I’m delighted to announce that I have accepted an appointment as Chair of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) effective June 23, 2012.
Please read CCKT’s Press Release on this and other Board positions, and do please see more on the CCKT Website.
I’m very excited, challenged, and humbled by this leadership role!
I’ll continue to post topics and news of interest on this blog that reflect my personal opinion and slant on topics of concern to King. However:
It’s critical going forward as Chair of CCKT that I distinguish between my own opinion and my utmost respect and support for the consensus-driven opinions and policies of the CCKT Board and membership.
I will strive to ensure the integrity of this requirement.
As our parliament considers a budget bill that would vastly transform our environmental protections in the absence of transparent public discussion, I am joining with colleagues across the country to say: Silence is Not an Option.
Today, with hundreds of others I am darkening my website and sending a single, unified message to decision-makers: Protect our Canadian values. Our land, water, and climate. Our communities. Our human rights and democracy.
Send a message now to your member of parliament and party leaders.
Visit BlackOutSpeakOut to join the campaign and to access tools to make your voice heard. Speak Out on twitter, facebook, and through your networks. Email or call your MP. And follow #blackoutspeakout during the day for updates and to join the conversation. In this historic Canadian moment, your voice has never been more important.
Thank you for speaking out and for standing up for Canada.
I took these pictures of a beautiful snapping turtle laying her eggs in the soon-to-be seeded garden bed of my neighbours whom, like Tracy and I, live on lands adjacent to the Dufferin Marsh.
This endangered creature needed to find a suitable place to complete her reproductive cycle, and she needed to venture beyond what to her is the imaginary confines of the Marsh: she needed to extend her search outside into a “buffer” area of the surrounding area, to the delight of my Neighbours’ school-age Children who will no doubt await the hatching in a few months.
This is a mere example of the value of these protected lands in the heart of our village, and why our Community Plan, despite its flaws, is so strong on protecting not only the Marsh itself, but by established buffer zones that further protect the Marsh and its many plant and animal inhabitants.
Recently the owners of our Brownsville Junction Plaza applied to the Township to begin the process of approval (or denial depending on your side of the issue) of their desire to erect a 5,000+ square foot professional office at the rear of the Foodland store, on a parcel at the corner of Cooper Drive and Doctor Kay. This parcel is clearly zoned in the Plan as an environmental constraint area, and for good reason.
In fact, the plaza owners via the Dufferin Marsh management plan are required to maintain these lands (which include storm water and other drainage assets required for maintain the Marsh).
Monday’s Council meeting saw this application come before Council for the first time.
Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The Big Bad Wolf? The Big Bad Wolf? Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Tra la la la la.
Yesterday’s New Tecumseth Council meeting was unfortunately what I had expected – and disappointing.
As has become typical for my blog posts on this issue, there’s lots to read and lots to discuss. At the top here I summarize the key facts, issues and questions. For those of you who really want to dig in, keep on reading! And do please comment at the very bottom of this post.
The skinny on Monday’s discussion and eventual passed resolution on the matter is this:
New Tech Council blinked.
They aren’t willing to bet the bank they can assert their regulatory authority over landfill, in the face of only one lower court decision (Scugog) that (in obiter dicta) ruled against the Federal Government’s jurisdictional authority over regulating the manner in which site alteration is performed.
The loud clapping following David Francis’ excellent deputation (that, in essence, characterized this operation as a de facto land fill operation as opposed to an aerodrome expansion) was followed later with a room full of silent attendees following Council’s slightly modified approval of the Staff’ recommendation.
Another great Globe article below on how Kitchener is using incentives and a focused approach by their City and Council to attract new-age businesses to underused industrial sites.
We don’t have a stock of 19th century buildings in King to offer up. But between all three of King’s primary villages (including King City and Nobleton), Schomberg has the largest single amount of undeveloped zoned industrial lands in the Township.
In addition, Schomberg awaits imminent and eventual redevelopment for its now closed Schomberg Arena and Rona lands, respectively, plus two sizable brownfield sites visible to anyone traveling through our town.
Please excuse my focus in this post on Schomberg, the village I happen to live in. The principles are quite relevant across the Township and beyond. We have a particularly attractive development opportunity here with a dwindling shelf life. Read on and I think the principles I espouse will be clear.
This strategic approach to development seems like what we need to maximize these lands’ value to residents AND owners, by realizing several facets of our Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (proudly approved by King Council just this week).
I was a member of the Economics working committee, and we identified how important sustainable economic development is for King: Not merely to capitalize on King’s historic strengths (including equine, agricultural, natural and heritage attractions), but:
- New, wealth-creating sectors that encourage King residents to live near where they work; that
- Diversify King’s economy to include new high value-added products and services, where they make sense; and particularly,
- Compliment our Plan’s three other pillars: Socio-economic, Environmental and Financial sustainability.
I urge you to study this road widening issue in King Township and to sign the petition. Please read on …
Roads, roads roads! We seem to need more and more of them. And the more we build, the more traffic they generate, and the more we build.
The Province and York Region are all analyzing the GTA for future transportation needs. Several studies are underway to identify corridors for vehicular traffic, including the Province’s GTA West Corridor Study (basically creating another 407-series type highway between Burlington and Vaughan) and the Region’s plans to identify one or more additional interchanges on Highway 400 and the resultant road widenings to accommodate this east-west traffic flow.
Nothing is set in concrete – yet (or is that asphalt?). Note that none of this analysis includes alternate transportation models, such as rail (to move freight and take the burden off the roads, not to mention the environment – yet I digress here).
So guess what? Seemingly independently to all of this, York Region looks to be getting its ducks in line to widen King Road to 4 lanes from 2 between Highway 400 and Nobleton. The left hand doesn’t seem to be talking to the right hand here!
I’ve been helping some concerned citizens of New Tecumseth investigate a sprawling, overt and largely unregulated landfill operation on this small aerodrome located on the north side of Highway 9, just west of the King-Caledon border.
Be sure to read Part II of this story here.
Landfill coming from large Toronto-area construction projects has created a lucrative and surprisingly unregulated stage for long-term risk and damage to sensitive agricultural soils and aquifers, as this example readily demonstrates.
Bottom Line: Municipalities are responsible for regulating ALL landfill within their jurisdictions. Specifically, this is so regardless of whether or not specific industrial activities are regulated by higher levels of government.
Aeriel view of active landfill fill operation at Volk airport property on Hwy 9, adjacent to the Tecumseth Pines community. Photo courtesy New Tecumseth Free Press (www.madhunt.com)
In this case, New Tecumseth has a quite effective Site Alteration and Fill Bylaw. (Click to see it here) Thing is, they were not imposing it in this case, or at least, not until now.
The Good News:
New Tecumseth Council has woken up to this. A Stop Work order has been issued against the fill operation.
You could substitute “King Township” in this article and it would be just as relevant.
I’ve updated and republished this post (in case you are have deja vu) as I am delighted to see there is growing interest and concern of late for our heritage “future” in King, yet the challenges we face are ever more apparent. Councillors are talking publicly about these issues AND seeking input.
Most noteworthy: Our newly-minted Council has approved a contract Heritage Planner in the approved 2011 budget as a means of providing due diligence to the cataloging of our heritage properties AND to stop the “reactive” mode discussed in the article. I’m delighted.
An excellent step forward, as championed by Councillor Cleve Mortelliti (King City).
Debbie Schaefer has generated some good community discussion on this topic on her blog in her post, “Re-vitalizing King City: ideas from others“.
Is it time, now, FINALLY, for our historic village cores to receive heritage designation?
We’re not new to this: We tried with Kettleby, and it failed (though for identifiyble reasons I won’t go into here);
King is desperately short of money to invest in heritage (the contract Heritage Planner role, for example, is a re-shuffling of funds);
Passionate volunteers are in short supply to do the work for designation: it’s substantial.
This timely article (below) makes it a requisite for preservation – but it’s not the only one. We have cultures in conflict that have given heritage preservation little voice.
THIS MUST CHANGE.
Please read on …. and COMMENT! You’ll see other King concerned citizens already have.
On April 21st I took multiple shots of the progress of the project from the high grounds east of the site from several angles.
I posted 43 images on Google Picasa including 2 of the site prior to construction starting (it was a beautiful sight).
Click here to see the photo album.
Feel free to download and share these images – I’ve uploaded them in full resolution. You can also leave comments on the images if you wish to point out anything.
Mayor Pellegrini requested Enbridge to present an update of the pipeline construction process (currently underway in Pottageville) at the 9th Council session yesterday evening. I was there, and here is an accounting of my key observations.
And if you are new to this issue, you may find my previous post: Game Over for the Pipeline Debacle worth reading.
PLEASE COMMENT below this post folks!
I must say Enbridge’s presentation to Council read like their letters to Council and other interested parties emphasizing their safety record, adherence to standards etc. I don’t think anyone doubts these “facts”. The trouble is, there have been some alarming accidents where proximity to populated areas is a huge concern. Especially when in our case, human safety could have been addressed by merely selecting an identified alternate route, missing Pottageville altogether.
Ward 4 Councillor Bill Cober voted in 2010 to support unrestricted retail development at King and Dufferin that could potentially kill the retail core of King City.
If Mayor Black hadn’t voted in favour of this particular bylaw, he would have had his way: Cleve Mortelitti said after the vote that Council, “… almost threw out the baby with the bath water”.
Enbridge Gas has formally commenced construction in Pottageville and Kettleby on a 17 km gas pipeline, beginning at the York Energy Centre at 18731 Dufferin Street in the Holland Marsh. Construction will end at the westerly end of Pottageville near the 8th Concession.
Passing in front of homes and the Kettleby Public School, it will follow the Lloydtown Aurora Rd. through Pottageville, passing in front of the Kettleby School and under Hwy. 400 before it turns north at Jane.
The pipeline is 16 inches wide; the pressure is 650 psi (pounds per square inch.) In contrast, a pipeline taking gas to your house for heating & cooking is less than 5 psi.
The pipeline will be constructed within existing road allowances. However, the OEB recognizes that temporary easements over some properties along the route will be necessary due to the intrusive nature of the construction. Over and above undetermined risks of such a facility, Lloydtown Road will be a mess during this construction period.
Do you know why?
This gas line is to fuel Pristine Power’s “Peaker” gas-fired electric generating station in the Holland Marsh, and the closest connection point to Enbridge’s gas distribution system is in Pottageville.
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY RISKS?
They are concerning. Please read the following report prepared for and submitted to King Council in January 2010. It was prepared by East Gwillimbury Councillor Candidate Katharine Parsons, B.A. (Chem.), Executive Director, Global Environmental Action Group and Charles Rhodes, P. Eng., Ph.D. You will find it compelling reading.
Natural Gas Pipeline Setbacks and Risks paper
How did this happen?
Without King Township intervening, The Ontario Energy Board approved construction of this project in April 2010, on the express condition that work commence before year-end. The OEB denied a request by participants to included the pipeline in the environmental assessment of the plant itself.
You can see the full copy of the OEB Decision EB-2009-0187 here, including its graphic in Appendix B of the pipeline’s planned route I have reproduced in this article.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED
Unlike Bill, I would have voted on April 28, 2008 to declare King Township an unwilling host to the generator.
At this Council meeting Councillor Cober, Mayor Black, and 2 others voted against making this declaration: Read the Council discussion and witness the recorded vote here (starting bottom Page 7 with the recorded vote on Page 14). In May and June all other municipalities passed resolutions denying being willing hosts. At an emergency meeting on July 2, 2008 King Council finally declared itself an unwilling host. Too little – too late.
I would have voted in September 2008 to pass an interim control bylaw in King Township which would have prohibited construction of the generator starting for two years as zoning was reassessed in the Township. This in turn would have likely delayed the gas pipeline. At this Council meeting Mayor Black and Councillor Cober and two others voted against this bylaw. Council finally passed this bylaw in January 2010. Too little – too late.
King Township didn’t participate in the Ontario Energy Board hearings for Enbridge’s application for approval to build the pipeline. Nothing on the public record suggests Bill Cober asked the Township to participate.
In stark contrast, several groups registered as participants and challenged the OEB as to the safety of the proposed route.
I would have asked for the support of the Mayor and other Councillors for the Township to participate in the hearing and to challenge the risk of a high pressure gas pipeline 34 meters in front of the Kettleby Public School bus loading area and even closer to homes in Pottageville.
Please comment below. After all – it’s YOUR community.
Planned pipeline route through Pottageville and Kettleby. From Ontario Energy Board Decision EB-2009-0187 Appendix B.
This article was published as paid editorial in the King Sentinel on May 12, 2010.
For the print version please click here.
Several people have asked me why I’m not smiling in my election materials. Quite simply, it’s because I have nothing to hide: No smile, no arms crossed. Just my face – approachable, certainly honest, and some would say (my Mom at least), intelligent and critical.
I’m currently the only non-incumbent running for election in King, so I feel an even greater moral duty to strip the sugar coating off a few issues that many Ward 4 and King residents take for granted, as explained (or not) by their Council representatives.
I have a list of issues I intend to bring to your attention to think about and discuss with your incumbent Councillors and candidates between now and October 25th. No doubt over the coming months, other candidates like me who will offer positive change and leadership to their communities will join and add to this discussion.
Agree or disagree, we need to talk about King’s next 10 years because I believe we’ll lose much of what we so value here, unless we raise the bar and deliver better leadership to our Council this Fall.
Here’s my first issue: The “old” Schomberg Arena is to be sold off.