Burlington, ON (September 17, 2009) — Emma’s Back Porch hosted the launch of the Mount Nemo Declaration this week. Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL) developed the Declaration to help create an ecologically sustainable vision for Mount Nemo, the jewel of Burlington, ON. PERL, community leaders and supporting environmental groups gathered to officially sign and endorse the Mount Nemo Declaration. It was then presented to Burlington and Halton Region political leaders, garnering their support for a long-term ecologically sustainable vision for Mount Nemo.
“I have signed the Mount Nemo Declaration willingly, openly and happily. We cannot rely on age-old legislation; we have to modernize our legislation to protect Mount Nemo for the next 100 years,” said Cam Jackson, Mayor of Burlington. “We will be at PERL’s side, and we will not rest until those things we hold dear to our hearts are protected – our families, our cities and our environment.”
National, regional and local environmental groups have endorsed the Declaration. Together, they have formed a coalition to support the City of Burlington and a Motion to require Nelson Aggregate to update its new quarry license application before proceeding to Joint Board hearings.
“PERL and the Mount Nemo Declaration have received a huge outpouring of support from community and environmental leaders,” says Roger Goulet, Executive Director of PERL. “It is clear that to protect Mount Nemo and the Niagara Escarpment for future generations, we need an ecologically sustainable, long-term vision for the area. If not, we stand to lose a treasured piece of Ontario, and Canada for that matter.”
The Mount Nemo Declaration calls on governments to establish an ecologically sustainable Natural Heritage System across Mount Nemo and re-designate the area to Niagara Escarpment ‘Protected’, from Escarpment ‘Rural’.
“Nelson Aggregate is proposing to open a new quarry and ignore the concerns and wishes of the community. The endorsing environmental groups represent tens of thousands of individuals in the local community and neighbouring regions,” says Sarah Harmer, Co-Founder of PERL. “Coalition and community leaders agree with the City, Mount Nemo should be protected and developed into a sustainable area. The Joint Board application hearing should be about one integrated site, with a comprehensive and modern set of regulations and standards, not dated ones.”
Attendees on hand to sign and endorse the Declaration included the Mayor of Burlington, Cam Jackson; Regional Chair, Gary Carr; Councillors John Taylor and Keith Bird; Lake Ontario Waterkeeper; Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment; Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment; the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance; and David Donnelly, counsel to PERL and Environmental Defence.
“PERL is helping to lead the province-wide battle to establish a Green Gravel standard, a campaign to inform consumers about making better choices in sourcing aggregate, and to harmonize Niagara Escarpment Plan with the Greenbelt”, said David Donnelly. “Ontario prevents urban sprawl in our most protected places. The Mount Nemo Declaration represents the first step in protecting these same areas from blasting and digging of new aggregates.”
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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds | Environmental Defence | (416) 323-9521 ext. 232 (office) | (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Roger Goulet | Protecting Escarpment Rural Land | (905) 335-4219
About PERL
Protecting Escarpment Rural Land is involved in a number of initiatives to help protect the Niagara Escarpment for future generations. By far the biggest threat to the ongoing viability of the ecosystems and cultural heritage on the Mount Nemo Plateau is a proposal to open a new 150 acre (82 hectare) open pit mine south of the existing 600 acre quarry.  PERL retained Order of Canada architect Douglas Cardinal to help it devise a “Vision for Mount Nemo” that would allow Nemo’s industrial past to be transformed into a sustainable, ecological future.
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentladefence.ca) Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.