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

June 20, 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.

Dr. Bacher and Elder Beaton continue on our Advisory Council.

Originally re-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

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They’re coming for the Simcoe County and MNR forests…once again.

May 18, 2014

In the 1800s, the great hardwoods forests were clear cut. Starting in 1905, men like Hon. E.C. Drury and Dr. Edmund Zavitz worked to help Mother Earth heal us.

Jung1

Cancerous sprawl cannot stop itself by just destroying the land and water: the parasites are after the air.

The earthly manifestations of “God’s world” began with the realm of plants, as a kind of direct communication from it. It was as though one were peering over the shoulder of the Creator, who, thinking Himself unobserved, was making toys and decorations. Man and the proper animals, on the other hand, were bits of God that had become independent. That was why they could move about on their own and choose their abodes. Plants were bound for good or ill to their places. They expressed not only beauty but also the thoughts of God’s world, with an intent of their own and without deviation. Trees in particular were mysterious and seemed to me direst embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason, the woods were the places where I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings. (MDR, PP. 67-8) PP. 28-9

The Lungs of the GTA

pdftree-lungs

 

Posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.


What would it take to invite Joseph Boyden and John Ralston Saul to visit the Minesing Wetlands?

April 16, 2014

I believe they eat: so keeping 1,900 acres of Ontario foodland producing food is worth a look.

Joseph Boyden Orenda

That Springwater Park – Camp Nibi may be evolving into an internationally-significant Anishinaabe and Midewiwin Lodge teaching and healing centre .

John Ralston Saul Dark Diversions

And they may also know Margaret Atwood who is helping out with a petition.


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 nearly 200 year old community.

MCC SPCC sign 1

Midhurst Community Hall, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association Annual General 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 Margaret Prophet and all her crack public relations associates at the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association.

Posted on FranchiseFool.com and iLoveMidhurst.ca.


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 iLoveMidhurst.ca.


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 voteLesStewart.ca and iLoveMidhurst.ca.


Why won’t this federal government support our invisibly wounded soldiers?

December 20, 2013

I know they built hospitals to care for returning WWI men because I worked in one of them.

Brian Gable Globe and Mail

Brian Gable, The Globe and Mail

Stop denying and perpetuating the stigma.

Listen to your warriors: Rick Hillier calls for public inquiry in wake of soldier suicides

Former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier fears more soldiers may take their own lives over this holiday season and is calling for a board of inquiry or Royal Commission into what the military is doing to help those with mental health problems.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s The House, retired general Hillier told host Evan Solomon the recent apparent suicides of four serving Canadian soldiers was a tragic and needless loss of life.

Soldiers join forces to combat suicide and PTSD

“What a tragedy it is and I really do worry about this next period of time, as we head into the Christmas season, that we could in fact see more,” because personnel may feel more alone in the Christmas season as they are away from their combat units and comrades.

Invisible injuries far, far outnumber direct casualties.


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