Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here is an example of what other Councillors are doing.
Councillor McCarthy a Councillor in Hamilton, has fought side by side with her ratepayers from day one BEFORE a huge open pit aggregate operation was applied for. She has attended meetings with ratepayers, set up a website dedicated to this issue, written to the province and lobbied on behalf of her constituents. Here is a link to her site: http://www.margaretmccarthy.ca/
Staff at Halton Region is recommending that Halton push the province to step up its review of quarry operations in light of the fact they are facing Nelson Aggregate’s proposed expansion of a 52-hectare quarry in north Burlington, Dufferin Aggregates proposed expansion an existing quarry in Halton Hills and by St. Marys Cement Inc. for a site in Hamilton, close to its boundary with Burlington.
Oakville and Mississauga residents and politicians are taking their concerns about a proposed gas-fired power plant directly to Queen’s Park on Monday. The residents groups, accompanied by Oakville Mayor Rob Burton and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, will appear at the Queen’s Park Media Studio, at 10 a.m., where they will present the community’s case for stopping the installation of the power plant.This group will also be recognized during the Legislative Assembly’s question period at 10:30 a.m. and will hold a rally on the legislature’s front lawn at noon to draw political and media attention to their cause.
PLEASE, Melancthon Council, rather than sitting around saying we can't do anything, it is the province's fault, go and do the job for which you were elected to do as a politican and that is LOBBY the provincial government on issues which are threatening your municipality. Raise the profile in the media and with the provincial government.
Friday, September 25, 2009
What is dewatering? This is the removal of large quantities of fresh clean water to lower the water table in the area in which aggreates are being removed. The water must be removed at a faster rate than it can be recharged in order to keep th hole dry while they mine. This will result in what is known as the cone of depression, which is NOT the same as the cone of silence that local Councils, both upper and lower tier have apparently intiated with respect to John Lowndes and his shenangians.
What problems does dewatering create?
The water table in the immediate area of the pump will drop. Wells in the draw-down area will have their water levels drop or the wells can go dry. Nature likes to remain in balance. To keep the water level in equilibrium, ground water will be drawn from every direction, for a large radius, to replace the water removed. The direction of the ground-water flow will be altered; all water will be drawn toward the area being dewatered.
Do not forget, more than 1 million Ontarians live in the watershed of the Grand and Nottawasaga Rivers.
While Highlands is mining this massive open pit mine, they need to pump water which presents them with that little "problemo" about what to do with the huge quantities of water they pump?
Well, they are proposing something called a Groundwater Recirculation System (GRS). What is that you ask? It means, to get rid of the water that is pumped, Highland proposes to reinject it into the aquifer.
I hear you asking yourself, "I thought the Ontario government was offering, in fact, insisting that if I had an old well head on my property that I should immediately cap it, for fear that a dead mouse, cow shit or some other contaminents were inadvertinently introduced to the aquifer and I ruined mankind as we know it?" Well, you are right the government DID worry about that.
SOOOO, I have to ask, how in the freak could anyone decide that they needed to become more insanely rich than they already are with this harebrained scheme? I would suggest that a highly paid guru, I mean consultant, said a helicopter, yachts and private schools are pretty costly Mr. Lowndes so in order to finance that off the backs of the unsuspecting, let put out some vodoo, hodoo, mumbo jumbo around the Melancthon application and see what floats.
I think we all know that while shit floats, it also runs downhill.... right into the aquifer.
When enough water has been removed, another problem will result called land subsidence. Land subsidence happens when an aquifer is over-pumped. Water between the soil particles is replaced with air space; the soil is no longer buoyed up by the water, the soil surface collapses. The results are soil compaction and sink holes. The soil's structure is destroyed; it will no longer ever be able to store water. These changes are permanent and irreversible.
Lowndes clearly has been promised $$$$ and as a result the life/soul has been replaced with, well nothing, referred to as "human subsidence".
Page 20 of Highlands material presented at their heavily guarded open house on July 25, 2009 in Hornings Mills states: "bottom line-no adverse effects on water".
I would add to the statement "bottom line-no adverse effects on water.....provided you do no live in the watershed of the Grand or Nottawasa Rivers."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
“In the latest “public communication” (from Highlands) that accompanied the video, it was stated that there would be about 450-470 jobs in total created. While many people may not like this comment, that is a significant number of jobs for our community and with the job losses that have occurred could be a welcome “lift” for many families.”
Did the Deputy Mayor take the initiative to question any of the highly paid guru’s at Highlands open house in July on these “local jobs”? I and others did and we found that they are not so much “local jobs” as “localish” jobs, if you count a bean counter in Boston as local.
These 450-470 jobs, according to Highlands staff, include the jobs:
processing the payroll out of Boston
manufacturing of the steel for the railroad
construction of the railroad
experts and consultants hired by Highlands throughout the application process
Lowndes and Daniher’s jobs are included in that count
overseas in construction where the aggregate will be used
manufacturing/repairing the massive pumps needed to keep the hole dry
the “rehabilitation” of the mine, which will not occur for many, many years if at all
I could go on, but I think everyone, except perhaps Council, gets the point. The only way there will be 450-470 local jobs from this mine is if they use pickaxes, shovels and pit ponies.
Think about it. Strada has extracted about 100 acres of gravel and has three (YES that is 3) FULL time “local” jobs. The rest are seasonal trucking jobs who’s drivers are mostly out of the city. I have never seen any of these individuals stop and purchase groceries or lumber at a local store in town on their way to OR from work nor do they contribute to the community, because well, they don’t live here.
Then there is the job loss. I would THINK that for every acre of prime agricultural land taken out of commission, jobs in the agricultural field are lost. Now I am not a math major, in fact basically I am only a Major Nuisance (and salute when you say that), but by my calculations, if Highlands is currently farming 7,000 acres and employs 70 people, that means it takes one employee to farm 100 acres in the Highlands hierarchy. When 2,400 acres of formerly prime agricultural land are mined, that would mean a loss of 24 full time agricultural jobs. Right?
So why would our elected officials, both local and County, gamble on our future and water for jobs that will be elsewhere on the planet and absolutely NO benefit to Melancthon or Dufferin County?
Just ....mining for the truth.....
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
“Think of it is this way. If we were playing a hockey game we would develop a definite strategy. We’d have our key players and key plays lined up so we could do our best to win the game and defeat the opponent.”
I wonder why there is such a disconnect between the way Council perceives how they are battling this application and the way the public sees it.
I think of it this way. Council is standing in front of an open net and player after player is passing the puck to them and rather than dropping the puck into the net, Council is deflecting them all away.
No offence, but isn’t the best defence a good offence?
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
“Market is Greater Golden Horseshoe and Simcoe County. Shipments primarily southward” (page 23 of Highlands Handout from July 25, 2009 Open House)
If the aggregate is for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Simcoe County as Highland claims, they have some explaining to do as to why they would want to purchase and rebuild the rail line to an open port in Owen Sound at a conservatively estimated cost of a ¼ of a BILLION dollars.
Now I am not a geography major, and in fact when I travel and I have to get home via a map, I need to turn it upside down to retrace my route, but isn’t a rail line to Owen Sound NORTH of the proposed mine and isn’t Simcoe County EAST of the proposed mine?
Then again, Lowndes doesn't live anywhere near here so maybe he is just confused.
Then again, methinks that Highlands, aka “Johnny, If my Lips are Moving I am Lying, Lowndes” has thrown that in there because section 188.8.131.52 of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) says:
“As much of the mineral aggregate resources as is realistically possible shall be made available as close to markets as possible.”
It would appear that Lowndes CAN suck and blow at the same time. That is he can build a rail line north to an open port that leads anywhere in the world, even to say China, but he can claim his limestone will be used within a few miles east of his mega mine. Wonder where the aggreate from the proposed gravel pit on Airport Road is destined for then?
Seriously though, he doesn’t have to go to all that work to bamboozle local and County Councils. If Lying Lowndes told them that he could bend over and a new galaxy would issue forth from his ass, they would fall all over themselves thanking him for the “economic benefits” to the community.
Perhaps, however, the provincial ministry bureaucrats have heard it all and won’t be so easily swayed, because quite frankly that appears to be our last hope.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
“Blacks heard that Lowndes was talking to their creditors. Their seed grower in Saskatchewan phoned them to say that Lowndes wanted to pay their seed bill – a way to get control of them, the Blacks figured.
Lowndes counters that Black and other members of NDACT were just too greedy to accept his offers. “There was a discussion with his seed creditor,” he admits, but says it was the creditor who approached Highland. “We could have done that [struck a deal with the creditor]. We did not do that.”
I am not sure, BUT, if as Lowndes asserts that Blacks creditors called Highlands to discuss purchasing Blacks debt, why would the creditor then call Blacks to tell them about the deal? Hmm.
Lets just say, IN MY OPINION, if Lowndes lips are moving, he is lying.
Read the full article at: http://inthehills.ca/features/melancthon/
And to recap, the King of the county, the Messiah of Melancthon, Johnny Lowndes is calling his royal subjects greedy. I guess I can see why they pay Maid Marian Daniher to do the press “spin” with quotes like that being issued forth from the blackhole of Lowndes, sort of like that kid in the exorcist spewing vile.
These “greedy” individuals to whom King John is referring, are the pillars of the community who’s families have lived here for generations. Their “work” is to raise their families, go to Church, contribute to their community through volunteer service and put food on the tables of Ontarians. All they want, is continue to do that and yet King John would brand them as greedy.
And Obama thought Kanye West was an ass.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
“Roads Superintendent reported that the Mayor received a complaint of trees being planted on the 4th Line OS by Dave Lowndes. This is in the experimental stages and Mr. Lowndes would like comments after the winter.”, (Melancthon Council minutes, November 6, 2008)
Wow, a rich and busy man like David Lowndes, he of the Flamborough pit/St. Mary’s Cement, who has absolutely nothing to do with brother John’s business dealings, according to John Lowndes, just comes to the depths of Melancthon to help brother John, out of the goodness of his heart, NOT because he has anthing to do financial/business wise in anything that "bro" John is doing.
What a humanitarian, what a great guy, what a crock of crap.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
King Lowndes has some good news and some bad news for his subjects.
First the bad news, he is digging a 2,400 acre, 200 foot limestone mine in Melancthon
The good news, according to (Maid Marian) Daniher? "Highland spokesman Michael Daniher noted that the proposed 2,400- acres licence area "is less than half the size our critics had predicted.", (Shelburne Free Press, August 20, 2009)
I know this loyal subject is relieved. Aren't you? What the hell am I complaining about, jeez.
I challenge (Maid Marian) Daniher, however to find anywhere in writing that any opponent of the mine has stated the mine would be 7,000 acres in size.
Friday, September 11, 2009
“It’s been rumoured for years, so it’s not that much of a surprise to us,” she said, of the news that Highland plans to seek approvals for a quarry. “Can we stop it? I don’t think we can stop it. Can we get the best deal for the community? We’ll try as best we can ... to make it as safe as possible.” Mayor Fawcett, (Orangeville Banner, June 23, 2009)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
So lets give credit where credit is due and kudos to Council...BUT, and I am sure you can hear the but coming....BUT this is not enough.
Words must be followed by actions. What exactly is Council doing to win the battle over this proposed 2,400 acre, 200 foot open pit mine in favour of the status quo which is prime agricultural land within an hour of the GTA?
Council, so far, has been outmanoeuvred at every step in the wind turbine process and it does not appear as though they have used the "Lessons Learned" from that exercise to prepare themselves for the biggest fight of their political lives to be undertaken on behalf of the ratepayers of Melancthon.
"Melancthon Mayor Debbie Fawcett said, if the application comes forward, it’s unlikely the municipality will be able to prevent Highland from setting up a quarry operation" (June 23, 2009 Orangeville Banner).
This is quite simply untrue, there is much that can be done and this CAN be stopped. Please read up on the Adams Mine, Site 41, Flamborough Quarry and Melon Lake for references and hope.
Will it be costly? It doesn't have to be, but our Mayor said at the September 3, 2009 Council meeting that the municipality would NOT be implementing a fee to aggregate proponents, of say $100,000.00 per application as other municipalities have done. She stated this entire process isn't going to cost Melancthon taxpayers one penny and there was no need to pass a by-law to ensure the proponent will pay.
Just wondering, but what has the conflict of interest issue between Orangeville, Dufferin County and Highlands regarding the rail line cost Dufferin taxpayers to date?
Perhaps the Mayor could let her ratepayers know what Melancthon's share of this bill is and when Highlands can be expected to remit payment.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
John's been working on a railroad
To haul our limestone away
Lowndes will rake in all the money
Meanwhile all the taxpayers pay
Orangeville wants a train so badly
They were quick to sell their vote
Now they shake their heads so sadly
'Cause the judge says "That don't float"
Johnny don't you know
As big as you can blow
You can't buy everyone
Johnny stick your mine
Where the sun don't shine
You can't buy everyone
The train will chug to Owen Sound
And only rocks will make the trip
Paul Martin's waiting with a shovel
To load them on his ship
Can't you hear Melancthon crying
Council won't you stand and fight
We'll be eating rocks for supper
And drinking from a dike
Repeat Chorus and Verse over and over again until Council gets the message
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Just think. King John Lowndes owns 7,000 acres. Once you get a 2,400 acre hole dug and people finally understand that you can NOT rehabilitate a 200 foot below the water table hole, why not keep digging? After all, with limestone worth $18 million an acre it is well worth it, for King John and his Boston hedge fund investors, that is. Wouldn't want to see them do without, that is for sure.
And of course something else to look forward to: Melancthon will be in the Guiness Book of World Records for having the biggest man made hole in the world that you can see from space.
Monday, September 7, 2009
“Trevor Downey of Downey Farms and John Lowndes both say the intent in Melancthon is merely to have a world-class potato operation.” (Orangeville Citizen, June 27, 2007 author Wes Keller)
“In a phone interview Tuesday, Michael Daniher of the Toronto consulting firm of Special Situations Inc. — representing The Highlands Companies Inc. — said the group has never attempted to hide the fact that it will continue farming while looking beyond for other opportunities such as wind and bedrock resources.” (Orangeville Citizen, January 22, 2009 author Wes Keller)
The very first time that Highland Companies admitted publically that they were searching for bedrock opportunities (meaning a 2,400 acre, 200 foot open pit mine) was five days after NDACT held their inaugural meeting on January 17, 2009 at the Honeywood arena at which there was a standing room only crowd. Notably, (King John) Lowndes refused to attend, but Michael, (Maid Marian) Daniher did. Prior to that time this company denied, denied, denied....
At the January 17 meeting in Honeywood, Daniher refused to admit he was a lawyer and stood up and made a grand statement about what a great entity Highlands was and all the good deeds they were doing, but made ABSOLUTELY no mention of aggregate "exploration". A member of the audience then stood up and said in fact she, that very week, had been in contact with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Environment and in fact (King John) Lowndes et al had been in contact with these various ministries regarding aggregate licensing and the province was realigning staffing because the application they were expecting was so massive.Five days later a quote from (Maid Marian) Daniher, BFF of John Tory, appeared in the local paper stating everyone else was mistaken, just not Highlands. In fact the following quote appeared: “Mr. Daniher would not confirm that the group has already discussed aggregate extraction with the Province, but he did say it had discussed a number of issues with a number of ministries.” (Orangeville Citizen, January 22, 2009, author Wes Keller)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The first thing I noticed was a strong police presence at the entrance of the Hornings Mills Hall. Two officers in full police regalia with guns, batons, handcuffs, the works. Now I love a man in a uniform (who doesn’t?), but this was a bit much, even for me. Perhaps Mr. Lowndes the front man for the Highland Companies, does not truly enjoy or trust having to inter-mingle with mere peons in his kingdom and felt better knowing the police were only steps away to protect him from the riff raff. Or perhaps it was an intimidation tactic on his part, just to remind people who is in charge?
I wonder, when he must travel to Melancthon if he brings a food tester with him, like Kings used to when they couldn't trust their subjects. Just asking....
I can’t say for sure why the police were there, but the official party spin, sorry explanation, after the open house, when the police presence was criticized by the public, was that Highlands had the police there for parking control to HELP the public.
Hm, I don’t know much but I do know that it is hard to provide parking control when you are standing inside a building, but then what do I know? I thought when you mined 2,400 acres to a depth of 200 feet that you leave a big HOLE in the ground, but according to Lowndes, “You don’t end up with a great big hole in the ground, you end up re-shaping the landscape.” (Orangeville Banner, July 27, 2009) So there, live and learn.
Next I noticed the public walking out of the building, some shaking their heads, some laughing, some grim and at least one woman crying at the ridiculous official information that was being foisted on the public. According to Highlands mining 2,400 acres to a depth of 200 feet has absolutely no impact on wildlife, watersheds, people, traffic, noise, etc. and keeping the water out of the HUGE hole, sorry re-shaped landscape, is the same thing as how your sump pump keeps water out of your basement. That might be true, if you live where John Lowndes lives, which is nowhere near Melancthon.
Guess they had to dumb it down for us local yokels so we could fully understand what they are trying to do. Don't know about you, but I know what they are trying to do and all I can say is I usually like to get kissed first.
The next thing I noticed were Highlands highly paid consultants circling the room like jackals looking for their next prey. If a member of the public approached to ask a question, immediately several other Highlands employees would form a protective circle. It reminded me of Scientologists surrounding lone, lost college students in airports with a view to befriending and converting them. I presume this informal circle jerk (for lack of a better expression) was to ensure that the official party line was being recited with no deviations.
I also noticed that Highlands own L. Ron Hubburd, “OUR” John Lowndes was never alone, ever. Not only was he protected by a strong and well armed police presence at the front door, he was completely surrounded at all times by his highly paid comrades, all touting the party line, all forming a united front and oh yeah, covering Lowndes ass.
I am sure at one point someone would have had to remind him that he was in Melancthon Township because of course the surroundings wouldn’t be familiar to him as he doesn’t live here (did I mention that?), nor does he “work” here. A numbered company with which he is affiliated owns land here and employs people who live and work here, but not our saviour, John Lowndes, no siree.
Melancthon isn’t good enough for Mr. Lowndes, but then who can blame him? I am sure he hasn’t purchased a home or wants to raise a family here because he is probably worried about property depreciation , dust, noise, health, water and traffic IF, not when the mine is established, and he should be concerned about those issues. He is a smart, smart man.
His “work” appears to be lobbying provincial and federal politicians, rubbing elbows with the big wigs and laying low so he doesn’t piss off too many of the locals with his unrehearsed statements. His wormtail/ lackey, Michael Daniher, a highly paid lawyer who shares an office address with a political lobbyist who is registered with the government as lobbying on behalf of Highlands, is basically the face of the company. Daniher attends all local council meetings and issues official statements to the local press. I bet they wet their pants when they see another full page $1,000.00 ad coming their way from Highlands to buff up their sagging coffers.
If you are looking for balanced reporting in your local paper, good luck. You have about as much luck finding that as you have of finding a Melancthon or Mulmur Councillor who seems to have a clue.
P.S. to local politicians-the company fronted by Lowndes may own lots of land, but a numbered company can not vote in a municipal election, nor can Lowndes because of course HE DOESN'T LIVE HERE (did I mention that?).
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Our Council, in their infinate wisdom, has decided that it would be too costly to do anything at all, except of course getting their picture in the paper with John Lowndes as often as possible, so they will wait and let a group of individuals appointed to the Ontario Municipal Board, most of whom will not even know where Melancthon Township is located, decide the fate of our community.
It is my understanding that elected officials receive a paycheque from taxpayers for setting a vision and then managing and leading the municipality toward that vision. Sadly, our Mayor is far too busy washing dishes in the Hornings Mills Hall on weekends and working with Highland Companies in securing a YMCA for the Town of Shelburne to really effect and lead in any battle strategy in Melancthon that would protect residents.
Our Council does not appear to understand that doing nothing at all will be far more costly.
What is the menu of options that has been offered to Council to date, you ask?
Prepare a Strategic Plan – no action taken
Meet with Ministers at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario AMO conference in August 2009 – no action taken
Move to have the subject lands designated under the Environmental Assessment Act – no action taken
Seek and obtain a specialty crop designation for the subject lands – no action taken
Appeal to the OMB to force the province to take action on the five year review of the Official Plan that has been at the province for years – no action taken
Amend the OP to include a comprehensive list of studies required when an OPA is filed to have criteria to determine whether an application is considered complete – no action taken
Amend the OP to provide that that all studies in the OP have to be municipally directed and paid for at the expense of the applicant –no action taken
Incorporate the AEMOT study into the OP – no action takenUpdate the OP and aggregate policies and/or fees which could include amending the fees and charges for an OPA for an aggregate application of at least $100,000.00 – no action taken
Put conditions in place where a deposit of ½ billion dollars is on deposit by the applicant of a gravel application of this magnitude, so that residents can access that to prove their water issue problems against Highlands – no action taken
As recommended more than five years previously by opponents of Strada hire an aggregate specialist to guide the municipality through the process AT THE EXPENSE of the applicant NOT taxpayers – no action taken
Pass a municipal tree cutting bylaw – no action taken
Pass a bylaw under Section 33 of the Planning Act regarding demolition of structures – no action taken
Move a motion at County Council to fine Highland Companies for the nine proven contraventions by Highland Companies with respect to tree cutting – no action taken
Heritage Designation for century homes – no action taken
Interim control bylaw under Section 38 of the Planning Act – no action taken
Request the assistance of an inter-ministerial technical working group with representatives from all impacted ministries and agencies to guide the municipality through the process –no action taken
Now, to be fair what has our Council done in the past few months? Well, firstly they have saved us from the invasive species known as Giant Hogweed and as I mentioned before are working their collective asses off with John Lowndes in ensuring that Melancthon taxpayers, who already pay toward three arenas and two swimming pools, will have the luxury of paying for a YMCA to be located in the Town of Shelburne.
I feel better, don't you?
Friday, September 4, 2009
Despite continued pleas by ratepayers over the past year, not one of our elected officials, either at the local level in Melancthon or Mulmur or at the County level in Dufferin, have stood up and championed the residents in their fight against this threat. The community, the water source for more than 1 million Ontarians who's water source is on the headwaters of the Grand and Nottawasaga Rivers, the environment and the specialty soil are all at risk. The grassroots organization North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT) have been working diligently on behalf of ratepayers, doing what elected officials were elected to do. http://www.ndact.com/
In fact, when the going gets tough, local Council members declare their pecuniary interests (conflict of interest) and form an orderly line to have their picture taken to appear in the local paper on the front page with John Lowndes of the Highland Companies while accepting cheques from him for whatever good deeds Mr. Lowndes decrees have taken his favour that particular week. I am unclear how Councillors have time to do this, while collecting their paycheques from taxpayers. That takes quite a bit of time management, for sure.
To date, the largess of Mr. Lowndes includes a clock for Honeywood arena, empty houses for medical personal who have not beaten a path to the door of Melancthon, a $5,000.00 cheque for the Hornings Mills Hall, a pet project of our Mayor Debbie Fawcett and finally "studies" to determine the need for a YMCA, not in Melancthon, but in Shelburne.
The local press is somewhat reluctant to report the truth. The truth is this company has cut down thousands and thousands of trees without proper permits and in contravention of the County tree cutting bylaw (and to date County politicians refuse to fine this company); they have demolished several homes and structures on properties they own and have plans for demolition of up to another 15-20 structures.
Finally, in case you are wondering, and this is a concept our elected officials do not seem to grasp, this corporation does not even have the right to vote in a municipal election. Numbered companies are not eligible to vote and neither is John Lowndes or his lackey Michael Daniher (a highly paid lawyer who spins whatever messaging Lowndes wants to issue) as neither lives anywhere in or near Dufferin County.
There is much more to tell of this sad tale, stay tuned....for information on the rail purchase, the local papers efforts at censuring balanced reports, undeclared conflicts of interests by local politicians and finally local political efforts to thwart all suggestions and assistance offered by ratepayers, subject matter experts and NDACT as to ways and means to prepare to battle the application for a 2,400 acre, 200 foot deep open pit mine, when it is filed by Highlands.