Dec. 28, 2016

Opposition to urban expansion by farmers, six nations, residents and environmental organizations ignored

For Immediate Release: December 28, 2016

Brantford, ON — On Jan. 1, 2017  Brantford and Brant County will complete one of the largest annexations of prime farmland in southern Ontario in recent history with the approval of  Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  The deal gobbles up approximately 9,000 acres of mostly prime farmland, with Brantford annexing about 6,700 acres and Brantford then extending services to adjacent rural communities to enable another 2,150 acres of mostly farmland available for development.

“The Ontario government is not listening. It is not protecting our precious food resources for a growing population,” said Ella Haley of Sustainable Brant “The decision to allow Brantford sprawl onto farmland, flies in the face of premier’s election campaign in Brant County to make sure farmland is around for future generations.”

Brant County reflects a growing landgrab across the country. Brant County suffers from “leapfrog development” pressure, with developers and a land banking company buying up farmland just outside of the Ontario Greenbelt.

The National Farmers Union has been tracking the large scale purchase of farmland by corporations, pension funds and off shore investors, including in Brant County. Emery Huszka, President of the National Farmers Union of Ontario expressed deep concern about the annexation. “If the Ontario government cares that little about agricultural land, it’s a poor demonstration of their feeling of rural communities,” said Huszka.

Walton International, a multinational land banking company with thousands of offshore investors is now the largest owner of prime farmland in Brant County. Walton has bought up approximately 5,000 acres of mostly farmland in Brant County. A close inspection of deeds of farms owned by Walton, including the farm that was owned by Mayor Ron Eddy shows hundreds of offshore investors mainly from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Brant County is unique because of the Six Nations community. Different parties in the Six Nations community feel that Minister Mauro’s approval of the Brantford/Brant boundary deal reflects a failure of Brantford, Brant County and the Ontario government to have “meaningful consultation”. For example, Wilfred Davey from Hodiskeagehda Men's Fire (Six Nations) issued a written statement that the Brantford Boundary agreement has “never been discussed with the Men’s Fire or Haudenoshaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.”.

Minister Mauro’s decision ignores

  • the 3,000 petitions to create a Grand River Watershed Greenbelt to protect farmland, natural areas and water resources in Brant County,
  • the call by residents, farm and environmental groups for no urban boundary expansions, 
  • the recent recommendations of the Crombie report
  • the wishes of the majority of Brantford and Brant County residents, and
  • the unanimous call from the Ontario branch of the National Farmers Union, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario and other farm organizations to “freeze urban boundaries in the Greater Golden Horseshoe”.

The Brantford annexation deal does not protect farmland or help us feed the growing Ontario population. The deal flies in the face of all recommendations for smart growth and compact communities.

We call for Premier Wynne to protect prime farmland by intervening and placing a moratorium on the Brantford/Brant boundary deal.

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For more information please contact:  

Ella Haley, Sustainable Brant, 519-647-0307, ehaley1@gmail.com

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Brantford Boundary Agreement & Map 

Dec. 24, 2016: Minister Bill Mauro, Municipal Affairs has approved a 9,000 acre megasprawl deal: 8,875 acres of land much of it prime farmland (Class 1-3) and Class 4 farmland! See text of Agreement below. 

With the proposed boundary deal, Brantford would annex 6,718 acres. In exchange, Brant County gets water and sewer services from Brantford to enable joint City/County ventures on another 2,157 acres of land, 1,060 acres in the Airport area, and 1,097 acres in the Cainsville area, much of which is currently farmed. (See maps below.)

The public sent a resounding NO to the annexation in their submissions and at public meetings. There was no public consultation for the land east of Davern Rd. that is being annexed. Brantford has plenty of room to grow if it cleans up its greyfields and brownfields and grows up, not out. Different parties at Six Nations feel that there was no "meaningful consultation" with them. Ontario farm organizations sent a unified call to the Province in December for strict urban boundaries to curb sprawl on farmland. This annexation flies in the face of their request. 

Call or email your councillors, MPP Levac, Minister Bill Mauro and Premier Wynne. Tell them how disappointed you are with the decision. Question the City’s need for this land, the loss of farmland, the cost of this deal, and the lack of adequate public consultation with the community and Six Nations.  

1) Honourable Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs, bmauro.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

2)Brant's MPP Dave Levac dlevac.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

3) Click here to send a letter to Premier Wynne.

Send a letter to the media:  

Brant News - best to send by Monday...published Thurs. Goes to all homes in Brantford and Brant County, sallen@brantnews.com
Burford Times: weekly, published Tuesdays, burfordtimes@brant.net
St. George Lance, Monthly cmparafenko@hotmail.com (comes out near the end of the month)
Click on Hamilton Spectator to send a letter.

 2016-12-13-boundary-adjustment-map.jpg

The Agreement Paves Over Much of the "Protected Agriculture" Ribbon. Created in 1980 by provincial law, this is one of the original greenbelts in Ontario. Sustainable Brant and the National Farmers Union of Ontario (NFU-O) have been calling for the protection of this ribbon.

Brantford_Brant_Protected_agriculture_ribbon.jpg.




The Agreement Includes Joint Sprawl by Brantford and Brant County in Cainsville and the Airport area (2,157 acres of mostly prime farmland)

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