Petitioning Prime Minister of Canada/Premier ministre du Canada Justin Trudeau and 6 others

Protect Thundering Waters Forest

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Did you know that one of Canada’s most unique habitats is at risk of destruction? The Thundering Waters Slough Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario is a 484 acre old growth Carolinian forest located within the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve, only an hour south of Toronto, and is under threat of extensive development. 

330 acres of the 484 acre site are Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW) or part of buffer zones, and as such are protected through Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), however these protections are not ironclad. Currently, plans are underway to develop the buffering acrage and the results could be disastrous. The ecosystem within Thundering Waters is symbiotic; we can not separate, and destroy, one without devastating effects on the other; nor can we replicate this unique site anywhere else in the world. 

Thundering Waters slough forest and wetlands areas are also home to many amphibians, reptiles, and turtles while the tall grass savanna provides habitat for a huge number of wildlife species, including many that are officially designated as rare at the global, national or provincial level, and is directly in the migratory path of pollinators returning north. Trees range from Black gum trees, oaks, maples, and tulip trees, to plum trees transplanted by Indigenous peoples. 

Thundering Waters Slough Forest boasts an extensive list of species found to be at risk/threatened per Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29) and the Endangered Species Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c. 6. 

For more information, please check out: Paradise Project Film  or email the STWF6 crew at: stwf6info@gmail.com

WHEREAS:

  • According to the City of Niagara Falls website, The City has initiated a Secondary Plan process for the Thundering Waters area. On August 23, 2016, city council was to hold the required public consultation on the secondary plan but, due to overwhelming public attendance, the consultations were deferred until such a time as plans are complete and a suitable venue can be obtained. A year later, this meeting has yet to be rescheduled; 
  • According to Ian Thornton, Resource Operations Supervisor with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), in a letter to the Region of Niagara Planning and Development Services , dated August 19th, 2016, the Environmental Impact Study (EIS), would not be able to fully inform the development of a land use plan and future development in its current form.  Reasons include a lack of evaluation of contiguous wetland areas adjacent to the subject area;
  • According to Leah Lefler, an ecologist with North-South Environment Inc., who were retained to do a peer review of the EIS, the EIS, is incomplete and “does not provide a sufficient policy review nor an adequate assessment of ecological features and functions”. Despite this peer review having been completed in July 2016, it has only been released through a Freedom of Information request to the Province. Further, none of the recommendations have been implemented despite being in line with Ian Thornton (MNRF) findings;
  • Despite federal, Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29), and provincial, Endangered Species Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c. 6, legislation protecting species at risk, requests for enforcement of said Acts have been ignored;
  • The Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF), in a letter dated March 8, 2017, reminded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that, according to our treaties, the land in question is held in stewardship. Any development of Thundering Waters Forest ignores the history, and cultural resources, it contains; 
  • According to the Province of Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe,2017, natural areas support biodiversity, provide drinking water for the region's inhabitants, sustain its many resource-based industries, support recreational activities that benefit public health and overall quality of life, and help moderate the impacts of climate change.
  • According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Watersheds Reports rates the threat to the Great Lakes and the Niagara Peninsula as “very high”  (World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada);
  • According to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), their mandate is to improve the quality of lands and waters, contribute to public safety from flooding and erosion, and enhance the quality of life in its watershed. Yet, the NPCA has consistently looked at ways to protect developers by approving development on lands significant to the watershed and Great Lakes basin.

THEREFORE, we ask that:

1. The City of Niagara Falls:

  • Stop the development of pristine lands; 
  • Schedule the public consultation, as required by law, for this site

2. We ask Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Province of Ontario and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) that:

  • The PSW area be extended to include the entire 484 acre slough forest;
  • Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment with the creation, implementation, and meaningful enforcement of, legislation to that effect;
  • Meaningful enforcement of Endangered Species Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c. 6;

3. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Government of Canada listen to the warnings of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF) and honour our obligations under the The Two Row Wampum Treaty with permanent protection of this sacred land.

In order to protect our environment and the cultural heritage of the Haudenosaunee people,we recommend: 

  • the creation, implementation, and meaningful enforcement of, a Charter Right to a Healthy Environment;
  • meaningful enforcement of the following legislation, and commitments, particularly as they pertain to the Niagara Peninsula:
  1. Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c. 29);
  2. Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (S.C. 1999, c. 33);
  3. Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993, S.O. 1993, c. 28;
  4. International Joint Commission (IJC) commitment to the viability of our shared waterways.

For more information or to contact the Save Thundering Waters Forest crew, check us out on Facebook or email us at: email the STWF6 crew at: stwf6info@gmail.com

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Prime Minister of Canada/Premier ministre du Canada
    Justin Trudeau
  • Premier of Ontario
    Kathleen Wynne
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
    Kathryn McGarry
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
    The Honourable Catherine McKenna
  • Mayor, City of Niagara Falls
    Jim Diodati
  • Chair, Niagara Region
    Alan Caslin
  • Chair of the Board of Directors, The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
    Sandy Annuziata


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