ORC 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 sale.
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.
Rita Giulietti
Communications Coordinator

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