“Mum’s the word” from the Mega developers, OMB and County of Simcoe about expanding Greenbelt environmental protection.

November 20, 2015

So we’re supposed to rest easy with the OMB-approved county Official Plan on the way? Right??

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The Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership and the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance have proposed Ontario’s Greenbelt expand to include almost 300,000 hectares in Simcoe County. The proposed area is shown in dark green and includes Lake Simcoe, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River Watershed and the Minesing Wetlands. SUBMITTED PHOTO

An interesting Barrie Advance article by Sara Carson called Groups ask province to expand Ontario’s Greenbelt (curiously not online but available in pdf)

When you drink tap water, take a shower and swim in a local lake, you want that water to be clean and safe.

This is why the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition is asking the province to expand Ontario’s Greenbelt in our area.

“People get behind the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. This is just the next logical step,” said coalition co-chair-person Margaret Prophet.

Ontario’s Greenbelt is a 1.8-million-acre parcel of protected farmland, wetland and forest stretching from the Greater Toronto Area north to Tobermory. In Simcoe County, the Greenbelt covers Holland Marsh crop areas in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil as well as portions of Adjala-Tosorontio and New Tecumseth.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson Conrad Spezowka said the province is committed to growing the Greenbelt. In the spring, the ministry completed a series of public consultations to review four provincial growth plans and to consider Greenbelt expansion.

“Municipal interest to date has been on adding urban river valleys within existing urban areas. This builds on the Greenbelt Plan amendment, which recognizes urban river valleys as important connections to the Great Lakes and will help municipalities in identifying possible areas for Greenbelt expansion,” Spezowska said

Proposed amendments will come forward in the winter of 2016, he added.

More than 100 community groups, including the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, have asked the province to nearly double the size of the Greenbelt to add 1.5 million acres of land containing vital water resources. In Simcoe County this includes almost 300,000 hectares of land covering the Lake Simcoe watershed, the Oro Moraine, the Nottawasaga River Wetlands, which supply and purify clean drinking water for most resident of the county, Prophet said.

“We’re hoping at the lest the vulnerable water areas of Simcoe County would be protected,” she added. “Only a portion of the Lake Simcoe watershed is protected.”

Cheryl Shindruk, a member of the Midhurst Landowners Group, declined comment on the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition’s plan to grow the greenbelt. The landowners group is made up of five development companies.

“When the Crombie report is made public, we will consider its recommendations and make comment if necessary, but we will not be commenting on any individual submissions from any group to the Crombie panel,” Shindruk said.

David Crombie chairs the six-member provincial growth plan review panel.

The Barrie Advance requested an interview with a County of Simcoe representative regarding the greenbelt expansion. In a prepared statement, Warden Gerry Marshall said the county does not comment on matters between the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and the province. He provided a stateme4nt about the county’s planning policies.

Marshall said the county’s updated official plan, under review at the Ontario Municipal Board, would expand the amount of protected green lands, significantly increase protection of wetland areas and protect farmland.

“The county is setting density targets with fixed boundaries for all settlement areas,” he added.

“Once approved, Simcoe County would have some of the most stringent land use protection policies and designations in the province. These are very strong planning policies that provide a responsible balance to protect our lands and resources, while fostering growth by creating new regional transportation options, supporting economic prosperity and encouraging healthy, vibrant communities,” Marshall said.

During the next 26 years, the county’s population will expand by 164,703 residents and the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition questions what this means for our water supply. Prophet said greenbelt protection would ensure the water remains healthy throughout development.

“If we really want Simcoe County to grow in a sensible way, to make sure what we have now is preserved for future generations or even healthier than what we have, then now is the time to stand behind our water because once it’s compromised it’s compromised,” she said.

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Margaret Prophet, co-chair of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. SUBMITTED PHOTO

It said they would “not be able to handle much more effluent without he water quality being compromised and that was back nine years ago,” she said.

And we already see evidence the county’s water quality and supply is declining with summer water restrictions and beach closures, she added.

“Those things have started to impact our daily life and those are indicators that the water isn’t plentiful, or necessarily healthy in our area.”

Water restrictions have been commonplace in Barrie, Springwater and Orillia. This past summer, Thornton issued a water ban when water supply reached critical levels, Prophet noted.

Note: The public record shows the connections between the Midhurst Secondary Plan, Midhurst Landowners’ Group, Geranium Corporation and Ms. Shindruk. There are some related articles here about these relationships.

Originally published on DemocracyWatchSimcoe.ca.


For whose greater good is the County of Simcoe serving when the try to “SLAPP” AWARE Simcoe into silence?

October 10, 2015

The citizens of the county or other interests?

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An original article from Dr. John Bacher pdf

A New “White Savagery” Assault on  Ontario’s Restored Forests: SLAPP lawsuits and “Award of Costs”

Dr. John Bacher

Bacher Beeton

Dr. Bacher addresses the Simcoe County council in support of Stop Work Order, Beeton Woods clear cut.

In 19th century Ontario when forests were reduced to ashes to make cheap soap creating as a result deserts that threatened to bury the province in sand, forest burners used fairly crude tactics against their opponents.  The one figure who attempted to stand up to these assaults, the Mohawk Iroquois Confederacy Chief George Johnson, had three assassination attempts on his life for enforcing the Six Nation’s forest protection laws.

Johnson  was beaten and left to dead by his assailants, one time surviving only because a bullet intended to kill him, got stuck in a heavy waist coat for a patrol on a chilly autumn night.   A friend, the anthropologist Horatio Hale,  called this evil assault “white savagery.”

Johnson certainly knew how to use what his fellow Confederacy elders called “the good mind” against his opponents. Helped by the literary and musical talents of his family, which included his English born wife, Emily and performance daughter artist  Pauline, he lured the intellectual elite of Ontario to his home Chiefswood.

At Chiefswood helped by the magnificence of the towering trees protected by the Mohawks, Johnson explained to his guests  that forests were too valuable to be burnt up for play. Eventually public opinion changed resulting in the tripling of forest cover in Ontario under the direction of its Chief Forester, Edmund Zavitz.

What is astonishing today is that we see a new assault on the restored forest Johnson conceived and Zavitz planted. This is a new form of what Hale termed.  “white savagery”. It  involves more refined and  subtle methods than the past gunfire and beatings.

Rather than attempt as in the corrupt Gilded Age to silence conservationists through crude shootings, the preferred method of intimidation today  has become the “cost award” and “SLAPP” suit (Strategic lawsuit against public participation).  What is sought however, is the same: to try to intimidate people who love forests to get out of the way of their destruction.

Within the week we have seen two attempts by environmentalists to rescue forests restored through Zavitz’s forest conservation efforts from development corporations be the targets of a renewed savagery against their defenders. Both of these forests were created as a result of Zavitz’s forest conservation efforts.

The David Dunlap Forest planted between 1938 and 1980 helped rescue Toronto from flooding on the Don River and the march of sand from the once treeless Oak Ridges Moraine. Forests in the Simcoe County Township of New Tecumseh in the village of Beeton were created for their role in protecting drinking water. The Premier of Ontario, E. C. Drury, who bolstered Zavitz’s conservation efforts, praised Beeton for increasing its “water supply by judicious reforestation.”

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Mary Lou Jorgensen Bacher at Mohawk Chief George Johnson’s home, “Chiefswood”

The Richmond Hill Naturalists attempted to save about half (43 acres) of the David Dunlap Forest from proposed residential development. After losing a re-zoning decision at the OMB, which subsequently caused close to fifty acres of forests to be clear cut,  it was hit by the granting of a $100,000 award of costs requested by the developer, Metrus. AWARE Simcoe is now struggling to protect 30 acres of a Beeton forest from a development company that is pretending to be an agricultural operation. Although the forest is still intact, Simcoe County granted a “Special Permit”, which exempts the forest from provisions against tree cutting in its tree by-law.  It is seeking court injunction to revoke the “Special Permit” and for this reason has been hit by a request for up to +$63,000 in court costs.

What is most bizarre about this new round of “white savagery” against forest defenders is a common attempt by developers and their minions to deny that environmental protection groups represent the public interest. Lawyer for Simcoe County Marshall Green articulated this view in his court submission against AWARE Simcoe. He takes the view that it is nothing than a “corporate lobby group.” In this regards Green echoes the OMB’s condemnation of the Richmond Hill Naturalists, which also challenged their status as public interest defenders. This was expressed in a ruling before the cost award granted by OMB  hearing officer, Joseph Sniezek in a preliminary procedure before the merits of the re-zoning of the Dunlap Forest was considered. This was based on a previous OMB decision, Zellers versus Leamington. The OMB ruled that efforts to save 43 acres of forests from residential development by a long established environmental group, had the same corporate self-interested status as a discount chain store struggling to delay the establishment of a new shopping mall.

In condemning the Richmond Hill Naturalists, hearing officer Sniezek claimed that they had no substantive evidence. This is based on his belief that in the zoning decision he adjudicated he was bound to not depart from an earlier official plan amendment heard by OMB Vice-Chair, Karlene J. Hussey.

In her decision however, Hussey clearly indicated that she believed that efforts to protect forests were a legitimate matter for the subsequent zoning hearing. In response to an effort by the Mississaugas of the New Credit to obtain a delay in the official plan hearing, she ruled that they should “participate in the public process associated with the zoning by-law amendment necessary to implement the development.” In response to the Richmond Hill Naturalists concerns over the loss of “key hydrological features, including seepage areas and springs”, Hussey likewise directed them to the zoning process. Most significantly she ruled that the view of the Naturalists’ expert witness in Aboriculture, Jack Radecki that the threatened for should be kept in its “entirety” was a legitimate matter for the zoning process to consider.

At this time southern Ontario’s restored forests are facing numerous threats in addition to the savagery of the cost award and SLAPP suit.  While swamps, wet forests are for now protected by provincial policy, it is undergoing a review. (Both the Dunlap and Beeton forests are dry and therefore vulnerable to development.) This strong protection for swamp forests  could be weakened by proposals for what is termed bio-diversity offsetting.

Danny Beaton a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan spoke about the looming threats to our region’s forests at meeting in Newmarket. Here Beaton pleaded, “Without Mother Earth, we cannot survive. We all need fresh water, fresh food, fresh air. People have forgotten to think of the Earth as their mother. This is what life is based on. ..The Earth is losing because we aren’t working together. When these proposals come forward to destroy habitat with new development, we need to put our energy together to find solutions. We can mobilize scientists and bring teachers and doctors and elders and farmers together.”

John Bacher PhD is an environmental writer, researcher and consultant, JohnBacherPhD.ca. He works with the Sierra Club of Canada on Greenbelt issues. Danny Beaton is a Mohawk elder who protects Mother Earth,  DannyBeaton.ca. Originally published on DemocracyWatchSimcoe.ca with photo by Dr. Bacher.

Simcoe County council will be discussing whether your politicians want to press for court awards against AWARE Simcoe on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at 9 am in Midhurst administration centre (agenda, Google map)

Disclosure: My family is a member of  AWARE Simcoe and my son sits on their Board of Directors. Membership.

Originally posted on DemocracyWatchSimcoe.ca.


How frequently has SpringwaterParkcc.org been viewed since October 2012?

September 26, 2015

In total, 60,924 times, 1,647 monthly, or 54.9 views per day.

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The 10 most viewed posts in 2015 are:

  1. Barrie Pow Wow at Springwater Park, June 13 and 14th
  2. The Fraud Triangle by Dr. David Cressey
  3. Mel Howell led by example.
  4. Cat’s-paw: a pawn or dupe
  5. Are the 31,000 acres of Simcoe County Forest really The Lungs of Barrie?
  6. My memories from the Waawaase’Aagaming (Lake Simcoe) Water Walk 2015
  7. Ontario parks have been severely underfunded for decades
  8. The Oshkimaadziig Unity Camp occupation of Awenda Provincial Park continues
  9. Grand re-opening of Springwater Park tomorrow!
  10. Corruption in local government: 5 Types

Originally published by Les Stewart on SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Everything You Wanted To Know About Indians But Were Afraid To Ask, Dr. Anton Treuer

August 28, 2015


Anton Treuer

Ojibwe scholar and cultural preservationist Anton Treuer gives a presentation based on his new book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press. His frank and funny talk builds a foundation for true understanding and positive actions. Afterward, Dr. Treuer signed copies of the book. Anton Treuer is the author of “The Assassination of Hole in the Day” and many other books on Ojibwe history and language.


In Anishinaabekwe culture, women have the responsibility to care for water.

February 25, 2015

Springwater Park is a major headwaters to the internationally-important Minesing Wetlands. In April 2013, they acted to save pure, uncompromised water (nibi in Annishinaabe).

josephine-smiling

From IndigenousRising.org, September 24, 2014: Meet Josephine Mandamin (Anishinaabekwe), The “Water Walker”

With a copper pail of water in one hand and a staff in the other, Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother took on a sacred walk, traversing over 10,900 miles around each of the Great Lakes. She is known as the “Water Walker.”

According to the Michigan Sea Grant, the Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44% of the circumference of the earth. “When you see someone walking with a pail of water, you wonder, where is she going with that water.”

So the message is, water is very precious, and I will go to any lengths to and direction to carry the water to the people.”

“As women, we are carriers of the water. We carry life for the people. So when we carry that water, we are telling people that we will go any lengths for the water. We’ll probably even give our lives for the water if we have to. We may at some point have to die for the water, and we don’t want that,” said Mandamin.

Mandamin joined the team of indigenous representatives from the Indigenous Environmental Network at the People’s Climate March during the week of September 18th to the 24th. “Why I’m here is because I really feel for the water. And to give the message to people that Water is a human right.”

“Water has to live, it can hear, it can sense what we’re saying, it can really, really, speak to us. Some songs come to us through the water. We have to understand that water is very precious.”

In Anishinaabekwe culture, women are given the responsibility to take care of the water. “The water of Mother Earth, she carries life to us, and as women we carry life through our bodies. We as women are life-givers, protectors of the water, and that’s why we are very inclined to give mother earth the respect that she needs for the water,” said Mandamin.

That’s our responsibility, our role, and our duty, to pass on the knowledge and understanding of water, to all people, not just Anishinabe people, but people of all colors.”

In the wake of extreme extractive industries such fracking, oil, and coal, access to clean water is rapidly declining. “In our prophecies, in our Three Fires Midewiwin Society, we are taught that water is very precious. I was told by a grand chief that 30 years from now an ounce of water will cost as much as an ounce of gold if we continue with our negligence,” said Mandamin.

“If we discontinue our negligence, we can change things around. That’s why I am really embodying the prophecy. You’ve heard of ‘Walk The Talk,’ this is why I walk.”

Josephine and others are on the move this summer: Migration Water Walk 2015.

Waterwalkers

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.


John Ralston Saul’s new book is very good news for those wanting to understand the future of Springwater Park.

October 26, 2014

To explain Canada’s fundamental Métis  past, read Sauls’ A Fair Country.

Penguin JRS1

I suggest his The Comeback will go a long way to explaining our future and how Springwater Park fits within this important national dialogue.

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Aboriginal culture, settlements, and history in the Midhurst Secondary Plan area.

September 22, 2014

This will be an amazing time brought to you by Climate Action Now – Barrie.

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A nationally-recognized archaeologist and a First Nations friend will lead in a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Aboriginal culture, settlements, and history in the MSP area

Join us as we learn about aboriginal culture, settlements, and history in the area of the Midhurst Secondary Plan. Starting from the Anne St. And Carson Rd. intersection, we’ll walk through forest and farm fields slated for residential development, and hear in-situ talks by knowledgeable guides on how aboriginal history is intimately intertwined with this area, as well as about important archeological sites of pre-contact settlements.

WHEN: September 28, 2014 at 3pm – 5pm
WHERE: Anne St. And Carson Rd. 1193 Carson Rd Barrie, ON L4M 4S5

Please RSVP if can attend.


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