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Far north at risk unless Ontario adopts new, inclusive planning process: Report
Date:6/19/2014

. An R-SEA implemented in Ontario's Far North, say the authors, would reduce risks to the environment, people, and the economy. In addition, this approach has been recommended by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, and builds on recommendations by the Far North Science Advisory Panel.

"Adopting an R-SEA planning process is a way of building consensus around where, when, and in what form development is appropriate as opposed to our current processes that ask communities - social and ecological - to bear the long-term impacts of new development," said Cheryl Chetkiewicz, Associate Conservation Scientist with WCS Canada.

In their report, the authors make the following recommendations to the Ontario Government:

  • Look at the big picture regarding industrial development first: Establish a mandatory R-SEA process in Ontario's Far North. At a minimum, a R-SEA process should be required for the Ring of Fire before project-based environmental assessments and approvals can proceed.

  • Gather the information needed to make smart decisions and to monitor ecosystem health: Implement a regional monitoring program for watershed health. This program should be used to develop a reliable dataset that project proponents can use for cumulative effects assessments and to identify and measure thresholds of ecological change or disturbance that are not to be exceeded.

  • Transform regional planning to address sustainability: Re-focus the Far North Land Use Strategy into a truly integrated, comprehensive regional planning approach that helps First Nations, multiple government ministries, and stakeholders to arrive at a shared future vision for the region.

  • Address sustainability in community planning: Establish community-based land-use planning with First Nations that includes a sustainability-centred agenda as a follow-on to broader R-SEA planning.

  • Bring env
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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
718-220-3698
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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