Update: Ceremonial teepee at Springwater Park torched.

May 20, 2015
Beth Ian McInroy

Elizabeth Brass Elson, of Beausoleil First Nation, looks over the remains of a ceremonial teepee which was destroyed by vandals Saturday night at Springwater Provincial Park, located north of Barrie. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA


Wanzel tee pee

Mark Wanzel, Barrie Examiner

Reports of May 17, 2015 arson at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi:

Tipi up

This is what the donated teepee looked like when we put it up on August 4, 2013. I wrote about it. See: An Anishinaabe tipi now graces Springwater Park – Camp Nibi in Midhurst


A generous donation. Ten years in Debby’s family. Aboriginal Voices Radio.

Tipi Beth Sylvie

People of goodwill trying to add to the diversity of our community.



Les Marvin



The image that NOW magazine used in their September 5, 2013 article called John Bacher on Wild West sprawl wrecking Ontario parks.

NOW magazine

New information: The emergency service providers cut the chain to gain access to the park.

Images of what I discovered at the park on April 22, 2015.

Sign vandal

At the Anishnaabe teaching lodge which houses a sweat lodge.

20150422 Lodge 1

Originally posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.

Toronto Star: Brampton correct in calling in the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate development deal.

May 6, 2015

A $500-million development triggers a call for an independent investigation.

Andre Marin

Andre Marin to look into a controversial development deal.// TORONTO STAR

The province will have to agree but in today’s Toronto Star: Brampton city council is right to ask Ontario Ombudsman André Marin to investigate a controversial development

It was supposed to shine a light on Brampton’s murky business dealings, but a $269,000 report by a high-profile municipal lawyer has only generated more smoke.

Brampton residents, city council and Mayor Linda Jeffrey have every right to be outraged. Instead of supplying credible answers, lawyer George Rust-D’Eye’s report raised further questions about a controversial $500-million development deal, and about his own investigation.

Council was correct in unanimously voting to ask Ontario Ombudsman André Marin to launch an inquiry into the city’s procurements. Indeed, municipal leaders had little choice given what they were handed — a document repeatedly called a “whitewash” in Brampton’s council chambers on Monday.

As reported by the Star’s San Grewal, Rust-D’Eye exonerated city staff of any misconduct in a deal that had raised concern about how some developers were being treated. Council critics noted that he reached that finding through heavy reliance on claims made by the very staff he was investigating. That’s not good enough to maintain public confidence in the fairness of the process.

Concern was also expressed about Rust-D’Eye’s previous work for the law firm WeirFoulds, which was involved in the development deal’s initial stages. Rust-D’Eye said that connection did not pose a conflict of interest, since he hadn’t worked on this specific development file. But, according to WeirFoulds, he was head of the firm’s municipal law section at the time.

Even if Rust-D’Eye wasn’t technically in conflict, he should have known this connection might raise a troubling suspicion of potential bias — one that would likely undermine community trust in his findings. And that’s precisely what has happened.

Adding financial insult to the mix, the cost of his report was initially pegged at between $50,000 and $60,000. Rust-D’Eye said he worked as efficiently as he could and gave the public a break by charging less than his usual rate. Despite that, his analysis arrived with a bill to taxpayers of more than a quarter of a million dollars.

It’s a disappointing outcome on every level. But, to their credit, Brampton’s leaders aren’t abandoning their search for answers and have turned to Ontario’s ombudsman.

Mr. Marin, it’s your turn to shine the spotlight.

The Midhurst Secondary Plan has been estimated to be worth 80 times as much as the Brampton development.

Simcoe County’s farmland and forests MUST be included within Greenbelt protection.

April 30, 2015

Dr. John Bacher issues a blunt warning to Simcoe County.

John Bacher Coronation ParkFate of Dunlap Forest Warning to Simcoe County

Dr. John Bacher

From late February to early May of 2015 bulldozers, chain saws and chipping machines waged a brutal war on the David Dunlap Forest, removing fifty acres from the heart of what had been a 125 acre forest tract in the heart of Richmond Hill. This Richmond Hill chain saw massacre was a vivid warning to Simcoe County, of the need to place of its its identified agriculturally zoned lands and significant forests within the protection of the Greenbelt. The blight of forest destruction without such protection may come to Simcoe County soon.

The David Dunlap Forest like those of Simcoe County was created by the reforestation movement sparked by Edmund Zavitz. It was planted from 1939 to 1980 to counter the threats posed by spreading sands of desertification and the threats of flooding to Toronto from deforestation. At the same time the forest provided light pollution protection for the David Dunlap Observatory. It until seven years it was operated by the University of Toronto and was the location for major scientific breakthroughs, notably the discovery of black holes in distant galaxies.

The University of Toronto sold the Observatory to the Metrus development company. Metrus then went through a long process of official plan and zoning changes, to allow it to construct expensive homes next to a shrunken forest. This process was completed on January 16th, 2015, whereupon a plague of giant machines smashed up the trees, turning them into sawdust.

A very dedicated 60 year old ecological group, the Richmond Hill Naturalists, attempted to defend the David Dunlap Forest. It is considered Provincially Significant, since it is the only large upland forest between the Oak Ridges Moraine and the City of Toronto. However, such protection means that officious experts can testify at the Ontario Municipal Board, (OMB), that the destruction of forest can be justified if it is shown not to impact any “ecological function.”

The naturalists spent $500,000 in three hearings and one court case in their efforts to defend the David Dunlap Forest. Despite numerous experts on their behalf who explained that the cutting of almost half of a 125 acre forest block reduces such ecological functions as bird nesting and deer habitat, they lost every time. Now the naturalists are subject of a motion at the OMB that they must pay $200,000 for the expenses of the experts who justified the destruction of the David Dunlap Forest. They efforts to protect a provincially significant forest were disparaged at the OMB as being the basis of a “banana” or “ideological” appeal.

The chewing up of the David Dunlap Forest shows the need for the inclusion of all of the Provincially Significant Forests in Ontario, especially those of Simcoe County under extreme development pressure to be protected by the Greenbelt. The key provision is Policy 3.2.4. This states that for lands “within a key natural heritage feature” (ie. significant forest)…”Development or site alteration is not permitted.” Only such strong language can protect forests from assault by the absurd studies of supposed experts.

Like the lands of the Oak Ridges Moraine near the David Dunlap Forest, those of Simcoe County were ecologically restored. Unless put into the Greenbelt, they await a fate similar to the devastation of the Richmond Hill chipping massacre.

Dr. John Bacher, author of Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz.

Danny Beaton John Bacher Stephen OgdenSite 41: Danny Beaton, Steve Ogden and John Bacher

Is Metrus (DG Group) doing a deeply cynical end run by clear cutting the David Dunlap Forest in Richmond Hill?

April 30, 2015

Reports from this weekend indicate that 50 of the 125 acres has been clear cut.

20150430 Dunlap Forest Bacher

When the forest is gone, it’s gone.

20150430 Dunlap Forest Bacher 2

No forest :: no fight.

20150430 Dunlap Forest Bacher 1

The puny fines…Just a cost of doing business?

20150430 Dunlap Forest Bacher 3


dg group

More allegations of shenanigans, this time from the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance:  Metrus tries to pull a fast one

Metrus SPCC

Photo taken on November 14, 2012. Les Stewart

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.

A 600 acre Waverley Quarry in the making?

April 27, 2015

There appears to be some significant forest removal happening near Waverley, Ontario Tiny Township.

Danny trunk vertical

We are told the trees were cut down in the middle of the night in January & February of this winter.

Waverley Clearcut 1

We went around to take a look.

Waverley Clearcut 4

Facing east up French’s Hill, the Waverley Uplands.

IMG_7206- a bleeding tree ...

A maple running?

Danny and Les war zone

Seems almost like a “war zone” to Danny Beaton and me.

Waverley Google Map

My photographs are facing north east from the “forest” accessed from Marshall Road & Carpenter Sideroad, south of Stamp Sideroad.

Waverley Earth map1

See the existing gravel pit entrance on 40 Darby Road? (white arrow).


Could it be:

  • 1.6 million litres of water taken from the aquifer at French’s Hill/Waverley Uplands,
  • 2.6 million tonnnes of gravel taken annually,
  • 190 acres of forest gone (of potentially 600 acres)?

Help Save David Dunlap Forest

April 22, 2015

Danny Beaton sent this Council of Canadians weblog post along to me.

Dunlap observatory

Danny and Dr. John Bacher (stalwarts of the Site 41 and Mega-Quarry victories) continue to be active for Simcoe County citizens in the Springwater Park – Camp Nibi and the Beeton Woods clearcut issues.


Help Save David Dunlap Forest
The David Dunlap Observatory Forest is under threat from developers. The 125 acre piece of land in the heart of Richmond Hill is a site of cultural, scientific, and environmental importance. The observatory was given by the Dunlap family to the University of Toronto in 1932 for research, with the condition that it would be returned to the family if the university no longer needed it as an observatory. After a legal battle over this condition, the university successfully sold the property to Metrus Properties for $70 million. In May 2013, the Ontario Municipal Board facilitated a multi-party settlement agreement between Metrus and community groups. The agreement will allow Metrus to rezone the property to build 520 housing units and give the town of Richmond Hill ownership of the actual observatory and 40 hectares of forest as a cultural heritage landscape under the Ontario Heritage Act.

One community group, Save David Dunlap Forest, continues to oppose this deal. The forest observatory provides a much-needed home for deer, coyote, and rare birds in the middle of the city. The forest is in the heart of Richmond Hill along the Yonge Street corridor and is subject on all sides to ever-expanding urban sprawl. It is also part of the Don River watershed, which has been subject to increased flooding in recent years due to climate change. Development on a site of such environmental, cultural, and scientific significance is short-sighed and misguided.

To learn more about Save David Dunlap Forest, please visit the groups Facebook page. The group is asking supporters to send letters to Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin asking him to place a Ministerial Zoning Order to stop the development.

Ailish Morgan’s blog


Posted also on SpringwaterParkcc.org.

Come on out to Springwater Park on May 2nd to help with a little spring cleaning.

April 20, 2015

Everyone welcomed to help and enjoy some fellowship.

Cleanup May 2


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