Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Waterloo Federation opposes Bill 66

Waterloo Federation of Agriculture is lobbying local municipalities to oppose Bill 66 because it would water down protection of farm land from developers.

President Mark Reusser, who is also first vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said “the agriculture sector contributes over half a billion dollars to our local economy every year.

“If developers can bypass agricultural protections, as Bill 66 would allow, it threatens our economy and our food supply.”

Waterloo Region was one of the first in the province to implement key farmer and farm land protections, such as firm borders for the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo and a ban on lot severances for housing.

The Waterloo Federation of Agriculture was joined by two organizations: Smart Growth Waterloo Region and Hold the Line.

Bill 66 is also drawing criticism for watering down the Clean Water Act, The Great Lakes Protection Act, the Lake Simcoe Protection Act and the Greenbelt Act.

The proposed law would give municipalities the right to pass an “open for business” bylaw which would exempt them from the list of laws protecting farmland and water.

In its defence, the Ford government says municipalities would still require approval from the minister of municipal affairs and housing and approvals could carry conditions.