Sacred Farmland/Aquifers article: The Midhurst Secondary Plan = monstrous developers’ greed + ecocidal idiocy

June 3, 2017

Part 1 AND 2 of a devastating critique of this grotesque sprawl proposal in Simcoe County.

Danny Beaton John Bacher Niagara

An excellent summary published by the Springwater News (p. 6) of the lunacy of the Midhurst Secondary Plan: a desecration of Mother Earth and her creation. Click here for a free pdf download.

Sacred Farmland/Aquifers

Elder Danny Beaton and Dr. John Bacher

Few Canadians know or appreciate the watershed of Midhurst’s Willow Creek, which while marvelous in itself as a wildlife migration corridor and a template for wise ecological recovery, is even more important for its downstream outlet, the Minesing Wetlands. The Minesing Wetlands provides a sense of the beauty and sacredness of an environment guarded by native peoples since the retreat of glaciers over 10,000 years ago. This wonder, however, is now at risk from the massive urban sprawl blessed by the monstrosity called the Midhurst Secondary Plan. The Willow Creek watershed is on the eve of becoming the focal point for bitter battles over subdivision proposals at the Ontario Municipal Board. (OMB)

The Minesing Wetlands which Willow Creek feeds is Ontario’s Lost World. The famous fictional book and movie, which imagined explorers deep in the Amazon discovering giant species from a distant past, approximates the reality of this 6,000 hectare refuge for native species. It gives a glimpse of what Ontario was like before the ecocidal invasion of what is now our province by Euro-Canadians.

The word Minesing in Ojibway language means island. This illustrates how it is a haven for wildlife in a denuded and biologically sterile environment, at risk of being washed over by shock waves of urban sprawl unleashed by a storm of developers’ greed.

Minesing is the last home for entire ecological communities in Ontario, such as the Burr Oak and Hackberry swamp forests. Such ecosystems are a refuge for rare plants as the Beaked Spice-Bush and the Eastern Prairie and White Fingered Orchids. Minesing has southern Ontario’s largest Fen, providing refuge for the rare Least Bittern. Its large expanse of forest makes it a breeding home for the Threatened Cerulean Warbler. Careful documentation has found that 135 species of birds nest in the Minesing Wetlands.

The Minesing Wetlands provides nesting places for some of the most spectacular birds to be found in Ontario, such as the Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan and Sandhill Crane. The two heronies of this refuge are the oldest documented breeding grounds for the Great Blue Heron in Ontario. Minesing has a breeding colony for the threatened Black Tern. One of the biggest and most threatened fish in Ontario, the Lake Sturgeon, swims through the wetlands. While the Snapping and Painted Turtle are abundant here, it is also a refuge for threatened Wood, Map and Blanding’s Turtle. It is a staging post for the return of the river otter to southern Ontario. It mingles with another restored shaper of wetlands, the beaver, and the muskrat.

While the big birds, fish, reptiles and mammals of the Lost World of Minesing are impressive, the glory of the wildlife refuge is its being a haven for threatened insects. The wetland is so vast and formidable that it was never burnt out and subsequently farmed, like the ecologically restored, but originally once desertified landscape of Willow Creek around Midhurst. Now insects are threatened by agricultural pesticides. These are not used in a refuge which is controlled by public agencies and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Minesing is haven for the rare Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. It is the largest Butterfly that lives in Canada. It is most significant for being the only place in Canada where an Endangered Species, Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly lives. It was thought to have been extirpated from Canada, but was discovered here in 2007 and listed as Threatened in 2012. It is also Endangered in the United States. The nearest population of this species is 180 kilometres away in Michigan.

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly endangered status in both the United States and Canada is illustrative of the idiocy of European colonization and exploitation. This did not take place through the rigours of contemporary environmental reviews. It survived in Minesing since the tough wetland was too difficult and wet to be burned away, like the surrounding source contributor of Willow Creek. Its forest were burned away for ashes to make soap. The species has quite exacting needs for its survival. These were only discovered in recent decades by scientists working to rescue the shining emerald green dragonfly from extinction.

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly is what scientists in the last forty years have become to appreciate as a vernal pool obligate species. Vernal pools are specialized environments that dry up usually by August. They provide habitat for tree frog species, such as Wood and Spring Peeper Frogs, which in the early spring, turn Minesing into an astonishing symphony of musical calls. During the late summer when the pools usually dry up, Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly survives by crawling into damp excavations made by crayfish.

The Willow Creek watershed that pours its flow into Minesing, had its population of Hine’s Emerald dragonfly wiped out by Euro-Canadian invaders. By 1900 most of the land here had been stripped of forests and degraded to marching sand dunes that threatened to bury Barrie, as they had done to an earlier seat of Simcoe County, Angus. However, through determined political leadership, guided by expert scientific advice. this was reversed. The lessons of history are now being ignored however. The watershed of Willow Creek, once buried by sand from burning trees, is now at risk of being covered
over by the cement of sprawl.

In October of 1905 the future Premier of Ontario, Ernest Drury, and the future Chief Forester of Ontario, Edmund Zavitz, went on a tour of the sand dunes of Simcoe County. While walking through the desert they came upon an important contributor to Willow Creek, a bubbling spring. With an abundant aquifer of pure clean water, similar to that which spawned the struggle to stop Dump Site 41, lead by Danny Beaton, (Mohawk Turtle Clan) Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, Stephen Odgen and Elizabeth May, they decided that the spring provided an excellent place for a tree nursery to reforest the spreading desert. This nursery eventually become the 192 hectare Springwater Provincial Park. The park became a staging place for the reintroduction of the Trumpter Swan and Beaver, which now restored, thrive in nearby Minesing.

The battle to rescue Springwater Provincial Park from closure is illustrative of the difficult struggle ahead to stop sprawl in Midhurst. Following closure a year round Objiway struggle led by Beth Elson of occupation followed. It eventually, successfully resulted in the park being reopened under an arrangement between the provincial government and the Beausoleil First Nation.

Springwater Park is only one example of how Willow Creek watershed has benefitted from one of the most massive efforts at ecological restoration in Ontario. It has 21 Simcoe County Forests, which restored 2,039 hectares of blow sand wastes. The forested corridor along Willow Creek is substantial enough to provide a migration corridor for daring bear and moose to enter Minesing. This corridor could expand if it was properly protected from sprawl. The landscape is now an excellent example of how nature and agriculture can co-exist well, with an astonishing mosaic of Class One farmland and interconnected and slowly growing forests. The forests are especially thick in protecting Willow Creek and its tributaries.

The wonders of the struggles of ecological protection and restoration of the past are now threatened by the sinister prescriptions of the Midhurst Secondary Plan. As it stands currently, the plan calls for the construction of 10,000 housing units enough for 30,000 people, on +1,000 acres of the Class One and Two farmlands in the Willow Creek watershed. This will have an enormous environmental impact. Storm water will be dumped, laced with road salt, oil and other toxins into Willow Creek and eventually into Minesing. Building on top of the aquifer that provides recharge water discharged into the Minesing wetland, will also help to dry it up.

The struggle that stopped Dump Site 41 gives an appreciation of the magnitude of the effort to rescue Willow Creek and Minesing. The public servants who attempt to guide the provincial politicians with ecological folly know that it is folly to permit sprawl in Midhurst. The Growth Plan that is supposed to
guide land use planning in the most rapidly growing part of southern Ontario, originally attempted to confine urban growth in the Simcoe County region to the current municipal borders of Barrie. This would have kept sewage pollution out of the Minesing wetland.

The Growth Plan’s provisions were not changed on any rational basis, but simply to bow to potential developers. An aroused Ontario public would convince provincial politicians to listen to their land use planning advisors to impose a Ministerial Zoning Order under the Planning Act, to stop sprawl in Midhurst.

Part 1 and 2, published on June 1st and 15th.

Elder Danny Beaton, Mohawk Turtle Clan is an internationally recognized protector of Mother Earth. Dr. John Bacher is a researcher for the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society (PALS). Danny and John were central in the successful defense of Dump Site 41 and the Mega-Quarry in Melancthon, ON and denying the residential development of Springwater Provincial Park. They continue as important members of the Advisory Council of the Midhurst-based Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition.

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Last Sunday’s “super-est” full moon really brought them out to Springwater Park

August 12, 2014

Fellowship, lessons, laughter, pain: a celebration of our time together.

20140811 Full moon group

— see Perigee “Super” Moon images from Around the World

perigee

The perigee Moon from Toronto, Canada at 8:35 pm EDT. Credit and copyright: Rick Ellis.

bye bye Robin

 


Tony Martin: Why 100,000 CDN franchisee families should keep his family in their thoughts.

February 17, 2014

The Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) Act, 2000 exists because of Martin. He draws people together is a way only an Irish immigrant could.
Tony Martin

I would suggest ALL franchisees, everywhere, who know enough to value the legal protections that “good faith, fair dealings and commercially reasonable” might give to their life, recognize this, faith-filled parliamentarian’s fearless role in not managing but eradicating  predatory industry practices, starting in 1996.

As reported in the Sault Star, NDP colleagues offer words of support after Tony Martin hospitalized after suffering stroke:

The longtime NDP politician and anti-poverty activist reportedly suffered the stroke Sunday.

Bud Wildman, former provincial cabinet minister and a close friend, said doctors are hopeful Martin, 65, will recover.

He said Martin’s family is by his side.

“I’m concerned for my friend. He’s a strong person. I’m hoping he’ll make a full recovery,” said Wildman.

My thoughts are with Bud, Madge, Karen and Jacques and especially Anna and their children.


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.


Who is Alex Nuttall’s right hand man in Midhurst?

December 9, 2013

From this picture at least, it is David Strachan, president of the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association.

Strachan Nuttall

David Strachan, Alex Nuttall, Sandy Buxton and Aidan Grove-White (left to right)

Other individuals quoted in AWARE Simcoe’s coverage, Growth will Really Pay for Growth: Nuttall,  were:

  • Mr. Jack Hanna, current Ward 5 councillor (Midhurst), Township of Springwater,
  • Mr. Aidan Grove-White, Environmental Defence Canada,
  • Ms. Sandy Buxton, Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, and
  • Mr. Patrick Brown MP Barrie.

Organizations who attended: North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance, Angus Ratepayers’ Association and Nottawasaga Steelheaders.

Cross-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.


A Soldier – His Prayer by Gerald Kersh

November 12, 2013

A prayer card found taped within a WWII wedding photo binder.

A Soldier his prayer

A Soldier – His PrayerGerald Kersh


Support from Australia for the Remembrance Day ceremony this Monday at Springwater Park

November 9, 2013

An internationally-recognized Commonwealth military heritage advocate, former Barrie resident and youthful park employee says the  Vespra Boys cenotaph sandblasting and irreparable damage a “desecration”.

Richard Gates2

Text:

Mr Les Stewart MBA
Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition
9 Nov 2013

Dear Les: Remembrance Day 2013

I am writing to you on behalf of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Incorporated, a voluntary community organization involved in the preservation of the first of the Empire Air Training Scheme Stations to be established in World War II at Evans Head on the Far North Coast of NSW.

Evans Head is a sister Empire Air Training Scheme Station to Camp Borden which was also the very first of that Scheme to be established in Canada. My father trained there during World War II as a RAAF pilot with the RCAF. Sadly there does not appear to be any recognition of the important role which Camp Borden played in preparing personnel for the World War II AirForce effort despite the large number of men who passed through there on the way to England to defend Empire.

My Committee has a strong affinity with the work you and the SPCC are doing to preserve the ‘Vespra Boys’ Memorial. We were successful in having Evans Head listed on the State Heritage Register in 2002 despite opposition from local government and various commercial interests.

We have also experienced desecration of a Memorial Plaque initiated by World War II Veterans and know the angst and disgust generated by such action. However through persistent action we have prevailed and now Evans Head is a major stopping off point for Veterans and their families.

The reason for writing to you and the SPCC is to lend our support to your actions to preserve the memory of the World War I Veterans at Springwater Park and to let you know that we will be with you all in spirit on the 11th of November when we have our own Memorial Service here.

As a former employee of Springwater Park 50 years ago I remember the Vespra Boys Memorial well. It must stand in situ as a reminder of the sacrifices that our forefathers were prepared to make that we might enjoy the freedom we have today. Lest we forget.

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

Dr Richard Gates, President.
PO Box 64 Evans Head NSW 2473 tel 02 6682 5161 ragates@netspace.net.au

The Empire Air Training Scheme is better known in Canada as the British Commonwealth Air Training PlanThe Military History and Significance of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome

Richard Gates3

Minister Jason Clare, Minister for Defence Materiel came to Evans Head on 18 October 2012 to announce the delivery of a retired F-111 or “pig” as they are affectionately known for the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. Minister Clare is shown here with Dr Richard Gates, President of the Evans Head Living Museum who presented the Minister with Wings at War, a history of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome during World War II. The Museum will be involved in the management of the displayed aircraft which is scheduled to be in place by August this year.

Dr. Gates established the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome in the face of local government opposition and fierce commercial development interests. He is a member of the SPCC Advisory Council.


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