Watch the video and take action!
Thanks for registering for our 6th Conservation Matters webinar, ‘Offsetting is Upsetting to Wildlife.’ We had a great audience that actively engaged in a conversation about the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s (HCA) Natural Heritage Offsetting discussion paper! Our guests provided great insights into the controversial practice of offsetting, which essentially means allowing developers to “replace” wetlands and natural features destroyed by their projects. These supported Hamilton 350’s stance that the best offsetting policy is a no offsetting policy.
Later in the webinar we outlined Hamilton 350’s stance against moving wetlands and other natural features. We encouraged audience members to take action by supporting staff members of the HCA who are against offsetting, and calling on members that support the ‘offsetting policy’ to reject developer-driven plans that encourage such actions. We finished with a lively Q&A and a call to let the HCA know that the best ‘offsetting policy’ to conserve natural features in the face of development is a ‘no offsetting policy.’
The HCA is actively asking for our input about their policy. This means that the ability to influence this decision is in our hands. Let’s make our voices heard!
When we work together, we win! Organize to protect wetlands and natural features from developers.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority staff have been asked to create an ‘offsetting policy’ to conserve natural features damaged or destroyed as part of development. Advocates of this policy say it would only be used as a last resort. While the idea of relocating natural features for the sake of development may seem like a protective action, there has never been a genuine offsetting success story in Ontario.
The HCA is asking for your input on the best way to protect Hamilton’s watershed, connect people with nature, and design development projects that avoid any negative impacts to natural heritage features. We are concerned that the consultation leaves the false impression that an offsetting policy strengthens protection of natural features when the opposite is true.
The request for this policy has come from land developers, not out of an interest of protecting the public good. Developers have little understanding of natural features like wetlands, and attempting to relocate them will almost certainly disrupt fragile ecosystems, negatively impact wildlife habitats and interfere with the positive environmental services that wetlands provide. On top of that, this policy makes no mention of including Indigenous participation in this decision though it affects treaty obligations to the Haudenosaunee people.
It’s critical that as many people as possible provide their input on HCA’s Natural Heritage Offsetting Discussion Paper so the decision made about it reflects your priorities.
Success at 140 Garner Road turns sour.
Our first speaker on Thursday night, Nancy of Stop Sprawl Ham Ont, has continued to monitor the situation at 140 Garner Road regarding the Ancaster Creek wetlands and headwaters. Despite the success of keeping developers from relocating these natural features, the crops of the surrounding farmland have recently been destroyed by herbicides. Carrie Hewiston, owner and operator of Ancaster’s ‘You Pick’ pumpkin patch, joined us alongside Nancy to give a first-hand account of these events.
Such actions outline the extent to which One Properties is interested in protecting natural features in its developments. Adding an ‘offsetting policy’ to existing insufficient protections against degradation or loss of such features could be devastating if put in the hands of developers like these.
Phil Pothen of Environmental Defence and Brian McHattie, former Conservation Authority Chair, shared important insights about existing ‘offsetting’ policies and the difficulty of recreating ecological system services.
Hamilton 350 members Holly and Carolanne outlined our concerns with the key guiding principles of HCA’s proposed policy.
Our final speakers discussed the 6 guiding policy principles listed by the HCA for their potential ‘offsetting policy’. They outlined the strengths and shortcomings of each principle to help you give informed feedback to the HCA about this proposal. A copy of Hamilton 350’s submission to the HCA regarding the Natural Heritage Offsetting Discussion paper can be found on page 3 of the attached resource document.
Calls to action! Here’s how you can help.
Building momentum & growing the movement
Thank you all so much for the show of support we've seen so far! Thanks to those who registered and came out to the webinar and to those who shared this event with your community. The deadline to submit your input to the Hamilton Conservation Authority is July 31st. Make sure to share your thoughts with them about rejecting the need for an ‘offsetting policy’ by that date.
The media attention resulting from the response to Hamilton’s Stop Sprawl survey shows that input given through online submissions is being heard. Let’s show the HCA that we appreciate being considered their ‘important partners’, and that we want to support their goals of conserving our natural features and avoiding negative impacts on the environment. Rejecting the need for an ‘offsetting policy’ is the best way to do so.
#CanadaOnFire Day of Action This Thursday
From local fights to protect Hamilton’s wetlands and headwaters to climate tragedies like the heatwave and wildfires ravaging the west, more and more people are waking up to the need for collective action on the climate emergency. Join us this Thursday, July 29th as Hamilton 350 participates alongside our allies in a national Day of Action to pressure federal politicians to take emergency-level action on the climate crisis. Our #CanadaOnFire action will be at Liberal MP Filomena Tassi's office at 10:30am. RSVP here and invite your friends! - Hamilton 350 Team
Get involved with Hamilton 350!
Want to learn more about Hamilton 350? Join our next general meeting on August 18 or get started with welcoming document to get started.