Regional Chair Addresses Wilmot Township Farmland Expropriation

Regional Chair Addresses Wilmot Township Farmland Expropriation

Continued calls for reconsideration

On Tuesday, the Waterloo Region Labour Council wrote an open letter to the region expressing their concern about the potential expropriation of the 770 acres.

“As farmland becomes a more diminishable resource, we lose our ability to feed our own population,” the letter said, in part. “With some of the most fertile land for crop cultivation in the entire country existing in Wilmot Township, we question why the land proposed for expropriation is happening, as it is already serving an important purpose with reference to the long-term sustainability of Waterloo Region.”

The letter also questioned if the land selected goes against the Region of Waterloo’s environmental, sustainability and climate change initiatives.

“The impact of this decision has the potential to have long-standing consequences for not only the people of Wilmot Township, but also Waterloo Region,” the letter continued. “We respectfully request that the Region of Waterloo ceases its actions to expropriate this farmland in Wilmot Township.”

Jeff Donkersgoed, the Waterloo Region Labour Council’s first vice-president, said while the group is in favour of jobs and unions, this proposal just doesn’t sit right.

“What the labour council found so problematic with this is that [there was] no consultation. It’s just being taken away from them without any discussion points and nothing being transparent,” he explained. “For me, it’s knowing that personal connection of farmers and just all of a sudden – here is your livelihood and you don’t have a say in this, it’s being taken away from you, no consultation. I just found it very surprising and very concerning.”

Donkersgoed also stressed the importance of retaining farm land in Ontario.

“If we cannot feed ourselves as a province and as a country, we’re in deep trouble. We have to be very careful about where we take land,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for good, clean jobs being located here in the city. Particularly union jobs. But it’s the location that I think is really important. This is not necessarily very well connected to any urban centre.”

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