Guelph, ON – At the public hearings on the review of the Aggregate Resource Act (ARA) held Monday at Queen's Park in Toronto, the National Farmers Union asked the Standing Committee on General Government to makethe preservation of farmland a priority over the extraction of aggregate.
Speaking on behalf of the NFU, St. Marys area farmer and Ontario NFU Coordinator Ann Slater, stated "the most important resource for family farms is access to land – land that is healthy enough to produce food for the citizens of Ontario now and in the future." Slater noted that NFU members view farmland as a non-renewable natural resource that must be protected, not a commodity to be exploited for industrial uses like aggregate extraction, or for urban development.
According to Slater, provinical policies around land use, including the ARA and the Provincial Policy Statement, give priority to aggregate extraction over all other competing land uses, including the production of food. "As a non-renewable natural resource in limited supply, and a resource that is essential to ensuring the citizens of Ontairo have access to and control of their own food and food production in the future, it is essential for this committee to recommend that protection of farmland be the number one priority when deciding how to use land in this province," said Slater, following the hearing.
During its presentation, the NFU acknowledged that like the rest of society,farmers use and require aggregate. The NFU submission encouraged the Committee to use the review of the ARA to investigate ways in which the province can better recycle aggregate, decrease its reliance on aggregate, and source aggregate from areas of the province that are not prime agricultural land.
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For more information contact:
Ann Slater, Ontario NFU Coordinator, 519-349-2448 or firstname.lastname@example.org