The new Ontario Minister of Environment is John Gerretsen, MPP Kingston and The Islands. This is an encouraging appointment for anyone interested in brownfields development, as Mr. Gerretsen has been Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the last several years. During this time, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs was noticeably more supportive of brownfield development than the Ministry of the Environment, and Minister Gerretsen won a Brownie Award for his efforts.
One of Minister Gerretsen’s most significant challenges in this area will be reconciling the MOE’s science-based proposal to make Ontario cleanup criteria much more stringent with the severe adverse effects the new criteria would have on brownfields throughout the Province.
Minister Gerretsen is also an excellent choice as Ontario moves into implementation of the Clean Water Act. The greatest challenge of the Clean Water Act is the lack of integration of its source water protection framework with Ontario’s existing land use planning system. Mr. Gerretsen and his personal staff have an intimate knowledge of this system, knowledge that will be very helpful to the Ministry of Environment.
A third area in which Minister Gerretsen’s municipal experience will be extremely useful is in the ongoing crisis of waste disposal. All in all, this is an excellent and very timely appointment. We wish Minister Gerretsen every success in his new post.
P.S., The former Minister, Laurel Broten, has been dropped from Cabinet.