Save French’s Hill Forest article by Dr. John Bacher and Danny Beaton

October 1, 2015

Is a Waverley Mega Quarry in Tiny Township, Simcoe County worth this threat to the Alliston Aquifer…again?

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(l): Dr. Bacher and Danny Beaton. Photos by Les Stewart, SpringwaterParkcc.org.

An original article from Dr. John Bacher:

Save French’s Hill Forest

Tiny Township is blessed to have some of the rarest and largest old growth forests in southern Ontario south of the Canadian Shield, an ecosystem known as the Mixed Woods Plains. It is tragic that one of the best examples of this precious and threatened relic of Turtle Island before the impact of Euro-Canadian colonization, is now threatened by a proposed zoning amendment. It would change the zoning of lands now protected as Rural and Agricultural and designated as Significant Forest by Tiny Township, to permit the expansion of the existing Beamish quarry.

In addition to devastating forests the Beamish quarry expansion proposal is an attack on the world’s purest water, the same important source for the Alliston Aquifer that was battled over in the long struggle against Dump Site 41. Elaine Stephenson a champion of the French’s Hill Forest, has explained how she appreciated from childhood how the purity of her well water from this unusual geological feature. On this basis the quarry scheme was denounced by a leading foe of Dump Site 41, Stephen Odgen, at a October 13, 2009 meeting of the Tiny Township Council.

Part of the opposition that the Beamish scheme encountered when it was put forward at two meeting of Tiny Township Council in the winter of 2015 was that the pit proposal should not go forward until the work of he Severn Sound Environmental Association on the natural heritage of Tiny Township is properly reflected in its land use planning and zoning documents. This is an excellent critique since current land use planning both in Tiny Township and throughout Simcoe County does not make the best use of scientific studies of wildlife habitat, forest cover and old growth.

The critique of residents who have mobilized themselves into a Save the Waverly Uplands alliance is bolstered by the background environmental research that has been done into the provincially significant woodlands that surround the existing Beamish quarry. The work of the Severn Sound group builds on an earlier study, which in a tragically slow way, is shaping environmental planning in Simcoe County. This is report on “The Development of a Natural Heritage System for Simcoe County.” It was prepared by the Gartner Lee engineering firm for the Simcoe County Council in 1996.

The Gartner Lee report, now almost two decades old, provides a reasonable way in which to protect Simcoe County’s forests. It called for the protection of large blocks of forests of around 40 hectares in size, which is responsible for the current mapping of French’s Hill as a provincially significant woodland. Such woodlands straddle both sides of the border between Tiny and Tay townships.

The slowness in the adaption of the Garner Lee report into the Simcoe County official plan is one of the reasons the municipality has been ridiculed by the respected Neptis Foundation as the “Wild West” of urban sprawl.

The Gartner Lee study recognizes that, “The extensive tracts of forests” that are found in Tiny Township “are important habitat for a number of forest interior species as well as for mammals such as Black Bear, Martin and Fisher which have large home ranges.”

The Gartner Lee report recognizes the value of the large tracts of forests that endure in Tiny Township that are old growth as surrounds the Beamish quarry. It expressed amazement that here there are still “vast tracts of forest” in predominately hardwood old growth conditions. They are it stressed, a vivid contrast to the coniferous plantations established in other parts of Simcoe County to rescue it from desertification.

The old growth forests of Tiny Township Garner Lee stressed “represent the last vestiges of what southern-Ontario looked like in pre-settlement times. Unlike much of southern Ontario, where the original woodlands have become highly fragmented” these forest remain in “unbroken forest blocks.” Such conditions it found are important for wildlife as “refuges from predation” for “foraging habitat” and to secure “diversity in the landscape.”

The insights of the Gartner Lee report in protecting the old growth forests of southern Ontario are reflected in the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Natural Heritage Manual. They stress that old growth forests “are particularly valuable for several reasons, including their contributions of species genetics and ecosystem diversity.” One obvious example of this is that their survival allow winds and birds to transfer native hardwood species to managed plantation forests.

The MNR manual provides a careful definition of what constitutes an old growth forest. This is done through hitting any of three measures, age (around 100 years), basal area or diameter width. One basic approach is 10 or more trees at least 50 cm in diameter per hectare, or 8 trees of the same area of 40 cm.

When I saw tree cutting recently at French’s Hill I was horrified to see an old growth forest slashed for no apparent reason than to downgrade its rating in the MNR manual. The forest was of predominately giant sugar maples, regenerating in a healthy fashion with a blanket of seedlings. However, the quite recently stumps seemed to offer proofs that many giants had been cut with the deliberate purpose of reducing the density per hectare required to be considered an old growth forest.

Danny Beaton a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan has viewed the destruction of the French’s Hill Forest. On it he notes, that “The Nanfan Treaty states that the Iroquois Confederacy have a right to hunt and fish on our shared territories with the Ojibway, Huron and Wendat Nations in Georgian Bay. Why do corporations continuing to rape and pillage our forests, wetlands and water ways in Georgian Bay? Why do company’s continue to stake claim to the last endangered trees and forests with immunity from County of Simcoe Governance.? Why are citizens being ignored in county meetings that are set up for citizen participation and shared authority over land rights and development.? Are the lawyers, architects and engineers who support developers, the real threat to Mother Earth? Through unity and focus then can we organize our self for change and environmental protection through peaceful building and organizing our self. During Site 41 a unity of citizens, farmers and Torontonians emerged to defend and protect the Alliston Aquifer. Then the mega quarry was denounced by citizens, farmers, and native and good lawyers. We as citizens of Ontario must unite with the Conservation Authority, Environmental Organizations, Farmers, Native Nations and Good Minds with Good Hearted People before everything is cut down or polluted. Mother Earth is being raped on the French Hill in Waverly. The developer will say he bought the land which is old growth Sugar Maples and other hard wood trees so that all should be clear cut for a quarry As a Mohawk man with grade 6 education I can tell you from our Traditional Culture no one has the right to destroy this large unique incredibly beautiful healing place full of creation for our children’s children.”
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Posted on JohnBacherPhD.ca and SpringwaterParkcc.org.

Previous posts on the Waverley Mega Quarry;


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.

 


Geranium sends out their Fall 2014 newsletter to all the beautiful, happy, perfect people in Midhurst.

September 22, 2014

While making an impression on the former Federation of Ontario Naturalists (est. 1931).

MLG NL Fall 2014 1

If the Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP is such a”A Done Deal” and the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association is so clearly wrong, wrong, wrong: then why the drama?

MLG NL Fall 2014 2

Note back page article:

“ON Nature magazine apologizes and retracts statement

Geranium Corporation, one of the partners in the Midhurst Landowners Group, has received an unqualified retraction and apology in the pages of ON Nature magazine, and on the website of the magazine at : www.onnaturemagazine.com/2014/07

ON Nature is the publication of Ontario Nature, a charitable organization established in 1931 as the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. It’s [sic] correction and apology states:

 “On page 10 of its Summer 2014 issue, ON Nature published an article entitled “Midhurst residents oppose development”. The article stated that a land developer mentioned in the article, Geranium Corporation, had not returned calls for comment. This was incorrect. In fact, Geranium and its public relations representative did return the reporter’s calls for comment, although through no fault of Geranium the reporter did not reach them in response. Geranium has provided ON Nature with the following statement responding to the article:

Geranium Corporation is an award-winning, Ontario-based home builder and developer with an excellent track record of public consultation and involvement, as well as respect for the environment and the years-long public approvals process. Its repeated invitations to meet with the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association have been refused by the Association.

 ON Nature regrets the error, and apologizes to Geranium.””

+++

Note the bold text above is what Geranium gave ON Nature to say.

  1. Click here to ON Nature‘s actual web page.
  2. Click here to see what I wrote after reading ON Nature’s article (June 19th)
  3. Click here to see what I wrote after receiving Geranium’s Summer newsletter (Volume 2, 2014).
  4. Click here to see what I wrote after receiving their Spring newsletter (Volume 1, 2014)

 

MSP icon white on red

 

Shiny Happy People, REM


Four of 7 at Springwater Township council are pro anything-the-mega-developers want.

August 15, 2014

They vote in lock-step, as if they’re being disciplined or “whipped by some force.

Springwater township council 4 1

(l. to r.) Mayor Linda Collins, D Mayor Dan McLean, Councillors Dan Clement and Rick Webster

Needing/wanting to be have their “party” re-elected, the knives are coming out in articles in the Springwater News.

I suggest reading the last three of their articles to determine how sincere and trustworthy they are based on their choice of words.

  • Elmvale – from a 3rd Generation Resident, Councillor Dan Clement, August 14, 2014. pdf
  • CORRECT INFORMATION OR UNSUBSTATIATED OPINION, Deputy Mayor Dan McLean, July 31, 2014. pdf
  • My Position on the Midhurst Secondary Plan, Councillor Rick Webster, April 10, 2014. pdf

Will the community send them packing, just as they did to their mentors at Dump Site 41?


Is it any accident that Springwater Township council is speeding up the sprawl plan approvals process?

April 28, 2014

Their big push raises some disturbing questions.

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As was asked at last Council meeting and echoed in last night’s informative Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association information session:

  • Why did the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, NVCA lawyer clearly call any zoning changes before the Environmental Assessment process is completed, premature?
  • Why does a modestly-resourced conservation authority like NVCA unanimously have grave concerns about the sprawl plan is devoting substantial $ at the OMB hearings?
  • Why should anything be approved when a financial outcome study, remains unfinished?
  • Why is AWARE Simcoe making the MSP such a central part of their Annual General Meeting this Saturday?

With a final push of support, the sprawl plan defeat will be #3

  1. Dump Site 41.
  2. Mega Quarry in Melancthon township, and
  3. Midhurst Secondary Plan.

To Help:

StopSpringwaterSprawl.com


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.


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