Springwater Park’s caged white wolf attracts the wrong type of teenage attention.

May 19, 2013

I saw 3 teenagers with backpacks and bicycles at Springwater Provincial Park last Friday afternoon at about 4 pm at the wolf enclosure.

Wanzel Chrissy alone

Photo by Mark Wanzel

One of the boys was standing between the 4 foot external fence and the 10 foot interior chain link fence (see below, x 2).

20130401 Chrissy

When I approached the enclosure, the kid saw me and jumped the four foot fence into the forest.

Wanzel Chrissy Stewart

And, unbelievably, the 2nd of the 3 dropped down from the much taller interior fence he had scaled.

The 3 of them then buggered off on their bikes.

Was the brat thinking of jumping into an enclosure with a trapped wolf? I guess he may not know what a cornered wolf can do to a kid. Or was he just going to harass her with a slingshot or something else?

This incident raises some question about the security being provided for these orphaned animals.

Chrissy: A special case because she has to put up with dog owners who disregard the “All Animals must be Leashed” signs the MNR has posted. It is still the rule and not the exception for dog owners to let their animals run free once in the park.

MNR Responsibility: This type of juvenile and endangering public behavior is predictable when the Ministry of Natural Resources decides to act in bad faith by abandoning their wildlife conservation, park enforcement and land stewardship responsibilities. It seems logical to assume these animal harassment behaviors will escalate over time when there is no enforcement of park standards.

It has been (at least) 7 1/2 months of MNR abandonment, non-supervision and dithering.

Why does the Minister and Premier continue to allow these wretchedly-housed animals being subjected to increasing risk?


Goldhawk Fights Back against the Springwater Provincial Park closing, Version 2

February 23, 2013

Tune in Mon February 25th, 12:15 to 12:45 and hear Les Stewart and the SPCC work with Dale Goldhawk.


Wanzel Les Stewart

Dale Goldhawk

Let’s help the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition send a message to the Ministry of Natural Resources to save our 107 year old park and cenotaph.

Listen and call in on Monday because Goldhawk gets results!!

Call 416 360-0740 or 866 740-4740

Idle No More needs to confront Patrick Brown, and other Conservative MPs.

January 18, 2013

It takes a strong man to swim against the current because…

20130117 Wanzel

Kieran Wadge – Baksg, 7, joins the Idle No More Day of Action protest which briefly shut down the intersection of Duckworth Street and and Georgian Drive in Barrie, Wednesday morning. Mark Wanzel /The Barrie Examiner /QMI

…any dead fish will float with it

An interesting editorial article: Idle No More protest must focus on government reps

Why is Brown supporting legislation that so many native leaders say is wrong?

Is Bill C-45 a done deal, or will the federal government consider changes?

Must native leaders go to court to challenge this law?

Harper and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) have, in the past, taken a dim view of MPs who speak out of turn, or who even speak without the PMO’s authorization, about controversial issues.

Many Conservative MPs, including Brown, have always denied this is the case and said MPs are free to speak their minds.

The SPCC says the First Nations are key to saving Springwater Provincial Park

December 27, 2012

Our aboriginal friends deserve all of the credit for the Georgian Mall flash mob round dance.

black bear

This black bear could be one of several animals relocated in the near future as the province decides the long-term direction of Springwater Provincial Park, north of Barrie. MARK WANZEL PHOTO

A great article about the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition’s, SPCC position by Ian McInroy of the Barrie Examiner : Group trying to save Springwater Park hosting event at Georgian Mall Word  pdf but the headline does not reflect who should get the applause.

The First Nations, FN of Simcoe county and beyond deserve 100% of the support and credit.

End of story.

That being said, a very useful explanation why First Nations are so important in keeping the park open:

Les Stewart, of the SPCC, said support by the First Nations groups are vital to his group’s efforts to keep the park viable and that Wednesday’s event is intended to raise awareness about problems with Bill C-45 and the 14 pieces of federal legislation that would effectively re-write the treaty relationships with First Nations and degrade their role in important decision making.

“Only the Crown and First Nations have the right to alter that living relationship; it cannot be done unilaterally by any one federal government alone,” Stewart said Monday.

“The Springwater Park and surrounding forest lands are part of the disputed Williams Treaty, 1923. The MNR plans to make the park non-operational is a land-use change that the First Nations may choose to challenge.”

Simcoe County has been the home of FN communities for up to 10,000 years:  they’ve been born, lived and been buried here.

“There are 1,000 identified First Nation settlement areas in Simcoe County and from 150 to 175 ossuaries or “bone pits” that have been discovered,” he said. “Of the 150 or so, only about 10 (6.8%) have been treated respectfully and in a professional archeological manner. Most bone pits (a small one would have 300 skeletons) simply get dug up and forever lost.

“We believe an important 5,000 to 10,000 year old First Nations trail (Minesing Trail) runs between Anne Street at Carson Road and then along Anne Street north of Snow Valley Road and then straight through the park onto Minesing. Those lands have never been studied and the areas before and after are archeologically rich.”

The SPCC believes the First Nations sustainability model delivers the non-reckless precautionary principle of primum non nocere (first, do no harm).

“First Nations have lived in a sustainable way for thousands of years in Ontario,” Stewart said. “They consider themselves as protectors of all the land and water and had been extremely effective in helping defeat Site 41 (north of Elmvale) after 20-plus years of local activism couldn’t, and (stopped) the Mega Quarry in Melanchthon Township near Shelburne.

“Land use policy in Simcoe County is a controversial item and one that we will live with (for good or ill) for the next 50 years. Short-sighted, mega-growth can destroy communities and the environment in irreparable ways.”

Some have called the forests to the north of the city, “The Lungs of Barrie“.

The community deserves a say in land use planning.

December 17, 2012

A good faith relationship is founded on timely disclosures of material facts.

Les Stewart Grey Wolf


Standing outside one of the many animal enclosures, Les Stewart, of the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition, believes the decision to close the park is premature and wants the community to have a say. MARK WANZEL Photo

Barrie Council wants Springwater Park to remain open

October 30, 2012

Words into actions.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is relocating the animals that live at Springwater Provincial Park, north of Barrie. There are 29 animals — all native to Ontario — that call the compound home, including birds of prey, foxes, deer and skunks. MARK WANZEL PHOTO

Kuddos for today’s Barrie Examiner.


Barrie councillors oppose closing Springwater Provincial Park.

They gave initial approval Monday to a motion to send a letter to Ontario’s Natural Resources Ministry saying just that, and asking the MNR to provide conditions to the city required to keep the Springwater Township park open with its current level of services and features.

Several people were in the Council Chambers with SOS signs Monday evening, although councillors did not discuss the matter. It will be considered for final approval on Nov. 5.

The MNR announced earlier this month that Springwater Provincial Park, located just north of Barrie, will no longer be maintained or staffed.

It animal sanctuary will be disbanded, washroom facilities would be removed and the Vespra Boys cenotaph would be abandoned by April 2013.

Coun. Alex Nuttall, who made the motion, said the city does have a stake in facilities beyond its borders because Barrie residents use them. He’d also like to know where revenues generated by the park go, and if they are applied to the park’s $70,000 deficit.


Goals of the Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition, SPCC

October 27, 2012

Problem: Springwater Provincial Park is slated to be effectively closed by April 2013: no animals, garbage pickup, maintenance, washrooms, supervision or vehicle traffic. This is the third attempt to unilaterally alter our heritage which dates back to the park’s founding in October 1905.

The SPCC invites individuals, families, and their existing community groups to join in our efforts.

Photo by Mark Wanzel

How to do so will be spelled out on this weblog.

Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition, SPCC

Mission: To protect, restore and enhance the quality of the Springwater Provincial Park lands experience.

We will accomplish this by building on the core technical and community expertise in: primary and continuing education, indigenous animal preservation, military veterans’ appreciation, sustainable planning, and nature conservancy. Services will be offered on a long term economically sustainable manner with a particular focus on providing access to our most vulnerable citizens.

We look forward to co-operating with the federal, provincial, county, municipal, first nations, religious, media, conservatory and business partners as we move forward toward a sustainable business model.

The human community alone creates and changes institutions. Our character is revealed in how we treat the world that gives and supports our life. We will explore, evaluate and implement innovative public-private management agreements while respecting the host community’s cultural heritage.

The Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition invites those that share these goals to work with us toward a shared, renewed and sustainable relationship with the air, water, earth, forest, animal and human environments.

On behalf of the Executive and Advisory Council:

Mr. Les Stewart
1201 Bayfield Street North
Midhurst, ON L0L 1X1
705 737-4635 Tel
les.j.stewart (at) gmail.com

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