Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

2016 Champion for Nature Dr. Tineke Kuiper

For work involving the identification, preservation and protection of the flora and fauna of the Mississippi Mills area for present and future generations, Dr. Tineke Kuiper is awarded a 2016 MVFN Champion for Nature Award.

Tineke Kuiper is a long-time MVFN member and former member of the MVFN Board of Directors, serving on committees of the club and as a very successful Program Chair for many years.

Tineke Kuiper has also spent countless volunteer hours over the last several years working on the revision of the Environmental Land Use Policies of the Community Official Plan (COP) of the Municipality of Mississippi Mills. This has involved a great deal of study of the official plans of other Ontario municipalities, of the Provincial Policy Statement of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, of the Natural Heritage Reference Manual of the Ministry of Natural resources and Forestry, and extensive consultations with planners and experts from the public and private sectors.

MVFN President Brenda Boyd (right) presents a Champion for Nature award to Dr. Tineke Kuiper

Tineke has worked with assistance from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority to undertake and prepare GIS mapping of the Natural Heritage System of Mississippi Mills. Tineke has consulted continuously with municipal officials and staff during this work and has made detailed presentations on Natural Heritage to the Municipality of Mississippi Mills Council, all as a volunteer. Natural Heritage amendments to the Official Plan are required under provincial legislation and policy in order to protect and preserve the natural environment. For Mississippi Mills these amendments also provide a strategy to help preserve and protect the rural character of our municipality, a principal theme in our current COP, while maintaining a balanced approach to allow for development.

Tineke Kuiper also led an important MVFN appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board against a Cluster Lot development proposal in the Southeast corner of the Burnt Lands Alvar ANSI, a project which threatened (and may still threaten) to fragment and whittle away the Burnt Lands Alvar, a provincially designated Significant Life Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. An enormous amount of work was undertaken by Dr. Kuiper to prepare the appeal and find the required experts to present it.  Although the appeal eventually had to be withdrawn, it very significantly sensitized the public, municipal Councillors and officials to the existence and importance of the alvar landscape and this ANSI. The appeal highlighted and underlined the need, still underway, to identify a Natural Heritage System in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, and to put into place appropriate policies and prescriptions protecting natural heritage system spaces in the Community Official Plan.

Congratulations Tineke!