Caledon headwaters threatened as councillors stay silent 
Alexis Wright/The Pointer Files

Caledon headwaters threatened as councillors stay silent 

An open letter to Mayor Groves and the Town of Caledon Council


RE: 2024 Future Caledon Official Plan

Dear Mayor Groves and Council,


We offer the following observations pursuant to our presentation to the Planning and Development Committee on March 19 on the draft official plan.

  1. The Ontario Headwaters Institute expected a more ambitious discussion with members of the committee, or with informed natural heritage and ecological staff, and not be placed in the cross-hairs of rebuttal from consultants who may have felt obligated to defend their plan and resist any changes. Your voices, sharing your knowledge and leading with purpose, were sadly absent;
  2. A 10-minute discussion on compensation for a lawn irrigation system and a fence on another agenda item stands in sharp contrast to the apparent lack of enthusiasm of the committee members for their responsibility to protect and improve water quality and quantity, under s. 4.2 of the Provincial Policy Statement.  Instead, it appears that the committee has little passion to safeguard the terrestrial, aquatic, and hydrologic integrity of Caledon’s upstream headwater areas, including its provision of drinking water, the loss of which would be felt by future generations, with no compensation;

  3. The statement offered by a consultant that, (paraphrasing), “The Town has not abandoned the ecosystem approach but has engaged in a landscape features approach” is a self-contradictory sentence that in fact proves the abandonment of the ecosystem approach, yet not a whimper was raised; and,

  4. Members of the committee expressed no concern about a statement from a consultant that the Province is getting away from sub-watershed planning. Whatever the reductions to the mandate of conservation authorities, the Province continues to state that it is committed to watershed management, flood prevention, and drinking water source protection. 

It was completely shocking, therefore, that none of the members of the committee flagged any curiosity nor urgency about how the Town would honour its goal of protecting the environment and public health absent a framework for sub-watershed planning.  

In conclusion, the OHI is more deeply concerned now than we were before March 19 that Caledon’s upland headwater areas may be severely threatened in the near term, but remains willing to support Caledon in forging a better plan. 

We again urge you to defer the rural aspects of the draft official plan until a more robust review has been pursued, one that might take into account an updated Credit watershed plan, the completion of the work of the task force on aggregates, and that would seek more input from the community. 



Andrew McCammon



Andrew McCammon is the executive director of the Ontario Headwaters Institute 

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