AWARE Simcoe Essa asks: Can Essa’s Official Plan Protect our Trees?

March 31, 2016

Set aside a morning on April 23rd to hear some facts.

Trees through time essa

I will be providing some perspective on the reforestation years.

Drury-on-Angus-Plains-1906-Amongst-burnt-area-Photo-by-E.J.-Zavitz-Wastelands-16

Hon. E.C. Drury in 1906 on the Angus Plains which was 1 of 3 of the worst “Wastelands” they toured, Photographed by Dr. Edmund Zavitz

The fruits of these visionaries’ brilliance is borne out in our county forests and Springwater Provincial Park.

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Posted also on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

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How much cash does a corporation get when they cut down old-growth maple trees in Simcoe County?

September 30, 2015

Immediately and in preparation for a clear-cut (gravel pit expansion)?

20150425 Bleeding tree ...

Surely the net proceeds are less if you cut them down in the middle of the night?

Waverley Clearcut 3

Maybe higher In the middle of the 2015 winter (April 2015: Photos by Les Stewart)?

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I wonder if it was a licensed or non-licensed action against the old-growth maple canopy (September 2015, same)?

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Or thinning to show the “watchdog” authorities that the forest was worth less (worthless or degraded) and, therefore, should get the go ahead to clear-cut for aggregate expansion on top of the Alliston aquifer.

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See previous post on iLoveMidhurst.ca: A 600 acre Waverley Mega Quarry in the making?

Waverley Mega-Quarry


The latest in “signs of things gone bad” at Springwater Park evokes another offer of welcome and accommodation by First Nations allies.

May 18, 2015

Are Barrie and Midhurst residents willing to let the “morons” define their communities?

Beth Ian McInroy

Elizabeth Brass Elson, of Beausoleil First Nation, looks over the remains of a ceremonial teepee which was destroyed by vandals Saturday night at Springwater Provincial Park, located north of Barrie. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA

Ian McInroy reports for the Barrie Examiner in Teepee set on fire at Springwater park:

A ceremonial Anishinaabe teepee in Springwater Provincial Park north of Barrie was destroyed by vandals over the weekend.

Huronia West OPP and Springwater Township firefighters were called to the park at approximately 7 p.m. on Sunday after learning the teepee had been burned.

There were no injuries and no other damage to property.

Elizabeth Brass Elson, of Beausoleil First Nation, said it’s the fourth incident of racist-related vandalism in Springwater park in Midhurst.

She was one of several Anishinaabe women who occupied the park the day after the Ministry of Natural Resources (now the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) deemed the 193-hectare facility non-operational in March 31 2013.

“The teepee being burned is another sign of things gone bad here,” she said, standing next to the scorched frame that once made up the canvas teepee.

“They are all racist comments,” Brass Elson said. “People are not educated about aborginal treaties and native rights. This is a very spiritual place.”

How can those that say they love Springwater Park show their appreciation to our ancient land stewards?

Brass Elson said there is a way for area residents to show support for Springwater park and the Beausoleil First Nation’s efforts to manage it during an event at the park on Saturday, May 23. It will celebrate the victory over proposed landfill Site 41 north of Elmvale in September 2009 as well as Camp Nibi — the Anishinaabe name for fresh water, or spring water — when women occupied the park after it was deemed non-operational.

“We’re having a potluck on Saturday. People can bring their families and food,” she said. “In times like these, allies are needed to save the land and save the water.”

The potluck gets underway at 5 p.m. All are invited.

Is this really the way to welcome back our new neighbours?

Supplied photo

Vandals burned down a First Nations teepee at Springwater Provincial Park sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning. Provincial police are investigating. Photo supplied

Stupidity has a certain charm — ignorance does not. Frank Zappa

Michelle Hardy

Michelle Hardy and Stewart Patterson, along with little Elle, walk through Springwater Provincial Park Monday afternoon. Hardy was shocked that vandals would destroy a First Nations teepee Saturday night in the park, located north of Barrie. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER


With serious social justice causes, I write on the internet to influence the powerful stakeholders.

February 20, 2015

My Midhurst neighbours may think I am writing about Springwater Park at SpringwaterParkcc.org for the “average Joe”.

Traffic SpringwaterParkcc

I don’t mind anyone reading what I write but my primary literary target has always been the Province of Ontario.

I told the rest of the members of the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition that I would quit as their president after 6 months. My job was to identify, scan, and get the legitimate, constitutional powers at the same table which (I hoped) would result in keeping Springwater Park green for the next seven generations and more.

I started doing the research in Oct 2012, and then the nine-month long First Nations occupation started April 1, 2013.

Any resolution will be based on a nation-to-nation negotiation based on Canadian LEGAL realities not some white-mans’ guilt or charity or political correctness. That we’ve come this far is a great testament to the maturity, grace and intelligence of those working together to keep this land sacred.

It’s a great story; a story that our grand kids will re-tell with justifiable pride.

 


Ministry of Natural Resources “pleased to be working with” Beausoleil First Nations in re-opening Springwater Park.

April 17, 2014
20140417 Stan Howe

Members of the Beausoleil First Nation plan to return to Springwater park this spring. Stan Howe

Laurie Watt in the Barrie Advance reports: MNR talks with native group to re-open Springwater Park

The Ministry of Natural Resources is talking with the Beausoleil First Nation about reopening Springwater Provincial Park as a pair of warring citizens’ groups wait to hear if they’ll be included.

But while the ministry is “pleased to be working with” Beausoleil, the ministry isn’t yet ready to release details on what’s being discussed, ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski said.

As partnership talks began just before Christmas, Camp Nibi — founded by a group led by Elizabeth Brass Elson as an outreach and healing initiative — packed up and left for the winter. Brass Elson plans to restart the group’s activities and ceremonies in the park this spring, although snow still covers the ground in the 193-hectare park that opened in 1927 and was shuttered by the ministry a year ago.

However, things are getting confusing. There are three community groups, two of them (#1 and #2) both claiming control of over $100,000 in community donations while the the third, is waiting for the MNR/Camp Nibi discussions to be completed.

In summary:

  1. Mr. Ian Taylor, Friends of Springwater Park,
  2. Mr. Jack Garner, Springwater Park Foundation who recently seems to have split off from #1, and
  3. Mr. Les Stewart and the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition. SPCC split from #1 in Oct 2012.

The SPCC and Advisory Board: Our experience shows it is premature and can be potentially very problematic to raise funds or pledges before the management and ownership issues were first sorted out by between the more senior levels (ie. MNR and First Nations).

The SPCC has sought a sustainable business model.

In our opinion, sustainability can only come primarily from long-term, government-underwritten, publicly-funded budgets which may arise from aboriginal and non-aboriginal sources.

As a simple sign of encouragement toward that partnership, we asked our municipality (Springwater Township) to budget some 2014 $ for the park’s re-opening. Township Council responded generously by providing an allocation of $10,000 which will only be spent if an agreement is reached. Public money does not run nearly as “hot and cold” as does individual or corporate donations do.

Summary: Agreement first (resources will be included in that plan anyway.) Then onto further public and private funding.


Springwater Park – Camp Nibi draws thousands of winter visitors….and +$110,000 in private and public support!

April 10, 2014

The winter is an exceptionally busy time at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi: both inside and out.

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In the Barrie Advance, Group raises cash to help reopen Springwater Park:

A year of uncertainty about Springwater Park’s future has sown the seeds — and cash — for meaningful talks on a partnership to reopen the facility.

The Springwater Park Foundation has so far raised $103,000 and it’s putting its cash where its mouth is as it plans talks with the province’s Natural Resources Ministry.

Springwater resident Nancy Bigelow:

Now that the money’s set aside, Springwater Park Foundation chairperson Nancy Bigelow said she’s working to set a date to meet with the ministry. She can tell stories of people who have come to appreciate the park, which the ministry had said was experiencing a drop in visitors.

“You have to walk in, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. There are trails and plenty of people. On the weekends, it’s packed. All through the winter, there were snowshoers and cross-country skiers. It’s been impressive,” Bigelow said.

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Our Anishinaabe friends continued their ceremonies all winter long:

“There won’t be so many overnight times. We’re not moving back in, but we’ll be doing ceremonies and teaching,” said the group’s Elizabeth Brass Elson. “We’re Camp Nibi and we plan on staying there forever. We haven’t finished our initiative.”

 

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And finally:

Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition founder Les Stewart said talks are still ongoing and Springwater Township has set aside $10,000 to help reopen the park if an agreement is reached.

Running for deputy mayor of Springwater, Stewart said he’s keeping a keen eye on the park and efforts to reopen it.

“The park is in great shape and people have been using it all winter. We’re looking forward to an announcement from the MNR,” he said.


Springwater Township ponies up $10,000 to help re-imagine Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

February 21, 2014

An economically sustainable plan is what has always been needed.

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It is appropriate that a 177 year old municipal township gets the ball rolling in welcoming back our 10,000 year old neighbours for what will become an internationally-important, cross-cultural treasure.

From today’s print edition of the Barrie Examiner by Cheryl Browne, Money possible to help Springwater Park pdf:

SPRINGWATER TWP. – The gates of Springwater Provincial Park may be pushed a little more open as council sets aside $10,000 for its re-opening this year.

Although the park remains technically locked up, Springwater Township council has voted yes to Coun. Sandy McConkey’s motion to set aside $10,000 to help re-open the provincial park that’s been in limbo since the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) changed its status to non-operational last year.

“I can’t say how the money will be used,” said McConkey, Thursday. “We just want to be able to have access to it in case the user groups need it.”

Coun. Jack Hanna, who also voted in favour of the motion, said the money would be set aside from the economic development fund, but won’t be approved until the township’s budget receives final approval Feb. 25.

“I know negotiations are ongoing with the MNR and First Nations who are considering making it a training centre,” he said, but added he doesn’t know the current status of the talks.

After 107 years in operation, the 193-hectare day-use park’s status was unclear last year after the MNR locked the gates. The 29 orphaned animals that were receiving care in the park were removed and sent to other wildlife sanctuaries across Canada.

Elizabeth Brass Elson and several other First Nations people quietly moved in to occupy the park in early April and remained there for the duration of the year, leaving just days before Christmas 2013.

Brass Elson named their campground Camp Nibi – the native word for fresh or spring water – and ran instructional classes on native culture, sweat lodges and full moon ceremonies, which continue monthly.

The also cleaned up after walk-in only visitors and called police when teenagers started fires and vandalized buildings.

Talks with the MNR and Beausoleil First Nation continued, and in December, Brass Elson said they were assured they would be given a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all.

“We were told we would be in a partnership with the MNR,” said Brass Elson. “It was a shaking-hands deal with Beausoleil council. I was told to stand down and go home and warm up, so I did.”

Although the gates have been chained shut since last April, Les Stewart of the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition said dozens of people took to the trails on Family Day.

“People are still enjoying it, so councillors setting aside some money for its re-opening is a positive step forward,” Stewart said.

Mayor Linda Collins, who voted against setting the money aside, confirmed if the budget passes, it would go towards the re-opening of the park this year.

“Nothing is determined yet. I’m not opposed to nurturing Springwater, but the County of Simcoe is taking the lead there, frankly because they have the bigger purse,” Collins said.

She says the county has been assisting the township by hosting meetings between the First Nations and the MNR.

“We’re not a big enough player so we need to join hands with the County of Simcoe,” she said.

Spokesperson for the MNR, Jolanta Kowalski, wrote in an e-mail ‘the ministry is pleased to be working with Beausoleil First Nation to discuss a future partnership for the operation of Springwater Provincial Park.’

Kowalski also wrote that ‘the ministry is not considering selling Springwater Provincial Park. Maintaining public ownership keeps the park regulated under the Provincial Park and Conservation Reserves Act and ensures this land is protected for future generations.

Brass Elson said she and several First Nations friends will go the park for an anniversary ceremonial sleep-over April 1.

“It will be nice to spend some time in the park again.”

cheryl.browne@sunmedia.ca
Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1

Come on out.

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It’s about the land.

Sun Park 20131210It’s about the water.

Park spring

It’s about time for spring, I’d say.

Please distribute.

UPDATE:

The $10,000 budget was approved on Feb 25th. Thanks to those on Council who voted for it (4 “yeahs”, 2 “nays”). This amount represents about 0.04% of the township’s 2014 operating budget.

Proportionally, the County of Simcoe should be in the $161,200 range. Annually.


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