Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

The Citizens' Alliance for a Sustainable Environment (CAUSE) says applications have been filed with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Township of Melancthon to create a 2,300-acre mega-quarry on some of Ontario's best remaining farmland.
The location is in the headwaters of the Nottawasaga and Grand rivers, which supply water to more than one million people.
Plans call for extraction to go 200 feet below the water table.
The first public meeting to discuss the application will take place at the Hornings Mills Community Hall in Shelburne on Tuesday, April 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Any stakeholders wishing to file an objection with the ministry must do so by the Tuesday, April 26, 2011, deadline.

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Barrie – April is Cancer Awareness Month, and Topper’s Pizza is making a $10,000 donation to the Canadian Cancer Society at the company’s franchising office in Barrie.
A proud supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society, Topper’s Pizza agreed to donate a portion of all House Dip sales from each of its 35 Ontario store locations for a period of one year, beginning in June 2009.
“We were very optimistic,” said Topper’s Pizza president Keith Toppazzini, noting it marked the first time the company’s famous House Dip would be offered in a bottled format.
“The product was so well-received, we exceeded our sales goals for the first year, leading to a much higher donation than anticipated. We couldn’t be happier.”



Three quarters of Canadians use toilet as garbage can

Average six to 20 litres of clean fresh water wasted with every flush; most Canadians have “no concept” of the real value of water, says UN water expert

While the majority of Canadians (55 per cent) continue to believe that fresh water is the country’s most important natural resource and say they are trying reasonably hard to conserve it (78 per cent), almost three quarters (72 per cent) admit to flushing items down the toilet that they could dispose of in another manner.
Left-over food, hair, bugs and cigarette butts lead the list of items discarded in toilets across the nation, wasting an average of six to 20 litres of fresh, clean water with each flush.
According to the fourth annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study, commissioned by RBC and Unilever and endorsed by the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the United Nations Water for Life Decade, Albertans (83 per cent) are most likely to admit to flushing items they could dispose of in another manner, and Quebecers least likely (65 per cent). And young Canadians, 18 to 34, are much more likely than those aged 55 plus to engage in the offending behaviour (84 per cent vs. 63 per cent, respectively).
Yet, Canadians’ knowledge of the quality of the water in their toilet, and the volume wasted, is high. Eight in 10 (80 per cent) know the water in their toilet is just as clean as the water coming out of their faucet, and three quarters (76 per cent) are aware that nearly half (45 per cent) of water used in the home is flushed down the toilet.
“This data highlights, once again, that Canadians are not making the connection between their personal water use and the true value of water,” says Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN Water for Life Decade. “They claim to care about conserving it, yet knowingly engage in water wasting activities, including using fresh, clean water to dispose of garbage. Canadians need to understand that water is a finite resource and there are significant social and economic implications related to wasting it.”
Canadians use, on average, 329 liters of water a day (Footnote 1). According to the survey, nearly seven in 10 (67 per cent) Canadians underestimated this amount. Canadian’s water wasting habits such as leaving the water running when doing the dishes (46 per cent) and hosing down the driveway (17 per cent) are contributing to high water usage.
Canadians don’t know what they pay for water
According to the study, Canadians are in the dark when it comes to the cost of water. While six in 10 (61 per cent) admit they do not know how much their household currently pays for water, they actually have a strong opinion about its cost: seven in 10 (70 per cent) believe that the unknown price is high enough to ensure water is treated as a valuable resource.
“Water is a real bargain in Canada, which is another reason Canadians have no concept of its value,” says Sandford. “Compared to other developed nations, Canadians pay very little to have water delivered to their homes. In France, water costs four times more, and in Germany, almost seven times more. Not surprisingly, average daily domestic water use in these countries is less than half of what it is in Canada. Until Canadians make the connection between personal use of water and its true value, our water wasting habits will continue.”
2011 Canadian Water Attitudes Study: Additional Themes /Regional Trends/Tracking Data
Following are additional highlights from the 2011 Canadian Water Attitudes Study, which has tracked Canadians perceptions and attitudes towards water quality and conservation for the past four years.
1.    Canadians try a bit harder to save electricity than water
•    Only four in 10 (40 percent) Canadians make the connection between water and electricity, understanding that it requires energy to treat and pump water; one-third (32 per cent) don’t think at all about the connection
•    Nine in 10 (86 per cent) Canadians say they try at least reasonably hard to conserve electricity, while only eight in 10 (78 per cent) say they try at least reasonably hard to conserve water
2.    Confidence in Canada’s drinking water growing
•    Canadians’  level of confidence in the safety and quality of Canada’s drinking water has increased significantly over the past two years, from 72 per cent in 2009 to 86 per cent in 2011; Confidence is highest in British Columbia, at 92 per cent, and lowest in Quebec, at 69 per cent
•    Nine in 10 Canadians (91 per cent) who drink tap water in their home are confident in its safety and quality; confidence is highest in Ontario at 97 per cent, and lowest in Quebec at 83 per cent
•    When it comes to the source of water they “typically” drink, almost half (48 per cent) drink water directly from their tap; one-third (28 per cent) drink filtered water;  two in 10 (21 per cent) drink bottled water and 14 per cent drink water from a large-jug cooler
3.    Confidence in Canada’s long-term supply of water has also Increased
•    Canadians’  level of confidence that Canada has enough freshwater for the long-term has increased over the past two years, from 70 per cent in 2009 to 77 per cent in 2011; confidence is highest in British Columbia, at 84 per cent; Quebecers are disproportionately less confident at 63 per cent
4.    Canadians increasingly concerned about the quality of water in Canada’s lakes
•    Almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) Canadians are concerned about the quality of water in lakes where they swim;  Quebecers are most concerned (90 per cent), followed by Ontarians and Maritimes (both 88 per cent)
•    Most Canadians (63 per cent) believe that the quality of their swimming lakes is getting worse
1.    Environment Canada. Topic 6. Water Conservation – Every Drop Counts! Accessed March 2011

It’s easy to remember the essentials when packing for the family camping trip, but there are a few secret items that will not only make your vacation more fun but also much easier.

“These simple tips may not turn you into Survivorman but they will make you look like a campground hero to your friends and family” says Mark Bingeman, of Bingemans Camping Resort in Kitchener.  

1. A bar of regular soap – Other than for the obvious reason, you can also use a regular bar of soap to stop the bottom of your pans from getting burned on an open flame. Just rub the bottom of the pans with the soap before using and after you’re done, any black scorching will come off with no hassle.

2. Pita bread – Pita bread packs much better and stays in better shape than regular sliced bread. You won’t have to worry about how you can keep your sandwich fixings from getting crushed and at the same time, save on space.

3. Cardboard tubes and newspaper – Before going camping save up all of your cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper. Before the big trip stuff them with newspaper to create handy fire starters. Once you’ve stacked your firewood in a fire pit you can light the fire starters and place under the firewood.

4. Garlic – Most people that take garlic to the campground use it just for cooking, however you can finely chop the garlic and mix it with water to create a natural insect repellant. Use a spray bottle to spray the garlic water mixture around your site to help keep insects away in a more natural way. 

5. Glow sticks/bracelets – Glow sticks or glow bracelets are a cheap way to make your campsite safer without ruining the camping ambiance. Glow sticks and bracelets can be wrapped around tent pegs, fallen branches or other objects that you might want to highlight in the dark. You can also use them to light a path to your tents if your fire pit is a little ways away or just give them to the kids as flashy nightlights. Glow sticks are a great subtle light that won’t ruin the fire or block out the stars.

Tips courtesy of Bingemans Camping Resort, Kitchener

The fight against the peaker plant in Ansnorveldt goes on

This letter from King Township councillor Avia Eek appeared in the King Sentinel on March 9, 1011, in response to the article in the March 4 Toronto Star by John Wilkes regarding Oakville winning nearly $500,000 in legal costs, incurred fighting a power plant in their community.

First of all, I’d like to congratulate [Oakville] Mayor Rob Burton, his staff, lawyers and the numerous residents. They fought a tough fight to stand up for their residents and environmental health. They made their provincial representatives listen to them, and make them realize that this facility was not in the best interests of the residents. These are the results that can be achieved when an entire community works together for the greater good.

Now, travel northeast to the Township of King, where the opposition continues with respect to a 393 MW (licensed for 435 MW) peaker power plant in the midst of a thriving community which mirrors, albeit on a smaller scale, the fight that the Oakville people fought and won. The difference is one provincial representative, whose riding takes in the part of King Township where the 650-psi high pressure designated gas pipeline is slated to be installed mere metres from people’s homes and an elementary school, favours this power plant. Personally, I think she should be commended for being brave enough to take personal accountability and responsibility — on behalf of the McGuinty government she represents —for the peaker plant being located in King. That courage will doubtless be tested during this fall’s election campaign. Her personal support for the peaker probably also explains why an identical project in Oakville was aborted by the McGuinty government, but this one is going ahead.

Our residents have been told time and time again how “necessary” this plant is, so we will not have to suffer through brown outs and black outs. This information is not 100 per cent accurate though, since, as we are aware, due to the current economy, there is a surplus of power and no risk of blackouts as once threatened. Due to conservation efforts, energy use has actually decreased. In fact, we are paying our neighbours to the south to take our excess electricity.

With this is mind, the following are some of the many valid opposition points which are not raised by those who “favour” this power plant. The location was rejected by the government during the Request For Qualification (RFQ) process, but contrary to the government’s own specifications, was somehow accepted through the Request For Proposals (RFP) process. The fact is, the site should never have been considered in the RFP process.

Our residents are told by provincial representatives that there will be no negative impacts to the health of the people living in and around the community, or to the environment. I find it very interesting that no reference is ever made by these provincial representatives to the following:

• The plant being located on a very active floodplain (a 65,000-acre watershed drains into the area where this site is located) that is linked to the provincially-significant designated Ansnorveldt Wetlands complex that extends to the Oak Ridges Moraine;

• this location is also part of a legislated Natural Heritage Area, Protected Countryside, and clearly goes against the Provincial Policy Statement;

• a procurement process that was irretrievably flawed;

• the municipality’s clear and strong opposition to the location;

• how the McGuinty government went through contortions to circumvent its own legislation, regulations, policies and independent regulatory authorities to push through the decision, ignore environmental concerns about the construction and location of the gas pipeline to serve the plant;

• how an OMB decision to determine whether or not this site conformed to the Greenbelt Plan/Act was pre-empted to implement Ontario Regulation 305/10, which essentially exempts this entire project from the Planning Act (effectively removing any power the municipality would have had to approve or disapprove this project);

• the same Ontario Regulation also exempted this project from the Interim Control Bylaw the Township implemented;

• how the McGuinty government ignored its promise that it would engage and come up with solutions acceptable to local residents and the municipality, never forcing this type of facility on an unwilling community.

The peaker plant is not a solution to the Ontario grid nor a local power solution to York Region — we still require transmission, which is currently the problem being faced by hundreds of residents or farmers who have installed solar panels on their properties or farms. They cannot be connected due to capacity issues.

Another thing that is never mentioned is the fact that under provincial rules, to protect residents’ health and safety, if the peaker plant were a wind turbine, it could not legally be located where it is due to the Ontario Wetlands Evaluation System criteria that renewable energy projects must adhere to, but not gas generation projects. Where is the logic in that decision? The new Southern Manual, issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources, supersedes the previous wetlands evaluation system and now incorporates not just the physical wetland location, but the designated wetland’s ecosystem reach.

We hear comments about the Environment Commissioner of Ontario's endorsement of the plan to move away from dirty coal. No mention is ever made that the same Commissioner criticized the process to select the location of the King peaker plant as "flawed from the getgo.” He commented that if this facility didn’t warrant a full-scale environment assessment versus an environmental screening, no project ever would.

Provincial representatives extol the stewardship of the Ministry of Environment, but neglect to mention that the Minister rejected or ignored residents’ requests for a sitespecific environmental assessment of the location for the King peaker plant.

Claims are made that the project will produce as many as “200 jobs during construction and several more once it begins operation.” But who is filling those construction jobs? If one visits the site, you’ll find the workers’ vehicles have mostly out of province licence plates. That was another shocking example of why the location is illsuited for a gas plant. Furthermore, the long-term employment at the plant is likely to be in the single digits (seven), certainly not “several more” than 200.

And finally, what is often neglected to be mentioned is that there were half a dozen alternate locations for the plant, approved through the RFQ process, any of which had substantially fewer environmental and health and safety impacts. One location even had municipal buy-in. Why weren't any of those locations chosen, rather than imposing an unwanted and environmentally threatening plant on the residents of King?

So, while I am thrilled with the win for Oakville, and again congratulate them, our fight continues. Who knows, maybe this could become a provincial election issue?

Avia Eek

Councillor Ward 6

Township of King

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