Letters & Submissions

Letter to Town of East Gwillimbury about concerns of a proposed Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project on currently farmed land within the protected Greenbelt

Mar 06, 2024

March 6, 2024

Town of East Gwillimbury
Office of Mayor and Council
19000 Leslie St.
Sharon, ON
L0G 1V0

Via email: Clerks@eastgwillimbury.ca

Re: Proposed BESS Project at 21774 Woodbine Ave., East Gwillimbury

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) is an Accredited Farm Organization representing the interests of over 4,000 farm families in Ontario who are called to the vocation of farming. CFFO policy promotes economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable farming, advocating that farmers receive fair return for their production and stewardship efforts.

The CFFO is concerned about the protection of productive agricultural land. This land is highly valuable as a source of food, as an economic driver and as a provider of environmental goods and services.

We are writing to state our objection to the proposed Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project at 21774 Woodbine Avenue in East Gwillimbury. This proposed project would site a 100 MW/400MWh battery storage facility on 5-10 acres of the proposed property and include fully fencing the project site.

The CFFO strongly objects to this proposed project because of the farmland loss and fragmentation that will result. This project proposes to remove Protected Countryside designated land that is currently being farmed within Ontario’s Greenbelt. The farming community, along with many individuals, have expressed concern over the potential of energy projects such as this one to increase both fragmentation and actual loss of farmland in the province. We firmly believe that energy projects can and should be sited on poor quality land, not high-quality arable land, and especially not within the protected Greenbelt.

Ontario’s farmland is the foundation of our overall agri-food sector and it will continue to be an important factor to a strong Ontario economy. Farmland with adjoining natural features ensure environmental benefits, including passage of wildlife and water through the landscape. Productive farmland is vital to our food security, here in Ontario and globally. All these benefits are lost when farmland is permanently removed from production.

As the local municipality, it is vital that you make clear that energy projects such as this must avoid Prime Agricultural Areas within your official plan. We need local governments to speak up for the importance of farmland, now and into the future. Energy projects such as this can be sited in a more suitable location, away from productive farmland.

The proposed battery energy storage system (BESS) at 21774 Woodbine Ave. in East Gwillimbury would require rezoning currently productive farmland within the Protected Countryside designation of Ontario’s Greenbelt. The CFFO calls on the Council of East Gwillimbury to reject the proposal and to direct energy projects away from productive farmland.

We thank you for your consideration of our concerns.


Ed Scharringa, President
Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario

Daniel van Adrichem, President
Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario - Central Ontario District

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