Sunday, July 31, 2011

REALLY? MZ LYNZ, NOT AGAIN

Highlands new spokesperson Mz Lynz (aka Lindsay Broadhead) must believe that we have short memories are stupid or else Daniher (the former spokesperson for Highlands who was unceremoniously dumped by the company a few weeks ago) didn't bring her up to speed.

In a story about the quarry (hey, that kinda rhymes) in the July 30, 2011 Toronto Sun, she is quoted as saying:
Highland spokesman Lindsay Broadhead denied accusations by critics that the company’s John Lowndes misled sellers.
It was not a secret,” she said, adding he described potato farming plus quarrying starting in 2006, followed by a public meeting, publishes ads plus a website.

Sorry Lynz, but that is factually untrue.

There may have been rumours of a gravel pit or quarrying operations when Highlands began to purchase land in 2006, but the fact is Highlands denied, denied, denied it.  And so is it unexpected that people would believe them?

Here is a quote in a June 2007 article that appeared in the Orangeville Citizen:
"Trevor Downey of Downey Farms and John Lowndes both say the intent in Melancthon is merely to have a world-class potato operation."

You can read the entire article here, but for those who have been with Minebuster since the beginning, you will be familiar with this article because Minebuster has rehashed this article over and over and over again. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2007-06-07/local_news/011.html

Then there was that awkward moment at the January 2009 meeting called by local citizens who were desperate for information, which was NOT forthcoming from Highlands.  Their then spokesperson, Michael Daniher attended that meeting, NOT to provide information, but to gather it.

He identified himself and then gave the usual, blah, blah, blah what great people Highlands were, they were LOCAL people, he himself owned a place in Adjala, I mean he truly thought he could bamboozle the locals.

He was asked if in fact he was a lawyer, which he refused to confirm or deny.  For christs sakes a simple look at the Law Society members confirms it.

THEN a citizen stood up near the end of the meeting, immediately after Daniher said he was unaware of any plans other than farming.  And here is where the awkward moment occurred. 

This ratepayer said she had, in the past two weeks, been in contact with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mininstry of Environment and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, every one of which confirmed that Highlands had been in talks with Highlands for months and months about an massive aggregate operation.

Wow, you could have heard a pin drop if the audience hadn't exploded into wild applause.  I do believe it was at that moment that Daniher's tic began.

It was at that same meeting the NDACT board was formed.

But it was THREE days after that, and ONLY after that, that Highlands issued the following statement:
"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. "http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-01-22/front_page/004.html


More tomorrow Mz Lynz on the other factually incorrect statements you have made in the Toronto Sun article link here:http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/30/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place#disqus_thread

Saturday, July 30, 2011

DEAR MZ LYNZ

Dear Mz Lynz (aka Lindsay Broadhead), can I call you Lynz?

I feel I know you already. 

You are probably younger, prettier, taller and come with less facial tics than Michael Daniher, but other than that, you could be twins.

Daniher held a special place in Minebusters heart, and I am beginning to feel the same about you. 

You seem to have been thrown to the wolves at Hill (of beans) and Knowlton on this particular issue, defending the indefensible and with little knowledge of which you speak.

Take your comments in the Better Farming article (click here for link: http://www.betterfarming.com/online-news/flurry-comments-stalls-mega-quarry-progress-4402 )
“I’m sympathetic to the people who are saying they don’t want it in their backyard,” Broadhead says ... 
There needs to be a fuller discussion about the quarry that takes into account the need for aggregate, the location and environmental protection of some areas but opening up others to digging rather than just the ‘not here’ point of view, she says."
 
Really? 
 
Lynz, you need to read ALL the media articles on this issue and listen to all the interviews and if in fact you can find ONE, and I truly mean ONE quote from NDACT or any grassroots organization opposing this quarry that is saying not in my backyard, as opposed to not on the aquifer for more than 1 million Ontarians and not on 2,100 acres of prime agricultural land which is non-renewable, well then I will eat Highland potatoes and not choke on them.
 
To anyone who would like Lynz to clarify any statement she makes to the press, or rather provide her with the all important "facts", her email address is: lindsay.broadhead@hillandknowlton.ca
 
Have at it.

HOLLAND MARSH

Lets clear up Highlands claim that their system will be just like the one in the Holland Marsh.

You know, that benign area that produces good local food, the one that Highlands (aka Baupost, aka Seth Klarman-you know eventually if I refer to them enough even Baupost and Seth can't keep up with google and their name is going to pop up in searches) is desperate to be associated with?

Anyhew....Highland claims in their application that:
“For comparative purposes, a water management system for the agricultural lands known as the Holland Marsh, located in Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Ontario is operated to maintain dry land conditions below the water table. The system consists of five pumping stations, with the main pumping station comprised of four pumps; one primary pump and three secondary, staged pumps. The primary pump has a capacity of about 52,000 m3/day and the three secondary pumps have capacities of about 142,000 m3/day (my note: 142 million l/day) at each pumping station or a total of 2,390,000 m3/day”


In fact this statement could not be further from the truth. 

The Holland Marsh has the ‘ability’ to pump up to 100, 000 gpm. This may happen for a period of approximately 6 hours through the course of a year.  This would be only happening during the spring freshet, and even then pumps are often manually turned off as it has a negative impact to the river.  

The pumps often sit idle from June to September.

In fact the Deputy Mayor of Bradford West Gwillimbury has expressed concerns about the quarry in the July 28, 2011 Orangeville Citizen article by Dan Pelton-link attached
http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2011-07-28/Front_Page/Water_sustainability_a_key_megaquarry_issue.html

Friday, July 29, 2011

PUBLIC MEETING ON RAIL SALE

Fascinating. 

Five people voted against Orangeville holding a public meeting, ASAP, to discuss their agreement with Highlands to sell the railline and the possible sale of the County portion to Highlands, with the assistance of Orangeville's weighted vote.

I mean honestly, wouldn't it be much better to put it out there and get all the facts straight and be open and transparent with the ratepayers?

If you were one of the five who voted no, please comment on this post with your rationale.

Rob and Warren, I know you two are busy people and since we know what your motivation is ($$$$$$$, as opposed to the good of County), I wouldn't expect you to take the time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HILL AND KNOWLTON

Hill (of Beans) and Knowlton might need their own public relations firm after accepting Highlands, Baupost, aka Seth Klarman for customers regarding their little quarry in little old Melancthon.

And you can't blame Highlands, Baupost, aka Seth Klarman for hiring Hill and Knowlton, I mean they have managed some pretty big public relations disasters.  You know that quirky little problem of cigarettes causing cancer and H&K managing that crisis by issuing a Frank statement stating there was no verifiable research between cigarettes cancer (or words to that effect). 

Then the little quote that managing the outrage is more important than managing the hazard or something like that.

I do have to say however, Minebuster owes Daniher an apology. I had assumed he was a poor public relations person with all that stuff he would say to the press that seemed pretty ineffectual and this blog has put the screws to him over the past couple of years. 

Little did I know it apparently comes in a book because the new spokesperson is uttering the same nonsense with about as much substance as a pile of dog crap that has been out in the rain for a few days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MIA

Rumours are rampant that a local elected official, who was going to save our community and stand up against all evil and turn the ship around, can't even be bothered to show up at committee meetings, but is at every letter opening and media call.

Anyone know anything about this?

Monday, July 25, 2011

NON COMSUMPTIVE USE OF WATER

You might see that phrase or a variation of that in Highland Companies, aka Baupost aka Seth Klarman, studies submitted under the Aggregate Resources Act.

The aggregate industry LOVES that term.

They are saying they don't consume the water they use.

Maybe not, but Highlands plans call for pumping up to 600 million litres of water a day from the quarry floor, water that has been exposed to blasting contaminants, exhaust fumes, oil, gas, to the surface and let it sit in "settling ponds" (NOTE: Is there a technology that separates oil from water?) then re injecting it into the surface water for the rest of us to drink.

Non-consumptive.  Hmmm.

That is like saying my dog is a non-consumptive user of all the dog food it eats, because honestly it craps out more than what it consumes, but I don't think anyone would want to use it again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

TRAGIC DEATH OF A LOCAL COUNCILLOR

The tragic death of a local councillor (and no, it isn't the one you might be wishing to the moon for) is greatly exagerated.

Well, not so much exagerated as NOT TRUE.

Drop by the Honeywood Beef Barbbque and see if all our favourite elected officials are alive, or if you can pick out the weekend at Bernie's corpse.

The community is rife with rumours that the said councillor planted those very same rumours as to get out of having to organize the beef bbque this year, but trust Minebuster.

All local councillors are alive and none of them died in their sleep at the age of 43.

TALE OF THE TROUBLED TRAIN

To follow this little saga I am providing a cast of characters:

MAIN CHARACTER: Rob Adams, Mayor of Orangeville

And that is pretty much it, all you need to know.

So, hang on to your hat, here we go:
In 2000, the then Orangeville Mayor, Rob Adams, had a brilliant idea.

He would purchase the abandoned rail line in Orangeville positioning it to his ratepayers as the economic salvation of his town.

He bamboozled, I mean worked, with the then MPP, David Tilson (now MP Tilson) and managed to secure a no strings $2 million provincial grant and put that towards the $3.5 purchase price.  (Note: a no strings grant in government speak is you don't have to pay it back, no matter what and that means the PROVINCIAL taxpayers paid to help Orangeville out.)

So good on Tilson.  He did what an MPP is supposed to do.  Help bolster the economy for his local constituents. I bet now he wishes he had taken a harder look at the business plan though.

The railroad purchase then was a steal at a net cost of $1.5 million for Orangeville.

The Orangeville Railway Development Corporation (ORDC), now managed by the Orangeville Brampton Railway Corporation OBRC) was formed.

The formation of the ORDC was permitted under the Municipal Act, which basically lets municipalities form corporations, who then are no longer bound by those pesky open meeting rules in the Municipal Act,  (or union rules or anything other than private corporation rules).

So fair enough.

The future was so bright for Rob Adams at that time, he had to wear shades. In fact here is a quote from the Town of Orangeville’s website that as of today is still posted:
The OBRY is in the railway business for the long haul!http://www.orangeville.ca/page.php?id=563

Except, and here comes the except, Mayor Adams didn’t have the foresight to realize that Orangeville is ONLY 30 km from Brampton.

I guess he didn't realize that by the time an industrial business loads freight on to a truck, drives it to an Orangeville train depot, unloads it off a truck onto the train, then unloads it off the train at the Brampton depot and trucks it somewhere in Brampton or the GTA, it is a hell of a lot faster to just truck it in the first place.

Good God, any 4 year old that plays with a Thomas the Tank set would know that.

Mayor Adams also also seemed to fail to recognize that while there were benefits to him as an elected official of forming a development corporation (again, he would be away from glare of the pesky public and press) there would also be negatives. 

Private corporations pay taxes.

And pay taxes this rail corporation does.

To the tune of $500,000.00 a year to Orangeville.

So follow this convoluted logic-The Town of Orangeville really IS the ORDC and so has to raise $500,000 in taxes to pay THEMSELVES.

Why wouldn't the Town of Orangeville just suspend the ORDC from paying taxes?  Well that would have been a contravention of the Municipal Act under bonusing rules.  A municipality can NOT provide financial assistance to a private company. 

Anyhew, as of today the ORDC has five customers and runs part time.

Not a typo, yes, 5 customers.  They are
Vulsay Industries
Industrial Thermo Plymers
Clorox Company of Canada Ltd.
Roechling Engineering Plastics Ltd.
Direct Plastics Group


So in 2008, along comes Orangeville’s saviour the Highland Companies aka Baupost who were looking for a little corridor from Melancthon to Owen Sound to “enhance” their existing agricultural operations, they said.


In 2009 Orangeville and Highlands entered into an agreement of purchase and sale, with Highlands agreeing to pay $5 million for the purchase of the rail line in Orangeville, with an additional $2 million being paid to Orangeville when the remaining County railbed was sold to Highlands and the track laid.
(NOTE TO READER: Pay attention to that little detail because if Rob thinks he is going to see a cent of the bonus, he is sorely mistaken. Highlands has outsmarted him on that, but then outsmarting Rob isn't that hard.)


Why would Orangeville get a “bonus” so to speak if the County agreed to sell their portion?


Well because in Dufferin, County votes are weighted, based on population. So the two Orangeville reps on County
Council get 12 votes out of 29 but on the rail issue, the Mayor of Shelburne, in keeping with the provisions of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, has to declare a conflict of interest and not vote, (no debate, no question that is just the way it is).  Since the Mayor of Shelburne has 2 votes, that leaves a majority of votes on the rail issue is leaving 27 votes on the rail issue and majority vote rules.  With Orangeville's 12 votes, the means they only need 2 more votes to win a majority, providing no one is absent.  If there is an absence, the majority votes is reduced by the number of people who are away.


Here is the structure of voting at County:
Amaranth (2 votes) Mayor & Deputy 1

East Garafraxa (2 votes) Mayor only
East Luther Grand Valley (2 votes) Mayor only
Melancthon (2 votes) Mayor & Deputy 1 each
Mono (4 votes) Mayor & Deputy 2 each
Mulmur (2 votes) Mayor & Deputy 1 each
Shelburne (3 votes) Mayor 2 & Deputy Mayor 1
Orangeville (12 votes) Mayor & Deputy 6 each
29 Votes


Others on County Council and the public thought that Orangeville might have a little bit of a bias for voting at the County table FOR the sale of the County owned rail bed to benefit Orangeville, as opposed to acting in the best interests of the County, which is what all elected officials at the County table are to do.


In fact they felt so much that way that the potential conflict of interest issue went to court. In the end a judge determined that Orangeville reps on County Council did not have a conflict of interest.

So fair enough.

Oh yeah, I forgot this little detail. Can you guess who offered and is paying the annual property taxes on behalf of Orangeville until the deal is closed?

All together now....survey says: Highlands. To the tune of $500,000 per year.

Oh yeah, I forgot this little detail. Can you guess who paid all of Orangeville’s legal bills around the conflict of interest issue?

All together now....survey says: Highlands!!! To the tune of $94,487.02.

And finally, oh yeah, I forgot this little details.  Guess who paid all of Orangeville’s legal bills as it related to the sale of the lands to Highlands?

All together now.....survey says: Highlands. To the tune of $135,856.04.

No wonder Adams and his minion Maycock, I mean Deputy Mayor, Warden of the County of Dufferin were so happy to pose for this picture, that was pretty offensive to alot of people.

But now Rob, wearing his County hat, is saying what an economic driver the sale of the rail bed owned by the County will be (dejavu all over again anyone?) to the COUNTY!!!!


So since this is a long and convoluted story here is quick RECAP, pay attention:
  • Orangeville/Adams bought the rail line as an economic driver for Orangeville
  • Cost $3 million, $2 million of which was paid for the by taxpayers of Ontario NOT Orangeville
  • Net cost to Orangeville $1.5 million
  • Rail proved not to be financially viable
  • Orangeville/Adams enters into an agreement to sell the rail line to Highlands for $7 million (including the “bonus” of $2 million)
  • Net gain to Adams $5 million not including the $500,000 annually paid by Highlands on property taxes
  • Loss of respect of most ratepayers in Dufferin-priceless
And if everything was kosher on this deal, Adams wouldn’t have voted at the County level against having a public meeting about the sale


He would not be contravening the rules of open meeting and notice of meetings by burying the County rail subcommittee meetings INSIDE general government services agendas


He would NOT be refusing to permit Melancthon Councillors make a delegation to Orangeville Council about the QUARRY issue, NOT the rail bed issue


He would NOT have voted at County Council against holding a public meeting prior to entering into any deal to sell the County's portion of the rail bed


And he would show up at some public events supporting the DUFFERIN residents who are against the quarry, just like the MPP.s, MP;’s and other elected officials from outside of their own ridings are doing.


So, what is the prob, Rob?

Hopefully, however, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel (and not the one shining out of Adams ass) and Orangeville ratepayers will finally hear about this issue and ask the hard questions of their elected officials. 


If you get $7 million for a rail line ($2 million for the sale of portion that you don't even own), will that pay for our water supply until the end of time?


The following elected officials are on the railway Board of Directors, in case you wanted to contact them:


Councillor Scott Wilson
519-835-0900

swilson@orangeville.ca

Councillor Mary T. Rose
519-941-7654
mrose@orangeville.ca

Councillor Gail Campbell
519-942-2719
gcampbell@orangeville.ca


Councillor Sylvia Bradley
519-940-8747
sbradley@orangeville.ca


Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock
519-941-1837
wmaycock@orangeville.ca


Mayor Rob Adams
519-941-0440 ext. 2240 (Mayor's Office)
radams@orangeville.ca

Thursday, July 21, 2011

MELANCTHON IS ON THE RADAR

Well truth be told, little old Melancthon has been on someone's radar for a long time - Seth Klarman and Baupost investors.

But thanks to them, NOW we are on Ministry of Natural Resources radar and in fact are so important we now have our own little page on the MNR's great big website.  Check it out:
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/About/2ColumnSubPage/STDPROD_085704.html

The Minister states:
The Ministry is committed to ensuring an open and transparent licensing application process. Updates on the status of this application will be provided on a regular basis.

She confides that 2,051 written letters were received by the April 26, 2011 deadline and that 3,735 comments were posted to the EBR by the July 11, 2011 deadline.  She must have forgot about the 110,000 Avaaz petitions that were delivered to her office this past week.

If she is truly committed to an open and transparent process, then pdf all the letters and comments received and post them on line for the public to see, because right now the only people privy to them are Highlands. 

The letters submitted do NOT get circulated to any other commenting Ministry, they get counted at MNR and filed. 

THEN when Highlands sends out their registered letter to everyone saying they have met objections based on the information they provided at the mandatory public meeting they held (I call that the Strada strategy), the onus is on the objector to refile their objection within 20 days and THEN go to the OMB on the private citizen's own dime.

Trust me, the MNR, MMAH, OMAFRA, or any other Ministry will NOT see even one of these letters. But if this is truly a transparent process, the objections SHOULD be public.  Names, addresses and all comments.  Everyone who filed a letter or comment on the EBR was told they were filing a public document.

If you have a problem with that, the Minister's email is:

ljeffrey.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Keep a copy of your email, or cc it to any grassroots organization fighting this, because I suspect the email to the Minister will disappear into the black hole after the October 6 provincial election.





WATER WATER.....EVERYWHERE???


Record temperatures to be set today.

Increased significant weather events (tornado's, floods, heat waves)

Almost every municipality in Simcoe has declared a fire ban and watering ban

Adjala-Tos has had a well declared contaminated and if I recall correctly had to truck water to Rosemont residents at one time

Local folklore has it about 6 years ago a Mansfield resident left their garden hose on one night and everyone's wells went dry

BUT, our government is going to let a 2,300 acre 200 foot below the water table, open pit gold, I mean limestone mine, go through to the "process" to ensure all is well with the proposal.

Good god.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SOCIAL EVENT OF THE SEASON

An oldie but goodie, by a former writer for the Free Press about the Honeywood Beef BBQUE
http://orangeville.our-hometown.com/news/2009-07-23/local_news/039.html

Details on this weekend’s event are at the link below, but really, all you really, really need to know is the food is darn good, there are NO vegan meals, ALL help is volunteer, ALL proceeds go to the Honeywood arena and if you aren't there, well then you are square~!
http://www.thehillsofheadwaters.com/townshipofmulmur/mem-eventinfo.php?id=1665



SPIN CYCLE

New spin by Highlands.

Instead of the former PR tactic employed by Highlands, the one of blaming greedy farmers who sold out and bitter farmers who didn’t,  for causing the situation in Melancthon, NOW they are pointing the finger at our own provincial government as to why this situation exists:


Lindsay Broadhead, spokesperson for The Highland Companies, said the demand for aggregates is coming from the province’s $100 billion 10-year infrastructure plan and there are limited locations where extraction can occur.

Entire article:
QUARRY QUANDRY
http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/uncategorized/quarry-quandary/

Well if that is true Miss Lindsay, then I am sure Highlands, backed by the  Baupost Group, will have NO problem signing, as part of their site agreement and all approvals that every ounce of aggregate pulled from Mother Earth via that 2,300 acre 200 foot deep below the water table open pit mine, be used on the province’s 10 year $100 billion dollar infrastructure projects.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

QUIBBLES AND BITS

Various articles and astute, intelligent and inarguable observations from Minebuster (cough, cough, cough)
Adj-Tos is having water problems-STILL or AGAIN?
"Adjala-Tosorontio Public Works Superintendent Jim Moss said the township will continue to keep a close eye on the water quality of two of its wells that were recently classified as significant contamination threats."
http://www.simcoe.com/community/alliston/article/1040055
Astute and important comment by Minebuster:
This is one municipality that took interest in the quarry issue several years ago,  presumably because they know how important water is, probably as a result of having to truck water to their ratepayers. 

County sending SIX on Japan gasification tour
http://www.orangeville.com/news/local/article/1044691--county-sending-six-on-japan-gasification-tour
ASTUTE and important comment by Minebuster:
Of course they should.  At the last County meeting at which this was discussed, there was talk about sending ONE staff and ONE elected official and paying for most of their own expenses on their own and (I am paraphrasing here) exchanging underwear to keep costs down. 

Seriously this is NOT how business is conducted in any other world.  It is this narrow minded thinking that limits/hinders the entire County.

“This is a really important, serious adventure for the county,” explained East Garafraxa Mayor Allen Taylor, chair of the county’s Community Development Committee (CDC). The cost of sending six people over there for under $20,000 to have a first-hand experience as to what we’re heading toward is a good investment."
 
Much as I hate to admit it, Taylor is right about having first-hand experience as to what they are heading for.  Unfortunately he is wrong about the comment "heading toward a good investment".
 
Still the Japanese plant better be up and running and not just a PR showpiece, like the one a whole bunch of our Dufferin County elected officials travelled to in the States on a cut rate 30 hour (or some crazy number of hours) bus trip to see, well, basically NOTHING but a PR exercise.
 
And finally I hope that in order to justify the cost of touring this facility, County doesn't rubber stamp it YES because they might face criticism because they spent money on going and then said NO.
 
There needs to be full accountability and transparency around this entire endeavour so when the public shows up to question the findings, don't take it as a personal insult or an attack that you went there. 
 
Take it for what it is and should be-the public's interest on an issue that is going to impact them forever and our elected official's willingness to be open and transparent,NOT about who got to go, seriously who cares. 
 
IF it is good for us, tell us why. 
 
If the only reason to approve it is financial, in order to keep the tax rate down, be honest and deal with the consequences.
 
Because quite frankly we can see through BS.  For example, the sale of the railbed, being sold as the economic salvation of the County by Robbing Adams and Merry Maycock we can all see as BS. 
 
The purchase of rail bed several years ago didn't turn out so well for Orangeville, despite at the time being sold as the economic salvation of Orangeville, and now the rest of us are being sold down the river on the same flawed bill of goods.
 
When County Councillor Taylor makes the statement: “We’re going to see a state-of-the-art facility that would service Dufferin County and other areas around us really well.”


Everone should be disturbed, because quite frankly Dufferin is becoming the proverbial sacraficial lamb and trashbin of Ontario-windturbines, gasification plants, mega quarries, all to service the needs of urban Ontario, the so called economic drivers.
 
Wonder what would happen to all those big suits on Bay Street if there was no water to drink, no unpolluted air to breath food to eat or most importantly their commute to the cottage (you know their second home) was hampered by 7,200 trucks per day on their transportation corridor.
 
Wouldn't matter how many big stock deals they made that day, would it?

And finally,  Shelburne intersection a jurisdictional nightmare
Shelburne is facing a jurisdictional nightmare, plus an EA and they aren't even digging a 2,300 hundred, 200 foot below the water table, open pit limestone mine. http://www.orangeville.com/news/local/article/1044731--shelburne-intertection-a-jurisdictional-nightmare

Astute and important comment by Minebuster:
Wonder what will happen when Highlands puts another 7,200 trucks a day, yes a DAY, on County Road 124??? Just asking.

Monday, July 18, 2011

EXCELLENT SUMMARY AND OVERVIEW

Click on this link for an excellent overview and summary of the quarry.  Keep following this site. great work!!
 
http://users.xplornet.com/~dbaylis/mega-quarry/Overview.htm

Sunday, July 17, 2011

HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?



Too hot to blog

Too hot to think (although as all readers knows, there isn't alot of thinking that goes into this blog)

So, nothing new here today.

Although, as hot as it is for us in Ontario today, I believe our Shy Guy Seth Klarman, founder of the Baupost Group, aka Highland Companies, behind the 2,300 acre, 200 foot below the water table open pit limestone mine situated on the headwaters of Ontario, is feeling the heat in other ways.......

Friday, July 15, 2011

LATE TO THE PARTY-BUT COME ON IN

This article is by our local paper, Shelburne Free Press/Orangeville Citizen:
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT IS NEEDED
http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2011-07-14/Editorial/An_environmental_assessment_is_needed.html

Their support for calls for an Environmental Assessment are certainly appreciated by this blogger and probably by the grassroots organization who have been working diligently, mostly on their own dime for 3 years trying to raise the awareness of the issue.

I will say, however, that in my opinion there has been a decided lack of balanced reporting by this paper in favour of one of their biggest advertisers, the Highland Companies.

In fact, often articles were “written” based entirely on press releases issued by Highlands, without disclosing that fact or seeking clarification on Highlands (mis) information.

Here are some notable comments from articles from the Free Press with links to the articles. You decide for yourself if they are fair and balanced.

WHILE WE MIGHT SYMPATHIZE with property owners who feel they're being kept in the dark about planned developments, we are having some difficulty with the wild speculation surrounding the proposal to restore the rail line north from Orangeville. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-03-12/editorial/016.html

It wouldn't even be new if the ND agricultural and community taskforce were to spend its resources negotiating for the best possible outcome for all parties. The sad truth of the matter is that there are bound to be agricultural disruptions of some kind to access an aggregate resource that's vitally needed for nearby development — no matter whether that be for residential or employment, or just transportation. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-07-16/columns/023.html

In the circumstances, perhaps the best course for NDACT will be to strive for a compromise under which Highland will be barred from having an operation that occupies more than 100 of its 6,000 acres http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-06-25/editorial/028.html

According to the plans graphically displayed at the Community Hall and in a hand-out booklet, only 300 acres of the proposed 2,400 would be affected at any given time. And then only 50 acres within each 300-acre tract would be subject to actively staged mining operations, as rehabilitation would be on a progressive basis. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-07-30/regional_news/009.html

Like it or not, the aggregate industry is, and will remain, a fact of life in Southern Ontario, and the problems posed by creation of a new quarry will most likely be found at any site selected by a proponent. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-07-16/editorial/020.html

There is a growing debate as to what Melancthon Council can, or even should, do to prevent a large quarry from being established on prime agricultural and in the township's headwaters. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-08-06/regional_news/040.html

We can only guess at how the Ontario Municipal Board — which will have the final word on the application — is going to react to a council position of, in effect, saying, "we don't care what exactly they want, we are against it." http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-10-08/editorial/022.html

On the other hand, provincial laws appear to be strongly in favour of aggregate extraction over other land uses, including farming, and it’s at least arguable that there would be little point in the council fighting what would inevitably be a losing battle. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2010-01-06/Editorial/Fighting_the_quarry_will_be_costly.html/

The complaints were presumably based in part on a belief that Highland was removing trees in preparation for a quarry. http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2009-10-29/local_news/023.html

It would appear the Free Press has made a slight policy shift in THEIR reporting on the Baupost Mega Mine.



You can search for all the stories at this link: http://www.citizen.on.ca/search/luceneapi_node/quarry?page=10

NASTY NAFTA

In today’s Globe and Mail is the headline: Oil tycoon takes on Ontario Green Energy Act over wind farm.

Under NAFTA rules, foreign investors can file a NFATA challenge to the federal government if they feel they have been discriminated against.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/oil-tycoon-takes-on-ontario-green-energy-act-over-wind-farm/article2097575/

So while this article is about wind energy and the Federal government being challenged because the Province of Ontario allegedly changed the rules in mid-game on this company, remember a large foreign owned company could take the same action regarding an aggregate application.

The Council of Canadians has been warning about the flaw in NAFTA for years.

Various provincial governments (over many years I might add) have been lobbied by the rich aggregate industry and in small increments through legislation and regulation changes have skewed the Aggregate Resources Act in favour of the aggregate industry.

These leg and reg changes were really not all that noticeable when someone wanted to dig a 100 acre above the water table gravel pit, but have become all too clear in recent years (Flamborough, Caledon and now Highland/Baupost)

And now politicians are being faced to reap what they have sown.

While the average citizen can’t afford $5,000.00 a plate at political fundraisers, the average citizen, UNLIKE corporations DO vote. So there is the crux of the matter.

Political parties want to the corporate money to fund their political organizations but they need the vote to actually get re-elected.

Analysis? This is going to cost taxpayers one way or the other at all levels, local, provincial and federal.

We pay the politicians and bureaucrats to put the rules in place, pay the politicians and bureaucrats while they are being lobbied, we pay at the grassroots level to fight our own government against the skewed rules resulting from the lobbying, and then we pay again at the federal level if the big corporations are unhappy.

In the words of Winston Churchill:
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SMILE SETH - YOU ARE ON THE WORLD WIDE RADAR


It seems our shy guy, Seth Klarman, the titan of  the Baupost Group is finding his name in the press alot lately and NOT for his generous donations to good causes in and around Boston, but for his hedgefund's investment in the Melancthon Mega Quarry and the public furor it has created.

I love the quote in the article title: Hedge Fund Manager Seth Klarman is Having a Hard Time With His New Commodity Investment Project where it states: Klarman also has a long history of eschewing media attention and conducting his business in relative silence, which makes his involvement with a controversial project like the Ontario quarry even more curious.  “This has to be driving him absolutely nuts,” said one analyst familiar with Baupost.


Entire article is at this link: http://www.businessinsider.com/is-hedge-fund-manager-seth-klarman-destroying-natural-canadian-resources-in-the-name-of-profits-2011-7

NOTABLE QUOTABLE OF THE DAY-I DRINK WATER NOT CASH!!

The July 11, 2011 Globe and Mail article titled Wall Street Legend Aims to Strike Pay Dirt in Ontario, written by Martin Mittelstaedt, was profiled on this blog July 12, 2011.  Click here for link to the article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/wall-street-legend-aims-to-strike-pay-dirt-in-ontario/article2093919/

Right now, there are 79 comments posted on the story and here is the link to the comments:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/wall-street-legend-aims-to-strike-pay-dirt-in-ontario/article2093919/comments/

To save you some time, here are some notable quotables from the comments:
  • "The Globe's story about Seth Klarman, Baupost, Highland and its plans to excavate the largest quarry in Canada contains some serious errors.
  • This article reads like a poorly written marketing bulletin
  • The Globe and Mail has become a shyster newspaper. Promoting some Wall Street money making scheme (rife with disgusting facts the paper conceals)
  • Shame on the Globe.
  • ...here is how it works: paid PR firms call in their favours with journalists to get their stories out.
  • What happened to the globe and mail having educated journalists writing for them?
  • Shame on the Globe and Mail for this corporate "perception management" article. Fake news at its best.
Had enough?  Well Minebuster hasn't.  Here are a few more:
  • Martin; how much were you paid by Baupost for this fluff piece?
  • Wow Globe and Mail!!! I am seriously impressed with your tunnel vision.
  • Disgusting, pro-business coverage of a critical issue. I am finally cancelling my subscription.
  • Well, we know who is shilling for Hill and Knowlton now, don't we?
  • This article is a press release for Seth Klarman, Baupost and Highland Companies. The Globe and Mail should be ashamed
  • Mittelstaedt's shockingly poor piece of advertorial ignores the chorus of rational objections to this proposal, including those from the Ontario's own Ministry of the Environment.
  • I won't harp on what a stunning puff piece this was, and how disappointed I am in the Globe for publishing it.
  •  I drink water not cash. (Minebusters personal favourite quote of the day and this blogger will be shamelessly stealing this quote for quite awhile)
  • This paper is a disgrace for putting this garbage up.
  • Perhaps next time you can write an article on Hitler's marketing acumen and forget to mention all the other stuff.
  • The only good thing about this article is that it gives us the opportunity to spread the word about how bad this quarry is for everyone "
The following letter to the Globe and Mail editor appears today:

"This proposed “mega” quarry in Dufferin County in Southwestern Ontario will destroy much-needed agricultural land (Wall Street Legend Aims To Strike Pay Dirt In Ontario – Report on Business, July 12). Forever. It will be dug below the water line and will pump 600 million litres of water daily, then send it back into the ground for consumption by more than one million Ontarians, complete with whatever toxins have been added via the blasting. Blasting will take place 24/7; 4,000 trucks will enter and exit the quarry daily.

Over 100,000 people from all over the world have signed a petition, circulated by Avaaz, to halt this horrendous plan. Local residents, farmers, environmentalists are united in fighting what would surely destroy their peaceful community. The Suzuki Foundation, Council of Canadians and dozens more organizations are protesting the proposed quarry.

Billions of dollars in limestone sit under our land and the profits to be made from it will make some American investors very rich, despite destroying irreplaceable farmland. This is something to cry about, to get enraged about. It is not something to celebrate, unless greed trumps common sense.
Gail Prussky, Shelburne, Ont."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

THE WORLD IS WATCHING

The world is watching what is going on here in little old Melancthon.

That is evident by the 116,000 signatures obtained in 4 days on Avaaz.

V.R. land had a segment on the 6 pm news tonight about New Tecumseth and Cookstown being concerned about truck traffic from Highlands through their communities and have called for a more comprehensive traffic study than the one that Highlands did. 

I mean seriously, Highland's studies showed up to 7,200 trucks a day on County Road 124 and all the trucks on their study just disappeared at Primrose. 

As Uncle Bobby would say, "It's magic".





Also this article appeared today which is just another wonderful piece of reporting. 

Highlites include:
"The proposed mega-quarry is a threat to all Canadians, says Emma Ruby-Sachs, a campaign director for Avaaz.
The Highland application states that the quarry would create 465 jobs, and over $140 million in annual local spending.But critics say the application does not take into account the number of jobs that could be lost.
“Tourism in the [region] is estimated to have a $100 million annual impact in our region, creating approximately 1400 jobs,” says Hills of Headwaters Executive Director Michele Harris.
Politicians from across the floor have joined local residents, farmers, and environmental groups in voicing their opposition to the quarry."

PAY DIRT IN ONTARIO

From today's Globe and Mail comes an article titled, Wall Street Legend Aims to Strike Pay Dirt in Ontario. 

Should have been called Wall Street Legion Plays Dirty with Canadians.

Excerpt from the article:
in a written statement to The Globe and Mail, Baupost said the investment “is consistent with our long-term, value-oriented strategy. We take our role as a responsible investor seriously, and made this investment because we were confident that Highland would pursue this project in a thoughtful way that respected the local application process, as well as important community and environmental concerns.”
Click here for entire article (and be sure to go to page 2 and read all the comments)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/wall-street-legend-aims-to-strike-pay-dirt-in-ontario/article2093919/

If you would like to take issue with their quote in the Globe and Mail,  you can contact the Baupost Group via email at: client@baupost.com

or by snail mail to:
THE BAUPOST GROUP10 St. James Avenue - Suite 1700Boston, MA 02116617.210.8300

Please ensure that identify in your correspondence that you speak for yourself and not any grassroots organizations.

Monday, July 11, 2011

CAN'T KEEP UP WITH THE MEDIA FRENZY

FOOD FREEDOM
"When Ontario engineer John Lowndes explored the highlands in Southern Ontario, he decided that the $120 billion in limestone beneath the water table would be well worth the investment of $80 million to buy the farmland and begin mining it. To hell with the environment, the rural economy, or the watersheds and lives affected."
Click here for entire article:
http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/ontario%E2%80%99s-prime-ag-land-and-watershed-under-mining-threat/
 
STOP THE MEGA QUARRY
Ralph and Mary Lynne Armstrong on their farm near the proposed quarry. “Where’s the good food going to come from if you don’t have land to grow it on?” says Ralph, a cattle and pig farmer. (Sept. 24, 2009)

Click here for entire article:
 http://www.thehealingjournal.com/node/2143
 
 
THOUSANDS OF CANADIANS RALLY TO STOP THE MEGA QUARRY
In just a matter of days, over 112,000 people have rallied and signed a petition opposing the building of a mega-quarry in southern Ontario.

Click here for entire article:
http://www.globaltoronto.com/Thousands%20Canadians%20rally%20stop%20mega%20quarry/5084576/story.html

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