Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring 2010 - President's Note

It's hard to believe another year has gone by and GABP's Directors are preparing for our annual meeting in May. I would like to thank the Directors for all their hard work this year, right now GABP is facing numerous issues, and if individual Directors hadn't taken on specific research and organizational tasks, it would be impossible for GABP to be up to speed on any of these issues.

It hardly needs to be said that aggregate extraction is the issue taking the largest part of our time. We have the Best Pit Application in Grey Highlands, and the Sutherland Application on Niagara Escarpment "Rural" land in former Keppel Township. The former application now rests on the township's requirement that the applicant pay the costs of road upgrades (stalling it temporarily if not permanently).


The latter is very much on-going. In the fall of 2009 GABP was party to the Ontario Municipal Board "pre-hearing" process in which the applicant attempted to get Ministry of Natural Resources approval for the quarry expansion prior to the required NEC Development Permit. GABP and others objected, and the legal teams of the applicant and the NEC received a postponement of the OMB process for six months. The next step now is the NEC hearing in April 2010. GABP will be there; we have already communicated our specific concerns to the NEC planners, and our Policy on Aggregate Extraction to the Commissioners and we will be writing to the Premier asking for a clearer, firmer policy on quarrying on the Escarpment. Please have a look at the Policy and other documents on our website, www.gabp.ca, which I think you will find attractive, easy to use, and will help bring more members into active roles in GABP.

GABP made a presentation to the Provincial Legislature Committee on the Green Energy Act, expressing our concerns over the take-over of wind power by corporate entities, and questioning the appropriateness of the feed-in-tariff values currently offered. It's no secret that wind power is an issue which is argued (sometimes heatedly) within GABP. We need more input from members so that we can develop a GABP policy on it.

The Bruce-to-Milton Powerline expansion application continues through the appeal process, which has been slower by legal arguments. Presently the appeal is before a Hearing Officer of the Environmental Review Tribunal, more hearing are scheduled in April, 2010. The outcome of this process is very inportant for the future protection of the Niagara Escarpment.

GABP has been made aware of applications for By-Law Amendments for such developments as dirt-track racing and a "retreat centre" (capacity 500 persons) on land currently zoned rural. GABP is not against all development; we are FOR better planning. We strongly encourage municipal officials to give thoughtful consideration to the letter and the spirit of their official plans when considering such applications. To do otherwise is to waste the tremendous effort that has gone into the writing of the Official Plans, and to create cynicism and anger in the residents.

The GABP Directors need to hear from you on these issues of importance to Grey County planning and development. Looking forward to chatting with you at the Annual Meeting May 1, 2010.

Bill Celhoffer

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