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Agriculture Business Community Chapters: Perth East, Perth South, Wilmot West.

C/o 3649 Road 107 RR#2 Tavistock, Ontario N0B 2R0

May, 1, 2013 To the members of Perth County Council: The Agriculture Business Community of Perth East, Perth South and Wilmot West (ABC) are informed, active participants in the Highway 7&8 Class EA process. We have researched and submitted eight extensive reports to the Consultants/ MTO in response to their work. Over a four year period we have provided the study team with data, examples, information and probably unprecedented access to our members to help them understand the business of agriculture. We hoped to move them from their narrow perspective of equating the business of agriculture to only maps of class 1, 2 and 3 agricultural lands. We told them not to judge the value of agriculture in the study area by the outward appearance of barns. They were told they only had to drive a short distance on many of our rural roads to find producers who are world leaders in the transfer of embryos around the world; of producers who have led their industry provincially or nationally or young producers who are among the best and the brightest in North America. In the fall of 2012 ABC submitted its comments in Volume Eight to the study team responding to the draft directions they outlined at the fall PIC. In December, the consultants responded to ABC, individual members, Perth East Council, Perth County Council, Perth Federation of Agriculture and the joint local government submission. Following our review of these responses, at our April 2013 meeting, ABC volunteers directed us to present to Perth County Council. First, ABC wants to thank Perth County for submitting, with Perth South, Stratford and Perth East strong letters laying out this region’s case and supporting the agriculture industry. As volunteers working on behalf of agriculture we appreciate this acknowledgement of the importance of our industry to the County and the community and the clarity with which it was presented to the provincial representatives and their consultants. Secondly we want to point out that the Consultants/MTO responses about agriculture were consistently: "While the importance of agriculture within the study area is understood, the environmental assessment process does not permit one criterion to be paramount. The assessment and evaluation of preliminary design alternatives will be based on over 60 criteria from four major factor areas, specifically the natural environment, land use/socio-economic, cultural environment and transportation factors."
C/O 3649 ROAD 107, R.R. # 2 • TAVISTOCK, ON • N0B 2R0 PHONE: 519-655-2631 • EMAIL

The route location and eventual highway design must inherently reflect the importance of agriculture to this region. 2013 For four years ABC has provided MTO and its Consultants with data. The Perth area community and the Municipalities have made it quite clear that Agriculture isn't just one of the 60 variables they have identified. The MTO cannot continue to hide behind the process. written reports and individual comments detailing how agriculture falls into all of their study categories. We have also tried to educate them through a mapping process and submissions by members of the huge footprint and economic importance this industry has to this region. The MTO cannot continue to pave class #1 land in an age where domestic food production is even more important than ever. We are fully conversant with the EA process and understand it includes a range of criteria. The winter 2013 response from the Consultants does not reflect the central value of agriculture in the study area and will not be accepted. mapping. ABC believes time is of the essence and the proactive approach should be taken. It is a key variable and therefore must receive a higher priority in the EA. and . Thank you Agriculture Business Community of Perth East. interviews. ABC requests that Perth County write the MTO and its consultants prior to the announcement of the next scheduled PIC indicating: . Agriculture is a very significant economic driver in the study area and must be given a much higher priority in this process. The location and design considerations to be presented in the next scheduled PIC must reflect the central value of agriculture to this area or it will not receive municipal support.–2– July 25. Perth South and Wilmot West .

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