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Local protesters voice concerns over 'destructive' Bill 23

About 50 area residents gathered outside Midland Public Library to protest bill they say will not allow 'developers to profit from the destruction of critical wetlands and greenspaces'
Protesters want to stop the government's Bill 23.

Frigid, blustery conditions didn’t deter a crowd of 50 people from turning out in Midland to protest Premier Doug Ford’s Bill 23 and call on local MPP Jill Dunlop to “kill the Bill.”

They feel that the province’s More Homes Built Faster Act — otherwise known as Bill 23 — will gobble up and destroy environmentally sensitive land.

The group, which also included two canine participants, gathered outside the Midland Public Library Sunday to demand the bill be stopped.

They contend the bill will allow developers to profit from the destruction of critical wetlands and greenspaces, remove and weaken environmental protections and diminish the role of local government and conservation authorities in land-use planning.

Led by members of the Chigamik Drum Circle, the people marched down King St. and then heard from representatives of various organizations, including the Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists, the Reform Gravel Mining Coalition, AWARE Simcoe, the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, Ontario Nature and Friends of the Waverley Uplands.

Tiny Township resident, Teedon Pit neighbour, and well-known local water defender Bonnie Pauzé said there was meaning to the day’s snowstorm.

“When these types of events occur, Mother Nature always likes to show up and make her voice heard as well,” she said.

Sunday's rally followed a similar event Saturday outside fellow Conservative MPP Doug Downey's riding office in Barrie.

Margaret Prophet, executive director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, led the disgruntled group at that event and was clear in her intentions.

“We are here to let Doug Downey know and his boss, Premier Ford, know that we want housing, but we don’t want our wetlands and our Greenbelt destroyed because of it. There is more than enough land to accommodate the housing that we are going to need, and this is just a big gift to developers and we’re not going to take it,” she said.

“People want to live close to where they work and close to services. These places that clean our air and provide water and grow our food are not replaceable places, so to pretend that this is about housing, just to open up sacred places, to give developers a gift, is just atrocious.

-with files from Kevin Lamb

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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