Bill 229 threatens Ontario’s valuable wetlands says reader

To the Editor:

It has been a difficult time for all over these past several months, especially more significant as we head into the holiday season.

I write today however, to bring to light recent changes made by the Province of Ontario that will threaten wetlands, and the processes designed to ensure that Ontarians are protected against flooding, coastal erosion, seasonal and long-term drought and property destruction. 

On a local level, I write to bring to all residents’ attention the Drainage Master Plan process currently underway in the Town of Saugeen Shores.

Bill 229 – Pro-development at the Expense of Health and Safety

Labeled the “Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act”, Bill 229 (and the associated omnibus Bill 197), was introduced on November 5th as part of its Budget Bill, in order to avoid public consultation on the matter.  The Bill allows for the arbitrary circumvention of conservation authorities in the process of development approval directly to the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks; threatening Ontario’s valuable wetlands. 

Wetlands are buffer zones for flooding, carbon sinks to help mitigate climate change and critical habitats for a variety of animal and plant species.  At these times of greater environmental instability and increased magnitude and frequency of severe weather events, we need our wetlands more than ever. 

Other unintended negative effects of this Bill include the introduction of uncertainty and risk into real estate markets, reducing the role of local decision-making and undermining the public trust in the planning process with vague and arbitrary decision-making. 

Many international, national, provincial and local organizations have come out against this Bill, including:

The Corporation of the Town of Saugeen Shores
Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority
Conservation Ontario
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
David Suzuki Foundation
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Greenpeace…and many more.

What Can You Do to Stop This Change?

It’s not too late to voice your concerns!  Sign an online Petitioncontact your MPP and connect with the Premier by email (, Twitter (@FordNation) or telephone (416-325-1941) to request the repeal of Section 6, Bill 229 today. 

Participate in the Saugeen Shores Drainage Master Plan Process

The Town of Saugeen Shores has retained GM BluePlan Engineering Limited to prepare a Master Drainage Plan for the municipality.  The process of review was announced recently and is currently underway. 

The Notice of Study Commencement is available from the Town’s website, as well as the draft Plan (go to: and Click on “Drainage Master Plan”). 

In light of COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual Public Information Centre (PIC No.1) will be held on December 16th beginning at 4:30 p.m.  Click here to access the Zoom session (scroll down to the “Drainage Plan Information Meeting” link).  The deadline for comments/questions to be made at the meeting is December 14th and must be made by contacting the Clerk`s Office at (519) 832-2008 x105 or via email to:

In light of the changes imposed through Bill 229, the Drainage Master Plan has heightened importance for Saugeen Shores property owners.  Take some time to become aware of the proposed plan, and if possible, attend the live Zoom session.

Brian Putman