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Ontario Hansard - 03-June2015

Mr. Victor Fedeli: The member from Windsor–Tecumseh spoke about the cookie-cutter bill, and the member from Oxford did indeed talk about communities in northern Ontario, many of which are closer to Winnipeg and Calgary than they are to Toronto. Here’s what happens when you have people in Toronto making bills that are allegedly a one-size-fits-all: You’ve got very distinct problems in Toronto and the greater Toronto area, and you’ve got very distinct problems both in northeastern Ontario and in northwestern Ontario.

I remember sitting in the mayor’s chair in North Bay when Bill 26 crossed. It was an act that took away the ability to build on a wetland. Now, certainly in Toronto and the GTA, the wetlands are few and far between, and we can understand the value of that. We understand in the north, especially, how water is filtered through our wetlands. But if you come to northern Ontario, if you take even one flight over northern Ontario, you will see that there is only rock or wetland. That’s all that’s there, and you build your cities around them.

You used to be able to—a municipality was able to build on a wetland if it created an equal-sized wetland elsewhere. While I was mayor, we accumulated over 100 acres of wetland and built this most beautiful conservation area with boardwalks so people could walk through, and then we built an industrial park in a wetland. As businesses came, they built their business. Well, Bill 26 said, “Right across Ontario now, no more building on a wetland, even if you replace it.” We have a $40-million industrial park, fully serviced, that cannot be built on. That’s why we ask for such particular attention to be paid to the north.

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