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LETTER: Province's housing bill direct threat to wetlands

On World Wetland Day, letter writer urges Newmarket-Aurora MPP to speak up against new housing legislation, opening of protected lands to development
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NewmarketToday welcomes your letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This is a copy of letter to Newmarket-Aurora MPP Dawn Gallagher Murphy.

Today is World Wetland Day. The theme of this year’s World Wetland Day is wetland restoration. The emphasis on this theme is due to the importance that wetlands play in our natural world and health. The role of wetlands includes:

  • Storing freshwater, which is a finite and rare resource — only 2.5 per cent of water on Earth is freshwater. Of that, less than 1 per cent is usable and a large percentage of that is found in wetlands.
  • Carbon storage. In fact, wetlands store more carbon than forests. Peatlands, for example, cover only 3 per cent of our planet yet store around 30 per cent of all land-based carbon.
  • Flood prevention. A single acre of an inland wetland can absorb up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater.  Acting as natural infrastructure, Ontario’s wetlands provide $50 billion per year in economic benefits for FREE.
  • Habitat for endangered and threatened species. Wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests and they are the world's most threatened ecosystem.  More than 68 per cent of Ontario’s wetlands have been lost since the 1800s. In Ontario, wetlands provide habitat for more than 20 per cent of the province’s species at risk.

I am here to inform you that the policy changes that have been made via the More Homes Built Faster Act and Greenbelt take-outs are a direct threat to wetlands, and therefore the health and safety of all Ontarians. The suite of policy changes provides no benefit to building affordable housing, but do drastically erode the protection of wetlands, the species they protect, and the drinking water they purify and store.

I am demanding your immediate action to:

  • Repeal the More Homes Built Faster Act
  • Reverse Greenbelt take-outs
  • Increase the protection of wetlands
  • Address housing affordability by stopping sprawl and putting houses where jobs, services and infrastructure already exist.

Laurie Neville
New Tecumseth