Open letter to Hon. Minister Bill Mauro: Ministry must increase transparency and accountability in Conservation Areas

 Hon. Minister Bill Mauro
5501 – 99 Wellesley Street West 5th Floor, Whitney Block
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3
bmauro.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
416-585-6763
 
cc: Premier Kathyleen Wynne
cc: Chair Nina Bifolchi, NVCA
 
June 26, 2014
 
Dear Hon. Minister Bill Mauro
 
I’m deeply concerned that the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is not being transparent in its discussions regarding the Efficiency Audit report related to the Midhurst mega-development.
 
Community and citizens groups concerned about the threats to water, natural heritage and the loss of farmland due to the proposed development in Midhurst have now raised objections to behind closed door discussions related to the proposed development by the NVCA. They are concerned that public policy decisions are being made without proper public consultation. This is unacceptable.
 
Your Ministry has a responsibility to oversee Ontario’s Conservation Authorities. You have a duty to ensure decisions are made in a transparent and accountable way. You have a responsibility to ensure the public is consulted and that decisions are made that put the public interest before private corporate interests.
 
Your government has already violated public trust and environmental protection by granting exemptions to the Places to Grow Act for the Midhurst mega-development to proceed.
 
Minister, I believe it is essential for you to ensure Conservation Authority decisions are made in a transparent and accountable way. I hope you take this opportunity to take action to ensure that CAs are strengthened, not further weakened, under your watch.
 
I also encourage you to ask your new Cabinet colleagues to reconsider exemptions to the Places to Grow Act that allow the Midhurst mega-development to proceed. This development threatens 1,900 acres of farmland, the Minesing Wetlands, the Nottawasaga watershed and important natural heritage.
 
It is time for the provincial government to put the public interest before those of private developers.
 
Regards, 
 
Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario