Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
And there were questions galore about when they would be applying for the usual 25% farm tax?
Well this might explain why they haven't applied for the reduction.
The Assessment Act and regulations provide in order to qualify for the 25% rate, more than 50% of the property ownership must be held by Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. If the property is owned by a business which is a sole proprietorship, the owner must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada. If the property is owned by a business which is a partnership, more than 50% of the profit or loss of the partnership must be allocated to the partners who are Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada.If the property is owned by a business which is a corporation, more than 50% of the voting shares must be controlled by Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Unlike Martin Luther King's famous speech, my dream was more like a nightmare. Well actually it was this:
What is the analogy?
It has to be the round hole is Melancthon and the square peg is what Jerry Jorden is trying to ram his cookie cutter Official Plan into.
Anyone else have any other analogies?
"The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s position is that municipalities have a duty to consult in some circumstances.
These matters could include:
Land-use planning and development processes.
Policy development and implementation.
Preparation of archaeological master plans.
Infrastructure planning and environmental assessment processes.
Proposed changes to municipal boundaries.
Policies related to cultural protection and development, i.e., protection of archaeological and burial sites. "
Monday, July 26, 2010
Her website says: Combining her eye for detail and artistic diversities, Rhonda adds 16 years of experience freelancing her AutoCAD Technical Services to companies throughout Ontario. Rhonda has successfully designed over 70 subdivisions adding council’s stamp of approval.
Check it out for yourself. http://polarartists.com/artists/RMcDonald/RMbio.html
That seems awfully strange her entire webpage has one sentence about her 16 years of freelancing experience and successfully designing over 70 subdivisions. Also a google search does not show her name, related to any one of the municipalities for which she has worked.
Her main achievement seems to be her art. And good for her. She looks like a great artist. And if she is out of the mapping business, due to bad fortune or illness, still not really clear on that either, it doesn't indicate that on her website.
No apologies here. The blame falls squarely not on this artist. It should fall on Jorden and our Council. Paying for work which was never produced. And with the stakes so high in Melancthon at this time, we need the best, NOT the cheapest.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
We are operating under an OP from the 1970's.
And the $20,000.00 is just PART of the planning consultant fees we pay him. There are many, many more fees for which Jorden bills the taxpayers.
Both the province and ratepayers were promised by this Council over the winter that the OP would be complete by June 2010.
THEN we heard from the Deputy Mayor awhile ago that the mapping company that had been retained by Jorden, but paid by taxapayers through Jorden's invoices went bankrupt and there would be yet ANOTHER delay.
At the July 22, 2010 meeting of Council, a ratepayer submitted, in writing and in advance, the following question(s):
What is the name and address of the firm that went bankrupt while working on Melancthon maps for Mr. Jorden;
What was Mr. Jorden's bill to Melancthon for the work they did;
What maps were recovered for the money they received;
In a prepared answer from which the Mayor read at the meeting, she started by admonishing the ratepayer for putting in writing that the mapping company went bankrupt because it wasn't true.
In fact, according to the Mayor, the owner of the company was ill and was no longer in business. (Bad ratepayer)
Notable: At this point the Deputy Mayor advised that he did state that the company went bankrupt, because that was what he was told. (Insert deep calming breath here)
Anyhew the answers to the questions provided by the Mayor were:
Question 1: Name of mapping company?
Answer: Everlasting Letting in the Light, Barrie Ontario.
The only information I can find on a company with this name in Barrie is for an artist for god's sake. A phone call revealed that the individual at that number was in fact the individual to whom was referred to in the Melancthon Council meeting.
NOT a freaking mapping company. An artist.
And nowhere on the artist’s website does it indicate this “business” is out of business due to illness. My understanding is the artist was away on vacation until early August.
Or for that matter does the bio/website ever indicate this person WAS in the mapping business. Just a very talented artist.
Check it out for yourself. http://polarartists.com/artists/RMcDonald/RMbio.html
So in our highly paid planning consultant's infinate wisdom, he retained this “company/artist” to do his professional planning mapping. And billed us ratepayers, don’t forget.
Question 2: How much did this mapping company cost ratepayers?
Answer: Just under $1,400.00
Final question: How much of the maps were used in the final product?
According to the prepared statement read by the Mayor, the maps which were never produced, but which we taxpayers paid for, formed the "basis" of the mapping which we were looking at during the meeting.
No wonder people have meltdowns at public meetings. I am having one RIGHT NOW. As I am sure you are reading this. Who in the hell is looking after the interests of the taxpayers in Melancthon?
And the Mayor has advised that some people need to get a grip and accept change, because change is coming.
That is good advice, particularly for the current Council and our current planning consultant. Change IS coming.
Get out and vote on October 25, 2010 OR when your vote by mail ballot arrives in the mail.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
But it IS someone's cup of tea....
Approximately 100 people read this blog per day day - if the hit counter is correct.
I am offering to post a link to ANY candidate's website, blog or facebook page who is running for election in Dufferin .
Email your link to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not promising to support all candidates, but I do promise to post links for anyone who emails a request.
OMG -see how silly that sounds?
I mean when can you ever remember Bill and his wife NOT being a part of the community? And seriously, does it matter?
My point is, and I do have one, us locals need to stop determining who we will vote on based on how long they have been in the community. I know people who have had family here for generations who have never been "community minded". I know a person who has lived in the community for less than two years and has become more involved in the community than most "local" people I know.
The "newcomers" ( and I mean anyone who hasn't lived here for four generations) pay the same taxes as the oldtimers and they have every right to be as interested, involved and opinionated as anyone.
A tree that does not bend in the wind breaks. A community that does not embrace diversity will die.
And by diversity I mean financial, generational, economic, geographical, educational, sexual, etc. etc. Well, really, anything that does not involve a 2,400 acre 200 foot open pit limestone mine that threatens our water source-without water we will certainly die.
Think strategically about who you will vote for on October 25, based on their political platform, not based on their ancestors. Because honestly, if we looked, we all have skeletons in our ancestral attic.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Rob Uffen has filed to run for Mayor.
Congratulations and good luck.
Here is the list in its entirety as of 1 minute ago:
Bill Hill - Mayor
Rob Uffen – Mayor
Darren White – Deputy Mayor
Barton Malloy – Councillor
Wayne Hannon - Councillor
Dennis Sanford – Councillor
In case you are thinking of running, here is what Melancthon Councillors get paid.
Remember, salary doesn't vary, but they get an additional stipend for each committees on which they sit.
Mileage varies for each as well.
Mayor County salary $14,466.29
Melancthon Salary - $13,148.28
D Mayor County salary $5,140.00
Melancthon salary - $8,519.90
All Councillors Salary - $8,217.78
Addendum to the original posting:
While I have been somewhat critical of Council this past term I have to admit these salaries are ridiculously low for the hours these people spend.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I got an email this morning, however, which makes this statement ring true.
You may recall in last week's Orangeville Citizen there was an article by Wes the Crypt Keeper Keller with the head line: County Council asked to consider rail/trail option.
In that article was the statement: "And, in the meantime, Shelburne is in competition with Fort Erie for a prospective new manufacturer for its industrial park, and the availability of rail transport is one of the factors under consideration. At Shelburne, the Economic Development Committee has noted that Greensafe Demanufacturing is “looking to open a site in Ontario. Fort Erie is currently trying to obtain the industry to their town. Several issues are in need of review for this client: rail, grant assistance, labour force and land costs,” notes the EDC."
Click here for entire article: http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2010-07-08/Front_Page/County_Council_asked_to_consider_railtrail_option.html
Wow, I am sure the County is going to jump all over that, saying things like look at the economic benefits for reinstalling the rail line all you naysayers (and I am paraphrasing here Mayor Adams, controller of the County votes, not putting words in your mouth).
Now I do not believe for a minute that Wes made that up: I am sure the EDC told him this. But a good reporter would have checked the sources.
When a private citizen contacted this company about considering Shelburne as a site, here is what they said: "We are looking at a number of sites in Ontario to support the “green technology”. We have tentatively looked at areas near Fort Erie, North Bay, Prescott, Sarnia and Amherstberg."
I do NOT see a Shelburne mentioned in that statement.
In a subsequent email this company provided this information: "Apparently, a Brampton area manufacturer of conveyor systems had contacted our General Manager to see if they could do some business. It is believed that the person in Brampton made some representation to the economic development officials in Shelburne."
So two lessons. Check your facts if you are reporting for a newspaper and if you are the Shelburne EDC you should be a little more circumspect about making statements like this and check your sources FIRST.
And just as a side note, Greensafe Demanufacturing has connections to eastern Canada, just like our good friends Highland Companies.....hm.....
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The letter advises that there was an "exceedence of permitted water taking allowances by 3,000-7,000 litres per day on several days in 2009. That's a lot of water lost a pump calibration error....The detection of petroleum hydrocarbons present in the well in 2008 is noted as anomalous as they were not detected in the 2009 readings....Does the level detected in 2008 indicate a past spill....."
There is more, read it for yourself at http://melancthontownship.ca/10council/corr.june3.pdf
The June 3, 2010 minutes show that Strada was to be invited to the June 17, 2010 meeting to answer some questions.
However, guess who wasn't at the June 17 meeting or at the July 8 meeting either?
If Council can't properly monitor a 300 acre gravel pit and protect our water sources, how in the hell do they have the expertise to monitor a 2,400 acre, 200 foot below the water table, open pit mine?
The Bluewater letter goes on to state that "We have raised these issues yearly with Strada and no action has been taken to remedy these deficiencies...Despite this situation, Strada's consultants continue to make assumptions based on the inadequate monitoring network."
It closes by stating "We understand that Strada has an application for another pit in Melancthon Township in the planning stages. Melancthon township should consider whether, given Strada's track record of inadequate compliance monitoring, they have shown themselves to be good corporate citizens and have treated the concerns of citizens and the Council with the rigour they deserve." (note: MNR hasn't deemed the application complete, which is why it doesn't appear as yet, on the Environmental Registry-keep checking)
I guess my question is, why hasn't Council moved LONG before now, to protect their ratepayers by having the MOE revoke Strada's permit to take water?
Of course, Jordan is on the case, having met with them in January and still, no compliance from Strada and still not one single member of Council has gone to the press to force the issue or raise the alarm.
In fact read the minutes. Your mouth will drop open, because apparently Council has dealt with this before and there have never been any "grave concerns". http://melancthontownship.ca/10council/minutes.june3.pdf
WTF does it take? Somebody, please, light a fire under these people.
Monday, July 12, 2010
For new regulations (like the eco-tax, the G20 non-existent powers of arrest, etc.) check the registry.
Once Strada's aggregate application is considered "complete" by Ministry of Natural Resources, it will be posted and Melancthon Council's planner, Jordan might actually notice it, if one of us gives him a clue via an email link. I am sure it will cost us, but better that he be informed than not, don't you think?
But, just for fun, you get bonus points if you can identify this little guy:
Sunday, July 11, 2010
But if you add up all the houses they burned and bulldozed, 16 homes X 2 acres each equals about 32 acres they COULD be farming.....
And just when it appears there is a glimmer of movement on their part towards being more open, accountable and, well in tune with the NEW Municipal Act, 2001 instead of the one that existed in 1978 (when our last Official Plan was done and when Gordon Oldfield was our Mayor), then something happens.
Thirty years ago things were done differently. The legislation was different, times were different. BUT to continue to operate a municipality under the guise of being in the 1970's is not only naive, but dangerous.
You can NOT run the municipality on volunteers and handshakes and goodwill. That opens the door for companies like Strada, the turbines, the biosolids and of course Highland Companies.
Watch tomorrow's post for Strada's new plans, which involve below the water table mining (they have already made their aggregate application to MNR), while being in voilation of their exisiting water taking permit.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wow. Aurora Council means business.
118 trees cut, in violation of the municipal tree cutting bylaw and the Town gets tough with a developer. Here is the article: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/833928--developer-charged-in-razing-of-118-moraine-trees?bn=1
Highlands must be laughing. They have cut thousands and thousands and acres and acres of trees, with nothing. Not even a slap on the wrist.
Come on Councillors. It isn't rocket science. If you can't pass a tree bylaw to stop the destruction and devastation of trees, the loss of which causes wind erosion, loss of wildlife corridors and, in the words of the Town of Aurora:
"...it will adversely affect ground aquifers and adjoining woodlots and wetlands. Many homes in Aurora use well water drawn from the deep aquifers below"
then you certainly are not qualified to sit on Council to look after the best interests of the ratepayers in connection with a 2,400 acre, 200 foot open pit limestone mine.
But then we knew that. They won't pass a demolition control bylaw the stop the destruction of our social fabric and tax base either. Just exactly what or WHO are they afraid of?
Last time someone asked about the demolition control bylaw, Deputy Mayor Hill, Mayoralty Candidate advised their contract planner informed them it would cost $10,000.00 for this contractor to draft a demolition control bylaw. Nice work if you can get.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Now if we could just move on with the demolition control bylaw, the lower tier tree cutting bylaw and put the specialty crop designation in the OP we will all be happy campers.
Well, everyone except this little guy:
In fact he seemed downright dour, angry, upset, scribbling away furiously. Do you think he gets paid by the word that he jots down?
Also if anyone can confirm the rumour that King John has been deposed, that would be great.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Township of Melancthon agenda and meeting at 9:00 am sharp tomorrow and then County Council tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.
Or this analogy?
Monday, July 5, 2010
This is the aggregate operation in Duntroon that wants to expand to another 300 acres right across the road. Oh yeah, and plant a few trees and throw a few fish in the first 300 acres they mined.
Here is a link to an article with an update on how things are going:
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Now, now, don’t panic. The Government of Canada says arsenic is a naturally occurring substance in food and water and is acceptable at certain levels.
Problem with Shelburne’s wells are:
they are below the acceptable levels as set by the feds, but above the provincial guidelines.
And I have to wonder.
While arsenic in water naturally occurs in certain areas, why hasn’t the naturally occurring arsenic been detected in Shelburne’s wells before?
What has not been mentioned is about 30 years ago a manufacturing plant, which was going to be the economic salvation of Shelburne arrived. If I recall correctly, political leaders at the time were tripping over themselves to accommodate this company. (Deja vu, anyone?)
What were they manufacturing? “Green wood”. What makes wood green? Arsenic of course. In fact, over the years, people living on Victoria Street couldn’t hang white laundry out on windy days because it turned green. These statements are FACT.
In FACT-municipalities and schools have been tearing out the “green wood” playgrounds at an unprecedented rate to replace them with plastic playgrounds, due to arsenic leaching into the ground.
Now I know, I know, the Shelburne plant doesn’t use arsenic in treating their wood anymore. But there is no way, in my OPINION, that the facility could have operated, as long as it did, using arsenic with no impact. Do I know that for a FACT-no, but some politician or municipality should be asking those questions.
Also, this COULD be a little lesson in aquifers and how water really works. Any potential contaminant into the water source can potentially impact water users from that aquifer. And I am not sure where business and industry and $10/hr jobs became more important that every Canadian’s right to clean water.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
This was orchestrated to divide and conquor.
Only a select few "neighbours" were invited.
They were NOT selected from any Official Plan Amendment (OPA) or Zoning bylaw amendment circulation area.
This was NOT the public meeting that Highlands has to hold, as legislated by the Planning Act, after they file for the OPA.
Now the nuts and bolts.
Each car was met in the driveway by Mickey, I mean Michael, clipboard and notebook in hand, with a tall anemic looking lackey and another beefy lackey on the deck.
Imagine-Mikey has graduated FROM a lackey to having two of his own, but I digress.
If this "show of force" was meant to G-20 people (you know frighten them), I am afraid it did the opposite. Honestly, what the hell were they guarding in the house? A science experiment-nope. Just King John.
Yes, he was there. In the flesh. THREE nights in a row. To meet some of his personally selected subjects.
Only 6-8 subjects were actually permitted in the room with him per meeting and those subjects were outnumbered by about 2:1 by King John's loyal guard. So lets see, about 6 people per night x 3 nights equals about 18 neighbours who were invited to the little partay to hear a message from on high, I mean a message from King John. (blow trumpet here, preferrably out King John's ass, but again I digress)
This guy is more reclusive than Howard Hughes. But I think just as weird. I didn't get a good look at Howard, I mean King John's toenails. Were they all stored in glass jars lined up behind him?
"Waste of time"
"I am still pretty angry 2 days after the meeting"
There are many, many more comments, much of the same stuff. But talk about controlling the message. Same thing with their little "open house" last July. Whenever the public is invited to a session where everyone is broken up into little groups and they are not giving the same message in a large group setting, you know there is nothing public and nothing honest about what you are going to hear.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Even little kids know that when you have a party, you either invite everyone in the class or no one.
You would think with the highly paid PR guru's employeed by Highlands they would know better than to hold a neighbourhood meeting and then turn away the neighbours.
If anyone wants to email their experience, to be added to the comments tomorrow, anonymously of course, please send them to:
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Town to make a decision on cash strapped YMCA
YMCA pool losing money
YMCA’s bad faith
Budget woes could lead to centres closure
YMCA financial troubles
Time for police to look at YMCA files
YMCA facing money problems
Building it is the cheap part-particularly when someone else is paying to build it.
Get out and join the community.
You can volunteer to stem strawberries at the Honeywood arena, starting at 12 noon in preparation for the annual strawberry supper. (Tip: take your own paring knife.)
Then you can go to Shelburne and join the Canada Day festivities.
Then you can go back to Honeywood and enjoy the Honeywood United Church Strawberry supper, all proceeds to the Church.
Then you can go back to Shelburne and enjoy the fireworks.
Then go home and do the Canadian thing and have a cold one, eh!