Let’s Talk Green Belt


PARRY SOUND MUSKOKA – Climate groups in Parry Sound Muskoka had an opportunity to sit down face to face with MPP Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, on January 19 following an unsuccessful attempt to do so in December. The meeting was cordial and covered a wide range of issues related to Bill 23 and its climate implications.

The four representatives from Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), Almaguin Climate Action (ACA), and Climate Action Parry Sound (CAPS) reminded the Minister, that they represent constituents from all over the riding. They raised concerns about Bill 23’s impact on delivery of municipal Climate Action Plans; the importance of “protecting what protects us” through preservation of wetland systems, forest ecosystems, natural infrastructure; and the importance of shoreline site control protections to the future of our lakes and our drinking water.

They spoke about food security and the Greenbelt “offset”; the inadequacy of the “80% of market value” equation to determine “affordability”; and the appalling climate and economic choice of expanding gas plants and infrastructure in the riding and across Ontario.

The group also left Smith with a list of questions to which they have requested answers; and a list of solutions which will address the housing crisis and the climate crisis together, without reverting to urban and rural sprawl and highways.

Smith heard the group out and said he would take the concerns back to Queen’s Park for discussion by the Caucus and suggested a future meeting with the climate groups.

Sue McKenzie, on behalf of CAM, ACA, CAPS


“What We Remember”

Graydon’s comments/my responses in brackets -Linda


In power elected by a substantial majority (18% of eligible voters not exactly landslide)

Has not heard from any municipalities expressing with concerns for loss of development fees (this is NOT true. We have had confirmation of Mayors reaching out)

Re developers fees will not be charged for affordable housing defined in bill as 80% of market value. He says they don’t define current market value as $1 M (If a builder is putting up a new subdivision with homes that would be 800K to 1M define market value) He simply denied this was problematic

Offsets will allow then to build/reconstruct wetlands so you will never know (Scientists are vehement in criticism of offsets some of which are in lands already protected)

No protected lands will go unprotected. They will be covered by other assessments. Intent of OWES is to get rid of duplication.  (Not true according to local scientists as well as ED Ontario Nature and others)

Greenbelt opening has been blown out of proportion. Only a fraction of a percent of land will be opened. (Just the beginning as we well know)

Agrees site plan approvals removed from municipalities is a problem and “an easy fix”. More housing bills coming that will address that

Invited us to protest on Fridays on the sidewalk outside the office. Linda told him the building owner was rude to us.


Here are some additional comments by Graydon:

– there is no debate about Climate Change and all in the Gov’t understand it’s challenges.

– Gov’t elected partially based on promises of more housing.

-Bill 23 brought happiness to some, consternation to others.

In response to the question of Why open the greenbelt ? Graydon said – Communities wanted more space, just ask the mayor of Ajax. (Sue: Matthew from ED was puzzled to hear Ajax mayor referred to. He is the most environmentally aware of all the Mayors according to Matthew.  He said Pickering should have been the one to have pointed out.  Do you suppose Graydon made a mistake? Both municipalities are very close to each other.)

-Gov’t trying to incentivize building of all types. Reducing development fees helps this.

-Robust env. regulations still exist and are duplicated in other acts.

-‘not all wetlands are equal’.

-offsetting could create new ones.

– happy to meet with us😏

Sue’s Notes:

  • acknowledged flooding and need to take action
  • no one in gov’t doubts that Climate Change is happening
  • recognize the broader issue and pressing matters as well as homes for people
  • more Bills coming up – OBC? -can get comments in
  • Bill 23 caused happiness for some people, consternation for others
  • Greenbelt conversation has been genericized
  • People don’t realize how big it is taking out less than .3 of 1%
  • Need to find clarity on what market value is defined
  • Expert appointments to wetlands task force
  • Know there is concern around OWES
  • “Everything that should be protected will be protected!”
  • In Caucus meeting discussions what you say informs my position
  • Species at risk can’t be ignored but was removed because of some duplication
  • More to come on “offsetting”


Thursday, January 19, 2023 10-11 am at the Bracebridge Constituency Office

Presented to MPP Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry at the meeting between he and the Parry Sound Muskoka riding climate groups: Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), Almaguin Climate Action (ACA) and Climate Action Parry Sound (CAPS).

Follow-up questions for which we respectfully request answers.  Please share with the Premier and the Caucus.

  • What do you see as the biggest climate issue the Bill will impact? How will the bill seek to address solutions to the climate emergency instead of adding to the problem? 
  • Will you withdraw the changes to the Ontario Wetlands Evaluation System (OWES) in order to protect these critical ecosystem infrastructures acting as carbon sequestering sinks, providing clean water and offering protections from flooding and drought?
  • Will your government revise Bill 23 to reinstate site plan approvals for builds in all areas of the province?
  • We request that you and your government apply the following suggestions which address the climate imperative and also provide solutions to the housing crisis in Ontario when implementing your housing agenda.

Your government could:

  • Build hundreds of thousands of modest, affordable homes for everyday working families that were limited to 900 – 1200 square feet with 2-3 bedrooms and one or 1 1/2 bathrooms
  • Build these homes into existing neighbourhoods with existing infrastructure: public transit, schools, water, sewers, community centres, village squares and 15-minute, walkable services and active transportation networks
  •  Use mixed housing models of rentals, multiplexes, low-rise small apartment and shared seniors housing built into existing neighbourhoods
  • Require all housing be heated and cooled with non-fossil fuel air- or ground-source heat pumps
  • Require legitimate and tested green building standards for materials for construction of homes and insure carbon zero buildings within the decade, an achievable standard around the world.
  • Create EV infrastructure and electrify local municipal services, including transportation, building heating and cooling
  • Require local smart green grids transitioning every community to renewable sources of energy
  • Set boundaries around urban areas, including town and village centres in Muskoka, Parry Sound, and Almaguin to prevent the clearcutting of forested areas that clean our air, protect the farmlands that feed us and wetlands that provide flood protection and essential biodiversity.
  • Mandate building “in” instead of “out”
  • Require that existing draft subdivision approvals be built in a timely fashion using low carbon materials and non-fossil fuel heating, quickly increasing a much-needed supply of housing in the District while reducing GHG emissions from the housing sector.
  • Cancel current and future rural subdivision (sprawl) approvals (approximately 400 in Muskoka now) which create sprawl – already an alarming feature of new development in Parry Sound Muskoka

Sue McKenzie, CAM, Linda Mathers, CAM, Kevin Logie, CAPS, Stephen Todoroff, ACA

LOST LOVE by Frank Thompson


where cross our links to life,
where live our loves: our home
where mind and spirit grow
in vision and perception

to grief.

Lost love
monstrously abused,
your ancient beauty ravaged.
You burn with fever

while puppets rage
in uncontested power.

Fire follows them
to bitter endings.


you rise
to thread the star-strewn universe

without us.

---Frank Thompson

Your Planet Needs You!

Come out and add your voice to demand real action on the climate emergency!

On Sept. 8th, in the midst of a snap federal election and right before the federal leaders’ debates, people across Canada will march and rally in our communities from coast to coast to coast. Together we will ensure that the climate emergency is a top election issue and push all candidates and parties to ramp up their climate ambition.

Wed. Sept 8th, Mary Street Center,

24 Mary Street,

11 am to 12:30 pm

No More Empty Promises Action March19-20

Statement prepared by Eden Graves and Erica Kramer


Climate Action Parry Sound takes part in
Global Climate Strike on March 19, 2021

Fridays for Future announced that 2021’s first Global Climate Strike will take place on March 19. Parry Sound is responding to their international call for action.

“Those in power continue to only deliver vague and empty promises for far off dates that are much too late. What we need are not meaningless goals for 2050 or net-zero targets full of loopholes, but concrete and immediate action in-line with science. Our carbon budget is running out. The climate crisis is already here and will only get worse, so if we are to avoid the worst case scenarios, annual, short-term climate binding targets that factor in justice and equity have to be prioritized by the people in charge.

Join the world in calling for #NoMoreEmptyPromises on Friday, March 19, and demand that our mayors, premiers, and the federal government work together because we are in a climate emergency.”

Reads Fridays for Future’s website . 
Climate Action Parry Sound is hosting a local strike in downtown Parry sound. To comply with COVID 19 safety measures, activists taking part in the strike will be stationed at various intersections throughout town and on the lawn of the Mary St. Centre church. Masks are required and all individuals participating will be socially distanced.

Climate Action Parry Sound (CAPS) is a group of Parry Sound & area residents and cottagers who believe: 1) there is a climate crisis; 2) we can and must do something about it; and 3) we are stronger if we all work together. We are ‘activists’ in practice and non-partisan in principal.

2021 First Global Day of Action

Fight For 1 point 5

This Friday, Dec. 11, 11:30 – 12:30 We will gather on James Street adjacent to St James United Church to “Fight For 1 point 5 limit to global warming as required by the Paris Agreement.



On Saturday, December 12th, people from around the world come together to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. But there is no reason for celebration. Every single government fails to contribute to a 1.5 degree pathway. ​

​We are already witnessing the consequences of this failure: more and more tragedies and injustices are taking place across the world, ranging from more intense and frequent extreme precipitation events to wildfires and food insecurity. The climate crisis is rampaging here and now. If the world leaders keep failing us, the climate crisis will become uncontrollable resulting in the degradation not only of our natural resources but also of human life. We cannot allow that to happen.​

So we will have to stand together and protest:


Sound The Alarm

On Nov 17th

Sound the Alarm

Politicians are not meeting the crises we’re facing at the scale we need. It’s up to us to shake them out of their complacency.

That’s why on November 17th, we’re sending a clear message that business-as-usual isn’t working. In this moment of a climate emergency, global pandemic, and economic recession, we need big, bold ideas.

Together, we’ll make sure we’re heard on the same day as the Trans Mountain (TMX) crown corporation’s Annual General Meeting. After all, Trudeau bought the Trans Mountain pipeline with our public money. That makes all of us unwilling shareholders in this Crown corporation. Let’s send a clear message. We need action now to defund Trans Mountain and invest in a Green New Deal that works for people and the planet.

Fridays For Future Global Day of Action Sept 25

Parry Sound joins Global Day of Climate Action

The Climate Action Parry Sound Federal petition is available, until Thursday closing time, to be signed at White Squall, Georgian Bay Whole Foods, Ogiimaa Cafe, and Pollard’s IDA (ask at the pharmacy counter). Contractors can also find the petition in the lunch rooms at RONA and McNabb’s Home Building Centre.

Friday September 25th will be the 80th week of demonstrations by Climate Action Parry Sound.  Also happening that day is the  Global Day of Climate Action by Fridays for Future.

Climate Action Parry Sound began in  March 2019 as an idea of Parry Sounder Frank Thompson who wanted to do something to support Greta Thunberg and her Fridays For Future school strikes.  Frank planned to sit outside Norm Miller and Tony Clement’s offices on James Street and bring attention to the climate crisis unfolding the world over.  Greta Thunberg had begun a global movement at the age of 15  by leaving school to sit outside the Swedish  Parliament every Friday.  She felt there was no point going to school if she didn’t have a future.  Frank could not sit back and let our young people shoulder this burden alone. A group of Parry Sound friends and supporters began to join Frank  every Friday from 11:30 until 1:30 outside the local constituency offices. 

A petition was started addressed to the Legislature of Ontario asking for our government to take serious action to mitigate climate change. That petition was presented to MPP Norm Miller on November 15th, 2019. and read in the Ontario legislature on December 3, 2019.   In the summer of 2019 a similar petition addressed to the House of Commons/Federal government was begun.  850  signatures were added and a plan was made to present this petition to our MP in April coinciding with other Global Actions during Earth Week.  As we all know that plan was curtailed by Covid 19.  Now the plan is to have 1000 signatures  before September 25th.   Anyone who hasn’t signed and would like to please contact or check their website, The wording of the petition is as follows:


TO The House of Commons: –

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has signed the 2015 Paris agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2° above preindustrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°; and WHEREAS the Government has since declared a national climate emergency upon becoming aware of the dire consequences in wildfires, flooding and permafrost-melting even at the present increase of only 1°; and WHEREAS climate change is being caused by the accumulated emissions of developed countries for two centuries, yet it disproportionately impacts the poorest people and poorest countries with the least responsibility and fewest resources to mitigate or adapt;

WE the undersigned petition the Government of Canada as follows: –

WE ASK the Government of Canada to immediately focus all its actions through the lens of the declared climate emergency so as to assure that we do more than our strictly numerical share to avoid reaching a 1.5° global temperature increase; and WE ASK the Government to proactively communicate the urgency and fairness of this responsibility to its citizens as it would in a state of war, considering the stakes are as high, or higher.


The group has continued to maintain a weekly presence in the street and eventually moved to the lawn at the Mary Street Center. Signs have been placed on the lawn every Friday at 11:30 as well as several  Shoe Strikes have been  held.  Shoe Strikes were also an initiative of Fridays for Future who began placing shoes to represent the people who could no longer gather in large groups in public 

Another group, Climate Action Muskoka, also holds climate protests every Friday in Bracebridge and Huntsville.

At 9:30 am on  September 25th a Covid responsible gathering will be held on the lawn at the Mary Street Center for Community (St. James United Church, corner of James and Mary Street in Parry Sound).  At that time the petition to the House of Commons will be presented to MP Scott Aitchison.

Petitions are available, until Thursday closing time, to be signed at White Squall, Georgian Bay Whole Foods, Ogiimaa Cafe, and Pollard’s IDA (ask at the pharmacy counter). Contractors can also find the petition in the lunch rooms at RONA and McNabb’s Home Building Centre.

Week 72. Shoe Strike on the “Mary St Center Wall”