A Future for the Lands – Land Over Landings Report Released

Almost 50 years ago, a plan to build an airport on the north Pickering farmlands was announced. In 1972, the 20,000 acres of prime agricultural land was expropriated by the Federal government for said airport. Approximately 10,000 acres were transferred to Parks Canada for the Rouge National Park. The remainder includes 6,700 acres of farmland, which has been farmed with 1-year leases since the 70’s. This set-up disincentivizes diversified agriculture by not providing enough time for pay-back on any investments made to improve the farmland.

Land Over Landings has been advocating for the remaining 9,600 acres to be permanent agriculture for farming, as well as, leave the remaining natural areas as is (woodlands, wetlands, streams, etc.).

 

On April 3rd, 2018, Land Over Landings released an Agricultural Economics Study delivering “proof that the best future for the remaining Pickering Federal Lands is agriculture and agri-tourism, activities that will safeguard the natural capital, create jobs, and quickly return prosperity to the Lands after a near half-century of decline under the cloud of a potential future airport.”

According to the report, there is great economic potential if the threat of an airport is removed, including:

  • 621 jobs created during the upgrade period and $58 million in investments
  • 1,180 jobs across Ontario, boosting local economic activity by $136 million
  • Increase in value of land from $563/acre today to $3,500/acre from diversified agricultural production (fruit, veg, livestock)
  • Combining agriculture and tourism creates $130 million in local expenditures and $221 million across Ontario, as well as, 1,459 local jobs and 2,051 jobs across Ontario

All told, according to the report, economic activity on the Lands would increase more than 30-fold and employment almost 40-fold. Read the FULL REPORT here.

Check out the PowerPoint Presentation delivered by the consultants at the April 3rd release meeting here.