Monday, December 31, 2012


Contributed by Donna T:

One year ago this weekend, the Toronto Star published a four-page investigative article about our fight to stop the Highland mega quarry.

At the same time, a reporter from 'Fortune' magazine was flying back to New York after touring the region to write story about Seth Klarman and the Baupost Group's unusual and controversial investment in Ontario.

A few days later, a U-S business website, ValueWalk, published an article about the mega quarry project, saying Highland had "mismanaged" the proposal from the beginning and it faced "stormy skies." It seems the opening days of 2012 foreshadowed our victory just 11 months later.
As we all know, it has been a most remarkable year and it would not have been possible without the energy, ideas and tremendous commitment of the thousands of people who joined our movement.
Every month we raised awareness about the issue through creative and positive events. Paint-Ins and art exhibits were organized by Artists Against the MegaQuarry to highlight the beauty of the land at risk.
Hundreds of people stopped by the NDACT booth at the Green Living Show to ask questions, show support and sign the petitions.
Graphic design students at OCADU created a collection of mega quarry posters. Stomp the MegaQuarry introduced hundreds of walkers, runners and cyclists to the fertile fields, forests and rivers that were threatened. 
Paddle the Grand to Stop the MegaQuarry spread our message west of the proposed site.
The Tater Awards celebrated the stories told by reporters, filmmakers, musicians and bloggers about our campaign.
Students at schools and universities tackled the mega quarry in class assignments and projects.
And, of course, Soupstock became one of the largest and tastiest protests in the country as 40,000 people enjoyed soup for a cause in October.
Much hard work was also done on the political front as we participated in the review of the Aggregate Resources Act by the Standing Committee on General Government last spring.
It was an eye-opener from the beginning.
The aggregate industry was given preferential treatment and access to the hearings.
The review of a complex piece of legislation was given a mere 12 hours in Toronto. (This was later extended to other regions after a flood of e-mails.)
Its chief representative was allowed to conduct private tours of aggregate sites for the Committee's MPPs, yet an offer for a similar tour of the rare farmland adjacent to the proposed mega quarry site was rejected.
We will never forget the "Drive-By Bus Tour" of the most controversial proposed quarry site in Canadian history.
Yet, during those hearings our message about the urgency to protect prime farmland and vital water resources did get through, thanks to the excellent presentations by Carl Cosack, Dave Vander Zaag, Donna Baylis, Christina Wigle, Ron Lehman and other key agricultural stakeholders.
At the end of one long day of testimony, a Committee member said "Clearly, there's an urgent need to protect prime farmland."
He was right.
This will be our focus in 2013.
We may have defeated the mega quarry, but Highland still owns 8,000-acres of the best farmland in Canada and could return in a few years with a new quarry application.
As well, prime farmland is at risk across the province as it is not protected under current land-use policies.
There is much work to be done and we will continue to press for changes to the ARA and land-use planning.
The land that feeds us must be protected.
Stopping the mega quarry was just one of our goals over the past two years.
Creating a lasting legacy for our agriculture and water resources was the other.
Over the coming year, we will campaign for "Food and Water First."
Some of you already have the lawn signs with this message; more will be brought to the city in the spring.
We will be asking our political leaders for their position on "Food and Water First", whether they believe Ontario should protect the vital resources that contribute so much to our economy and well-being.
We hope you will continue fighting the good fight!
So, Happy New Year!
Let's make 2013 as successful and remarkable as 2012!

Sunday, December 30, 2012



Friday, December 28, 2012


In this week's Banner, Mayor Bill Hill is quoted as saying: I “I don’t think Highland will be back with a quarry application, but what is the next step in that development? That is an issue for us as well. No question.”

For pete's sake.

Mayor Hill, just a reminder, the limestone is still there, LOTS of it.

We were saved from the FIRST Highlands proposal thanks to NDACT and the grassroots movement they started.

Ask anyone in government, the aggregate industry, etc. and they will tell you Highlands, or someone they sell to, WILL be back. 

When and what form the application for an aggregate license will take is up for debate, so not if, but when.

Council has the tools and now the time (again thanks to NDACT) to get ready for the next one.

And it has been explained to them ad naseum at April, June, July and August 2009 Council meetings by various individuals what needs to be done.

The first thing that was stressed at all of those meeting was an OP which has proper tools (AEMOT, specialty crop, etc. etc.).

And as of today's date-THREE YEARS LATER, we still do not have an updated OP and are working from a 1970's document.

And thanks to this current Council, they have just renewed their faith in Geriatric Jorden and retained him as the planning consultant, despite being provided with an analysis by a ratepayer last year how they could have a full time planner who would be available FULL time at less cost but that landed on deaf ears too.

Good grief.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Monday, December 24, 2012


T’was a land like no other, fields rivers and streams
The roof of Ontario, all living the dream
Families farming together, jobs and lifestyles in sync
Neighbours helping each other, forming strong links

With visions of mining filling their dreams
Along came Highlands and a PR machine
Daniher and clipboard, Lowndes with his ‘stash
And grand plans to make, ooodles of cash

All through the land, Highlands caused such a clatter
People sprang into action to see what was the matter
To the keyboards they flew and learned in a flash
That Baupost had billions and billions in cash

They demolished the houses and cut down the trees
They bullied and badgered and never said please
Then what to our wondering eyes did appear
A group called NDACT and their mission was clear

NDACT rallied an army who were peaceful and calm
Determined to continue until Baupost was gone
With rallies at Queen’s Park and First Nations Walk
It was no time at all before that big Hedgefund balked

But the fight is not over, to continue is a fact
We must amend the PPS and Aggregate Act
Prime land has to trump over all rock and stone
NDACT has clearly made that very well known

So I say to you now with a heart so sincere
Enjoy Christmas season, but in the New Year
We’ll continue the battle, continue the fight
Until we rest easy cause all’s been put right.

So Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


So, since 2010 the County has been moving toward uploading waste management from lower tier municipalities.  All the voting took place, decisions made and yet.....according to the Orangeville Banner and my own reading of the relatively few reports about this matter.....  "At the eleventh hour, or in mid-November (2012) to be more precise, county staff learned the ramifications of its plan to upload waste collection responsibilities from its eight lower-tier municipalities in 2013 is going to be more costly for certain municipalities than others."

After it being a done deal, County staff found out the costs.  They are the ones who, presumably under the direction of Council, were to provide all the information to Council so they could make an informed decision.

So who is to blame?

Staff for not providing the cost OR
every single elected official who voted for this stupid freaking idea WITHOUT asking? 

And for the record that would be all County Councillors except Melancthon Mayor and Deputy Mayor.  And later on, after it was a done deal, Crewson asked about costs as well.

And these people (STAFF AND ELECTED OFFICIALS) feel they have the expertise to do the research and make an informed decision about something like a DEEP plant?


(and ps to the Orangeville Banner-I am NOT loving your new on-line format.  It is cluttered and hard to find news articles between the advertisements)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


From NDACT Chair's Xmas message newsletter:
"for those of you who have supported us with Stop the Mega Quarry signs will be able to trade them in for “Food and Water First” signs at our sign depots:

Entire newsletter here:


Outrage and concern in Orangeville over the "clear cutting" of 14 trees.

We can sympathize with you here in Melancthon, we lost hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, in 9 proven contraventions of the Dufferin County tree bylaw which the County refused to enforce or fine the perpetrator.

Full article on Orangeville's situation here:

Monday, December 17, 2012


Instead of worrying about a couple of horses on an agricultural lot, perhaps Melancthon Council should look to see if this Hornings Mills property has the proper zoning.

People regularly drop in to seek refuge in the shelter he built in the 1980s, named the “Ark Two,” which comprises 42 buried school buses.
Wonder who is liable if a bunch of people go down there and someone dies.  I would bet it might partly be the taxpayers of Melancthon as our Council knows about this and lets it continue.

Friday, December 14, 2012




"Johnny Lowndes was feeling sad
His plan had tanked, the boss was mad
There's really nothing left to say
So suck it up and go away......"


Walnut PlaceAccording to a Reuters article, that cites Bank of New York Mellon v. Walnut Place LLC et al.,[10] the Baupost Group is Walnut Place. Using a traditional hedge fund tool, legal challenges of distressed bond settlements, the Baupost Group is attempting to force Bank of America to increase its settlement of Reps & Warranties of countrywide sub-prime bonds. If the settlement were to be increased The Baupost group stands to make gains on bonds that they bought at very low values. It is unclear why the Baupost Group did not use their real name in the suit.

Natural Resource Extraction in Melancthon, Ontario, CanadaIn 2006 Baupost Group formed Highland Companies, a Nova Scotia-based corporation that began buying farmland in Melancthon Township, approximately 120 kilometres north of Toronto, Ontario, purportedly for the purpose of farming. Having amassed over 7,000 acres by early 2011, then being actively farmed by Highland Companies, the Company submitted an application for a 2,316 acre Amabel dolostone (limestone) mega-quarry. The application has seen heated opposition, as opponents raise concerns about groundwater contamination, local heritage, food security concerns, as well as a host of ancillary issues such as truck traffic congestion, highway safety, noise and dust pollution.[11] In November 2012, Highland Companies withdrew the application in response to that concerted community opposition.[12]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Misleading headline reads: Melancthon asked to champion turbine efforts

If my friend asks me to provide a reference to them for a prospective employer, that is asking me for a favour. 
BUT, if my friend says they will give me money to provide a reference to them for a prospective employer, well then that is a bribe.

So what is missing out of this headline, but included in the article, is Melancthon is asked to champion turbine efforts for the next twenty years in exchange for $5 million dollars.

I am somewhat encouraged by the Mayor’s response when he says:

Mayor Bill Hill said he wouldn’t support the document as it stands.

“I think it’s out of line. We’ve never been asked to do that in any other project. I’m not sure why we’d start now,” Hill said. “The project has to live and die on its own merits.”

Further: “$5 million sounds like a great big deal, but it’s over 20 years,” Hill said. “They’re not doing us a big favour.”

Lets hope he stick to his guns takes NO money with any type of condition, but maybe not:
The mayor added he is still hopeful an agreement acceptable to the municipality and Dufferin Wind is possible.

“I don’t know why we can’t. We have in the past,” Hill said. “We’ve done it three times before. If we don’t, I don’t think it’s us.”

And the largess of the company is overwhelming when they include in the contract: Dufferin Wind would provide a deposit of $1 million to ensure construction activities and “up to” $2 million to ensure decommissioning activities.

I will tell you now that it will cost close to a $100,000.00 PER turbine to decommission them in 20 years.  It isn’t like someone will take some torches and a pick up truck and cut them down. I would expect someone is going to have to get a HUGE amount of insurance to even be in this type of “scrap metal business”

Currently municipalities have the authority under the Municipal Act to charge them for decommissioning:

By-laws re special services
326.  (1)  A municipality may by by-law,

(a) identify a special service;

(b) determine which of the costs, including capital costs, debenture charges, charges for depreciation or a reserve fund, of the municipality are related to that special service;

(c) designate the area of the municipality in which the residents and property owners receive or will receive an additional benefit from the special service that is not received or will not be received in other areas of the municipality;

(d) determine the portion and set out the method of determining the portion of the costs determined in clause (b) which represent the additional costs to the municipality of providing the additional benefit in the area designated in clause (c);

(e) determine whether all or a specified portion of the additional costs determined in clause (d) shall be raised under subsection (4)

This way, in 20 years Melancthon will contract out to have the turbines decommissioned and the company who got all the money will actually pay.

Entire article here:

Sunday, December 9, 2012


According to this editorial, the Melancthon Mayor and Deputy were the only two to vote no on uploading waste to the  County as they felt they had insufficient information to vote. 

Good for them.

Modernization of any Legislation or Regulation means....

In government speak "modernization" means less oversight by the government.

Here are three notices that appeared on the Regulatory repository titled "modernization".

Their appearance on the repository means you still have time to comment:

Modernization of Approvals - proposed regulatory amendments to 5 regulations to update requirements for approvals for various fish and wildlife-related activities under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act
To seek input on proposed regulatory amendments to the approval process for some fish and wildlife-related activities issued under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Modernization of Approvals - proposed Proposed approaches to the implementation of the Endangered Species Act which could include regulatory amendments to authorize activities to occur subject to conditions set out in regulation consistent with MNR?s Modernization of Approvals.
The purpose of the proposal is to provide for a more efficient implementation of the Endangered Species Act through proposed approaches that include regulatory amendments to Ontario Regulation 242/08.

Modernization of Approvals - Proposed Regulatory Amendments to Work Permits issued under the Public Lands Act
To seek input on the proposed regulatory amendments to modernize MNR's approach to issuing work permits under the Public Lands Act.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


This isn't about Melancthon's 35 year old Official Plan.

The City of Burlington is going through their mandatory five year update of their OP as required by the province.

They are using cutting edge technology called the internet to engage the community-watch this video posted on Youtube.

Since the current planning regime in Melancthon seems somewhat less than advanced when it comes to technology-for gods sakes his company doesn't even have a website that comes up on an internet search, we shouldn't expect something as advanced as Burlington.

Maybe something more along the lines of this perhaps?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


In keeping with the season, hum/sing this to the tune of:

It was beginning to look alot like failure
Highlands big grand scam
The people demanded a say
And got a government ordered EA
And showed the mine was a really disasterous plan
It was beginning to look alot like failure
Baupost's big grand scheme
But the thing that would make them fail
Were the volumes of your mail
And it smashed their dreams!!

Monday, December 3, 2012


A very nice video.  Watch for the original NDACT Chair, Dale Rutledge.


"Mono is weighing its waste options “before its too late,” according to Mayor Laura Ryan. The new waste system will cost Mono residents 25 per cent more than they pay now.  As well, Mono will pay for 18.9 per cent of the county's waste cost — based on property assessment — but requires 11 per cent of the service."

Read all about it:

And why in the hell were municipalities not doing their due diligence BEFORE this stupidity occured?

What were the figures and reports on which they relied before uploading to the County?

And in another boneheaded move, Melancthon County has been going into closed session for awhile now to discuss a potential sale of land-landfill.

YES, the landfill.

Rumour has it they are looking at developing it into an industrial park.
  • On a wetland....
  • On a landfill site....
  • Miles from an urban/settlement area.....
  • With a crumbling road as the only route......
  • With no servicing....

I can tell you now with respect Melancthon Council, that you better start calling around to people who know about these things, NOT the current contract planner, but, MMAH (Brownfields) and MOE-closing and remediating a landfill, before you spend another thin dime on this.

It will never get approval.

Move on with things like getting a Official Plan in place, a fee to apply for an aggregate license of $1,000 per acre, a demolition control bylaw, a tree bylaw (while you have the chance before another form of a Baupost Quarry is filed) and oh yeah repair the roads.

Your asset management shouldn't be erected signs that say bumpy/rough road.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Marni Walsh has written a moving letter to the editor about the salt of the earth people in Melancthon, noting their accomplishments in stopping the Mega Quarry.

You can read it in its entirety here:

Marni has in her usual modest way, left out her involvement.

At the time that Highlands crawled out from under their rock and people started noticing their conniving ways (January 2009) Marni was writing for the Shelburne Free Press.

She was THE first reporter who wrote about the issue.  If you peruse this blog you will find her articles.  Her writing and support was a true inspiration to all of us in those early days when it seemed like the odds were insurmountable.

She attended Melancthon Council meetings, asked hard questions and made delegations.

She encouraged her local Church to hold forums about topical issues in the community, and the quarry issue was the first one that took place at Trinity United.

So thank YOU Marni!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


The horse shit started flying when "someone" made a complaint about horses in Melancthon. 

The CAO report on the July 19, 2012 minutes determined the horses were in fact on agricultural land.  Report in full here:

Someone bought a large farm and was advised when he bought that if he severed the house and barn and kept the ag holdings, that animals would not be permitted on the severed lot and the barn would have to come down due to minimum distance separation rules (MDS). 

Well apparently the township planner didn't know about MDS, but I digress.

Rather than demolish the house to make his life easier, the new owner severed the land, took down the barn and sold the house, which helps retain the tax base and housing stock in Melancthon.

THEN this guy, at the request of the owners of the horses, rented out a small parcel of his agricultural land for the horses.

So, unlike Highlands, who contravened tree bylaws, and demolished over 30 homes and Council apparently could do nothing about them, Council starts harrasing taking an inordinate interest in someone who purchased a large farm with the intent of NOT demolishing the house but rather severing it and selling AND who bought with the intention of actually adding the property to their extensive agricultural holdings with the actual intent of FARMING it, not mining it.

The harrasment  increased interest is summarized:
  • on June 13 with an "anon" complaint about the horses
  • a letter was sent to the agricultural land owner by the township
  • Council dealt with information at the June 21 meeting
  • July 3 the ag owner attended at the office and met with the Mayor (and of course had to provide the usual apology to Hill, the one Hill always demands about anything that pisses him off, with all due respect)
  • a legal opinion was obtained on July 12 (which stated it was a planning issue and naturally our esteemed planner should be the one dealing with it) 
  • finally a report written by the CAO on the July 19 agenda.
Are you freaking kidding me?

All this time and money spent on a couple of horses on agricultural land.  AND they are being "harboured" on the agricultural lot at the request of the owner on the severed lot. 

AND at the July 5 meeting the owner of the Ag land and the severed lots were mentioned by name, as the subject of a complaint.  I know that because their names appear in the minutes.  This should mean any and all further complaints are deal with in open session and the subject of the complaints be identified.

In my opinion I feel the increased attention to this "issue" is because two of our elected officials can crane their necks out their own front door and if they lean our far enough they can actually see these horses.

Since that time, the ag owner has had some difficulty in obtaining an entrance permit AND two senior staff from Melancthon were instructed to attend the property due to another "anon" complaint about a tractor driving in a ditch.

Honest to God.

Take a drive up the 5th line north of 20 sideroad and there is a property there, CLEARLY in contravention of the property standards bylaw, a property which has been the subject of many, many, many complaints by a neighbour and to date, Council has done piss all.  NOR was this individual ever mentioned by name in minutes.

I guess you only get enforcement if you happen to live near these two elected officials?

Maybe they should try something like this:

I have no idea if this is true or not, but it made me laugh!