Submitting Public Comments Regarding Bill 66

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction – Rachel Carson

The above quote is from pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson. Her words are at least as important today as they were when she wrote them back in the early 1960’s. Our natural environment is crucial to our long-term health as a species.

During the last municipal campaign I heard from residents, on a number of issues that were important to them. One of these things, quite high on the list, was the importance of our natural environment and the value we put on our protected green spaces in Richmond Hill. The provincial government’s proposed Bill 66 poses a threat to some of those green spaces that we value so much.

In fact, green spaces, like the Oak Ridges Moraine, are protected today because of the efforts of many past environmentally minded people. Richmond Hill was ground zero in the fight to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine and many citizens fought hard to protect it for future generations to enjoy and receive the benefit from its work in filtering and providing clean drinking water and the healthy headwaters of most of the major rivers flowing to Lake Ontario in the GTA area.

I am profoundly disappointed that my Council Motion to provide official Richmond Hill Council comment to the government on this proposed bill was defeated by a majority of my Council colleagues (see this link to the proposed motion –http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/proposed-richmond-hill-motion-in-response-to-bill-66/ ). As a result of this motion’s defeat, Richmond Hill Council will not be providing an official comment to the provincial government. I believe this is unacceptable, given the importance of this issue for our community. However, as I have done personally, the general public still has the opportunity until January 20th to provide their own comment to the provincial government.

I realize that we all lead busy lives but the time is now to make your voice heard on this important issue. I would very much encourage everyone to do so even if your comment is as simple as “we value our protected green spaces, and in Ontario there are many places that are open for business that are not on protected environmentally sensitive lands”.

The link to the government comment website is https://ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4293?fbclid=IwAR3xSzFCwek5jES-3_nCQZBBYfRqIFS-VIanflbSCM1zlmfNel01bGyogjY. There is a button on the left side of the web page that will take you to the comment submission page.

Rachel Carson sounded the alarm bell about pesticide use back in the 1960’s and was instrumental in bringing about positive changes that benefit all of us today. I would encourage us all to help sound the alarm about the importance of protecting our Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine for our future generations. (for a link to an article I wrote for Earth Day about the importance of Rachel Carson’s work and Richmond Hill’s commitment to protecting our natural environment, visit http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/greening-our-hill/