August 2013

August 30, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Walter Wilkins wrote on August 30, 2012:

"Regardless of the physical / social damage Plan B may cause, factually it represents the value system we teach, by example, to our children. Which, of course, raises the question: Does Plan B represent the value system we hope our children perpetuate?"

Crawford's Hill, Churchill, Fall 2012.

August 29, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update 

A year ago this week was the public meeting on the Environmental Impact Assessment for Plan B.

The Compass coverage, about two and a half minutes, worth watching again (@3:00):
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/Compass/ID/2273716698/
featuring so many dedicated, dear people speaking from the heart.

And The Guardian article is below in full, but here is one short quote, from Yvette Doucette (photo below), a question that encompassed assessing the impact on the environment:
"How many areas on P.E.I. do we have left that are like this area? How can anything mitigate damage to an area that is this precious by the fact that it is so rare on P.E.I. ?" said Doucette.
To which, of course, Stantec had no answers.

Documentation of that damage:
Aerial photographs from last week, from Island artist and photographer Stephen DesRoches:
http://www.focusedonlight.com/2013/08/a-new-island-highway-is-born/
And I thought it looked bad enough from the ground.

(For comparison: "Flight Over Plan B" from November 2012:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VZvNeqqaA )

----------
from August 27, 2012
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2012-08-27/article-3062008/Angry-crowd-hears-Plan-B-assessment/1

Crowd airs frustration with Plan B assessment

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/media/photos/unis/2012/08/27/photo_2157327_resize.jpg photo by Nigel Armstrong

Yvette Doucette of Charlottetown draws a reaction as she speaks during the public input portion of a meeting Monday held to consider the environmental assessment report of a project to modify the Tans (sic) Canada Highway through New Haven, Churchill and...

Published on-line on August 27, 2012

No significant environmental damage, Stantec says

The environment was decidedly hostile at a public meeting Monday in Cornwall to discuss an environmental assessment report on changes to the Trans Canada highway.

The room at the Dutch Inn was laid out with 180 chairs and all but a few were filled. Not one person spoke up in favour of the project.

The meeting was hosted by the PEI Department of Environment, Labour and Justice to get public input on an environmental assessment of the highway project known as Plan B. The report was done by Stantec and made public on the government website on August 2.

"No significant residual environmental affects are likely to occur due to this project during construction (or after)," said Dale Conroy on behalf of Stantec.

"I am wondering if, as part of the environmental assessment you looked at how many areas on P.E.I. are as environmentally sensitive as this one is, that has this level of diversity, that has the plant life and the tree life, the watershed that this particular area has?" said Yvette Doucette when the meeting opened for public input.

"How many areas on P.E.I. do we have left that are like this area? How can anything mitigate damage to an area that is this precious by the fact that it is so rare on P.E.I. ?" said Doucette.

"How many areas on P.E.I. represent what that whole area represents," she pressed as the panel struggled to answer. "How many areas do we have like that on Prince Edward Island. We don't protect what we have here."

"We haven't done an inventory of the whole Island so it's a difficult question to answer," said Jeff Barnes of Stantec.

Members of the public wanted to know what "significant" meant. That too was a difficult question to answer, the meeting was told.

Barnes told the meeting that the purpose of the entire environmental assessment process is not to rule for or against a project but to identify what damage might be done and come up with ways to limit, or mitigate that damage.

"I'm not surprised that environmental assessments leads to better projects that are acceptable," said Barns.

"During the (environmental assessment) the planning has resulted in the avoidance of a large wetland, the (avoidance of the) majority of the hemlock stand and reduced the length of water-course crossings," said Conroy.

The meeting was told that there will be daily inspections and monitoring of the work to check for requirements to reduce environmental damage, like silt control and washing off vehicles that move through areas with invasive species of plants.

Residents went to the microphone in a stream with concerns ranging from wanting more time to respond to the report to allegations that Stantec was hired just to rubber stamp a done deal.

The report is on line and there are ten days from Monday to for the public to submit concerns about the environment and the assessment to government.

August 28, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

This is from Andrew Lush, another Islander making a difference in our environmental future:

(Monday night) I went to the Liberal Caucus Town Hall, along with Dawn Watson and Angela Douglas from the PEI Watershed Alliance. I asked a question about fracking, asking if they will start a study into the adverse effects of fracking if they win the next election. Here's a bit of a summary:

There were about 28 MPs, candidates, and Senators there. The session about resource development was led by John McKay, who replaced Kirsty Duncan as Environment Critic six days ago. His knowledge of the portfolio was obviously patchy. The questions were about Kyoto, pipeline safety, fracking, green energy, watershed protection, native rights - they were good
questions. The answers were not bad but the speakers, perhaps unsurprisingly, would not come out against fracking or pipelines. In the summary, Senator Hubley said that the proposed motion on getting a federal study done on the adverse effects of fracking was so that we can be sure that it is safe - not what I had said in my question. Afterwards I spoke to John McKay, who was already having a heated conversation about fracking with someone else, and he asked me if using some kind of gel instead of noxious chemicals for fracking would be acceptable - so I said 'no', and that the reason we need a study is so that we can show our provincial legislators that fracking is not acceptable - period.

So it's disappointing that they are not opposing oil and gas development, but they did say they would undo much of the damage that Harper has done to environmental legislation. At least it was open questions, credit to them, not like with the Tories!


MP Lawrence MacAulay is having his summer barbecue for islanders and presumably some of the caucus will be there --
tonight, at his home, 6-8PM, at 6241 St. Peters Road.   They need to hear Islanders' opinions.

Also, it is the last week for the productions Nunsense and Dear Johnny Deere, if you are looking for fine Islander theatrical entertainment.

August 27, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Dr. Adam Fenech wrote an interesting four-part series about climate change last month for The Guardian, and I am repeating it here, one part today.   He is a climatologist who was part of a team that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on climate change, and is currently head of UPEI's Climate Research Unit; he understands and encourages citizens to be involved in the science around them.

He summarized the conference on global atmospheric issues that was held 25 years ago in Toronto, in June of 1988, about what was going on then and implications for now.  Do you recall 1988 and what we were worried about environmentally?  Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan led Canada and the USA (An aside: Reagan had the solar panels on the White House from Jimmy Carter's era removed, and Obama has had new ones installed recently.)  The Berlin Wall and Soviet Union were still standing, and it seemed primary atmospheric concerns were about ozone holes from CFCs.

Here is Part 1: the background on the conference
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2013-07-26/article-3328871/Reflections-on-the-Toronto-Conference/1


Reflections on the Toronto Conference
by Adam Fenech

June 29 marked the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Conference that launched the issue of climate change onto the global policy agenda.

Sponsored by the government of Canada, the conference, “Our Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security,” brought together hundreds of scientists and policymakers from across the globe to Toronto with the goal of initiating international action on climate change.

Starting on June 30, 1988, international scientists and policy makers met in Toronto to discuss emerging concerns about global atmospheric issues including acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming.

While the previous decade had seen discussions of both global cooling and warming, the Toronto Conference was the “perfect storm” of events to launch the issue of global warming onto the international policy agenda.

1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research scientist Dr. James Hansen told a U.S. Congressional committee on June 24, 1988, he was 99 per cent certain that a warming trend being witnessed was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere. This received international media attention including the influential newspaper, the New York Times.

2) The conference came one year following the successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce and eventually eliminate pollutants causing depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Canada played a major role in this negotiation which has been heralded as the poster child for successful international environmental diplomacy.

3) The appearance at the Toronto Conference of then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney ensured other international leaders would be in attendance and would bring their international media along with them.

4) The international media remarked on the high level of scientific consensus at the Toronto Conference on the issue of global warming. The media was not accustomed to this amount of consensus on an environmental science issue.

5) The conference occurred during a record setting heat wave for Toronto with daily temperatures at levels never recorded before in over 150 years of observation.

These events combined to generate an enormous momentum towards global discussion and global action on climate change. The 1988 conference, hosted by Canada, put climate change on the global agenda and proposed a specific initial target for a global reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide — 20 per cent below 1988 levels by 2005 — on the way to a much larger ultimate reduction, to be set following further research and debate.

The conference concluded by issuing a stark warning to the world: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.”

August 26, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Perhaps Transportation or the construction crews can remove the sign alerting people to the Kingfishers' nest, since the birds have been fledged a while, the nest holes in the cliff excavated away....

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=586688488061091&set=pcb.500471686709907&type=1&theater
Small plastic-protected sheet on sign, east side of area notifying of Kingfishers' nest; TCH at Plan B looking west earlier this month.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=586688488061091&set=pcb.500471686709907&type=1&theater
Signs from the west side, in drainage ditch made for springs at Plan B cut by TCH in New Haven.  Crushed glass laid down last week has been covered with several feet of shale (bit showing white in lower centre).  Looking west towards Churchill, paved part over Crawford's Stream and Brook in upper right, August 25, 2013.
unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=586688488061091&set=pcb.500471686709907&type=1&theater
Drainage ditch with old "Construction Zone" and Kingfishers' sign, New Haven, August 25, 2013.

Reminders for events today:
Nature Conservancy of Canada Conway Sandhills Clean-up
, 10AM to 4PM
More details: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/prince-edward-island/stories/a-chance-to-see-a-spectacular.html

Liberal Caucus "Town Hall Meeting", 7 to 9PM, Convention Centre, Charlottetown
the second topic is about "Steps needed for responsible natural resource development", open to the public,
RSVP requested: charlottetownassociation@gmail.com
Some topics that should come up: pipelines, fracking, northern resources, a real commitment to alternative energies....

August 23, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

There is a lot going on this weekend and the next weeks:

Music and Art events showing other sides of folks involved in Plan B and the Citizens' Alliance:
Jazz and Blues Festival has concerts and workshops in various locations today through Sunday, including music all afternoon Saturday (noon - 6PM) free at Victoria Row.  More details:
http://www.jazzandblues.ca/ 

and Art in the Open, a free contemporary art festival, around the same place and other locations and times:
http://artintheopenpei.com/

The last Sunday afternoon showing of Nunsense is the 25th, and the last two shows are Tuesday and Thursday.
http://www.harbourfronttheatre.com/nunsense.html

And the Bonshaw ceilidh, tirelessly organized by community members every last Sunday at the month for years (proceeds to a different charity), 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, admission by donation.

A fabulous listing of events is compiled by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women's office:
http://us6.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b9407fb045791ad0a86185b8f&id=1527621cd3    

A few from it:
 

Seaplant Workshop/ Mini-Spa at Rock Barra Artists Retreat

·  Sunday, August 25th, 11AM - 4PM,  with marine botanist Dr. Irene Novaczek
Fee: $60, includes shore walk and lecture about identification, harvesting and use of our local, edible and medicinal seaplants; a seaplant - veggie lunch (hands on cooking with seaweeds); preparation of several home spa options followed by testing them out!  Great fun in a lovely setting; most activities outdoors, weather permitting.
Please preregister with inovaczek@upei.ca    see http://www.teresadoyle.com/rockbarra.htm

Monday, August 26th, 10AM to 4PM, Nature Conservancy of Canada Conway Sandhills Clean-up
More details: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/prince-edward-island/stories/a-chance-to-see-a-spectacular.html

"The Nature Conservancy of Canada's Prince Edward Island office is looking for volunteers to help clean beach areas, knock down and remove these structures and help identify birds that are present there. Dependent on good tide conditions, NCC staff and Conservation Volunteers will head out to the Conway Sandhills on Monday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m . There will be a boat leaving from Milligan’s wharf to transport volunteers. However, there is an option for anyone with a canoe or kayak to paddle to the Sandhills if conditions permit.  This event has been scheduled for after the plovers have finished nesting so they will not be disturbed, but please feel free to bring a pair of binoculars along as we can survey for shorebirds too!   To register, visit www.conservationvolunteers.ca; e-mail us at atlantic@natureconservancy.ca or contact our office at 1-877-231-4400."

(this looks interesting, and is open to the public -- it sounds like the Federal Liberals support Keystone Pipeline but not fracking)

Federal Liberal Caucus Town Hall this Monday

Monday, August 26th, 7 - 9PM, PEI Convention Centre, 4 Queen Street, Charlottetown

Moderators: Sean Casey and Senator Catherine Callbeck
There are two 30-critic sessions, the second being:
Second Set of Critics - Steps that are needed for Responsible Natural Resource Development

with Kirsty Duncan, Liberal Environment Critic and member of the IPCC and Marc Garneau, Liberal Natural Resources Critic

Outline:  The set of critics speak each for 5 minutes on the proposed topic followed by a Q & A session for 25 minutes. Each critic will have 5 minutes for a concluding remark. 
Please RSVP to the charlottetownassociation@gmail.com if you are able to attend.

Future events -- September 6th to 8th --

Sierra Club Hosting Panel on Water Issues

"A special evening entitled 'PEI Needs Clean Water - Come Join the Movement to Protect It!' will be held Saturday, September 7th from 7 – 9 pm at the Murphy's Community Centre, 200 Richmond St, Charlottetown. A panel discussion will be led by Don Mazer from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, Andrew Lush from 'Don't Frack PEI', and Irene Novaczek from 'Save Our Seas and Shores- PEI' . Everyone who enjoys clean water and wants to protect it is urged to attend.

This event is hosted by the Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club Canada as the highlight of their annual gathering Sept 6 to 8th celebrating another year of protecting the Earth with clean, green activities. Sierra Club welcomes all to participate in other parts of the Gathering, such as: Social Enterprise 101, a walk in the Winter River Watershed, and a social gathering at the Bonshaw Community Centre.  For more information, please contact Bethany Toombs <btoombs01@gmail.com> or check out the facebook event page 'ACC AGA Sept 6-8'. "

August 22, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Boyd Allen's letter in yesterday's Guardian questions their balance.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-08-21/article-3358575/Plan-B-paving-distorts-balance/1

Plan B paving distorts balance

Published on August 21, 2013

Editor:

As is the case with most Islanders, reading The Guardian is a daily ritual. I rely on it to keep me informed on the news on the Island. I expect what I read in this paper to report this news in a balanced manner.

Unfortunately three items published by the Guardian in the week ending August 17 have me questioning this balance. I presume these items were vetted by the editorial board before being published.

Campbell Webster’s editorial on the 17th (The New Coke Jumbo Shrimp Party) questions the intelligence of the provincial PC Party for attempting some party optics housekeeping.

He also seems horrified by what he sees as the party’s presenting “patronizing and manipulative falsehoods”.

The editorial of August 15 (Poster Produces Circus Sideshow) chastises the provincial NDP leader, Mike Redmond, for somehow breaching  photo-op etiquette by using satire to highlight the far-reaching issue radiating from our annual fish kills. He’s accused of trivializing this “serious issue” which has gotten less media attention than instigating a feud between two musicals in Charlottetown.

In stark contrast to these is the “Paving work starts on Plan B highway” article also published on the 15th.

This piece is downright celebratory. The minister responsible is given ample space to offer unsupported statements and site updates with no questions asked as the project grinds its way to the finish line. The sustained, widespread opposition to this project was tucked into a few lines which evidently didn’t warrant any comment from the minister.

It appears to me the only editorial problems grappled with on this article were if the file from the Shaw Building pasted properly and how to format the panoramic paving photo which accompanied it.

It seems that any sense of balance is getting skewed.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

It is sad that we have a one-sided conversation with our media (meaning, they will print critical letters but not respond to them), and that the Island professional media outlets seem to be the training ground for tomorrow's government media people.

Maureen Kerr, via the group the Pesticide Free PEI, and the Canadian Cancer Society, has organized the free screening of the movie A Chemical Reaction, tonight, 7PM, at the Stratford Town Hall, with a discussion afterwards including retired UPEI Dean of Science Roger Gordon. 

Especially if you live in the Stratford area, it should be an important film to see.  Facebook event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/160500637472606/
Movie's website, with good short trailer:
http://pfzmedia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=53#/images/stories/screen/small/HomeDepot3.jpg

Paul MacNeill writes about the fishkills in the Eastern Graphic
http://www.peicanada.com/second_opinion_paul_macneill_publisher/columns_opinions/please_make_last_fish_kill
" Politicians like Janice Sherry are gutless, refusing to even comment on the impact of kills until testing is complete weeks later."

A little more on the petroleum spill from the late 1970s on the West River in Bonshaw:
Compass, 6:25 into the broadcast:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2402113988/

Guardian coverage:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-08-21/article-3358654/UPDATED%3A-Environment-department-looking-into-decades-old-oil-spill/1

August 21, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

It is Wednesday and the Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 2PM; local food is obviously good for the environment, and your food choices are a bit like voting several times a day.

There are several Farmers' Markets around the island, and here is a partial list:
http://organicpei.com/for-consumers/where-to-buy/
There is a lot of interesting information on their website.

The provincial Department of Agriculture has no listings that I could find for farmers' markets or for community sponsored agriculture (CSA) providers, either.  Here is a four year old article on the economic impact of farmers' markets:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/agriculture/index.php3?number=1029406&lang=E

and the department has a couple of "Agri-Food" programs where farmers can get some help buying their own signs to be a part of "PEI Flavours" and the Buy PEI initiative. http://www.gov.pe.ca/agriculture/buypei

Raymond Loo's beef will be at the market this Saturday, August 24th -- the family is able to manage every third week (hoping to make it every second week) while Raymond is getting treatment for cancer in Halifax.  Hope you can plan for that.
Saturdays in summer are completely chaotic at the Market, but can be doable if you don't mind a parking lot walk and are not in much of a hurry and don't mind saying, "Excuse me" too often.  Other options are to go at the beginning or end of the day, and certainly to attend one of the other markets.

Other news:
CBC is reporting what sounds like some oil goo found in the West River by Bonshaw (completely unrelated to Plan B!) from a spill in the 1970s.  Details on radio this morning and likely on Compass. 

Also, regarding replacing the Crapaud bridge that burned Monday, TIR engineer Darrell Evans mentioned that the department happens to have some "pre-cast arches" in their yard and will replace it with one of those structures.

TCH work is beginning in DeSable, apparently to the existing road, so watch out for that once you navigate the Plan B construction.

An event this Sunday:
A workshop at Rock Barra on edible and medicinal seaplants with marine botanist Irene Novaczek
Seaplant workshop / mini spa at Rock Barra Artists Retreat on Sunday, August 25th from 11 AM - 4 PM.  The cost is $60, includes shore walk and lecture about identification, harvesting and use of our local, edible and medicinal seaplants; a seaplant - veggie lunch (hands on cooking with seaweeds); preparation of several home spa options followed by testing them out!  Great fun in a lovely setting; most activities outdoors, weather permitting.  Contact Irene Novaczek <inovaczek@upei.ca> for more details

August 20, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Fish kills and the health of island waterways:
Concern about a lack of action, last week the NDP held a news conference and unveiled a poster of a fake musical festival entitled "FishKill 2013" featuring the Premier and a few Ministers:


NDP-sponsored poster released last week.

to which The Guardian primly wrote a small editorial Thursday about it being a cheap gimmick, and "The focus of the news conference reverted to some bogus poster and not on the continuing problem of fish kills..." and perhaps the media has something to do with the focus reverting??

A bonus concurrent YouTube of Big Mouth Billy Bass fish singing "I'm Worried, Not Happy" (which The Guardian did not comment on or maybe didn't hear about) ends with the petition link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys6NgAyy3Ds
and the petition link itself (the idea of the petition, the action that the public can do once their attention has been caught, did get a little lost in the fun):
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/peifishkill/

Did it get your attention?   Did a little satire and some folks with some computer skills bring some much needed attention to this issue without being offensive?  Perhaps only the numbers on that petition and how the issue is continued to be discussed once summer is over will tell.

I would assume there are paper copies of the petition available at some point, too.

Also regarding pesticides:
Film showing Thursday evening in Stratford
A Chemical Reaction
From the Facebook event listing:
Community and advocacy group, Pesticide Free PEI, along with The Canadian Cancer Society are hosting a free community film screening of the award winning documentary A Chemical Reaction on Thursday, August 22nd at 7 pm at the Stratford Town Hall. This event will be joined by guest speaker, Roger Gordon, retired dean of science from UPEI who will be answering questions about the health and environment consequences that occur from the cosmetic pesticides being sprayed in our province.
As many of you know, the cosmetic use of pesticides is a public health issue, particularly for children. A Chemical Reaction tells the story of a powerful community initiative that eventually resulted in Canada’s first by-law to ban the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides, in the town of Hudson, Quebec. To view the film’s trailer online, click here: http://pfzmedia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=29
https://www.facebook.com/events/160500637472606/


And on the entertainment beat:
The PEI Jazz and Blues Festival starts tomorrow and goes until Sunday, with a wide variety of genres and venues.  Saturday features free concerts on Victoria Row from noon to 6PM.  Doug Millington is one of the organizers behind this grand feast of music.
http://www.jazzandblues.ca/

Saturday will also be "Art in the Open" from 4PM to midnight.

A Free arts festival highlighting the Island's diverse visual art talent, as well as the beauty and history of downtown Charlottetown's public squares and parks.

http://artintheopenpei.com/

And the ridiculously silly and entertaining Nunsense has only five shows left in Summerside:
http://www.harbourfronttheatre.com/nunsense.html

August 19, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A tour of Plan B, August 18, 2013:

This is a very clumsy annotated map, but it gives some idea of location for the photos below.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
In Bonshaw, the bridge work is done, but the apparent work of connecting this:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Looking west into Bonshaw.Provincial Park entrance across TCH on right.  Note pink number in foreground.  August 18, 2013.

to this, has to happen.


unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Bonshaw cut just west of current TCH, August 18, 2013. Tractor trailer truck heading east along TCH in upper left.

This shows that they still have to dig 3.1 metres down at this point:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
(closeup from first photo on current TCH)

They have a "scratch coat" of asphalt on the section from around Crosby Road to near the CBC Tower.
The winds are strong there when they seem mild elsewhere (say, along the current TCH) -- these sawhorses were blown over.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Signs standing up as they were intended to keep vehicles off new pavement, near CBC tower, Churchill.

It's paved over the Crawford's Brook (the box culvert) and Hemlock Grove's Stream (not labeled on the map above but between Peter's Road and yellow-coloured new south Peter's Road).

A little further east, crushed recycled glass is being used to help somehow deal with the water from the springs in the area. 

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Crushed glass spread over area with springs, looking west towards Hemlock Grove and towards Churchill, August 18, 2013.


unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Glass substrate, looking east towards current TCH, (former) Kingfisher cliff at upper right.  Connector to current TCH is likely to be around cut-out on left. August 18, 2013.

And then there is Fairyland -- very wide cut east of current TCH, and a narrow one just shown by the glass substrate.  Perhaps they will use a canal lock system to connect everything.
unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Fairyland, from on top of one of the filled-in ravines, looking east to TCH (Encounter Creek buildings up on right out of frame), August 2013.

And then there is the Fairyland spaghetti bowl of roads planned to access Route 9 north and south and run Plan B back into the existing TCH near Gass's General Store. 

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
At a crossroads, looking towards Gass's store, New Haven, August 2013.  Road to Route 9 north is cut and goes off on left.  Scat in foreground.

Even the mammals kicked out of Fairyland have an opinion of Plan B.

August 16, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Too bad it's unlikely the inflatable Mike Duffy will be in the Gold Cup Parade, but with the theme the "Parade of Heroes", he just doesn't fit.
But this float was in the parade in Kinkora in July, apparently sponsored by a construction company that didn't get much largess from Plan B, and is NOT related to Mike Duffy.


A float in the Kinkora Parade, July 20, 2013.  Unknown photo source.

Odds and Ends:
Yesterday's Guardian had a page A3 update on Plan B.  While it is mildly mollifying to have The Guardian call it, simply, Plan B, (the name the opponents gave it), it is such a laudatory piece filled with more hot air than that Mike Duffy balloon.  (Safety, on-time, on-budget....)

Please consider writing a little note to The Guardian.   It is about time for the some clarifications from the people paying for this mess.
letters@theguardian.pe.ca

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-08-14/article-3350875/Paving-work-starts-on-Plan-B/1

Paving work starts on Plan B


Guardian photo
         

Paving work begins on the "Plan B" highway re-alignment in Bonshaw.
Published in the print edition on August 15, 2013 

by Ryan Ross

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said after all the excavation and grading work it's great to see the project coming together.
"We're ahead of schedule and on budget," he said.
The initial construction work on the $16-million project started in October to reduce the grade and straighten the highway.

Paving started Tuesday morning and long stretches of the roadbed were already covered in their first layer of asphalt by Wednesday afternoon.
The paving will be done in sections with the first portion finished between the Bonshaw Bridge and Crosby Road within the next two or three weeks.
From there construction crews will erect guardrails along elevated portions of the highway and get back to paving the section between Crosby Road and Riverdale Road in about four or five weeks.

In order to reduce the grade and make the hills less steep the roadbed was built up using fill from other sections of the project.
Vessey said putting the guardrail up will take several weeks.
"We can't put traffic up there without the guardrail," he said.

Throughout the project it was met with opposition from protesters and others who argued it was causing environmental problems.
The opponents also said it was too expensive and the government could have made improvements to the old highway for less money.

But as the project neared completion, Vessey said any time you remove entrances to the highway, reduce slopes and take out dangerous curves it makes for a safer road.
"That's what this project was all about," he said.

It's also likely that while I don't think the reporter left his office, a photographer (Heather Taweel) was sent out and she got the photo used in the print edition and the one on-line.  The one above (looking East towards the intersection of Riverdale Road and the TCH by the Strathgartney Lookout) shows the confusion and steep drop -- without a guardrail -- that traffic has to go up there every day *now*.

More unintended irony from Minister Vessey.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Curve west of Crawford's Brook above concrete box culvert, August 2013.

A few Saturday events:

In the west:
Birding on PEI is hosting a bird outing with Island Nature Trust -- shorebirds in Sherbrooke -- north of Summerside, meeting at 9AM at the end of Lock Shore Road:
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=556880731027813&id=157504117632145

or if you are not on Facebook and want to see a map:
https://maps.google.ca/maps?client=firefox-a&channel=fflb&q=Locke+Shore+Rd+sherbrooke+pei-+Google+Maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x4b5f8ff87c49f557:0x8f599120ab2762d5,Locke+Shore+Rd,+Sherbrooke,+PE+C1N+4V3&gl=ca&ei=WIoNUtrsEIS89gSupYDwCA&ved=0CCwQ8gEwAA

In the east:
MacPhail Woods is hosting a workshop Saturday, August 17th, on improving riparian zones (areas near rivers) with Rob Sharkie.  Meet at the Nature Centre at 10AM.
http://www.macphailwoods.org/events/

In both events, wear appropriate footwear, bring binocs, water, notebook, bug repellant.  Both events are NOT meant only for experts! 

PS  Here is a screenshot of part of the construction schedule on TIR's website yesterday. 
While the bridge widening is done as of yesterday, a peek into the pit just west of the provincial park that's supposed to be connected to the bridge looks like it will take *lots* of machines and money to complete.

from http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/tchimprovement  "Construction schedule" (pdf download)

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for table

August 15, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Remember the Task Force on Land Use Policy?

Here is a public service announcement about it, from the Citizens' Alliance.

http://youtu.be/--wN0Wyw5JU

As we are beholden to no government, department or political party, we can give information and encourage participation.

Credit to Doug Millington, with technical assistance from Perry Williams.

Please share as you see fit.

PS  Remember the Lands Protection Act review?  Horace Carver submitted his report, but "it's in simultaneous translation" right now, and waiting for some government officials to read and review it with the Carver, before it is released -- likely to be in the Fall.

August 14, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Paving started on part of a section of Plan B this week between --and actually over - -Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove) and Brook.

Looking west towards Riverdale, near Hemlock Grove, Tuesday, August 13th, 2013. 

Unwanted, unnecessary, indefensible. 

PS  A reminder about the public meeting today from 4-5PM at the Kelley Building at UPEI regarding the Institute of Island Studies, open to any Islanders wishing to show support for the institution.  I'll get contact addresses for those unable to make it who want to write something to the review panel.

August 13, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Today at 11AM at the Confederation Centre of the Arts foyer, Grafton Street entrance, Mike Redmond of the NDP is giving a press conference about the inaction on fish kills.  If you are going to be in town, you may want to pop in -- the more attention to this subject, the better. 
https://www.facebook.com/events/147168682158598/

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14th, 4-5PM, is the second open meeting at UPEI regarding the review of the Institute of Island Studies:
from the Facebook page "Friends of the Institute of Island Studies":
https://www.facebook.com/groups/657337534281338/

Just a reminder about Wednesday's second IIS review meeting: 4-5 p.m. in Kelley 211. Please come out and share with David MacDonald, Dr. Graham Whitelaw, and the UPEI administration your vision for the Institute of Island Studies.

and worth repeating from Saturday's Guardian:

Shrinking faculty Saddens professor

Published on August 10, 2013 in The Guardian

Editor:

It is with deep sorrow that I learn of the shrinking of the faculty at UPEI, the result of needless expansion of the administration - really, four vice-presidents to do the work so ably done by the deans of the various faculties and school and by the registrar.

Moreover, the massive building program begun during the tenure of a former president must take its place among the dreadful errors engaged in so foolishly, with little regard for the future.

Perhaps the Institute of Island Studies (to mention merely one example) could relocate to Governor's Island, if the history of the recent past is repeated yet again.

Oh, for the days of Ron Baker and especially Willie Eliot, who guided UPEI so ably!

Dr. Colman O'Hare,
sometime professor of Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic Languages, UPEI
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-08-10/article-3344773/Shrinking-faculty-Saddens-professor/1

August 12, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A couple of notes:

If you weren't able to make it to the Upton Farmlands planning workshop a couple of weeks ago, the survey is still available:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7WVDPPG
they really would appreciate your input!
It takes about five minutes or less.

Another opportunity to pick currants tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13th, 1PM until about 3PM (or any amount of time you have), at Springwillow Farms, 22748 Route 2, Springfield, the farm of Raymond Loo.  Let me know if you need more information.

For those who have asked about Peter Rukavina's advice about accessing The Guardian on-line,
from a "tweet" of his:
https://twitter.com/ruk/status/334679389247791106
Peter Rukavina ‏@ruk 15 May 2013
"To prevent the Guardian paywall from tracking you, simply prevent your browser from accepting cookies from 'http://ppjol.com '."

And watch for trucks on the road:

Articulated dump truck crossing the TCH at New Haven, late July, 2013.

August 11, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A year ago, Saturday, August 11, 2012, was the opening of the Art Exhibit, "Drawing on Nature", and a concert of the same name, at Bites Cafe in Hampton, PEI.

Here was the Facebook event listing: https://www.facebook.com/events/316038391819987/  and from it:

"These artists were invited to draw, paint, photograph, write, compose, or in any manner document or represent the plants, flowers, streams, birds, and other natural wonders in the Churchill area that could be destroyed or affected by construction of the 'Plan B' Highway between New Haven and Bonshaw."

Ron Arvidson and Jennifer Brown, with Ron's plate and Jennifer's mural behind, July 2012.

Jennifer created several works of art in the show, and has recently published her first children's book, Talullah, the Theatre Cat.  The exhibit was Ron's idea back in Spring of 2012.

Ron was one of a seemingly score of men with graying beards whose names I confused for the first months opposing Plan B in early 2012.   Ron later stood out by being a naturalist, a potter, an organizer, a birder, a photographer, and a steadfast Fisherman's Breakfast pancake flipper.  His quiet but fierce opposition to the project and tireless behind-the-scenes energy are why we kept fighting Plan B and continue with the Citizens' Alliance -- it was about the collective displeasure at government wasting land and other resources, including the positive involvement of the people.

The art exhibit was beautiful, achingly beautiful, thinking about it now.  Marion Copleston, Ron Arvidson, Shona Holzer, Sharon Sawyer, Donna Martin, Bruno Peripoli, Sarah Saunders, Jack Sorenson, Dr. David Stewart -- a partial and very incomplete list.  The artists donated a generous portion of the selling price to Stop Plan B.

The concert was fabulous -- so much emotion and positive energy! -- from the humour of Erksine Smith as emcee, to artists on the island (Teresa Doyle, Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, Peter Bevan-Baker, Tony Reddin, Yvette Doucette and many others), and off-Island (John Farrell, Will Brown, and others -- who have been through so many kinds of fights like Plan B and could only smile and look into our eyes with looks of rue and compassion, which were gratefully acknowledged).

Here is a small snippet of the concert, with Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, and Nancy Clement (listed as "Guest").
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l5OWPEhT1Q
So many generous people came out to enjoy the art and music; if you were in that packed hall that night, you had a fun time!

Thanks to Peter and Ann for lending us their cafe and Hall for the entire time, the key to the whole project, really.

August 10, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Messages from the (rain)boots on the ground:
"Hi, all is looking good
Proves one thing  -- they can do it
And should everywhere.
We only got 10ml overnight is why."

This morning the West River near Bonshaw is muddy-looking, presumably indicating sediment getting into the river from fields and unpaved roads.

Fortunately, Plan B is not making a huge contribution to this load today.  The Transportation crew was ready and pumped out the sediment pond that habitually overflowed downstream of Hemlock Grove, and the tenuous hold the hydroseeding has in some areas, along with the multiple sediment ponds everywhere, are helping. 

"Helping" is a funny word to use on a project that's so blatantly unnecessary in the first place.

Mitigations working to prevent sediment from entering wetland by Peter's Road, Churchill, August 10, 2013.

August 9, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Last night was a wonderful event in Charlottetown commemorating the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, the society formed for the year 1973, the Centennial year of PEI joining Confederation, to comment on issues around the interpretation of Island history, and of the culture and future of the Island itself.

George O'Connor, a Brother of Cornelius Howatt, hosted the event at the Irish Cultural Centre (formerly the Irish Benevolent Society). His son and historian Ryan O'Connor gave an illustrated talk on why the society formed and what it did that year.  We all smiled at the photos of members reading proclamations and rowing (or attempting to row) boats, displaying the fashions and facial hair of the day. Several people spoke about that year and what happened, and what's happening now, and about being *awake* to what's causing change, and how that change affects us all.  The room was filled with warmth though the new air conditioning kept it cool.

Founders David Weale and Harry Baglole and company made a mark in 1973, to be sure; it is the ripples from the BSCH that inspire all of us and our children as we sustain and nurture life on this little Island.

August 8, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

The retrospective on the "Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt" is tonight, 7:30PM, at the Irish Cultural Centre (Benevolent Irish Society).  Admission by donation, and a fun window on issues that are still around, 40 years later.
Even The Guardian commented on it in a small editorial yesterday, which isn't online but was very laudatory.
----------
On-line is a commentary from yesterday's print edition, regarding the recent fish kills: the Chairperson of the Watershed Alliance pieces out the history of the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management and makes a strong call for the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment to get up and get moving on this.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-08-07/article-3340455/Solving-the-fish-kill-problem/1

Three recommendations of the 18 were highlighted (my interpretation):
1) get a fund set up to get the worst, reoffending lands out of agricultural production
2) modify buffer courses regulations -- it means well, but one-size-does-not-fit-all -- to match the actual properties
3) get "agricultural engineers" in there when there is a problem

The province trumpeted that they did get the agricultural engineers in there sooner with this fish kill.  (Presumably, they will tell us what they found?)

If you wish to tell the Ministers to get moving on the other two major ones, and the rest of the 18 recommendations of the "Action Committee":
Agriculture Minister George Webster
gtwebster@gov.pe.ca

Environment Minister Janice Sherry
jasherry@gov.pe.ca

Solving the fish kill problem
Published on August 7, 2013  in The Guardian

Guest Opinion  By Angela Douglas

On July 23, 2012, after two major fish kills, the P.E.I. government issued a seemingly urgent press release touting the formation of an action committee to examine measures for future fish kill prevention.

The committee was composed of members of the potato industry, chemical companies, government officials and only two watershed representatives.

“The Action Committee is an opportunity to build new relationships between government, farmers and watershed groups at a community level to work together on solutions. This committee will focus its efforts on developing a land management template for individual watersheds to prevent fish kills and protect the Island’s natural resources,” said Minister George Webster.

This was such a timely issue that Minister Janice Sherry added, “We want to move forward quickly to reduce the chance of fish kills and, in order to act as soon as possible, we are asking the committee to come back with its recommendations by Sept. 14.”

Thus, a report by the inappropriately named Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management, was completed with 18 recommendations to prevent future fish kills in the Barclay Brook, a template for action in other watersheds (http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/elj_suslndmngt.pdf).

In November, the report was completed and quietly posted online without further publicity. One year later, on July 26, 2013, two more fish kills occurred in western P.E.I., one in the same river system as in 2012.

Of the 18 recommendations from the action committee, a few were considered key; one being the establishment of an environmental fund for the removal of land from agricultural production that is prone to soil erosion and surface runoff. At the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance AGM on April 13, 2013, Minister Sherry was asked if the government was going forward with this recommendation. She said no, as there were no funds available in this fiscal year.

Another of the key recommendations was the need to implement soil conservation practices in fields adjacent to watercourses. Erosion control is vital and a legislated 15-metre buffer alone is in no way sufficient to prevent fish kills.

This was noted in the action committee’s report: “In the four fish kills since 2000, fields adjacent to Barclay Brook had the prescribed buffer zone of either 10 or 15 m.

“It has been apparent for some time that current buffer zone legislation is insufficient for Barclay Brook, and perhaps other locations, at preventing pesticide run off and associated fish kills.

What is most frustrating is that solutions have been presented in many reports over the last two decades. For examples, review the many recommendations that have been made in the 1990 Boylen Report, the 1997 Round Table Report, the 2008 Nitrate Commission Report, and most recently, the Action Committee Report, to name a few examples. These recommendations need to be adopted, enforced and taken seriously by government, industry and the public if we want to stop our rivers from being poisoned.

There were some positive outcomes resulting from the action committee’s formation. The committee was extremely successful at building a collaborative relationship between watersheds groups, the agricultural sector and government. We are all interested in the same outcome and firmly believe that potato farming and pristine waterways can coexist.

The recommendations were solid and well thought out, but the report, like so many others, didn’t result in any tangible action by government. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again, how can we expect different results? It is unacceptable that we have come to expect fish kills to happen each year. Watershed groups and the public are frustrated and outraged.

Minister Sherry and Minister Webster, consider this your call to action for a sustainable future for Canada’s green province.

- Angela Douglas is chairperson of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance Inc.

August 7, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A few things of note for tomorrow, Thursday, August 8th:

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is coming to PEI and there will be a reception at Lobster on the Wharf in Charlottetown at 6PM.  Tickets are $50 with a $30 tax receipt, and the reception will have h'ordeuvres, speeches, and mingling.  It might be a good time to chat about pipelines, or drilling in the Gulf, or fracking, or proportional representation, or to ccontinue making all Question Period questions snappy and to the point like the ones about Mike Duffy's expenses.

Or just how he likes living at Stornoway.
https://www.facebook.com/events/185317191635790/
-----

Then you can make it to the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt retrospective, "Remembering Cornelius", which will start at 7:30PM at the Irish Cultural Centre/Benevolent Irish Society Hall on North River Road.  Coffee and tea and some snacks will be served, and a cash bar.


August 6, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Sunday afternoon's CBC Radio show, Maritime Connections (with Preston Mulligan, who was on PEI for a stint when he was a new reporter), featured the question:

What do we need to do to protect our rivers and streams?

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/Maritimes/ID/2399463437/

His guests were Shawn Hill, Executive Director of the PEI Watershed Alliance, and Walter Regan of the Sackville River Association; there was an extended  call-in by PEI Potato Board chairman and potato farmer Gary Linkletter.

They discussed the health of rivers in the area, with the pressures common to all regions and specific to each area, with Shawn Hill clearly explaining what needs to happen to protect PEI rivers (about 5:45 minutes into it), and about 13:30 minutes he discusses the results of the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management (until 20 minutes).

At 29:30, Gary Linkletter comments until about 35 minutes, Management of development along waterways (an issue a Land Use Policy would address) is discussed at about 42 minutes. Interesting listening.

The 35-page Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management report, submitted to government in November 2012 and quietly posted on the department of environment's website in February 2013:

http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/elj_suslndmngt.pdf

There is an executive summary at the beginning on page 5 (document page ii).

August 5, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.....

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photos


The "Encounter Creek Campground" at the TCH in New Haven sign was removed at Fairyland last week, and replaced by this.  Yes, it's the happy, shiny useless map from the TIR website.

Meanwhile, another sign, on Peter's Road, now quite cleared and built up to meet Plan B, up by the entrance to Camp Vision...


unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photos


Looking south towards the West River, Camp is off to the left.
The "B-Safe, B-Sure, or B-Gone" sticker is often found on Island Coastal heavy equipment, and wistfully applies to Plan B.

August 4, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

“We change the world a little each day with our kindness.”
--Tom Giaquinto, teacher and author

 *this epigram is attributed to John Heywood, 16th century English writer

From good quotes to not-so-good:

In yesterday's Guardian:
an article on moving the Bonshaw Hall and costs of the property acquisitions for Plan B, with Minister Vessey makes about as much financial sense as Wes Sheridan with his A, B and C examples of HST.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-08-03/article-3337879/Government-to-move-Bonshaw-hall/1
Full article at bottom, selected excerpts below (bold mine):

All told there were 32 properties totaling 641.29 acres and bought for about $4.3 million.That’s more than the $4 million the province originally told the public it planned to spend on the properties, but Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said some of the land will go back to the community as public green space. The government also plans to sell some of the land it doesn’t plan to use and Vessey said it’s assessed at around $600,000.

“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under budget,” he said.
----

Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014 and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to determine exactly how to proceed.
Actually, Mr. Yeo's memory isn't so good -- community residents have been told *very* conflicting things regarding the possibility of moving the Hall.  And I suspect the entire community would like to be invited to discuss the plans.

and best quote: "Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” (Vessey) said.  It is a puzzle all right.


and an article also on the front page of Saturday's Guardian about award-winning architect Ole Hammarlund, and a sidebar mentioning his vocal opposition to Plan B (which hasn't made the on-line version):
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-08-03/article-3337647/Prince-Edward-Island-architect-has-made-large-imprint-on-small-province/1

Guardian stories from Saturday:

Government to move Bonshaw hall

Google maps image
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/media/photos/unis/2013/08/02/photo_2401018_resize.jpg

Bonshaw Hall will be moved as part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B.

Plan B construction work means short relocation for 140-year-old former Prince Edward Island church

Published on August 3, 2013

by Ryan Ross 

When it comes time to moving the Bonshaw community hall, the group that runs it hopes it will be done without any lengthy delays.

Bill Glen is the Bonshaw Hall Co-op’s treasurer and said the hall is used six days a week, including as a post office, and if it stays on blocks for a long time, it will be a big problem.

“The biggest concern is to get it done quickly,” he said.

The move is part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B, and although the building isn’t in the construction path, its proximity to the highway raised safety concerns.

Instead of tearing it down or leaving it where it is, the government is choosing to move the building to a location nearby and away from the intersection of Green Road and the Trans-Canada. The move will take the parking lot and community mailboxes away from the intersection and highway.

Members of the community have also raised concerns about what they say was a lack of consultation about the move.

Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014 and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to determine exactly how to proceed. Yeo said the government will build a new foundation and possibly relocate the septic system, which is all part of moving a building.

“It’s not the first time that we’ve moved one and it won’t be the last,” he said.

Once the move is underway it likely won’t take long to get the building back in service, Yeo said.

“We’ll do it as quickly as possible.”

Although the former church is more than 140-years-old, Glen said it is in good shape and will be able to handle the move.

As for the highway construction, the Transportation Department recently released the full list of all the properties the government bought through negotiated deals or expropriation to make way for the road.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF PROPERTIES GOVERNMENT BOUGHT FOR HIGHWAY

CLICK HERE FOR A MAP OF THOSE PROPERTIES

All told there were 32 properties totaling 641.29 acres and bought for about $4.3 million.

That’s more than the $4 million the province originally told the public it planned to spend on the properties, but Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said some of the land will go back to the community as public green space. The government also plans to sell some of the land it doesn’t plan to use and Vessey said it’s assessed at around $600,000.

“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under budget,” he said.

The land purchase process has been one of the lengthier parts of the highway development and the government released the first list of 25 properties in November.

Vessey said department staff worked hard on each property to be as compassionate and fair as possible with the landowners.

“Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” he said.

Meanwhile work continues on the highway construction and the first pavement is expected to go down in the next two or three weeks.

Prince Edward Island architect has made large imprint on small province

Published on August 3, 2013

by Jim Day

Ole Hammarlund honoured as Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada

Ole Hammarlund’s lauded architectural handiwork is a regular part of daily life for many, many Islanders.

Politicians, high school and university students, researchers and home dwellers, among others, pour in and out of his designed structures.

Working in Prince Edward Island for the past four decades has allowed the 71-year-old architect the opportunity to do a diverse range of work as a founding partner with both Bergmark and Hammarlund Architects and with BGHJ Architects.

Hammarlund feels blessed to have been able to make such a large imprint on such a small province.

“In a big city, you do a job and then you get on to the next one and you don’t pay too much attention to what you’ve done, but here you’re constantly walking by the buildings (he designed) and you’re constantly running into people that work and live in them,’’ he says.

Larry Jones, who worked for years as a partner with Hammarlund at BGHJ Architects, says Hammarlund has “absorbed the esthetic here on P.E.I.’’

Jones says Hammarlund, a native of Denmark, has also been influential in bringing some European styles into structures built on Prince Edward Island over the past 40 years.

An architect on P.E.I., explains Jones, is sort of a generalist.

“You do touch a lot of different buildings and a lot of different styles,’’ he says.

Hammarlund’s body of work, which includes the Coles Building, The Guild, co-op housing projects, UPEI’s Duffy Science Centre and K.C. Irving Chemistry Centre, Charlottetown Rural High School, Greenwich Beach Facility and the P.E.I. Advanced House, certainly illustrates his great diversity of work.

Hammarlund, said Jones, has truly earned the nod as a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the national organization, which took place formerly for Hammarlund at a ceremony June 6 in Halifax.

Jones points to his fellow Fellow’s impressive career work as well as long and influential involvement in furthering the architectural industry (Hammarlund is serving a third separate stint as president of the Architects’ Association of P.E.I. and has regularly attended national industry meetings for the past quarter century).

“He was a particularly good candidate for fellowship,’’ says Jones.

The acknowledgement is meaningful to Hammarlund.

“It feels very nice,’’ he says. “It’s kind of fun.’’

Hammarlund’s profession has been quite a treat as well, to be able to earn a good living through pursuing a passion.

Hammarlund, who grew up in a village just north of Copenhagen, always liked doing stuff with his hands. He started building tree houses as early as age eight.

His parents, who were both agronomists, would smell of chemicals when they arrived home from work. Hammarlund lived with his parents and his younger brother on the second floor of a two-story house formerly owned by the village’s black smith while his two cousins (that were like brothers) lived on the first floor.

After completing high school, Hammarlund became a carpenter’s apprentice working for “an old fashioned carpenter in the country that was able to do anything.’’

In 1964, he was admitted to the Architecture School of the Royal Academy of the Arts in Copenhagen where he studied for two years until transferring to the MIT School of Architecture in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and became licensed as an architect in Massachusetts in 1972.

In 1974, Hammarlund was commissioned with partner David Bergmark to design the P.E.I. Ark, a visionary bio-shelter funded by the Canadian government for the New Alchemy Institute.

The Ark, which was opened in August 1976 by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, created a huge buzz. Tourists flocked to gawk at the unique structure.  TV crews came from as far away as Denmark and Japan.

The international exposure led to a whirlwind of work for Hammarlund and company that included designing solar green houses sprouting up everywhere from Sudbury, Ont., to Saudi Arabia.

“It just instantly caught the attention of everybody all over the world,’’ recalls Hammarlund. “They were knocking on our door.’’

Almost all of Hammarlund’s architecture work, though, has been on Prince Edward Island. He is particularly pleased with his work on the UPEI campus, including a major renovation of the Main Building — the oldest building on campus.

One of his favourite buildings that he had a large hand in designing is the Charlottetown Rural High School.

“That was a really interesting building to design,’’ he says.

“We tried to make the building very compact. Compact is not only good for energy efficiency but also it makes it easy to go around. At Colonel Gray (High School), you have to walk twice as far to get from here to there.’’

Hammarlund’s focus in recent years has been developing the former Charlottetown YMCA into loft-style living and work condos. He lives there with his wife, Karen Lips, in a beautiful condo with 20-foot high ceilings in a home filled with considerable natural light and colourful art that all has combined to do well in countering the claustrophobic feeling he had in his previous apartment.

He also practises architecture today with his wife under the name Hammarlund and Lips Architects. The couple has a son, Leif, who is a chef at Terre Rouge in Charlottetown. Hammarlund also has four children from his first marriage.

When not working from his home, Hammarlund loves to entertain there, inviting friends to join in a night of ballroom dancing on his hardwood floor.

“Ole is one of the finest characters around town,’’ says Jones. “He’s got a wonderful, infectious personality.’’

While he sees plenty of dancing in his future, Hammarlund is not ready to retire.

“I still have a few good designs in me,’’ he says.

August 3, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Today's event at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea at 2PM is a special showing of "Having Hope at Home", with proceeds going to a memorial scholarship in Erskine Smith's name for a student in the performing arts program at Holland College.

It's a wonderful, poignant play with fantastic acting, and for a fantastic reason, too.

Also, the Watershed Alliance has a very informative website of its news and news of interest.  They posted about the recent fish kill, with a easy links to  related articles. http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=742

You can join the list and get e-mailed updates from them.

Environment Minister Janice Sherry speaks about the fishkill on Compass Friday evening:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/Compass/ID/2399345830/
14:20 into the broadcast.
(There isn't quite the right "emoticon" for that kind of interview, but you can always write compass@cbc.ca or Minister Sherry herself at jasherry@gov.pe.ca)

Let's hope for gentle rains this weekend, for all our waterways' sake, Chris O., Bonshaw

August 2, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Here are some August dates of items of interest:

(Tomorrow) Saturday, August 3rd, 2PM: MacPhail Woods reforestation workshop:
http://www.macphailwoods.org/event/forest-restoration-workshop/
Slideshow, followed by a walk led by Gary Schneider to look at and discuss actual examples of forest rejuvenation.  It sounds meant for anyone who is interested in Island forests, or is looking at caretaking a small lot to acres of lands.

An aside:
(Gary wrote a powerful letter this week about the most recent fishkill, more on this soon)
http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/letter_editor/fish_kills_point_need_better_environmental_protection

Thursday, August 8th, 7:30PM: "Remembering Cornelius"-- an retrospective of the "Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt"
Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), 582 North River Road, Charlottetown
from the press release:
"Cornelius Howatt, that noted Island patriot who opposed Confederation in 1873, is about to make a comeback – at least in spirit. Forty years ago, a Society named in his honour flourished for a year, then self-destructed, as promised. That was in 1973, the Centennial of PEI joining Confederation; the Society was The Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt (BSCH). It was founded by then-young Island historians David Weale and Harry Baglole.
"As well as seeking to kindle pride in the Island’s history, the BSCH raised many concerns about contemporary trends – such as the decline of the family farm, issues of land use and ownership, and a growing economic and cultural dependence on Ottawa: issues which remain with us still."
The evening will feature historian Ryan O'Connor's lecture on the BSCH and other speakers. It's free and all are welcome.

Future dates to mark:
Wednesday, August 14th, 3-4PM, UPEI
The second open house regarding the Institute of Island Studies review
(more details to follow)

There will be a series of pow wows across the Island this month:
August 10-11 (Saturday and Sunday) -- Lennox Island First Nation's Pow Wow
August  13-14 (Tuesday and Wednesday) -- Mi'kmaq Confederacy Pow Wow, Charlottetown
August 17-18 (Saturday and Sunday) -- Panmure Island Pow Wow

And there are still some wonderful shows playing this month, with Plan B / Citizens' Alliance connections:
"Having Hope at Home" plays until this Sunday at the Victoria Playhouse, with Cathy Grant and a host of talented actors.
http://www.victoriaplayhouse.com/shows-plays.php

And I think there is a concert Saturday afternoon at the Playhouse for the scholarship fund in Erskine Smith's name (details tomorrow)

"Dear Johnny Deere" plays until the end of August at the Mack in Charlottetown (every day except Sunday):
http://charlottetownfestival.com/en/25-Dear-Johnny-Deere
Land Use Policy issues!  Hints of a Plan B-type highway going through a family farm!  Yes, yes, plus fantastic performances from extremely talented actors and musicians (including fiddler Roy Johnstone who shows new sides to his persona!). 

"Nunsense", which is just silly and not at all about Plan B, has opened at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, and is directed by Catherine O'Brien.  It plays Tuesdays and Thursdays (evenings) and Saturday (afternoon) until August 29th.
http://www.harbourfronttheatre.com/nunsense.html

August 1, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Last night's CBC TV Compass coverage of the Bonshaw Hall move, which would happen in 2014; it's a slow news week ;-)
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2398947834/

It is about 20 minutes into the broadcast. 

Resident and Hall Co-op member Bill Glen explains the importance of the building.

The morning CBC radio interview with Sheldon MacNevin was "promo-ed" by descriptions of "residents' demands", and then in the interview Bonshaw elder Sheldon MacNevin said, "We'd appreciate it if the province helped with the foundation...."  (italics are mine).  He also gave some perspective on what Plan B has done to the community of Churchill; very heartfelt.

Island Morning did not archive Sheldon's interview.

But they did archive an interview with Watershed Alliance Executive Director Shawn Hill, regarding this week's fish kill and the lack of progress on the recommendations from the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management:
http://www.cbc.ca/islandmorning/environment/2013/07/30/barclay-brook-and-mill-river-fish-kills/

Here is the PEI government "backgrounder" on the Action Committee's formation. Just the banner of this webpage is worth a quick peek:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/newsroom/index.php3?number=news&newsnumber=8495&dept=&lang=E

from that press release:

“This is a partnership of groups committed to a solution and to using Barclay Brook – where we have seen fish kills two years in a row – as a pilot for identifying problems and developing land use practices that will control the runoffs that lead to fish kills.”

-- Environment Minister Janice Sherry, July 23, 2012.

Here is a reminder for tonight -- hope you can pop if you appreciate that bit of green space:


Bonshaw
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