Watershed Trust Members and many other concerned citizens united in early 2020 to fight the Town of Clearview’s proposed expansion of County Road 26/27, a summer-only road that traverses sensitive Escarpment wetlands. If you don’t remember the whole backstory, find it here.

In early 2021, you helped us prepare for an Ontario Hearing Tribunal hearing slated to start onNovember 8th and end on December 17th ; a very long hearing of 29 days. The time for the long-awaited hearing has come and gone. What happened??

To everyone’s great surprise, the Ford government came back to the Township of Clearview, on October 4th 2021 asking for more information to support Clearview’s undertaking as a Schedule A Environmental Assessment for the proposed project (our experts recommend a Schedule C undertaking). Clearview reacted by postponing the hearing indefinitely.

What’s next?
That’s a win for the Watershed Trust, but as the saying goes ‘we won the battle, not the war’. What happens next is that the Ministry of the Environment needs to rule on whether to accept the Schedule A Environmental Assessment that Clearview submitted is sufficient. (It’s not.)

Next up, we have a telephone conference scheduled for January 31st 2022. Participants are:
(neutral)
Ontario Hearing Tribunal
(allies)
Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation
Niagara Escarpment Commission
Ruth Hutchison
Wendy Franks and David Stevenson
(opposition)
Township of Clearview
Walker Industries

If the Ministry of the Environment should stipulate a Schedule C Environmental Assessment, Clearview will need to consider what they intend to do. The fact that the Ministry asked for additional information (after two refusals to do so) is a good sign. There is also some concern that the transfer of a public road (former County Road 91) to Walker Industries didn’t follow the correct process for such (unusual) actions. The implications of this are unknown.

What you can do
AWARE Simcoe, the Nature League and Save 91 are all standing in solidarity with the Watershed Trust on this issue. If you have not visited Save91.ca, please do so and visit the ‘take action’ page. There, you can sign a petition (1,913 signatures at time of writing!), find a list of local political representatives to contact, get a free lawn sign and contact our local news outlets.