“I Grew Up in Midhurst Ontario” is a worthwhile Facebook group.

January 8, 2016

Midhurst is not alone in +200 years of Ontario community building in Springwater Township.
Grew Midhurst

 

There are important lessons from the past for those currently charged with cultural stewardship.

Posted as well on SpringwaterParkcc.org and DemocracyWatchSimcoe.ca.

An example of a post:

Comment ownership


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?

Simcoe logo

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.”

20151009 Chiefswood 3

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.


Successful and seasoned environmentalists do the sensible thing: they take a Walk for Water

August 15, 2015

Want to know the secret to stop a massive limestone quarry and an industrial garbage complex atop the world’s purest water?

Just ask Danny Beaton and Dr. John Bacher:

  1. Take a stand, and
  2. do something sensible like, Walk for Water 2015.

Danny and John were key advisors to me for the remarkable rescue of Springwater Park by Beausoleil First Nation.

 


Will we have to blindly trust that the Midhurst Secondary Plan’s environmental safeguards are strong enough to protect the Minesing Wetlands?

January 15, 2015

On January 7, 2015, there was a summary of the Environmental Assessment (EA) Update at the Springwater Township administration centre.

20150107 Ainley1

Mr. Joe Mullan of Ainley Group presented a slideshow and answered questions (download slideshow here).

The Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA wrote about their interpretation in Previous Promises of Environmental Protection Unfoundedpdf

For a long time, the previous administration and developers told us the environment and the Minesing Wetlands will be protected; that things are under control and there is no reason to worry. Ever since Phase 3 of the Environmental Assessment began in April 2013, the MRA and other concerned residents and organizations have been asking for the details, reports and studies that would show us that things are proceeding as promised. We never received those reports and studies. And there’s a good reason why – they’re not done. From what we can tell, those environmental assurances, given in an attempt to placate us, were completely unfounded.

Councillor Katy Austin mentioned in her Springwater News Ward One Councillor’s Report: pdf

Mr. Mullan assured the audience that the proposed wastewater treatment plant and various offsetting measures would “protect and even enhance” the watershed in question as far as phosphorous levels are concerned. Some members of the audience appeared somewhat skeptical about this statement.

I have recorded the MRA’s and councillor’s articles in the Springwater Township Growth wiki as well as in the Media Article page of SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Help Wanted: Moderator for the Springwater Township all-candidates’ event on this Wednesday, 7 pm at the Midhurst United Church.

October 11, 2014

Neil Craig and Rudy Chernicki have done a great job in Elmvale and at Snow Valley Ski Resort in the first 2 of 3 events.

Where can I pick up an application form to do all 3 for the 2018 stoning and scapegoating?

Details:

October 15th from 7:00 – 9:30 pm

Midhurst United Church 91 Doran Road, Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0

Sponsored by: AWARE Simcoe

scapegoat

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org, and LesStewart.wikidot.com.


Margaret Atwood talks about these “sinister” Ontario and local politicians?

August 18, 2014

An important warning about the destruction of Wasaga Beach and Georgian Bay.

Atwood admonishment oh boy

Click here for video  or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUDUKDVN27g.

175 views at 5 pm. 20140820

To Do:

  • Click here for information so you can write a hand-written letter to Premier Wynne complaining about this type of unfair propaganda.
  • And here to find out who are the other +44,600 fools who agree with these types of people.

Springwater Township councillor Perry Ritchie and Dr. Kahneman suggest: If there is time, slowing down is likely to be a good idea.

April 23, 2014

Professor Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate and an expert in decision-making. Mr. Perry showed again last night at Council that is a man of character and not easily SLAPPed into irrationality.

Daniel Kahneman

Why are 5 of 7  votes on Council continuing to not just green-light but help the acceleration of the the clearly catastrophic (ie. economically, socially, and environmentally) Midhurst Secondary Plan? I would suggest Dr. Kahneman has some answers.

Bully Tactic: trigger the councillors’ fear of losing their own homes and life savings in Anten Mills, Midhurst, Elmvale and Grenfel in a never-before seen-in-Ontario “+$100-million lawsuit” that is “probable”. Don’t just intimidate a few militant ratepayers through phoney lawsuiits or just Council: intimidate all 18,000 voters in Springwater Township.

Mechanism: A Toronto lawyer’s very, very, very carefully crafted, verbal opinion. A +$100-million figment of a attorney’s imagination. A deeply cynical “Trap for the Trusting”. A situation engineered to scare the shit (and sense) out of the perfectly competent rural representatives who are cast into a situation that is well-beyond their own abilities to comprehend or even know they don’t understand.

Kahneman Quotes:

People just hate the idea of losing. Any loss, even a small one, is just so terrible to contemplate that they compensate by buying insurance, including totally absurd policies like air travel.

Human beings cannot comprehend very large or very small numbers. It would be useful for us to acknowledge that fact.

We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know.

And most especially:

Courage is willingness to take the risk once you know the odds. Optimistic overconfidence means you are taking the risk because you don’t know the odds. It’s a big difference.

At Stake: Almost 200 years of community building, 1,900 acres of prime farmland, political self-determination based on local financial control, irreplaceable biodiversity in the Minesing Wetlands: all lost because 5 individuals chose to listen to their fears and enemies instead of their friends, family: their hearts and minds. Their faith.

This may be their legacy: a failure to meet and master their life’s work.

An unwillingness to be a leader who trusts we could do this as a community.

 


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