hamilton Conservation Authority.
As a show of support for the community and the Eramosa Karst Conservation
Area, Friends of The Eramosa Karst will be hosting a tour with the Hamilton
Naturalists Club on Friday July 9th at 6:30 P.M.