Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Sun: Toronto councillor steamed over plan to dig up potato farms

Councillor Josh Matlow wants the City of Toronto to dig into the Melancthon Mega Quarry fight.


Matlow will ask councillors on the executive committee next week to demand an environmental assessment of what would be the second-biggest rock quarry in North America before it is built in the Township of Melancthon, north of Toronto, near Shelburne.

“While we have municipal boundaries, the impact on our environment and access to food don’t,” Matlow said Monday, explaining why he thinks the city should get involved beyond its borders. “It would be in the heart of some of the last remaining agricultural lands in the Toronto region – Toronto, being the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, has an integral interest in the land surrounding our city.”


The rookie councillor is asking Mayor Rob Ford and his inner circle of councillors to pass a motion asking Ontario’s environment minister to designate the proposed 937-hectare quarry a major commercial or business enterprise or activity under the environmental assessment act, making it subject to an environment assessment before it can go ahead.


Matlow said his constituents brought the issue to his attention.


He pointed out “stop the quarry” signs have popped up around the city.


Because the quarry is being built on potato farms – the land is renowned for its potato-growing qualities – Matlow warns there will be an impact on spud lovers in the city because the area provides around 50% of Toronto’s potatoes.


“If anyone in Toronto likes buying potatoes at a reasonable price, they will support (this motion),” Matlow said. “Mayor Ford speaks a lot about protecting the interests of taxpayers. (This quarry) will hit Toronto consumers right in the pocketbook.”


While he admits his motion may not receive the executive committee’s attention, Matlow said it is something every councillor could support regardless of their politics.


“This isn’t a right wing thing, this isn’t a left wing thing. I hope to convince the mayor and his executive that this is something in line with their agenda,” Matlow said. “I’m not suggesting we spend a single tax dollar on this.”


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