Blog

Powerline Road Expansion

Ashley Perry

July 10, 2024

SUMMARY

The City of Brantford wants to expand Powerline Road between Paris Road and Brantford’s East boundary near Brantwood Farms to four lanes, due to massive planned development and population increase north of Powerline Rd. The area of study for the road expansion includes rural and agricultural land on the north side (such as Brantwood Farms) and residential and commercial land on the south side (such as Andrew W Pate Park)1. The farmland on the north side of Powerline Road was annexed (taken) in 2017 by  Brantford for commercial and residential development.

TIMELINE

Currently the City is consulting with review agencies and the public. The study will be completed in 2025, and then the approved plan will be implemented. This is your chance to have a say.

IMPACT

The road expansion will facilitate sprawl development on prime farmland north of Powerline Road, and increase the air pollution, noise, traffic congestion and water contamination. 

IMPACT ON NATURAL LANDS

Significant natural features along Powerline Road will be impacted. The area is home to species at risk, such as; multiple bat species, multiple bird species, Snapping Turtles, Eastern Milk Snakes, Western Chorus Frogs, and Butternut Trees1. The road also crosses different sections of Fairchild Creek, a major tributary of the Grand River (meaning the creek flows into the Grand River). Fairchild Creek already has some pollution and water quality issues due to farming, erosion and development. Fairchild Creek flows into the Grand River, which is a source of water for communities downstream. The creek  also provides habitat for more than 40 species that are protected under provincial and federal species at risk legislation3. This includes five rare provincially significant fish species; American brook lamprey, Black redhorse, Greater redhorse), Brindled madtom and Eastern sand darter3

IMPACT ON RESIDENTS

Properties that border Powerline Road and the community at large will be affected by this road expansion (See map).

QUESTIONS

  • What kind of development is planned for the land north of Powerline Rd.? What kind of industry? 
  • What is the projected population? 
  • What plans are there for public transit? Will there be a dedicated lane for public transit? Will there be a GO Transit station? How will we accommodate commuters?
  • Is there a climate change plan? What does it entail?

REFERENCES

1 https://www.brantford.ca/en/your-government/resources/Documents/CorporatePlansProjects/Powerline-Road-EA/Powerline-Road-EA—PIC-1-Display-Boards.pdf

2 https://www.csu.edu/cerc/documents/ImpactsofChangingLandUse-October1997.PDF

3 https://www.grandriver.ca/en/our-watershed/resources/Documents/Subwatershed/FAIRCHILDCR_Phase1_Exec_Summ.pdf

  • May 6 – Deadline to submit comments to the Official Plan

    Protect what we love.
    Help to stop sprawl. 
    Protect the environment & our health

    Please send an email today to OfficialPlan@brant.ca and ask that

    1. Farmland in Brant County be protected, and that no site specific development on the Papple farm which is outside of the Cainsville urban settlement boundary be permitted. We are losing 319 acres per day of farmland in Ontario (Stats Canada, 2021). The Ontario Farmland Trust calls for the protection of all farmland: prime farmland (class 1-3), Class 4 (good for tender fruits), Class 5 (good for heritage grains) and Class 6 (food for pasture for livestock) and supporting a family farm. All farmland is valuable for agriculture!

    2) that incineration of garbage (energy from waste) not be permitted because of the emissions and toxic ash that it creates, the expense, and the waste of precious resources that can be recycled and reused. Ask council instead to support better recycling and composting as in other communities (e.g. recycle plastic bags, set up repair centres, recycle Styrofoam; have more frequent and more accessible toxic waste depots).

    Speak up. Plan to attend the public meeting at Mon, May 29,
     3:00 pm, Council Chambers,
    7 Broadway Street W., Paris.
    Email
    clerks@brant.ca to register to speak 

  • Have Your Say – Send in Comments on the County of Brant New Official Plan Today!

    Send your comments by noon Thursday December 2, 2021 to officialplan@brant.ca

    For the most current information about the new Official Plan for the County of Brant visit engagebrant.ca

    There is immense pressure on the County of Brant to cater to the requests of developers to convert agricultural land to employment land and to convert employment land to residential zoning. The county needs to hear from a wide variety of voices – residents, business owners, farmers, students, elders, environmentalists, lifelong residents and newly arrived residents. Our Official Plan should reflect all of our voices.

    Agriculture is a key contributor to our local economy and farmland is a finite resource that requires protection. Protecting farmland will help to protect our economy and will also help provide ecological sustainability and food security.

    To address the Climate Emergency we need to reduce our carbon footprint. It is essential to reduce car dependency. This requires focussing on local, ecologically sustainable employment; avoid catering to a ‘commuter shed’.

    As growth happens in the County of Brant we need to create and enhance active transportation – accessible, walkable & bicycle friendly communities. We do not need settlement boundary expansions if we work to attract employers who will provide higher density jobs. Think skilled, high tech – workspaces with many employees rather than vast warehouses that take up precious land and only require a minimal number of employees to operate.

  • Please submit comments on the County of Brant Draft Official Plan

    Below are suggested comments for your consideration. Please send your message to OfficialPlan@brant.ca TODAY!

    Dear Planning Staff,

    In 2017, Brantford and Brant County negotiated a 9,000-acre mega-sprawl deal. Brantford annexed 6,700 acres of mostly prime farmland from Brant County, and agreed to extend water and sewer services to Cainsville and the airport community to enable development of another 2,150 acres of mostly prime farmland.

    We do not want to see any more farmland lost to sprawl.

    We do not support the request to extend the urban settlement boundary of Cainsville to include the Papple farm. It is prime farmland and natural heritage land.

    We support the requests of Better Brant to reduce sprawl and protect our environment and climate:

    • no more settlement boundary expansions
    • protect farmland and natural heritage
    • no conversion of employment land to residential
    • reduce our carbon footprint, create compact walkable communities within settlement areas that have servicing
    • higher density for residential (infilling) and employment lands (promote more jobs per acre)
    • sprawl is expensive, adds to climate change, has negative health impacts and leaves taxpayers paying more taxes to subsidize new development
    • sprawl brings more commuters “Transportation is the biggest source of climate pollution in Ontario …(a)nd a big portion of that comes from cars commuting back and forth pumping carbon into the air” (Mike Schreiner, Ontario Green Party leader, Guelph MPP)
    • higher density protects farmland, reduces our carbon footprint, builds community, and protects farmland and natural heritage.

    Thank you,

    Your Name

    Your Address

    Your Email

  • Submission to Greenbelt Expansion Consultation by David Neumann

    David Neumann, former MPP, Mayor, Councillor and Alderman for Brantford has generously agreed to share his submission to the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO Registry #019-3136 Consultation on Growing the Size of the Greenbelt). Comment submissions are due April 19, 2021 at 11:59PM. We encourage everyone to submit comments! A simple-to-use quick comment submission form is available – you can copy and paste your own comments into the message, or use the pre-written comment provided in the form. More detailed information about submitting comments is available in this post

    Submission by David Neumann:

    To the Environmental Registry and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing:

    I congratulate the Ontario Government on offering consultation on growing the Greenbelt at this time. I participated in the 2015 review and at that time our primary request was to add the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt. We had almost 100 people attend the MMAH sponsored 2015 open house at the Brant Park Best Western Inn. There was a strong consensus to add the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt. After all, the Oak Ridges Moraine was included in the initial Greenbelt designation as a way of preserving the fresh water needs of the Toronto GTA+ area.  The Grand River Valley is the largest river watershed in all of Ontario (including GGH)  Urban areas and farmers in the valley of our Heritage River and its tributaries, need the assurance that our future will be secure in the knowledge that fresh water is protected for future generations. Even though the inclusion of the Paris Galt Moraine was recommended in the Crombie Report, our request for adding the Paris Galt Moraine to the Greenbelt was not implemented as supported in the 2015 review. 

    Expanding the Greenbelt west will support Groundwater communities in the Waterloo and Wellington region, including the Region of Waterloo and cities such as Brantford, that are dependent upon the Grand River. We need to see the highest level of protection for natural and hydrological features and farmland.  As a result of dependence on groundwater, some municipalities have adopted stronger protection policies that should continue and prevail, if they are to be included in the Greenbelt. We would ask the province to allow these higher levels of protection to remain in place for any area that is added to the Greenbelt. Indeed, Municipalities anywhere in the Greenbelt should be allowed to create levels of protection that are higher than those included in the Greenbelt.

    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

    Question 1: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of the Study Area of the Paris Galt Moraine?

    The Paris Galt Moraine should be added to the Greenbelt. Protecting this water system, including headwaters and all hydrological features, means securing a water source for at least 800,000 people. I would encourage the Province to be more ambitious in its approach to expanding the Greenbelt. If it intends to protect precious farmland and natural areas from development and safeguard the countless benefits that they provide, such steps must be taken. I urge the province to expand the area of study to the west and include all adjacent areas and important parts of larger ecological systems (i.e., agricultural systems, wildlife corridors, headwaters, etc.). Protecting the entirety of the system means looking beyond political boundaries. A scientific approach demands that systems adjacent to, or vitally connected with the Greenbelt, need to be protected:

    • Orangeville Moraine
    • Waterloo Moraine 
    • Grand River Watershed, including land contiguous with the Greenbelt in Brant County, i.e. lands west of the Hamilton-Brant Boundary.

    Question 2: What are the considerations in moving from a Study Area to a more defined boundary of the Paris Galt Moraine?

    Yes, definitely, please include the Paris Galt Moraine in the expanded Greenbelt. At the very least, it should include Moraine areas stretching from Guelph through to Cambridge, and then southerly to the northern Brantford boundary with Brant.  

    Engagement with Indigenous communities must fulfill constitutional and treaty obligations. The duty to consult is a constitutional obligation that arises from s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. It recognizes and affirms Indigenous and Treaty rights. Indigenous traditional practices, responsibilities and knowledge systems, must be honoured by ensuring Indigenous voices are heard in any discussions involving expanding the Greenbelt.

    A scientific and evidence-based ecosystems approach may require including where the Paris Galt Moraine extends into Norfolk. It may be advisable to connect with Lake Erie’s coastal system as well.

    Question 3: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of adding, expanding and further protecting Urban River Valleys?

    I commend the suggestion to include the Urban River Valleys of the Greater Toronto Area. Urban River Valleys (URVs) are an established means of connecting residents in the Greater Toronto Area to the Greenbelt. Expanding the designation of URVs could be a way of connecting communities dependent on groundwater to the headwaters that recharge their drinking water sources. I suggest that URVs be further protected by ensuring that the Greenbelt includes headwater areas , thus establishing direct connections with downstream urban communities. It is recommended that the expansion of URVs incorporate connections to the Paris Galt Moraine through the Speed and Eramosa Rivers in urban areas. 

    This concept should also be extended to the urban areas in the Grand River watershed. Over the years, the City of Brantford, working with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), has moved to bring many of the lands along the river into public ownership. This was done to provide greater access to the river, including the provision of extensive hiking trails.  Volunteers of the Brantford Waterways organization over the years raised money and encouraged citizens to engage in such initiatives. The Grand River valley and its tributaries should be included in any expansion of the Urban River Valleys concept. Government actions and decisions should include the expansion of the concept of Urban River Valleys into the Grand River Valley. Riverway lands are important to be included in Greenbelt designation as a way of protecting access to the river and its tributaries. Protecting these waterway lands also helps to preserve and enhance wildlife corridors.

    I urge the government to expand this protection area, as this will support green infrastructure such as wetlands, floodplains, and riparian edges. These are key ecological features preventing downstream areas from flooding and erosion. These features protect habitat, promote biodiversity, provide healthy outdoor recreation, and support the regional trail system.  

    Question 4: Do you have suggestions for other potential areas to grow the Greenbelt?

    Yes. Address the needs of the Grand River Valley. The Grand River is a designated Heritage River. An environmental or ecological designation needs to be added. The Grand River watershed was once a largely forested landscape. Early settlers cut thousands of trees to create farmlands and to find and use wood for buildings houses and barns and commercial structures. Unfortunately, this loss of trees led to extremes events, such as low water levels and extreme floods. By the time of the 1930s droughts, things had reached a crisis. Low water levels in the summer created an urgent situation, requiring action. Not surprisingly, Brantford, a city that used river water for its public and municipal water needs decided to take action. Brantford’s community and business leaders invited representatives from other communities throughout the watershed, to attend a meeting in Brantford to address this crisis. The story is summarized here: https://www.grandriver.ca/en/who-we-are/GRCA-history.aspx

    In other words, leadership by Brantford’s initiative got support that led to the creation of the first river watershed-based conservation authority. Later, Ontario created legislation to create similar authorities in many if not all watershed areas. The authority managed the river, and projects such as construction of up-river dams, were undertaken. Snow meltwater and spring rainwater could be retained in a reservoir and released gradually in times of low water levels. By the way, moraines do this naturally. The trees do this too, but the forests had largely been removed. There was a time when the province required all farms to have a woodlot. This was helpful, but contiguous wooded areas are much preferred to woodlots isolated from one another.

    Communities and volunteers are helping today by supporting initiatives to plant native species trees. This is often done in collaboration with the GRCA. It will never restore the number of trees that existed before the settlers cleared the lands, but planting trees does help stabilize ground water, and can prevent flooding.

    We can build our ecologically strong future in the Grand River Valley by –

    • Providing clean air, water storage and filtration

    • Building resilience to climate change

    • Nourishing rural communities

    • Preventing invasive species, flooding, and soil erosion

    • Supporting conservation and biodiversity recovery

    • Promoting downstream communities and ecological sustainable economic activities

    • Supporting and securing the agricultural and agri-food sectors

    • Enhancing community well-being through access to recreation and locally based tourism

    Question 5: How should we balance or prioritize any potential Greenbelt expansion with the other provincial priorities mentioned below?

    Expanding the Greenbelt supports many current priorities: Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, Ontario’s Wetland Conservation Strategy and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy. Nature, water, and farmland are the foundation of social and economic well-being. Protecting these natural assets helps to strengthen other provincial priorities. Growing the Greenbelt will strengthen Sustainable Development Goals, while enhancing the security of vital natural systems. The protection of valuable farmland and the strengthening of natural and water resource systems must be seen as priorities. These are finite, irreplaceable, and invaluable resources with respect to community and ecosystem health. We need to have strong resilience to reduce climate change with its potentially disastrous outcomes. Growing the Greenbelt will help to ensure a workable balance between development and natural heritage.

    Infrastructure to support housing needs of communities in the GGH can be met within lands already designated for development. Aside from Toronto and Peel, growth in all other municipalities has been less than projected. There is a big surplus of land available for development. In 2017, The Neptis Foundation estimated that the total supply of unbuilt land (125,560 hectares) will easily accommodate housing and employment to 2031 and beyond. Rather than developing on sensitive farmland and in natural areas, the province should encourage building complete communities of gentle density (ones that are people friendly, easily walkable, climate change resilient, and with jobs nearby). Development should happen inside the boundaries of our existing towns and cities. Rejuvenated brownfields that are close to existing infrastructure should be the priority location for commercial and industrial development.

    Question 6: Are there other priorities that should be considered?

    Yes. Ontario should engage in meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples, while respecting treaty rights. The Duty to Consult must be followed. This requirement is clearly outlined in the 1701 Nanfan Treaty, 1784 Haldimand Proclamation Treaty and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) for which Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) is required by the Crown for all activities past, present and future. While the federal government has attempted to delegate consultation to provincial and municipal levels, full, deep, and meaningful consultation must be fulfilled. That has been confirmed by Supreme Court Decisions, and is borne out by International Conventions. Matters pertaining to activities, policies or land planning within the 1784 Haldimand Deed Lands fall under the purview of the Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, in particular their Lands Research and Consultation Department (SNGREC). The Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Chiefs asserts jurisdiction for matters pertaining to outstanding land claims. Furthermore, the Grand River Notification Agreement must be followed. 

    Clean and fresh water is essential for health and human survival. On February 2, 2021, the Grand River Source Protection Area Approved Assessment Report highlighted water quality issues regarding water supply in Ohsweken (Six Nations of the Grand River). Primary water quality concerns identified were related to colour, total dissolved solids, and aluminum in the surface water from the Ohsweken Intake point were identified.

    The level of protection should stand. and municipalities in the Greenbelt should be able to raise the bar on protecting land, water, and natural heritage, if they so choose. Ontario needs to recognize and support the better quality of protection that exists in some jurisdictions (e.g., the Region of Waterloo). For example, Municipalities within the Greenbelt must be given the authority to establish policies that are more restrictive on mineral aggregate extraction than those outside the Greenbelt Plan, as is the case in other GGH municipalities. One suggestion is that mineral extraction should be prevented from going below the water level.

     Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding noted in 2019, that there is increasing frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events (as in the Grand River flooding of February 2019). To mitigate this tendency for increased flooding frequencies, tree planting should be encouraged and supported. Natural features such as wetlands, aquifers, and moraines assist greatly in reducing associated flood damages and financial losses. 

    Sincerely, 

    David E. Neumann

    Brantford, Ontario

    On City council as Alderman, Mayor and Councillor for almost 20 years

    MPP for Brantford for one term

    PS

    In principle, I support the submissions of area associations and coalitions: 

    A.

    1. Brant Land Trust
    2. Langford Conservancy
    3. Sustainable Brant / Better Brant, a coalition of residents from Brantford and Brant
    4. CELA Canadian Environmental Law Association
    5. National Farmers Union, local branch 

    B. 

    1.  Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

    2. Ontario Headwaters Institute

    3. Ontario Nature

    4. Ontario Farmland Trust

  • Speak Up for Ambitious Greenbelt Expansion

    The province has undertaken a consultation to expand the Greenbelt
    This consultation closes Monday April 19, 2021 at 11:59PM. 
    Please consider submitting a comment to the province in support of expansion of this protection beyond the existing boundaries.

    We have been working with a number of groups including Ontario Nature, the Ontario Headwaters Institute, as well as MPP Mike Schreiner and others in order to coordinate our efforts to advocate for growing the Greenbelt. We have already endorsed the submissions from Ontario Nature and the OHI. These submissions are well written and thoroughly researched, and we encourage you to learn more by reading them. We are supportive of protection of areas to the west of the existing Greenbelt including the Paris Galt Moraine and the Grand River Watershed. Please join us in our efforts and submit a message to the province.

    A very convenient submission tool has been created to help you send your message. Below is a Sample Letter with a Brantford/Brant focus that can be edited, copied, or you can write your own message. When you click on the submission tool you will notice the sample letter you see there is different. If you like the Sustainable Brant/Better Brant letter, you have to replace the sample letter (copy and paste it into the box on the Submission Tool page). You can also feel free to copy/paste portions of the Ontario Nature or OHI submissions to include in your message.

    SUSTAINABLE BRANT/BETTER BRANT SAMPLE LETTER:


    Dear Members of the Greenbelt Consultation Team,
    I appreciate the government’s commitment to grow the Greenbelt. Please see my answer to the consultation questions below.
    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
    Question 1: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of the Study Area of the Paris Galt Moraine?

    The County of Brant is dependent upon ground water. Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River and other downstream communities are dependent upon the river. In order to protect the water sources for Brantford and the County of Brant and people downstream, we need to include

    • the entire Paris-Galt moraine as depicted in the Blackport report (2009)
    • headwaters, streams, creeks and wetlands of the Grand River
    • Orangeville Moraine
    • Waterloo Moraine
    • Greenbelt the Grand River watershed and all areas in the Bluebelt map.
    • Land contiguous with the Greenbelt in the County of Brant

    Question 2: What are the considerations in moving from a Study Area to a more defined boundary of the Paris Galt Moraine?

    This is too limited an area. Include all areas mentioned in Question 1 and

    • recognize the dependency of communities up and down the Grand River on groundwater and the Grand River
    • extend protection of the Paris-Galt Moraine into Norfolk County (see mapping in the 2009 Blackport Report commissioned by the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Parks)

    Question 3: What are your thoughts on the initial focus area of adding, expanding and further protecting Urban River Valleys?

    The Grand River watershed is the largest river watershed in southern Ontario, and it has been designated as a Heritage River. Therefore, it is important to include the headwaters, streams, creeks and wetlands of the Grand River Watershed as well as all Urban River Valleys in the Greater Golden Horseshoe

    Question 4: Do you have suggestions for other potential areas to grow the Greenbelt?

    • Greenbelt the areas proposed in the Bluebelt map see below (Ontario Greenbelt Alliance),
    • Greenbelt the natural heritage and agricultural systems in the Greater Golden horseshoe.
    • Allow additions to the natural heritage mapping (for example, the Natural Heritage area east of Brantford contiguous with the current western border of the Greenbelt between Hwy 403 and Colborne St. is missing).

    Question 5: How should we balance or prioritize any potential Greenbelt expansion with the other provincial priorities mentioned below?

    My suggestions support policies such as

    • Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy,
    • Ontario’s Wetland Conservation Strategy,
    • Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy,
    • Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement: protecting prime agricultural land. See map below
    • The Greenbelt Act should default to the policy offering the highest level of protection for water, natural heritage and farmland protection, including municipal policies.

    Expansion of the Greenbelt will enable these key concepts:
    Housing: reduce sprawl development
    The Neptis Foundation (2017) found that there is more than enough land already designated for development to meet future housing needs in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (except Toronto and Peel).Build complete communities the within current urban settlement boundaries,Develop brownfields

    Transportation: Reduce our dependency on cars

    Promote complete and walkable communities with public transitCOVID19 has reduced the need to commute, with more people working from home

    Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs)-protect water, natural heritage and farmland

    Do not use MZOs to fast-track development on natural areas and farmland.

    Question 6: Are there other priorities that should be considered?

    Meaningful consultation with Six Nations of the Grand and the Mississaugas of the Credit, including the traditional leaders and communities.

    Climate Change: Nature-based solutions will help us to lessen and adapt to the risks and impacts of climate change. For example, in 2019, the Grand River watershed experienced severe flooding, particularly in Brantford. Natural features reduce flood damage and financial losses. Expanding the Greenbelt will protect biodiversity, particularly species at risk. The Greenbelt will help to protect wildlife corridors, thus reducing habitat loss.

    Health and well-being: The Greenbelt expansion will contribute to clean air and water, the local food economy, access to nature – particularly important during the COVID19 crisis.

    I would also like to endorse the submissions of 
    Ontario Nature: https://view.publitas.com/on-nature/expanding-ontarios-greenbelt/page/1
    and the Ontario Headwaters Institute: https://waterscape.ca/wp-content/uploads/PDF-Version-of-Submission-of-March-31-with-App-A.pdf

    Sincerely,

    [your name will go here]

  • Urgent: Act Now to Stop the Ontario Government Attack on Protected Land

    Hidden in Bill 257, Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021 a bill that is clearly supposed to be about broadband internet, is Schedule 3 – legislation that would change the law to make Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) anywhere outside the Greenbelt exempt from Ontario’s basic rules of good land-use planning, the Provincial Policy Statement. The government is trying to give itself more power to allow development anywhere that developers want. This bill would also make that power retroactive, in hopes that MZOs that were illegal when they were issued – like the one you may have heard about that was issued for the Lower Duffins Creek wetland – would be allowed to go forward.

    Write to Minister Steve Clark, and your MPP, to demand that they remove Schedule 3 from Bill 257? Comments must be sent today, Friday March 26, 2021.

    You can use this simple contact form organized by Environmental Defence or you can write your own message.
    Your message can be very simple:
    “I request the removal of Schedule 3 from Bill 257.”
    Send your message directly to Minister Steve Clark and your local MPP. You may wish to copy the mayor and council of your municipality.

    To learn more, read this joint statement by Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence and Ecojustice.