No MZO in Blair

The Village of Blair in Cambridge Ontario is an environmental sanctuary of protected heritage and conservation lands. The people of Blair, in partnership with local environmental and charitable organizations, have worked with care and tireless energy to protect and preserve the sensitive environment of this historic area. On April 6, 2021, the residents of Blair learned that the Cambridge City Council had voted unanimously for the approval of a one million square foot mega warehouse development to be built, with an additional 1,000,000 sq ft of parking lot. The Cambridge City Council made this decision with ZERO public engagement. This warehouse threatens the historical and ecological integrity of the landscape. The City of Cambridge is trying to circumvent additional zoning change requirements and public participation by hiding its intention in a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO). The developer, Broccolini, will not reveal their client, although the footprint of the project is very similar to proposed Amazon warehouses. Developers are using the cover of the pandemic to force projects onto communities with ZERO consultation. It is time to stop this undemocratic process and dramatic misuse of MZOs. Say NO to an MZO in Blair.

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The Village of Blair has a tremendous history, dating back to the early 1800s, and is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral Peoples. The area is an environmental sanctuary of protected heritage and conservation lands. The ecosystem is home to 24 different habitats and over 4,000 species of flora and fauna, with many ranked “significant” or “at-risk” regionally, provincially, nationally, and globally. 

The people of the Village of Blair, in partnership with local environmental and charitable organizations, have worked with care and tireless energy to protect and preserve the sensitive environment of this historic area.  For the last 20 years, the City of Cambridge actively pushed the preservation of the heritage and environment.

Suddenly the City is completely contradicting itself. On April 6, 2021, the residents of the Village of Blair in Cambridge, Ontario learned that the Cambridge City Council had voted unanimously for the approval of a one million square foot warehouse development to be built, with an additional 1,000,000 sq ft of parking lot. The Cambridge City Council made this decision with ZERO public engagement after only two hours of consideration that included one hour of closed-door “ in camera” private discussion. 

The City of Cambridge wants to pretend that this massive new mega warehouse by Broccolini for a mystery client is equivalent to the previously approved 14 lot small business plan that was the basis for a 2015 zoning change on part of the subject lands. It is NOT – it requires different zoning, includes additional parcels of land, includes more sq ft of impermeable surface area, and reduces buffer zones. The development does not consider any of the climate or energy targets in the Region of Waterloo Official Plan and with these developments there are many opportunities for energy efficiency, sharing, and generation that won’t get discussed because of the process. There are also major concerns about traffic congestion, safety and pollution.

The City of Cambridge is trying to circumvent additional zoning change requirements and public participation by hiding its intention in a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO). City Council is hiding from their constituents and not responding to communications. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, asked Cambridge City Council to reconsider their request in light of the lack of community consultation and they have refused. The developer will not reveal their client, although the footprint of the project is very similar to proposed Amazon warehouses.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the current provincial government has approved more MZOs than in the previous 15 years. Developers are using the cover of the pandemic to force projects onto communities with ZERO consultation. It is time to stop this undemocratic process and dramatic misuse of MZOs. Today it is Blair, tomorrow it is your neighbourhood. Say NO to an MZO in Blair.

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