STOP BIODIVERSITY OFFSETTING

Whereas China-based GR Investments Co. Ltd. seeks to develop in Niagara region on 13 acres of protected wetlands; and

Whereas land purchased by the Municipality of Wainfleet (public taxpayer dollars) in 2005 for a 42-unit development proposal raises serious concerns about habitat destruction of species listed as endangered by the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as impacts on local water supplies; and

Whereas the Liberal government should not allow public taxpayer dollars to be used to benefit private developers; and

Whereas the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) board has appealed to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to allow for biodiversity offsetting on the property; and

Whereas scientific evidence for the validity of biodiversity offsetting remains inconclusive; and

Whereas The Thundering Waters Slough Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario is a 484 acre old growth Carolinian forest located within the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve and under threat of extensive development; of which 220 acres are Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW), and protected through Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF); and

Whereas the ecosystem within Thundering Waters is symbiotic; boasting an extensive list of species found to be at risk/threatened per Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29) and the Endangered Species Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c. 6; and

Whereas responsible development practices must consider environmental and ecological factors; and 

Whereas the NPCA board has been known to allow economic interests to trump environmental conservation; and

Whereas various NPCA board members, including the Chair, are under significant scrutiny by the public and elected officials for lack of operational accountability and financial transparency; and 

Whereas the NPCA board maintains a practice of censoring board members who offer dissenting opinions;  

We the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

To put an immediate stop the pilot project for development on wetlands in the Niagara region:

  • To immediately put a stop to any further plans to allow for biodiversity offsetting in the Niagara Region or elsewhere in the province of Ontario;
  • Immediately give access to the Ontario Auditor General to conduct a forensic financial and operational audit and increase authority powers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry over local conservation authority board operations. 
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