Sunday, January 30, 2011


Here is a notice of public consultations and the opportunity to provide your input on rural issues around health care received in an email this morning:

"The government is seeking input on addressing the challenges faced by Ontarians in rural and northern communities every day. They need to hear from Ontarians to help identify and understand those challenges.

Consultations will involve several different approaches. These are:
Online focus groups
Online panelist survey
Public submissions via website and mail
In-person roundtable discussions in rural and northern communities across Ontario
Discussions with healthcare partners."

there is a consultation in Shelburne Monday January 31 at the arena from 7:00-9:30 pm If you can't make it to that, click on this link for how to submit comments on line-or attend another forum in another community.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


As much as it pains me, I have to admit that the article in the Orangeville Citizen/Shelburne Free Press on the NDACT meeting was balanced, so thanks to Wes.  For the entire article, here is the link:

I do take exception to some of the statements made by Highland spokesperson Michael Daniher to the reporter in response to NDACT's comments in the meeting.

Hi-lites as follows:

"...Mr. Cosack predicted Highland would have five sidings at the proposed quarry and would be running 25-hopper trains six times daily. He painted a scenario of slow-moving trains of that length taking perhaps 20 minutes to cross roadways....

Daniher said: "Information on activities associated with the proposed quarry will be contained in the application. Regarding NDACT’s comments at the meeting, rail operations often contain multiple tracks at the end of the line to accommodate and shunt traffic,” he said."

So Highlands isn't disagreeing, that is good.

"On water, Mr. Cosack said the area recharges the Nottawasaga and Grand rivers, a primary source of water “for a million people from Lake Erie to Georgian Bay.” He said Highland intends to pump water out of the pit and return it pure to the water table “after it has been mixed with dirt and oil” in the mine....
Daniher said:  The proposed quarry will not and cannot have the impact alleged by NDACT. Quarries are highly regulated, and a water management plan must be contained in the application."

Notice Daniher did not deny there would be an impact, just not the impact that NDACT is alledging. 

And as far as regulation of water, the MOE can only go on the information provided by the proponent.  No one except the proponent does their own tests, although the municipality could certainly choose to do so.  At this point they have indicated they will only peer review the information in the application which means the peer reviewers assesses the outcome with the information provided by the proponent.  Hmmm.

And a quarry with no impact on water because it is highly regulated?

Tell that to the people of Guelph where workers at James Dick's Dolime Quarry excavated four or five metres into a confining bedrock layer, exposing the city's water supply aquifer and drawing concerns of potential contamination. 

Original tests (you know those highly regulated ones) done by James Dick Construction showed bedrock layers were flat, but in fact the 420-million-year-old formation actually has an irregular topography, with some areas jutting upwards which you can ONLY tell by blasting and digging.  Hmmmm, not very reassuring for the 1 million Ontarians who rely on the water from Melancthon.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Here I thought everyone was interested in what Minebuster had to say with all the activity in terms of hits on the site were generating. 

When I finally starting reading the comments, however, it became abundently clear that someone made a mistake.  And no, it wasn't me.

In the Friday January 21, 2011 posting, I made the comment about Strada that "At maximum capacity, this will permit up to 72 trucks an hour (according to the Township solicitor)".

THEN the comments started...70 trucks a MINUTE; exagerating; please report facts, do the math, blah, blah.

So to reiterate Strada, if all is approved, will be licensed to haul 70 gravel trucks an HOUR - not MINUTE.

Oh yeah, and Council did not insist on financial security for rehabilitation.

Just the facts please, just the facts.

Addition:  Except Councillor Malek who ask for a recorded vote and voted against it. 

Hold it, hold it....WRONG WRONG WRONG...the minutes of the January 20, 2011 meeting, which have finally been posted, show, in fact that Councillor Malek did NOT ask for a recorded vote and the Strada decision passed with a majority vote of Council.  Here is the link to the minutes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


At the January 20, 2011 meeting of Melancthon Council there was an item under correspondence wherein clarification was provided as to when ratepayers could submit questions, free of charge, as opposed to when they had to ask questions under Freedom of Information and pay for it.

The Mayor read out the somewhat muddled clarification and the Deputy Mayor advised it was a unanimous decision of Council. A ratepayer questioned how it could be a unanimous decision of Council when no discussion had taken place.

The Mayor advised that the "policy" had been determined by Council through phone calls and they were approving it at the January 20 meeting and they were allowed to do that.

Well not only did the ratepayer beg to differ, so does the Provincial Ombudsman who acts as the closed meeting investigator for many municipalities.

In fact, the Ombudsman, in the Investigation into Council of the Township of Nipissing Special Meeting of April 25, 2008, ruled that in the case where Council held a "telephone meeting" that it was in contravention of the closed meeting provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Hi-lites of the case and the ruling:
On May 5, 2008, a complaint concerning a special meeting held by the council of the Township of Nipissing on April 25, 2008 was received. This meeting was conducted by telephone for the purpose of approving an invoice received earlier that day for a new fire truck. The complainant suggested that since the public couldn’t attend the telephone meeting, it was an unauthorized closed meeting of council.
 At 7:20 p.m. on the evening of Friday, April 25, 2008, the Mayor convened the special meeting by initiating a series of individual sequential telephone calls. The meeting was not a teleconference; only the Mayor and one councillor were connected at any given time. One councillor described this as a “phone-around meeting.” The Mayor made separate calls to three councillors, updated them on the reduced invoice amount and obtained their agreement to the invoice. She did not contact the fourth councillor, who she believed was unavailable at that time.

In my view, a meeting of council is not limited to a physical gathering of its members. Sequential telephone conversations of council members, “for the purpose of exercising the power or authority of the council or for the purpose of doing the groundwork necessary to exercise that power or authority,” may constitute a meeting.

Read the entire decision here:

So, from now on, lets have meetings that are to be open to the public, OPEN to the public and all discussions by Council that are to be in open session, discussed in OPEN session.

We can either spend all our time and money on closed meeting investigations or Council can play fair by the rules which are set out by the province and involve the public where they are entitled to be involved.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Brief explanation of the Strada decision made by Council as I understand it (and if I have something wrong, someone will post a correction under comments, which I will incorportate into an edited version).

There is no requirement being made of Strada for financial security to ensure rehabilitation of the site.  Rather the requirements of rehabilitation are to be included in the site plan agreement.

A holding provision has been put on the approval which will be removed if the Ministry of Natural Resources agrees to cite the agreement in their aggregate approval decision.   If the MNR won't do that, then a "friendly" application between Melancthon and Strada will be brought before the courts so a judge can determine the validity of the agreeement.

Only then, can Strada proceed.

This decision by Melancthon only includes the Official Plan Amendment and the Zoning Bylaw Amendment and the decision must be approved by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Strada still has to obtain approval for an aggregate license through the MRN.  In order to that, they must show that they have attempted to work with anyone objecting to the application in order to satisfy those objections.  They have up to two years to do this.

I did hear at an interesting comment at a meeting yesterday that there is not one aggregate operation in Ontario that has ever been returned to its original agricultural use.

Friday, January 21, 2011


At the January 19, 2011 meeting of Melancthon Council, a majority vote approved the Strada application.

Approval was given despite:
The missing money from Strada -tonnage fees to be paid on amounts shipped do not correspond with the money received by Melancthon-has not been resolved (working on it assured the Mayor)

No rehabilitation required to be deposited with the Township by Strada to protect ratepayers from the cost of rehabilitation (not necessary assured the Mayor)

At maximum capacity, this will permit up to 72 trucks an hour (according to the Township solicitor)

When the vote came in a sly smile spread across the Highlands representative at the meeting.  Do you think he realizes, like the ratepayers at that meeting did, that Council has set a precedent in not requiring a deposit for rehabilitation?

This despite a recent OMB ruling that stated: The Board finds that no public authority, not the Province, the Region, the Town, nor the CVC should ever find itself responsible for the costs of mitigation measures for the proposed quarry.  Entire decision here:,Nov12,2010.pdf

The Mayor of Melancthon however assured ratepayers at the meeting that if Strada disappears, dissolves their company which is the simple filing of a paper, and not rehabilitate the site, Melancthon will rehabilitate it-AT THE EXPENSE OF THE RATEPAYERS, but we should just calm down because when they sell it Melancthon will recoup their expense.

What an ass. un and ill informed decision.  AND a disservice to ratepayers who are being directly impacted by this industrial operation in a farming community but also a disservice to the ratepayers in years to come who may find themselves paying to clean up after a wildly profitable industrial corporation leaves their mess....
He even took issue with ratepayers saying they lived on the haul route and were experiencing dust, loss of value of their principle residence and noise.  In fact his statement was "IF that is true".......

And quite frankly, any councillor that sat around that table last night and didn't speak up in opposition to what he was saying-"no problem, the taxpayers will pay if we have to and get their money back when it is sold"- is included in that exclusive Club reserved for the Mayor.

The ratepayers didn't even bother to point out that what most aggregate operations do is leave 10% of the pit unquarried and then say that they are not done with it and leave it for years and years and years (because leaving 10% is cheaper than rehabilitation) and do not even have to go bankrupt.

Why didn't they point it out.  WTF is the use?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Received a notice this week of an information/education session for NDACT to be held Saturday January 22, 2011 at 10:00 am at Honeywood arena. 

Topic of discussion?  The proposed 2,400 acre 200 foot deep open pit limestone mine to be situated on prime agricultural land on the water source for over 1 million Ontarians.

Which made me think back to other meetings.

January 2009:  hundreds of people crowded the Honeywood arena at what turned into the inaugural meeting for the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce (NDACT). 

At that meeting an individual named Michael Daniher stood up and identified himself as a spokesperson for the Highland Companies and stated PUBLICALLY that their intention was to farm the land NOT to develop aggregate.

A ratepayer advised the crowd at that meeting that she had spoken with the Ministry of Natural Resources and that in fact the Highland Companies had been in meetings with them about a proposed aggregate operation. 

Fast forward to the June 2009 public meeting of NDACT at which the same Michael Daniher stood up and accused NDACT of fearmongering in their estimates of the homes that Highlands were demolishing in the township.  He stated that Highlands HAD to tear down some houses because they had been condemned by the Building Inspector and that they were planning on demolishing homes less than double digits.  Meaning less than 10.  And a follow up email to the Building Inspector proved that Daniher was lying-not ONE single home that Highlands had demolished had been condemned by the Building Inspector.

NOTE: Highlands has now demolished structures on 30 of their 36 properties.

So, who wants to call the next untruthiness that Daniher spouts on Saturday?  It will be something for sure.  After all, that is what he gets paid for.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Sung to the tune of Stompin Tom's Hockey Song:

Hello out there, we're on the blog, the CDRC continues to stink
Tension grows, the ratepayers blow, about spending at rink
The Deputy trips and the Mayor's on a rip,
and the taxpayers all go insane.
Someone roars, there's a foul at the board, at the good ol' CDRC

:: CHORUS ::
OH! The good ol' CDRC, a pet project of our Deputee
The best thing he can name, is a relative in the NHL game

Where Councillors dash, with taxpayers cash, the home team's ice time is lost
And the Ruskies win thanks to the someone on the "in", no matter what the cost
Now the final scheme, of the Deputy's dream
The Muskies lose and the Ruskies become Shelburne Council's favourite team

Oh and by the way, there is a meeting January 18, 2011 at the Shelburne Town Hall at 7:00 pm.  Representatives from Hockey Canada have been invited, presumably to advise why NONE of this is the Deputy Mayor's fault.  For details click here:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

RURAL ONTARIO IS ON FIRE (quote from attached article)

Entire article attached:

Selected excerpts:
When Dalton McGuinty embraced wind power four years ago, it seemed he couldn’t lose...

Critics of the premier’s ambitious schemes were dismissed as cranks and nutters infected with a not-in-my-backyard syndrome.....

To ensure that these self-seekers and know-nothings didn’t interfere with the government’s bold plans, Queen’s Park stripped municipal councils of their power to regulate wind turbines.....

On paper, the plan seemed a sure winner......
..provincial medical officer of health Dr. Arlene King issued a report saying no scientific evidence exists to show that wind turbines harm human health......

McMurtry countered that this is because no one has ever conducted a proper studyDozens of rural municipal councils, angered by the province’s decision to take away their regulatory authority, have passed motions of complaint......
There’s a real level of anger there,” he told me. “Rural Ontario is on fire....”

I wonder if the municipalities who courted this highly subsidized "industry" via tax dollars when they still had planning control to say no are wishing they had used their powers then?

And I also wonder if they have taken a lesson from this and are realizing that they must take every available option open to them now to stop this "industry" from proceeding further and the aggregate industry from digging the biggest hole in Ontario on prime agricultural land on the source of more than 1 million Ontarians drinking water.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Does anyone recognize the following passage?
“There is a distinction between a citizen’s right to participate, and his or her right to observe municipal government in progress”.

For those of you who said this was verbatim in the Mayor’s inaugural speech, you would be correct. Here is the link to his speech:

But for those of you who said this was from the Ontario Ombudsman’s Sunshine Law Handbook, verbatim, well you would be correct as well. Here is the link to the handbook:

So either, the Ombudsman quoted Mayor Bill Hill OR Mayor Bill Hill quoted the Ombudsman without giving proper credit to the author.  Bet I know who said it first.

Wish our Mayor had read and quoted the Openess of Information on the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s (IPC) website that states:
“Openness – making sure that policies and practices about how information is managed within government are available to individuals – is a key element of every recognized standard information and privacy code worldwide.”
Read the full excerpt here:

And here is a best practice listed on the IPC’s website for the City of Mississauga:
“Under this program, Mississauga residents are provided with government records easily, informally, and in accordance with one of the overarching principles of the Act — that information should be available to the public and that necessary exemptions from the right of access (FOI) should be limited and specific.”

Read the full report here:

Notice what Mississauga doesn’t do?

They don’t NOT (double negative intended) post information, agendas, agreements or minutes from a July 13, 2010 meeting of Council for five months and then when a resident asks 17 questions to get the information about the “open” part of the meeting, indicate that the next time a resident asks 17 questions they will have to go through Freedom of Information (FOI) and pay the cost, which in this instance was  $1,100.00.

And to be fair, the decision to make residents go through a Freedom of Information request to get information that should be publically available was NOT a decision of Council, even though they act as a body corporate, but rather an individual decision of the Mayor.

And again, to be fair, the FOI legislation does provide that municipalities can insist residents go through FOI requests to get information.  But making the process of getting public information an onerous and expensive process for ratepayers would seem to contradict another quote in the Mayor's inaugural speech which was "we will adhere to them and be very open and transparent"  and this one, "our goal will to be as open and transparent as we can be" and finally "we have nothing to hide".

I guess Melancthon is only transparent if you can afford it and if the Mayor isn't pissed at you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


For some reason people are experiencing difficulty in posting comments.  So if you have posted something and don't see, it isn't because comments are being censored.

And for clarification-all postings are anonymous. 

Minebuster has no idea who is posting or reading the blog.

Hopefully the technical problems will be worked out soon.  Not sure how, since I have no idea how to fix it, but...we will see.


A letter to the editor this week takes exception with quotes attributed to Mayor Crewson's in a December 23, 2010 article that appeared in the Orangeville Citizen/Shelburne Free Press.

In part the letter to the editor, submitted by the Chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of the Mel Lloyd Family Health Team reads: 
"to the effect that he (Crewson) knows that Mel Lloyd Family Health Team wants $21,000 donated by the county to his political committee for the purpose of recruiting physicians. Mr. Crewson must be clairvoyant since this issue has never been discussed with the Family Health Team’s Board and I cannot imagine where he has obtained this information."

Entire letter here:

And as much as this blogger has taken exception to some of Mayor Crewson's actions/comments etc. since the blog's inception, I will have to suspend my disbelief in this instance that the Mayor made the comments that are attributed to him in the December 23, 2011 article.


Well the reporter was Wes the Crypt Keeper Keller.

I have sat beside this individual at various meetings and watched his notetaking which is to illegibly scribble about every 20th word and just fill the rest in when he leaves the meeting.

There have been numerous articles and complaints made to the paper about this reporter as well.  One time he referred to someone by name in an article with the statement that the individual had not been reached for comment.  That is code for "I never bothered to call the individual", NOT that the individual didn't return calls.

So the headline of this letter to the editor which read "Crewson Clairvoyant?" probably should have read "Keller Incompetent!!"

Just my opinion though.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Here is why Council needs to be courting the established/existing jobs/businesses in Melancthon, like salvage yards, home based businesses, including and particularly the farming operations:

"Research and anecdotal evidence has shown that the majority of new jobs created come from existing businesses. David Birch, MIT, in his study “Jobs Created in America”, identifies that 40-80% of new jobs created come from existing businesses. There are 300 large multinational investments worldwide made by companies annually. There are 30,000 organizations in North America alone competing for these 300 projects."

So in layman terms, if Melancthon wants to work on the economic development of Melancthon, they need to know that the days of attracting Honda plants are LONG gone.  Look after what is already here. 

A quick and easily affordable first step is affordable and widespread high speed. It is not a luxury, it isn't just for kids to play internet games and people to look at porn.  Highspeed is as necessary now to economic development as having hydro was for economic development in the early 1900's.   

On the other hand, aggregate does NOT create sustainable jobs.  When the hole is dug and emptied, slowly left to fill with water over several decades, the low paying non-local jobs are gone too.  And when the only jobs are driving a truck, these people are NOT stopping to fill up with gas, shop at the local stores or take part in the community in any way shape or form.

Aggregate also does NOT attract people to live in the area who work in the knowledge sector.  Those are the jobs where you could work from home IF you had high speed and IF you didn't have a train and 70 gravel trucks a minute past your door and IF you weren't worried about your water supply.  (Writers, lawyers, insurance brokers, researchers, sometimes referred to as the "creative class") 

The agricultural sector is cyclical and there are busy times and not so busy times, but these people live in the community and take part in the community, the churches, volunteering, the community, etc.

The creative class, with high speed, no longer have to commute long distances to the large urban areas to work and therefore use that time to volunteer and get involved in the community.

A good mix of sustainable agricultural jobs, which gives rise to the feed mills, repair shops, welding shops, gas stations, restaurants, and the creative class leads to a financially and generationally diverse and balanced community that is "sustainable".


Good for Council for being more open and transparent.  They have released a confidential report dated February 16, 2010 which contains the legal opinion of the municipal solicitor regarding a demolition control bylaw.

So good for them and thanks to them.

As far as the opinion goes, well Mayor Hill did state at the January 6, 2011 meeting that Council must consider the advice of their professionals and that is correct as well.

The problem?  When the "advice" of their professional lawyer/planner is this:
...the potential for a negative reaction and its implications for future dealings with the Highland Companies should be considered"

What the hell?  Highlands does not even have a VOTE in a municipal election.  As as to the statement that "future dealings" with Highlands should be considered"?  IF this Council thinks for one minute that by not taking a stand will make Highlands go easy on them later, they are seriously misinformed.  

Kinda like the kid that keeps giving the bully his lunch money, hoping that he will only get robbed by the bully and not beat up as well.  Except whenever the hell the bully feels like beating the kid up AND taking his lunch money, well the bully just will.  Why, because the kid never took a stand.

There is more:
"We don't believe.the imposition of a Demolition Control Bylaw would be particularly onerous on Highland Farms or any other ratepayer, but it may not be perceived by them in the same way"

" would appear the balance of the homes are not about to "disappear" overnight (MY NOTE: 30 HOMES OUT OF 36 IN 2 YEARS) and the owner's assurances to this affect can be relied upon at this time"

And of course the final WARNING:

"The representatives from Highland Company stated they would appeal any negative decision from Council to the OMB.  Clearly such as expense is not going to deter the Highland Company"

Read all about it for yourself:

I guess I am just not sure at what point Council is going to man up and take a stand? 

Because if they aren't going to take a stand against something that would be entirely defendable under the provisions of meeting the growth numbers and protecting the taxbase just what in the hell are they going to take a stand on?

And if you have a solicitor/planner who are saying at every turn we can't win any of this, then maybe you need new professionals?

For a change, lets have Council be the finger and ANY development that is NOT good for the municipality be the ant.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So here is something else I don't get.

For many, many months, probably as long as the demolition control bylaw has been under review, there has been a salvage yard bylaw on the go.

Kudos to Council for bringing both the demolition and salvage bylaws to the second meeting of the new Council.

BUT (and you knew there had to be a but) the demolition control bylaw was sent back for further review.  I will bet you that Highlands has already applied for the six demolition permits on his remaining structures, so forget that.

BUT the salvage yard bylaw was also sent back which was a good thing.  The salvage operators were at the January 6 meeting and there was a good dialogue between them and  Council after which it was sent for more work.

BUT (and you knew there had to be a but) I do not understand why Strada is not being asked for a deposit for rehabilitation on their operation, BUT the salvage bylaw calls for all operations to deposit $5,000.00 with the municipality.

Doesn't seem fair and equitable to me.

And it also stinks.  What in the hell does Strada have to object to about filing $68,000.00 deposit?  That is nothing to a HUGE company like that. Hmmm... makes someone wonder.

Monday, January 10, 2011


We have an individual who wants to erect a 6,000 sq foot industrial operation on farmland that would employ two people with about about 2 trucks a day.  The remaining farmland would remain in farmland. 

This operation would be sustainable-meaning the jobs would always be there.  NOT gone when a hole has been dug and the resources depleted.

The Mayor made the following statement (verbatum) at the January 6 meeting of Council:  "We have to be equitable and fair to those wanting to expand on farm uses while not impacting neighbours."

Hm, tell that to to the people living on the 4th line who will soon be dealing with UP TO one truck a minute (according to the municipal solicitor) from Strada's INDUSTRIAL operation.

Is that equitable and fair?

And did Council put an interim control bylaw on aggregate operations until their new OP is in place as suggested by a ratepayer at the January 6 meeting- NO

Did they halt all industrial applications on farmland until they can get a bylaw in place to regulate it? 

You tell me.

Or better still, ask your Council.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


"Soil is as important to a farmer as a voice is to a singer or a speaker. The OFA has taken the position, unpopular at times, to preserve our good agricultural land and its soil for farming now and in the future.
 There’s an area in Dufferin County that has a special soil suited to potato production known as Honeywood soils. It is unique. Combined with the soils are infrastructure investments by farmers in specialized equipment, storage, packaging and processing facilities.
 However, that area of the province is also home to another specialized product – aggregates, more commonly known as stones, sand and gravel..."

For the entire article click on this link:


Condolences to Harman Earl's family on his passing.  As a lifelong member of the community he will be missed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Remember the Loony Toon goofy gopher characters named Mac and Tosh, pictured here and not to be confused with Disney’s Chip N Dale?

The crux of the cartoon was the ridiculousness of the characters' over-politeness preventing their ability to get on with the task at hand.

Their dialogue was peppered with such over politeness as "Indubitably!", "You first, my dear," and "But, no, no, no. It must be you who goes first!" The two often tended to use unnecessarily long words. For example, instead of "We gotta get our tree back", they would say "We must take vital steps to reclaim our property."

Click here for a veritable cornucopia of catchphrases as uttered by the dashing duo. (Warning it will instantly take anyone over the age of 35 down memory lane):

Why take this trip down memory lane? Well because it suddenly came to me who Osyany and Jordan reminded me of the other day at the meeting. Yes, Mac and Tosh. Here were the municipal lawyer and planner both assuring Council that even as they drafted agreements and bylaws they would be struck down by the courts or the OMB or both.

Here is a brief exchange (and YES, I am paraphrasing): Planner: Most assuredly MY bylaw will be denied by the OMB much sooner than your agreement. Lawyer, no, no, I must insist that MY agreement will indubitably be over turned in a court of law far before your bylaw will be denied at the OMB.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so NOT funny. And so freaking serious.


In the agreement between the municipality and Strada that was presented at the December 16 meeting of Council there was a section in the agreement which deemed that Strada had to deposit securities for rehabilitation.

The money to be on deposit was $68,000.00, a ridiculous sum of money if anyone really thought they could rehabilitate a gravel pit to agriculture for that. I mean $68,000 wouldn’t even cover Lindsay Lohan’s latest stint in rehab, but at least it was SOMETHING.

Deputy Mayor White (DMW) made the rehabilitation point at that same meeting and there was also something written or mentioned about Strada had provided some “misleading” advice about rehabilitation and were clarifying. Seriously? Do you think an aggregate operation like Strada didn’t know EXCACTLY what they were doing and EXACTLY the rehabilitation process and accidently provided misleading information? I would suspect it was DMW who caught the discrepancy, but I don’t know.

Then the agreement comes before Council this past week together with a recommendation from the township solicitor and planner to sign it. THIS is after the solicitor dropped this little nugget of news: The agreement is basically unenforceable under the Aggregate Resources Act and the only way to ensure that it is enforceable would be to put a holding provision on the OPA/ZBA until the MNR agrees to reference the agreement in the site plan OR to go to court now to have a judge decide of the agreement is valid and enforceable.

OMG-we are paying the lawyer and planner oodles and oodles of money to do their job, which I would think would be to draft an enforceable agreement and site plan, but then what do I know?

And the township solicitor also said the magnitude of this proposal is unlike anything we have seen, the limit of aggregate is uncapped and at full operation we can expect one truck a minute. YES, a MINUTE.

And yet Strada was there advising everyone to just calm down, trust them, they will ensure that everything is looked after, Council doesn’t need to worry their little heads about anything, they don’t need money on deposit for rehabilitation, they don’t need a holding provision.... JUST SIGN THE FREAKING AGREEMENT LIKE RIGHT NOW...... (okay, okay I am paraphrasing but they were a little miffed)

They were even more miffed when DMW talked the lack of financial assurances on deposit for rehabilitation and that even if the agreement is valid and enforceable when they take their shovels and go home, there is no way of forcing them to rehabilitate anyway. And DMW was very clear he wanted it rehabilitated to the site plan standards with agriculture and he again made the correct point that MNR does not have to rehabilitate at all nor to the standards of the site plan or agreement.

Then Council asked a good question. They wanted to Strada to take them to some sites that Strada had rehabilitated.

Wow, you could have heard a pin drop from the Strada side of the table....lots of quick thinking, thinking, thinking....oh yeah. And I am not paraphrasing of the Strada people actually said “they weren’t really that big of an operation and didn’t have alot of rehabilitated pits.” OMG, but we should trust them.

Then they said they had two, one of which they had bought as an empty hole in the ground and turned into a golf course (they must have needed somewhere to dump loads and loads of crap out of another place that they were turning INTO a pit) and then there was another one, blah, blah, blah, but neither had been returned to agricultural.

Councillor Malek asked Strada how any of their operation would benefit Melancthon and there was more silence.

Councillor Malek requested a recorded vote on the resolution to to bring the matter back at the next meeting of Council with a bylaw with the holding provision and Hill/Elliott and Crowe voted yes, White and Malek voted no. So with 3 to 2, I would suggest that this will pass at the next meeting of Council with no financial assurances.

In my OPINION the fact that Strada is not being asked to post financial assurances for rehabilitation is setting a very dangerous precedent for when Highlands drops their application. If you recall the assurances that all parties in Caledon agreed upon was $90 MILLION and theirs was a much smaller operation. And the OMB decreed that no one, not the taxpayers or the province should be on the hook for rehabilitation.

Apparently our lawyer and planner didn't read that decision and only two of our councillors did.

Friday, January 7, 2011


So lets see. Highlands began their smash and burn campaign of local houses, barns and structures a couple of years ago.

After endless prodding, begging, pleading, cajoling by ratepayers about passing a demolition control bylaw, the then Mayor, CAO, municipal solicitor and planner had a private meeting with John Lowndes of Highland Companies in February 2010. (permitted under the Municipal Act as it wasn't a full meeting of Council.)

Since the time of the February 2, 2010 meeting, ratepayers have been asking for a copy of the meeting notes, only to be assured on several occasions that everything was verbal, NOTHING in writing, it was a private meeting, blah, blah.

The Mayor did state that Highlands advised they were only taking about another 3 structures down, but she couldn't remember how many had been demolished at that point.

Then lo and behold, after a persistently obnoxious ratepayer perserveered, a copy of the February 2010 meeting notes was produced. (click on link attached and go to the bottom of the page to view the meeting notes

The notes state Lowndes owns 36 properties and at that time 16 had come down; Council was going to watch the situation closely.

The notes also indicate that Lowndes said he would be taking another 3 down in 2010. NOT ever, just in 2010 so the Mayor's statement was a little misleading.

The notes also indicate that Lowndes advised that taking these houses down had nothing to do with a quarry application....except if you read the OMB decision in Caledon, where they turned down a quarry application, one of their reasons was because that quarry would be demolishing 2 homes and the OMB felt that would be too much.

And then Lowndes makes the astounding statement that houses are incompatible with farming. Who in the hell does he think farms the land without houses for people to live in?

The man has no shame and no brain, clearly.

And if you recall at the June 2009 NDACT meeting, Daniher, spokesperson for Highlands said people were fearmongering about these demolitions and Highlands would be taking down homes in less than double digits.

As of about 4 weeks ago, 30 properties had been issued demolition permits for all or some structures. If you are following the math, that means there are only six more to go.

And yesterday at Council the demolition control bylaw was on the agenda and the decision was to do more investigation. That should give Highlands time to take down the remaining 6 houses.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Just to recap, Highlands is complaining that a specialty crop designation will "lower property values" and they weren't consulted. 

You know, Highlands, who wants to "build" a 2,400 acre 200 foot hole in the ground and take away all the local "sustainable" agriculture jobs...yeah, those guys.

HA, HA, HA......

(rolling on the freaking ground laughing out loud)


From Mayor Hills inaugural speech, some more hi-lites.

He states that they would like to expand the administrative compliment with more hours or staff.

This is LONG overdue, should have been done years and years ago.  As a reminder we have a CAO/Clerk/Treasurer.  Talk about wearing three hats.

Now for all those people who I can hear saying what does the municipality need with all those people "sitting around" in the office.  What do they do all day?

Well, I would bet at least half of everything the municipal employees do, paid for by YOUR tax dollars, is to fulfill some mandate that the province has implemented. Whether it is reporting, financial information, tracking, recording, submitting, etc. etc. etc.  At LEAST 50%.  It is really an invisible form of downloading.  Municipal employees are doing the work that the province requires.

While our "administrative costs" may be the lowest in Dufferin, I would suggest that our consultant costs aren't.  So our administrative costs are not transparent.

With additional staff, the CAO can do what a CAO is to do, the strategic planning, forecasting, long term planning, budgetings, legislative updates, etc. etc. and actually have the time to do it.  And hopefully we will be employing less consultants.

I hope our CAO/Clerk/Treasurer is as relieved as we are that help is on the way!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


An eagle eyed blog supporter pointed this out.

In the Highland complaint submitted and on the January 6, 2011 agenda for Melancthon Council, regarding the Specialty Crop designation filed, Highlands actually stated, in writing, for the world to see the following:

"We are concerned that he proposed designation will lower property values....

HA, HA, FREAKING HA.......seriously, they put that in writing??  My stomach is hurting from laughing...

Honestly, the same company who wants to put a 2,400 acre 200 foot deep open pit limestone mine, crushing plant AND a railroad across Melancthon, is concerned about property values?????.....wait, gets better.

This is SO funny, even this little guy is laughing.

Highlands also put the following in writing...."an application that has been submitted by one party with the clear intent of reducing the value of the privately held lands of another party should not be considered by the approval authority"

Wow, someone should write this down and reiterate it word for freaking word when Highland Companies files THEIR OPA.

And Melancthon and the province should be on notice.  If Highlands argument bear any weight, well so be it.....


On this week's Melancthon Township agenda (link attached-Thursday January 6 @ 9 am plan to attend if you can) you will see Highlands Planner  wrote to the muncipality to cry about, I mean criticize the OPA that was filed by a private organization to designate approximately 10,000 acres in Melancthon as specialty crop.

Their complaint - it is that they weren't consulted and they own most of the land.  AND they go on to demand that they receive notice of the public meeting.

So just to touch on the legalities, they will and HAVE to be consulted in due course pursuant to the provisions of the Planning Act.  And they KNOW this.  They also know there is no pre-consultation required for anyone to file an OPA.

And I would go out on a limb here and ask what kind of pre-consultation Highlands did when they demolished structures on 30 properties, cut down thousands of trees in contravention of the County of Dufferin tree cutting bylaw and announced they have plans to file for an aggregate license for a 2,400 acre 200foot deep open pit limestone mine on prime agricultural land.

That would be NO ONE.  They consulted NO ONE.  Well, except their Boston Baupost Group hedgefund people, I would suspect.


Mayor Hill met with Sylvia Jones on November 19 to discuss some of the issues facing Melancthon (Green Energy Act, Provincial Policy Statement).. etc.

Great work.  This will be a good relationship to maintain.

Good start.

Monday, January 3, 2011



Page 3 of the Mayor's inaugural speech talks about purchasing computer for the Councillors.



Sunday, January 2, 2011


In case you had to work and couldn't be at the inaugural meeting to hear him give it, you can read a copy of Mayor Hill's inaugural speech at this link.

You read it and then form your own opinion.   For those who are interested, I will be providing a blow by blow analysis of his speech in future posts.

And here is a suggestion...if you don't care what my analysis is, do not read this blog.