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Halton's Natural Environment

A Strong Halton for a Strong Ontario - Partners for the Future

This page details Halton's needs for the natural environment and what Halton requests from the Province to ensure its protection. 

Provincial Legislation

Provincial legislation and policy related to the biodiversity of the natural environment needs to be maintained and enhanced where possible.

What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

  • Adopt a science-based systems approach toward the natural environment, where all parts of the system are treated as being equally important, thus maintaining and improving the overall health and sustainability of the natural environment
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Waste Management

Halton has seen significant gains in diversion and recycling of materials as a result of programs and services created to ensure Halton remains a sustainable community.

Further enhancements to waste management strategies are limited because the Waste Diversion Act does not clearly set out roles and responsibilities for municipalities.

Halton’s challenges to enhanced diversion tactics are related to Halton’s role with the Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (ICI) sector as well as producer responsibility requirements for waste management.

What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

  • Take a greater leadership and co-ordination role with the federal government and provincial ministries in setting environmental policy
  • Work collaboratively with the municipal sector to promote waste reduction and product stewardship initiatives
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The Niagara-GTA Corridor and GTA West Corridor Niagara Escarpment

The movement of goods and people is needed to accommodate growth as required through Places to Grow legislation. Halton recognizes that an enhanced 400 series highway system will support the economic vitality of Halton and neighbouring municipalities, but a proposal to construct a new provincial road within the Niagara-GTA Corridor crossing the Niagara Escarpment through Halton Region is unacceptable.

Halton has supported local advocacy groups and the City of Burlington in opposition to a route through the escarpment.

While Halton also appreciates the need for a new provincial roadway addressing capacity deficiencies within the GTA West corridor, it should not be built at the expense of natural features and prime agricultural land.

What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

  • Work with Halton to explore alternative highway routes that do not impact significant environmental features like the Niagara Escarpment and prime agricultural land
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Quarry Expansion

Existing quarries in Halton are within the provincially designated Greenbelt on the Niagara Escarpment – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and home to the Bruce Trail and endangered species such as the Jefferson Salamander.

Attempts by companies to expand their quarries along the escarpment have been vigorously opposed by Halton Region, the City of Burlington, the Town of Milton, the City of Hamilton, advocacy groups, Conservation Halton and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Regional Council opposes the Aggregate Resources Act applications by St Mary’s Cement Inc. (Canada) and Nelson Aggregates Co. for quarry expansions in Flamborough (Hamilton) and Mount Nemo (Burlington) respectively.

As was the case with St. Mary’s application, Regional Council requested that the Province provide a similar designation for the Mount Nemo site, such that it will remain a “rural and conservation management” area in perpetuity.

    What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

    • Re-designate the Mount Nemo plateau and proposed quarry lands from Escarpment Rural Area to Escarpment Protection Area and Escarpment Natural Area
    • Explore alternative methods for the transportation of aggregates, or contribute to the costs for maintaining existing roads
    • Revisit the “close-to-market” policy for aggregates in the Provincial Policy Statement
    • Permanently protect prime agricultural lands and natural heritage features and functions including regionally significant woodlands, provincially significant wetlands and habitat of endangered and threatened species
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    The Randle Reef Clean Up

    The Randle Reef clean up is part of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan. Randle Reef is the second most contaminated coal-tar site in Canada after the Sydney Tar Ponds in Nova Scotia. The contaminated sediment is located by Piers 14, 15, and 16 (formerly Stelco Inc.) and covers an area greater than 10 hectares.

    The proposed remediation project involves the construction of a 7.5 hectare capped containment structure with an expected lifespan of 200 years. A conditional commitment of $2 million over 10 years toward the clean up of Randle Reef was endorsed unanimously by Regional Council in April 2011.

    Halton’s support for the clean up of Randle Reef is conditional on the federal and provincial governments commitment to covering at least two-thirds of the cost of the $105 million project as well as overrun costs.

    What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

    • An increased funding commitment from the Province, in recognition of escalating costs for the Randle Reef clean up
    • Collaboration with the federal government to ensure a federal financial share for the clean up
    • Leadership in securing a financial commitment by U.S. Steel (formerly Stelco) toward the Randle Reef clean up
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    The Green Energy Act

    The Green Energy Act (GEA) was given Royal Assent in May 2009, to increase investment in renewable energy projects, create “green” jobs and contribute to economic growth while conserving the natural environment.

    Amendments to the provincial Planning Act restrict the authority of Regional and Local Municipalities over the type and location of renewable energy projects. Regional and Local Official Plan policies and a range of municipal by-laws including demolition control bylaws, zoning by-laws and site plan requirements will no longer act as barriers to energy projects.

    What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

    • Amend the GEA to recognize the planning role and decision-making authority of municipal governments.
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    Regulating Air Quality

    Waterfall with rocks in the foregroundRegulating air quality is a provincial responsibility but consideration should be given to municipalities when land use decisions are made based on safeguarding the health of residents.

    In the land use planning process, applicants of industries wishing to build and operate within a municipality must meet certain expectations, including minimum standards for air quality.

    More often than not, if applicants of industries are deemed by municipalities to have unsafe emissions, applicants will appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

    Currently, under the Planning Act, the OMB has “regard for” municipal decisions, but does not have to abide by municipal decisions.

    What Halton requests of the next Provincial Government

    • Establish air quality standards that protect the health of the population
    • Amend the Planning Act to provide municipalities with broad authority to impose air quality standards and place greater restrictions on the grounds upon which applicants may appeal to the OMB
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