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Ontario Hansard - 16-November2004

Mr Sterling: First of all, I'd like to compliment Mr Murdoch on his speech. I thought it was well thought out, actually very well put together. Bill has been a strong opponent of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, but that comes from a considerable amount of experience as a municipal and provincial politician.

There is no question that when you go into an exercise like this, you affect property rights, you affect the dreams and expectations of a significant part of your population. In that vein, it took 14 years from start to finish with regard to the Niagara Escarpment plan. There were innumerable processes, hearings etc to establish what the final plan might be. Under this act, as I read it -- and it will be interesting to know how it will develop -- it gives the minister the right to strike the plan without any meeting, without any hearing, without any process, and therefore the plan shall come down, in terms of the boundaries and in terms of the restrictions on the various classes that are painted on the map.

The other part of the legislation I read that is troubling is a clause in here that says, if there is amendment after the plan is put down, the total area can't reduce in size. When you're painting such a wide swath of land, quite frankly, the loss of a couple of thousand hectares is not that significant.


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