Council voted unanimously to work with regional partners and the province to enhance local land conservation through a formal collaboration process.
This calls for a celebration! Local residents and environmental advocates were thrilled to witness a 5-0 vote by The Blue Mountains Council to move forward with a proposal to increase the collaboration between stakeholders in order to protect the green spaces along the Niagara Escarpment.
The motion, put forward by Councillor Alex Maxwell, goes beyond The Blue Mountains and requests that staff collaborate with neighbouring municipal and regional councils and other stakeholders to create planning processes that incorporate natural environment protection and sustainability as guiding principles. The motion acknowledges the importance of our natural environment to all aspects of our regional economy, combatting climate change, and maintaining healthy ecosystems for generations to come.
The Motion for the Protection of Green Space received strong community support from residents who wrote letters and spoke at the January 23rd Council meeting. Local resident and Escarpment Corridor Alliance (ECA) Director George Knowles informed council members at the meeting that, “we can’t solve all the problems around the world, but it’s up to us to do what we can, where we are, right here, right now, in the Town of The Blue Mountains. And we know that nature doesn’t pay attention to political boundaries, so we need to work in concert with Grey Highlands, Collingwood, and Clearview. As the saying goes, we need to think globally and act locally. This motion offers a chance to act big locally, right here, at home.”
The ECA is a coalition of local residents, businesses, and organizations who are alarmed plans to turn key parts of the brow and prominent slopes of the Niagara Escarpment into mega-developments. The ECA is encouraged by The Blue Mountains Council’s strong leadership and support of the motion and hopes that it will help municipalities to reconsider inappropriate developments such as the proposal for Castle Glen that would replace over 1,500 acres of forest and ecologically-sensitive wetlands with 1,600 homes, hotels, three golf courses and 54,000 square feet of retail space.
“Kudos to Town of The Blue Mountains Council for making the right decision and voting to pass this motion recognizing the true value of our natural heritage,” said ECA President Bruce Harbinson. “Land conservation principles don’t necessarily align with political boundaries which is why this motion and having collaboration across all of our region’s municipalities is so important and timely.”