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. . In a year of unfriendly weather, pandemics, and 60 years, Jeremy Clarkson has managed to maintain his signature humor.
. . Six members of the Greenbelt Council in Ontario have resigned - along with Council chairman David Crombie - to protest the proposed government rules that they say would harm the province's environmental protection. Crombie, a former progressive Conservative federal cabinet minister and mayor of Toronto, says his resignation, which will take effect immediately, is in response to measures contained in a collective budget bill tabled by the provincial government last month. The budget is reportedly focused on helping the province recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, though it includes action on several other issues. Crombie claims that Appendix 6 of the bill would remove power from local conservation agencies and expand ministerial authority over zoning and other potentially sensitive environmental issues. Crombie, who was appointed chairman in March 2018 for a three-year term, said the Greenbelt Council had tried unsuccessfully to convince the government to withdraw Schedule 6 from the bill. He said his resignation was due to what he describes as fundamental disagreements over the political direction of Greenbelt Province. "Ontarians can successfully realize the great values and benefits of the green belt through the effectiveness of water catchment planning, the strength and resilience of conservation agencies, and the power of public participation and open debate," Crombie said in his letter of resignation. "It is now clear that the government is leading the way . . . catastrophically attacks all three of these primary conditions, "he wrote. "This is not a political and institutional reform. This is a high level bombing attack and needs to be combated. "The six others who have stepped down include city planner Pamela Blais, scientist Deborah Martin-Downs, planners Kevin Eby, Lynn Morrow and Wayne Caldwell, and developer Leith Moore. Her letters have been published on social media. In her resignation letter posted on Twitter on Sunday, Blais said Schedule 6 "would limit the powers and scope" of conservation agencies in what "concerns". "She said it was" worrying "that the use of ministerial zoning contracts has increased and development projects have increased in size and scope. 'This has often been done without proper assessment or consideration of wider planning impacts, without the benefit of an explicit framework to show why some projects are preferred to others, and without the possibility of meaningful public input,' she explains. Blais said policy changes need not lead to environmental degradation and government actions are not "evidence-based". "Crombie felt it was 'inappropriate' to stay in the role. Crombie told CBC News on Sunday that the Greenbelt Council opposed the Ford government's new measures and subsequently sent letters collectively to Secretary of State for Local Affairs, Steve Clark, demanding that Schedule 6 be removed from the bill. "There were committee hearings this week and other amendments were tabled that severely limit the nature conservation agencies and their work," he said. CLOCK | David Crombie explains why he stepped down from the Greenbelt Council: It has now been approved by the majority of the government on the committee and will have a third reading on Monday. Crombie said the events of the past week made him feel it was "inappropriate" to stay in the role. Crombie said he did not resign because the government did not follow the advice of the council - since it never followed the advice of the council - but called it a matter "fundamental to the future of environmental stewardship" in Ontario. He added that the new legislation "diminishes" the ability to view the natural boundaries of the green belt rather than the community boundaries. This could affect water quality, the amount of water and the wetlands, he said. When asked about land development in the green belt, especially as many people are looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crombie said employment and the environment go hand in hand. "It's important to understand that if you want to develop an economy after COVID, it depends very much on our ability to move towards a greener economy," he said. "It is absolutely wrong to assume that the only way to do this just because you want to build the old way is to turn off wetlands and not care about the environment. "Clark: Measures do not apply to areas within the GreenbeltClark, which is responsible for monitoring the council. The measures listed in Appendix 6 do not apply to areas within the Greenbelt. "I am determined to protect the green belt for future generations," Clark said in a statement. "In the 2020 budget, our government affirmed that we want to expand the quantity and quality of the green belt and hope to have more to say in the coming months. Clark told CBC News that he thanks those who have stepped down for their service and that he wishes them well. But as a minister he is "frustrated" when he meets monthly with the council. "I made it very clear that I wanted to work with the Council to develop the green belt in terms of both quantity and quality. In this year's budget for a government, that exact statement and I just could never achieve a high level of cooperation, "he said. Clark said he was eager to work with council members but read about a letter they sent to the media after "every" meeting. "Anyway, I wish you all the best. And I look forward to working with a new group of men and women who want to grow the green belt with me, "he said. Clark also said that many of those remaining on the council have expressed a willingness to work with him. There were about 14 members on the council, and the resignations cut the council in half, he said. Only developers agree to the legislation: The environmental group Crombie and his colleagues recently spoke out against the changes proposed by the provincial government. Local authorities and environmental groups have expressed concerns in the weeks since the budget was presented. Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defense, an advocacy group that works with government and industry to advance environmental initiatives, said they had worked with community leaders and conservation agencies to raise awareness of the impact of the new legislation. "In fact, it's really difficult to identify anyone except for developers who actually want to see this," said Gray. He added that the changes the province is proposing to conservation authorities would affect their ability to protect the public from flooding and erosion, and would affect the effects of drinking water. Gray, who said he was impressed with Crombie and the other council members because of their resignation, said Ontarians are concerned with preserving nature in the area and understanding the consequences of disrupting the green belt, as well as the potential for further flooding. "I think people basically stand here," he said of the resigned members. "You are involved in an organization that is supposed to advise the provincial government about environmental protection. And the provincial government does not take this advice. This is not the first time that the province's environmental policy has been protested. Nine First Nations and associations in northern Ontario announced in September that they would take the government to justice over other recently lifted environmental protection measures that violated their constitutional rights. The indigenous groups claim that the result is that public projects can now take place without an environmental impact assessment at all - a move they say undermines previous government agreements as well as their rights. The attorney general's ministry said at the time it was considering the application but declined further comments as the case is on trial.
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