Canada’s Largest First Nations newspaper and the Midhurst sprawl plan’s “junk science”.

June 19, 2017

Ontario continues to encourage Simcoe County as the “wild west of development/sprawl”.

Free download here.

First Nations Drum
April 1, 2017

 

Ontario Planner Struggles to Save Huron-Wyandot Homeland

By Dr. John Bacher (PhD) & Danny Beaton (Mohawk, Turtle Clan)

Opinion

The Turtle Island region of Huronia – otherwise known by its archaic colonial name of Simcoe County – is under environmental assault by urban sprawl. A blockade to stop Dump Site 41, the occupation of Springwater Provincial Park, and sacred water walks along the shores of Lake Simcoe are tactics being used to rescue the traditional territories of the Huron-Wyandot.

Victor Doyle is a senior planner with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, (OMMAH) and is inspired by the earth-respecting spiritual actions of various Ojibway communities and their many Mohawks allies. Doyle has been with OMMAH for three decades and is at the epicenter of ongoing battles to protect this sacred land with his fighting for provincially-directed land use planning to rescue wildlife, farms, forests and water from human greed.

Doyle’s most avid opponents are twofold – corporations, and the powerful minions of developers who run Simcoe County (politicians). Doyle’s determination to stand up against their pressure has earned him their enmity. One such politician is former Mayor Doug White of West Gwillimbury, who as far back as 2010 dismissed Doyle’s defense of Ontario’s land use policies as the mere rantings of “one unelected provincial bureaucrat.”


Waawaasaegaaming (Lake Simcoe) Water Walk 2015, The Narrows, Orillia, ON. Photo by Les Stewart

Chief Planner of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat, has made Doyle the public voice on the issue, commanding media attention on the research of agronomists, foresters, conservation biologists, land use planners, hydrologists and municipally-controlled conservation authorities. Though no official title accompanies Doyle’s point-man position, his stature and prominence should be effective in forestalling or preventing further encroachment.

Two brave conservationists, Wayne Wilson and Patti Young, are no longer with the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority due to their opposition to urban sprawl from the booming City of Barrie spilling over into its watershed and into the community of Midhurst in Springwater Township. In 2014, both Wilson and Young departed under the guise of an NVCA “efficiency audit.” Young vacated her position first with Wilson following suit.

While such relatively obscure figures cannot get the media’s attention, Doyle’s warnings about violations of provincial land use policy ravaging Huronia have been published in two of Canada’s leading newspapers, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. Doyle’s first warnings about Huronia appeared in the December 12, 2009 edition of the Toronto Star. The newspaper characterized his warnings as “a damming memo from Ontario’s senior planner” that paints “a stark picture of unsustainable sprawl, congestion and skyrocketing infrastructure costs if the province proceeds with a controversial strategy to urbanize large swaths of Simcoe County north of the Greenbelt.”


Waawaasaegaaming (Lake Simcoe) Water Walk 2015, Tudhope Park, Orillia, ON. Photo by Les Stewart

When penning his 2009 warnings, Doyle worried about schemes promoted by corporations to turn the small hamlet of Bond Head, a village of 500 people served by septic tanks, into a city of 114,000 persons. This threat still endures, although now in a more modest scale of a 30,000 hectare proposal. A new danger emerging is the construction of 10,000 housing units in Midhurst. The biggest problem posed by this development is the polluted runoff spilling into Willow Creek, which is a major source of water flowing into the Minesing Wetlands. The wetlands are an important refuge for rare, endangered and ecologically significant wildlife including the endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, Sturgeon, Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, Blue Winged Warbler, and various turtles.

As Doyle took to writing his second citizen report this spring, Ontario’s land use planning system’s “Co-ordinated Review” appeared to be on the brink of collapse. A freeze on urban boundary expansions – a key principle of both the Greenbelt and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan – was under attack by media, developers and municipalities.

The Toronto Globe and Mail provided a link to Doyle’s full 27 page report titled “The Growth Plan and the Greenbelt Plan: Settling the Record Straight” where he vigorously defends urban boundaries. This led to a modest expansion of the Greenbelt on urban river valleys and on grape and fruit tree growing lands in Grimsby. While “Setting the Record Straight” saved the Greenbelt, it has not yet rescued Huronia. The warnings in the report do show why Midhurst, Bond Head and all of its remaining rural land need the protection of the Greenbelt.

Nonsense used to justify the urbanization of Willow Creek, such as the claim urbanization does not harm streams, is junk science, and has been refuted by Doyle using data from the watershed report cards assembled by conservation authorities. Using a study by the Credit River Conservation Authority, Doyle demonstrates how surface water in urbanized areas is always rated, “Very Poor” or “Poor” and explains that damaged watersheds are without any native fish, turtles or frogs.

Doyle said the main threat posed to Minesing Wetlands wildlife refuge from urban sprawl is “the major issue of habitat loss, which, in turn, is the key loss of bio-diversity.” Doyle warns refusal to extend the Greenbelt into Simcoe County is causing a mass sale of farms purchased by land speculators. His report states, “development interests continue to be speculatively buying or securing huge land assemblies tens of thousands of acres beyond the green belt.” The speculation in Simcoe County has led to farmland to commonly sell for $54,000 dollars an acre. In contrast, in the better regulated Waterloo region, farmland cost $14,000 an acre.

Doyle’s report illustrates the necessity of the struggle to protect Huronia inside the Greenbelt – a struggle made more difficult by the hostility we received while walking around Lake Simcoe with Ojibway environmental leaders in the “Walk for the Water.” My experience includes a driver of an animal control vehicle angrily scowling at us for taking a rest near a bicycle trail.

Those in Huronia that care for the earth should not be treated with contempt, but with the honor given to one standing-up for the sake of the entire community and the life web supporting it. The province must rescue Huronia by extending the Greenbelt.

The province must rescue Huronia by extending the Greenbelt.

 


The Margaret Atwood anti-sprawl Midhurst petition challenge is shattered!!

March 30, 2014

It will be a pleasure to welcome Ms. Atwood and perhaps some of her friends to our just-right sized, 3,500 population, nearly 200 year old community.

MCC SPCC sign 1

Midhurst Community Centre, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, Annual Meeting, January 26, 2014.

The cancer-like urban sprawl plan threatens farmland, the Minesing Wetlands,  Springwater Park, forced hook-ups for sewer and water for all Midhurst and out-of-sight tax bills for all Springwater Township residents for decades into the future.

As reported by AWARE Simcoe on March 26th, Yes! Midhurst petiton tops 5.000:

Final push joined by Atwood in Twitter feed
Today, the 5,000th person signed the petition to save the village of Midhurst (population 3,500), preserve the 756 hectares of surrounding farmland and stop the proposed effluent discharge into the Willow Creek and the internationally treasured Minesing Wetlands.

And the count of those opposed to the Midhurst Secondary Plan, which would expand the Midhurst population to 28,000, continues to rise.

The final Twitter push from Save Midhurst Now proclaiming that only 13 signatures were needed was re-tweeted in the early hours today by author Margaret Atwood, who has pledged to visit Midhurst and do a workshop at a nearby high school if 5,000 people sign the petition.

The Midhurst residents’ group has unveiled a new video and song in support of the cause. Click here to view it.

Sign the petition

Congratulations to everyone, especially to Ms. Sandy Buxton and Margaret Prophet and all their talented members at the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association.

Midhurst Community Centre iLoveMidhurst.ca 2

Posted also on FranchiseFool.com and SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Why are the Midhurst sprawl-miesters running scared by doing an “end run” to get their re-zoning orders?

March 24, 2014

The poor boys thought scoring was a “Done Deal” but others and the law appear to disagree.

Demanding the Ontario Municipal Board, OMB give them their precious re-zoning orders “RFN (full 10,000 houses):
  • before the environmental assessments are done (a no-n0, especially see RAMSAR certified Minesing Wetlands),
  • before the  current house negro township Council majority gets their increasingly-apparent doofus rubber-stamp on the crucial re-zoning orders, 
  • before Margaret Atwood and Friends (Michael  Ondaatje, Joseph Boyden, Maude Barlow, Neil & Pegi Young, and John Ralston Saul) show up at Nursery Road and Springwater Park-Camp Nibi,
  • before  the township’s Oct 27th township election allows democracy to do its purging work again,
  • before a new Minister (Linda Jeffrey quits Ontario cabinet to run for Brampton mayor) is appointed,
  • before a former Kingston municipal politician retires and passes Ontario’s 1st anti-SLAPP law, and
  • before Premier Wynne calls a spring provincial election, which would give her ….

….the pretense for a ministerial order overthrowing 100% of the financially reckless, environmentally-catastrophic Midhurst Secondary Plan.

With the stroke of a pen.

End Run Analogy: Colloquially, it has come to mean an attempt to avoid a difficult situation by dodging it without confronting it directly, or to attempt to circumvent someone’s authority by appealing to a different authority. Wikipedia

Come out to Council meeting tonight at 5:30 pm or the county museum tomorrow night to smell the fear and loathing.

Posted on voteLesStewart.ca and SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Is a “If you build it, they will Come” a responsible approach to a grotesque sprawl plan that could bankrupt Springwater Township?

March 21, 2014

Mayor Linda Collins appears a very sincere and nice individual.

Linda Collins Springwater Township 1

But that fact does not prevent her from likely being naively reckless in her legal duties. 

To suggest that a “if you build it they will come” is a responsible way for a Chief Magistrate to fulfill her fiduciary duties as the executive of the Corporation of the Township of Springwater as she does in yesterday’s national Global TV news coverage is, frankly, embarrassing

Mayor Collins seems to be unwavering in her faith. It seem odd, though, that the sprawl developers are acting in such a high risk, desperate way recently:

  1. an open revolt at township Council against the development-friendly 2014 operating and capital budget,
  2. a new newsletter mailed out on March 20, 2014,
  3. another public meeting on March 25th at the Simcoe County Museum (see below), and
  4. now the Midhurst Ratepayers’ report:

We have recently learned that the developers are now taking our local municipal governments to the Ontario Municipal Board to force them to re-zone all of the targeted farmland into residential space. This is well before the proper environmental studies have been completed! We feel that this is a push to rush the destruction of prime farmland and is unnecessary. That means more than ever we need to send a message that citizens will not tolerate such an abuse of process.

But who will pay for the Mayor’s folly: (A) her, (B) the developers or (C) all current and future township taxpayers?

Midhurst Community Info Meeting 2Please sign the Margaret Atwood petition.

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org.


Global TV News and Margaret Atwood take on Springwater Township sprawl plan.

March 20, 2014

If you haven’t, please sign the petition to bring Margaret Atwood on side: sign here.

Global Margaret Atwood3

 Thu, Mar 20: Plans are in the works to turn the Ontario farming community of Midhurst into a bustling suburban city. But some in the community are calling the transformation a step backwards. Christina Stevens explains.

Click here to view the very well done newscast.

People and Organizations: Margaret Atwood, Margaret Prophet, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, Mayor Linda Collins, Township of Springwater, Christina Stevens, Global News, Chris Evans, Minesing Wetlands, Anne Ritchie-Nahuis, Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org and voteLesStewart.ca.


Who is Grand Chief Derek Nepinak?

October 21, 2013

And why does SunMedia say not to brush him off?

Derek NepinakAssembly of Manitoba Chiefs: Wikipedia, Home site, YouTube RE: Royal Proclamation of 1763.


Who is guarding the guardians: Big time corruption in secrecy-heavy, backwater towns.

December 13, 2012

Shakedown for 50% of a company revealed by a  Radio-Canada TV and the Toronto Star joint investigation.

Tom Miller

Tom Miller, the former chief administrative officer of Lamont, Alta., is approached by the Star and Radio-Canada with questions about an alleged kickback scheme. He refused to answer questions. The allegations, which have not been proved in court, are the subject of lawsuits and an RCMP investigation.

Click here for video.

Julian Sher writes in today’s Toronto Star: Intrigue in the oilpatch: Quebec builder who hoped to cash in on Alberta’s oil boom caught in mulitimillion-dollar controversy involving alleged shakedowns, secret recordings and revenge:

Like many Quebec construction developers, Gilles Filiatreault is no stranger to kickbacks and extortion.

But he never expected to find trouble in a small town in Alberta’s industrial heartland eager to cash in on the riches of the oilpatch boom.

Now Filiatreault finds himself embroiled in a multimillion-dollar controversy involving clandestine recordings of alleged shakedowns and revenge, an ongoing RCMP criminal inquiry and a secretive town council forced to call on the province to investigate its activities.

A joint investigation by the Toronto Star and the Radio-Canada TV program Enquête into one Alberta community raises wider questions about transparency in small towns across Canada, where there is often little oversight into how and why money is managed and spent.

Excessive secrecy is well-known flag for wrongdoing.

“More often than not, we don’t know what is going on in these small towns,” says Jim Lightbody, chair of the University of Alberta’s department of political science and an expert in municipal politics. “It’s only when someone’s ox is gored that it becomes public.”

Still, a review of the minutes of town council meetings in recent months shows there are regular sessions behind closed doors in Lamont to discuss “personnel and property” issues — a secrecy that is allowed under provincial legislation, which critics say is open to abuse.

“The problem is that everything city hall does is personnel and land,” says the University of Alberta’s Lightbody. “These small town councils are so used to doing everything in private. Who is guarding the bloody guardians?”

A provincial government investigation into corruption:

Two days later, (Nov. 17, 2011) another secret council meeting — this one lasting almost two hours — concluded with the announcement that the town had requested the provincial Municipal Affairs department inspect “any matters connected with the management, administration and operations immediately.”

“If a town makes the request, something is really amiss,” says municipal affairs expert Jim Lightbody. “That means the problem is really out of hand — the cow pie is on the fan.”

And Mayor Bill Skinner denies former town manager Tom Miller was fired over kickback allegations.

Many believe there are way too many in camera sessions in Simcoe county area municipal governments.


%d bloggers like this: