Land Use Planning

WCS Canada Comments - Ontario's Proposal to Repeal the Far North Act - April 2019
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have proposed to repeal the Far North Act and retain completed land use plans and enable completion of plans at an advanced planning stage for a time-limited period. We discuss the following points, and provide recommendations. 1. The Far North Act has never restricted development in the Ring of Fire; and its repeal will not speed the development of mining projects. 2. With or without the Far North Act, the Ontario government is obliged to address Indigenous jurisdiction when introducing development in the far north. 3. The Public Lands Act is inadequate for accommodating planning and development in the far north, particularly dedicated protected areas that have been designated through community-based land use planning under the Far North Act. 4. Reliance on piecemeal project-level impact assessments will fail to address social, environmental, and economic risks; and will fail responsible stewardship of the far north – a globally-significant region with a high degree of ecological integrity, world-class carbon stores, and providing ecosystem services far beyond is boundaries. 5. If the province doesn’t learn from the 10 years of implementation of the Far North Act, it will repeat the same mistakes and fail to address fundamental issues related to social and environmental stewardship and justice. 6. The time constraint for communities to complete their community-based land use plans is too short, and the cancellation of land use planning processes at beginning stages for many communities is arbitrary and unfair to those who have engaged in good faith with Ontario to date.
WCS Canada Comments - Off Road Vehicle Questionnaire - March 2019
We strongly support this initiative by the Yukon Territorial Government to establish a Regulation that would make operational a provision in the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act for the establishment of Off-Road Vehicle Management Areas (ORV MAs). By putting prohibitions and restrictions on ORV use within large management areas, society will have a tool to at least partially preclude or constrain the ongoing proliferation of ORV use and trail development which is happening across the entire territory. We are encouraged that the intention of government is to establish some ORV MAs in regions where land use planning has already provided such direction (e.g., the Peel watershed, Kusawa Territorial Park). We argue, however, that ORV MAs are not the only regulatory tool that government needs to consider in dealing with the problems ORVs create for wetlands and for ongoing trail development. We suggest specific mechanisms regarding trail permitting and wetland policy development that government needs to consider in addition to ORV MAs.
WCS Canada Comments – Final Recommended Plan for the Peel Watershed – October 2018
We strongly support the Final Plan as put forward by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission. In particular, we support the high level of protection proposed, and the emphasis on restricting development of linear access corridors and the use of motorized vehicles on the conservation lands. Herein we outline minor changes we advise making to the Final Recommended Plan. They include allowing permanent legal protection of Wilderness Area Zones and disallowing the use of off-road vehicles on trails within them. We also advise several changes to the details surrounding designation of protected areas, and implementation of the plan and conformity checks.
WCS Canada Comments - North Spirit Lake First Nation Community Based Land Use Plan Terms of Reference - March 2018
We provided comments on the general approach to planning in the far north, particularly limitations under the Far North Land Use Strategy. We provided specific comments on the Terms of Reference and supported their interest in cultural keystone species such as moose and berries and encouraged a similar focus on freshwater fishes.
WCS Canada Comments on Ecological Integrity in Ontario's Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves, A Discussion Paper - February 2018
Ecological integrity is the guiding purpose for protected area planning and management in Ontario by law. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is developing a strategic framework that guides ecological integrity work in Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves. The release of a discussion paper, Ecological Integrity in Ontario’s Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves: A Discussion Paper is one of the first steps in developing this strategic framework. We provided high‐level recommendations on ecological integrity in planning and management, particularly as the effort to address ecological integrity is interconnected with a myriad of Ontario policies from climate change to the Far North Land Use Strategy to Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy. We also provide responses to questions posed in the Discussion Paper.
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