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Ontario Municipal Board Decision Paves Way for Farmland Loss

Christian Farmers of Ontario Disappointed with OMB Decision

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Loss of farmland due to urban sprawl is a public policy issue that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. One of the Ontario’s general farm organizations, the Christian Farmers of Ontario (CFFO) finds the most recent decision made by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to alter the planned development for the Region of Waterloo a setback for farmland preservation.

As strong advocates for the importance of farmland preservation, CFFO has been active in arguing that the importance of preserving prime farmland outweighs the value of building subdivisions. While the Region of Waterloo has embraced the goals outlined in the Places to Grow Act, which is aimed at encouraging redevelopment and intensification in city development within the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, the OBM has ruled in favour of developers.

The Region of Waterloo wanted to limit new subdivisions to 80 hectors of land, while the OMB ruled in favour of developers who wanted 1000 hectors. Now that the OMB has made its decision the region, landowners and developers will go into negotiations as to where this new development will occur. The CFFO says in this week’s commentary that this decision is only one of three decisions that they fear will serve as a precedent for other cities and developers throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The CFFO finds the decision even more troubling given that the Region of Waterloo was working towards limiting urban sprawl and that their elected council had been working with the public and made efforts to meet the goals presenting the Placed to Grow Act. The CFFO commends the Region of Waterloo for their efforts and says that new policy options are needed to protect farmland as a valuable asset in the long-term.

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