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Area climate groups meet with MPP Smith

Local climate groups got a long awaited meeting with Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry sat down with representatives of Climate Action Muskoka, Almaguin Climate Action, and Climate Action Parry Sound earlier this month, to discuss Bill 23. The groups had previously attempted to meet with him in December.

The “More Homes Built Faster Act” was passed at Queen’s Park in November, removing many restrictions for developers, as well as several tools for municipalities to enforce requirements on development. The province says the legislation is needed to meet a campaign promise of building 1.5-million homes, including affordable housing, over a decade.

According to a statement from the three groups, topics discussed included the bill’s impact on municipal Climate Action Plans, wetland systems, forest ecosystems, natural infrastructure, and shoreline site control protections for lakes and drinking water.

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Parties also discussed food security, replacement of land taken out of the Greenbelt, 80 per cent of market value being deemed “affordable,” and the expansion of gas plants and infrastructure.

“I was pleased to meet with representatives from Climate Action Muskoka, Parry Sound and Almaguin,” says Smith in an email. “We had a productive discussion. I’m always willing to meet with constituents to discuss their priorities and hear their feedback. I look forward to maintaining an open dialogue and working together on environmental issues that we all care so deeply about.”

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