May 2013

Contents

  1. 1 May 31, 2013
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  2. 2 May 30, 2013
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
    2. 2.2 Public Input begins on Bonshaw Hills Proposal -- The Guardian online
  3. 3 May 29, 2013
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  4. 4 May 28, 2013
    1. 4.1 Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update -- Facebook
    2. 4.2 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  5. 5 May 27, 2013
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  6. 6 May 25, 2013
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  7. 7 May 24, 2013
    1. 7.1 Cuts a scourge on UPEI employees -- The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    2. 7.2 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  8. 8 May 23, 2013
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  9. 9 May 22, 2013
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
    2. 9.2 Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook
    3. 9.3 Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update --Facebook
  10. 10 May 21, 2013
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  11. 11 May 20, 2013
    1. 11.1 Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update -- Facebook
  12. 12 May 19, 2013
    1. 12.1 Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook
  13. 13 Comments posted:
  14. 14 May 18, 2013
    1. 14.1 Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook
    2. 14.2 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  15. 15 May 17, 2013
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  16. 16 May 16, 2013
    1. 16.1 Bonshaw Hills public Lands Committee Draft Report -- CBC Compass
    2. 16.2 Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook
    3. 16.3 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  17. 17 May 15, 2013
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  18. 18 May 14, 2013
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  19. 19 May 13, 2013
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  20. 20 May 12, 2013
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  21. 21 May 11, 2013
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  22. 22 May 10, 2013
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  23. 23 May 8, 2013
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  24. 24 May 7, 2013
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  25. 25 May 6, 2013
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
    2. 25.2 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  26. 26 May 2, 2013
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update
  27. 27 Name Run By: meetings contact purpose what they want from public Lands Protection Act (LPA) Horace Carver, Commissioner over lpa@gov.pe.ca Land Ownership comments on acreage limits, etc. Land USE POLICY Task Force John Handrahan and four others Only five, and this month! Tonight in Charlottetown, May 21st in Summerside landuse@gov.pe.ca Land Uses and Vision comments on vision for land use (local governance comes in the Fall, I think) Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee (BHPLC) Todd DuPuis (Atlantic Salmon Fed.) and Brian Thompson of TIR Monday, May 27th, Dutch Inn Not sure yet bits of land not used for Plan B comments about ideas for what to do with land leftover from Plan B so it's both protected and can be available for public use
  28. 28 May 1, 2013
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's Update

May 31, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

"I think they are making a colossal mistake.  And they just don't know it." -- Islander at a Plan B surveyor's cut walk, Spring 2012.
"They are making a colossal mistake.  And they know it." -- many Islanders today.

Peter's Road is the small heritage road that goes north from the current TCH and is cut by Plan B.  It was the place we started public walks from last year when we explored the beauty of the region that would be flattened by Plan B.  Coming up from the current TCH was the quickest way to get to the property on which Camp Vision is based.

But it was always in the "Plan" to cut off Peter's Road as the shale for Plan B would be packed down to raise the elevation of the new road. This happened yesterday:

Peter's Road at the TCH, looking north. This barricade has been there on and off since Fall. May 30, 2013.

Not terribly clear, but you can see the piles of shale as Plan B has been raised and packed with shale.  There is worker's car on Plan B at upper center. May 30, 2013.

Looking west at Crawford's Hill as it comes down, May 30, 2013.
Two large excavators and four working giant dump trucks lowering the hill.  (The fifth is out of commission in the foreground.)

Before:  Looking west, Crawford's Brook hill, March 2012 (this photo doesn't even begin to capture the height and beauty).

You can still get to the camp by coming down from the north on Peter's Road, which is accessible by Riverdale Road (turning on Quinn Road), or Colville Road (turning on Wynn Road).  A map will follow, once I get a teen to help me annotate one.

Comments:
Isn't Peter's Road a heritage road and doesn't being a heritage road offer some protection?  Apparently not, at least for the first 700 metres, which the province can take and use, like a super-easement.  At least that is how it was explained to people. 

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 30, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Bonshaw, a part of Plan B, a cool day in May 2013, a future voter sizing up government priorities, perhaps.

Please take a few minutes to let the Citizens' Alliance know your thoughts and priorities, and thank you if you have.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NVJ8PJH

-------
Here is a link to a short video on a family farm on PEI that's facing a crisis right now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vQW0OpmICo&feature=youtu.be
There are a lot of issues here -- the more philosophical questions of how farming on PEI is in the state it is in, and the more pressing, more personal one of seeing one family on the brink right now. 

May 29, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

The Department of Transportation published its weekly "TCH Realignment Update" for May 24, which is similar to the previous week's:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044551&lang=E
TIR is trying to beef up the content and and not turn this particular page into an promotion for Plan B -- that change in format and tone from a few months ago is appreciable and appreciated.

Basically, though, it *could* say:  (going from New Haven to Bonshaw)


Fairyland East: starting to make the spaghetti bowl of roads connecting Plan B to Route 9:
Fairyland West: digging and digging bedrock and such for the fill for Fairyland East

Hemlock Grove / Crawford's Stream: still packing it on, rocks of various sizes strewn about, seeps apparent.

Crawford's Brook: it finally dried up enough for the giant dump trucks to manage to get *down* the hill, so two excavators and five trucks are working 12 hour days to take the hill down.   Some of the boxes still appear of questionable quality and they don't appear totally watertight, which is another story.  Concerns from the public monitors are downplayed by the Complaint Management System.  Down down down. 

Photo looking west towards Crawford's Brook (covered).  Peter's Road is tiny road at center left.  Photo May 28, 2013, by environmental monitor.

Bonshaw (north): they have started punching through one of the last undug areas in the acquired land -- the top of the hillside near the Bonshaw CBC tower.


From Green Road, looking east, breakin into Bonshaw.  May 24, 2013.

Bonshaw (south): continuing to dig very close to current TCH, and into the woods on the river side.
Bonshaw Bridge: pilings being driven (bam! bam!), though Highfield (bridge subcontractor) does not work extra long days.

There is a Plan B/Citizens' Alliance monthly meeting tonight at the Bonshaw Community Centre, if you are interested, at 6:30PM.  People bring a snack to share, and make it a working dinner.

Just a note that Peter's Road from the TCH is marked "closed", but it's passable and the workers use it, so use caution.  Coming from the north of Peter's Road takes about ten minutes more to get to Camp.

May 28, 2013

Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update -- Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.455903734500036&type=1

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Last night was the Bonshaw Hills Public Land Committee public presentation of its draft for public comment.

It lasted a little less than two hours, and it was informative, but not exciting. There were about 40 non-committee-related people there. I think the media was hoping that there would be chanting and rude songs and sign-waving from the back of the room, but it's not fun to pick on a bunch of people who have spent a lot of time working on something big.

Their Big Picture:

They would like the lands to go to non-governmental land sanctuary groups like Island Nature Trust or Nature Conservancy of Canada, instead of staying in government's hands where they could easily be sold off or developed, or at least have the lands protected under the Natural Areas Proctection Act.

In addition to protecting some land near Hemlock Grove for UPEI and Holland College (and presumably Island public schools) for research and field trips, they envision connecting the two provincial parks in the area (Strathgartney and Bonshaw) in one u-shaped big park bordered by the West/Bonshaw River for hiking and such (the connector between the lands would be an enhanced walkway under the bridge in Bonshaw).

What's next? 

They get public feedback -- ONLY written (on-line form, e-mail, or postal mail) and by June 27th.

The finish their report and submit it.

They wait for Government (i.e., Transportation, who owns the lands, coordinates this) to decide.  Government, according to Environment Minister Sherry's condition, has to have a plan in place by October 1, 2014.

Why would Government not shelve this like nearly every other collaboration? (think The Roundtable on Resource Use and Land Stewardship from the late 1990s, and more recently the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management)

Well, that's an opinionated essay question.  Perhaps Government strategists are thinking about returning from the wilderness of withering public opinion. (Premier Ghiz mentioned in yesterday's Guardian about an election in Spring 2016.ticktick)

Speaking of Wilderness --  What wilderness?  "Wilderness trails, PEI's only wilderness.  A wilderness experience"....that word was counted a lot last night.  "Wilderness" does not show up in the report at all, but was bandied about in interviews.  Trails through relatively untouched areas (but within metres of the TCH, a shale pit, houses) will be nice pleasant wooded trails, and nearly everyone is all for protecting the land that doesn't have Plan B running through it, but perhaps there are better terms out there.

What can the public do?

  • Download the report from here: http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills   and get an idea what they are saying, or flip through it on-line, or call for a copy to be sent.

  • Use the government form to send feedback, or write an e-mail or letter.  (Island Nature Trust is keeping track of the responses:  admin@islandnaturetrust.ca -- put Bonshaw Hills in the subject line, though) by June 27th.

  • Ask for a chance to see some of the land with someone from the committee, which was a suggestion brought up by a Plan B opponent, I believe.

  • Decide what is important for you to emphasize.  Some things to consider are: keeping the plan simple, rustic,

    • **AND making it a requirement for government to hold a similar public meeting and comment period for the management plan in the next year.**

    • Other things to consider are heritage road designations, and fixing the wooden bridge in Bonshaw down Green Road (this could connect the supertrail to the existing hiking trails in the area), etc.

Others' feedback is available to read on-line, but in a clunky pdf format here: http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1047275&lang=E

Who was there?

Wade MacLaughlin was moderator, and did a good job, but wasn't as steeped in this, understandably, as the rest of us.  He was gracious and kept things moving. The Committee was there, minus members Tim Banks, John Jamieson and Kim Horrelt, among others.  The District 17 MLA and her executive assistant were there.


From last night's CBC Maritime News
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2387895747/
(about 6:20 into the broadcast)

Here are the worst pictures you can imagine, but we were trying to sit back and listen:


Co-chairman Todd Dupuis, Atlantic Salmon Federation, who has done a huge amount of work on the recommendations, along with the watershed coordinator, biologists, and land group representatives, and others.  Dutch Inn, May 27, 2013.

Brian Thompson, co-chair of committee, director of Land and Environment for the Department of Transportation.

Diane Griffin represents the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

OK, Minister Sherry had 10 other recommendations, which are supposed to be being met, too. And there is that other Land committee business going on.  For future updates.

May 27, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

The rains were fairly gentle in the Bonshaw area Saturday, and did not pose a significant challenge to the sediment control measures at the Plan B sites this weekend.  A Transportation staff member was around and pumping out the sediment pond at Crawford's Brook. 

Crawford's Brook, looking west, Saturday morning, between light showers, May 25, 2013. Culvert boxes are mostly covered over with shale.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%2027%20%232.jpg
Upstream: In-flow for Crawford's Brook so it can by-pass culvert boxes in this pipe.  Looks a bit like a miniature hanging culvert.  Lots of chopped hay for erosion-control. May 25, 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%2027%20%233.jpg
Downstream: Outflow of Brook in blue pipe. Sediment pond, partially spring-fed, with hose going uphill.  Box culvert is to bottom right and out of picture; pump to left and out of photo.  May 25, 2013.

In other news:
A last reminder regarding tonight's meeting about the Bonshaw Lands committee, 7PM, Dutch Inn, Cornwall.
The draft document is here if you click: "Read the Committee's report"
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills
Public comments will be taken for the next month.

And although the Citizens' Alliance is non-partisan, political participation is important; here is Peter Bevan-Baker's commentary on misplaced priorities:
http://youtu.be/wbn7E9lsdaQ

And there is a petition regarding the cutting of the director's position at the Institute of Island Studies:
http://www.facebook.com/l/ZAQGa4jSW/https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2Fdocument%2Fd%2F1ChFB6udnzzSolCb10uEjJsfzj2830rlxX1-WhlVAuRU%2Fedit%3Fusp%3Dsharing

AND if you haven't filled out the Citizens' Alliance survey, please do:
The Citizens' Alliance is trying to listen to Islanders about what is important to them for the CA to consider.  Please consider filling out this very short survey (3-4 minutes). Thanks if you have already.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NVJ8PJH

May 25, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

First, some clarifications:  I misspelled Vice-President Christian LaCroix's e-mail address from yesterday: it should be clacroix@upei.ca

Also, there are way *more* than just 35 people cut - that is just a quick head-count of full-time workers and union members; it didn't include most contract workers and part-time lecturers ("sessionals").  Some of the full-time people may have options such as early retirement or to "bump" a person with less seniority; the latter doesn't foster a pleasant work place environment. The contract people are in a variety of positions throughout the university, and that will have ripple effects in the how the university contributes to the Island community.

And the connection to government priorities is apparent:

Cuts a scourge on UPEI employees   Published on May 24, 2013 in The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter%20to%20editor/2013-05-24/article-3257557/Cuts-a-scourge-on-UPEI-employees/1
----

And there will be people keeping an eye on the rainfall this weekend and the sediment controls.

Fill your boots, as they say.  Plan B site, Spring 2013. (Public monitor's photo)

May 24, 2013

Cuts a scourge on UPEI employees -- The Guardian Letter to the Editor

What happened this week at the University of Prince Edward Island was an absolute disgrace. Many employees were called in, with no notice, even to their heads of departments, and told their positions were eliminated or cut by up to 50 per cent; the reason being that the university was in debt up to $9 million and this is not allowed.

How can Premier Robert Ghiz condone this when he can authorize over $20 million to be spent on the hated ‘Plan B' construction, which the majority of Island residents do not approve and the two or three million spent on the ‘waves' at Borden?

Shame on Mr. Ghiz and Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. Mr. Ghiz, give the university the help it needs and stop this unforgivable scourge on innocent employees who have families to support.

Donna Barrett, Fairview

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter%20to%20editor/2013-05-24/article-3257557/Cuts-a-scourge-on-UPEI-employees/1

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Choices:


A new excavator. $500,000 purchase price. Two (at least) have been bought for Plan B.

Wednesday, 35 full-time people were laid off at UPEI, without any sort of warning that they were the unfortunate "chosen ones."

Most publicly notable is the Director of the Institute of Island Studies, Dr. Irene Novaczek.
Her work has brought fascinating, intelligent guests to the Island, who *always* made overtures to the greater Island community as well. In just the last year I got to hear Allister McIntosh, who spoke on the "Rekindling Community"
http://news.upei.ca/media/2012/07/05/rekindling-community-public-lecture-and-discussion
(a talk I wish was recorded, as among other topics it chronicled how politicians "disassociate" from the people who elected them), and got to spend time with visiting professor Scott Rice-Snow, the hydrologist from Iowa who pointed out seeps and springs popping up all along Plan B, and gave an extra, excellent talk on watertables and Plan B in Bonshaw before Christmas.

Hydrologist Scott Rice-Snow and public monitor Cindy Richards, Hemlock Grove, December 15, 2012.

The Institute's website is:http://www.upei.ca/iis/ As Irene says, "PEI needs the Institute as much as the Institute needs the people of PEI." How can this Island institution continue to operate without a director? The Institute was formed by and large from members of the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, which 30 years ago brought into the open many of the same issues about Island life and values as we are discussing today. Harry Baglole was the first director of the IIS.

For the recording of the interview yesterday with the UPEI vice-president defending the cuts and then Dr. Novaczek, go here:
http://www.cbc.ca/islandmorning/

---

What about the 34 other people fired? Undoubtedly, all make contributions to the University community and to the Island community as well.

(Back to choices and priorities: How can we justify cutting spending to the Institute of Island Studies and other deep cuts at UPEI but go ahead with Plan B? How did the University get to a position to feel compelled to cut so many jobs in one day?)

If you are concerned about this, consider sending a quick e-mail to:

Contact addresses:

President of UPEI Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz president@upei.ca

Vice-President Academic Christian LaCroix clacroix@upei.ca

Vice-president of Finance (who defended the cuts on CBC Radio Thursday) Jackie Podger jpodger@upei.ca

UPEI Board of Governors (Tom Cullen, chair) upeigovernors@upei.ca

Premier of PEI Robert Ghiz premier@gov.pe.ca

Allen Roach is MLA and Minister of Advanced Learning afroach@gov.pe.ca

please CC: Institute of Island Studies Dr. Irene Novaczek iis@upei.ca

This list may be easier to cut-and-paste:
president@upei.ca
clacroix@upei.ca
jpodger@upei.ca
upeigovernors@upei.ca
premier@gov.pe.ca
afroach@gov.pe.ca
iis@upei.ca

For your information, the UPEI Board of Directors consists of:
List of Governors (with a few notes by me)

Mr. Tom Cullen, Chair
Ms. Lynn Murray, Vice -Chair
W.E. (Bill) Andrews, Chancellor
Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz (UPEI President)
David McKenna (Optometrist)
Duncan Shaw
Pat Sinnot
Sean Murphy (former MP)
Andrew Bartlett
Alicia Bremner
John Buchanan
David F. Buck
Barbara Campbell
Tracey Cutcliffe
Linnell Edwards
Scott Harper
Ron Keefe
Dana Robert Kenny
Nebojsa Kujundzic
Elizabeth Maynard
Brian McMillan (Holland College President)
Anastasia Smallwood
Lowell Sweet
Margo Thompson
Xuan "Frank" Zhou

http://home.upei.ca/about-upei/boardofgovernors

May 23, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

It's a matter of choices:

$24million for the road nobody wants, needs or can afford, or The Institute for Island Studies (listen to CBC radio this morning before 8AM for interview with Dr. Irene Novaczek).

Photos from the current TCH last evening:  Fairyland
Looking east into former Fairyland Hardwoods towards New Haven from TCH, May 22, 2013.

And turning west:
Looking west towards Riverdale, from TCH; Hemlock Grove is near where the excavator sits, May 22, 2013.  Note the steep cut with partial hydroseeding.

And in Bonshaw:
Looking north from Bonshaw towards CBC tower, from TCH.  The cliff right by the guard rail is cut several stories deep. May 22, 2013.

__________


And a reminder of events tonight:
  • "Don't Frack PEI" event at Bytes Cafe, Hampton (west of Bonshaw on TCH) 7PM -- excerpts from the movie "Gasland" and discussion
  • Meeting for residents of Bonshaw and New Haven regarding the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee, 7PM, Kingston Legion,
    • Meeting for general public Monday, May 27, Dutch Inn, 7-9PM
    • http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills  is the website with the draft proposal (draft proposal can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking the first choice "Read the Committee's Report" on this page)

May 22, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

I apologize for letting an update slip out without being an "undisclosed"  -- hope all of you will respect the privacy of the other members on the list ;-)  on those days my fingers and eyes don't work together.

Hello, all,

Just a quick update that the Summerside meeting of the Land Use Policy Task Force was very interesting.  More information another day, but the short line is that for something as far-reaching as a provincial policy on land use would be, the task force, made up of five dedicated individuals, are hearing from farmers and non-farmers alike that they need to take their time on this, and not just be done explaining their goals and listening in the next month or two.

Tonight, Upton Road is having their AGM, 7PM, West Royalty Community Centre.  Green space in town!-- if interested in finding out what's going on, and if you can help by just being there and listening, or purchasing a $10 membership, or getting more involved in planning, please consider attending.

And we are still watching things along the Plan B site, but fortunately, the rains have been mild.

Downtown Charlottetown, May 2013.  Unknown, but appreciated, artist.

Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook

Some more examples of the inexplicable sticky concrete patches found throughout boxes at Crawfords brook. Spoke with a precast concrete company today and after showing numerous pics of the concrete degradation, they too were baffled having never seen this before. 

Follow comments at:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152831815645557&set=o.220834614673617&type=1&theater

According to Stantecs EROSION AND SEDIMENTATION CONTROL REVIEW - FINAL dated March 21, 2013:

There is presently too much exposed soil on the Project site based on the observed work conducted to date. This is largely attributed to early winter construction and the inability to cover exposed surfaces that were frozen. However, the areas of the Project that have been opened up must be either temporarily covered with straw mulch or graded, hydroseeded and permanently stabilized with straw mulch and or Flexterra (or an equivalent FRM) as soon as work commences in the spring (refer to Section 6.3.2).
This pic of large barren slope at Bonshaw was taken on May 19th.
Follow comments at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152831792225557&set=o.220834614673617&type=1&theater

Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update --Facebook


First big Pine to go along Hemlock Grove because roots have been ripped apart.

Roots exposed and soon tree will be dead.
Follow comments at:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.453388068084936&type=1
Silt pond dug carelessly too close to pine and its roots by poorly instructed workers.

May 21, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Twice last week, with fairly mild spring rains, it was a volunteer environmental monitor who alerted Transportation officials to the overflowing sediment pond at Crawford's Brook, west of Peter's Road in Churchill (the location of the box culverts). Whatever the reason, this weekend there was a 24-period after the situation was described by calls and e-mails before the pond was pumped. Not sure when the Dedicated Environmental Department Employee was there.

Fortunately, the Churchill area did not get a lot of rain, and the beefed-up mitigations around Hemlock Grove and the Crawford's Stream area managed the sediment load. Still, reviewing that when Environment Minister Sherry approved Plan B last fall, it was with eleven conditions, and three of them are worth noting (my paraphrasing):

#3 Sediment getting into the watercourse will be acted on immediately
#11 TIR will be responsible for notifying and ensuring compliance of its workers, contractors and subcontractors of what Minister Sherry's conditions are.
#8 The dedicated environmental employee will oversee all environmental aspects on a full-time basis "and ensuring that these impacts are mitigated."

Photos by environmental monitors.

Looking upstream into the culvert boxes at Crawford's Brook, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Pump on right.

Looking downstream by pump (not in picture), Crawford's Brook is in the by-pass pipe, May 2013. Rain, and an area of rich in seeps add to the sediment ponds.

The mouth of the pipe with the Brook showing the clear brook and the sediment from the pond flowing in (lower left). May 2013
----------
What does Plan B say about how we use land on our Island, and our planning? Perhaps this is why any sort of Provincial Land Use Policy discussion really needs a lot of public input.

Regarding the Land Use Policy and the Task Force meetings, tonight in Summerside (Loyalist Inn, 6:30PM) is the fourth of the six meetings scheduled so far (the first was in Charlottetown in early May, and the last two are in Elmsdale and Souris in the next two weeks). If you cannot make these meetings, *please consider writing a quick note* to the Task Force and asking for more public input time, perhaps a few fall meetings (another Charlottetown one with more notice, a Crapaud or North Shore one?)
landuse@gov.pe.ca


https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2021%20%234.jpg
Responsible land use?
The covered culvert boxes over Crawford's Brook, May 16, 2013, looking west towards Riverdale Road (CO photo) from Peter's Road.

May 20, 2013

Deb Jeffery's Environmental Update -- Facebook

Follow comments at:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.452454704844939&type=1

Bonshaw Bridge.
No canoeing under the bridge this year. Ropes holding debris control in place crossing under bridge.
Behind Encounter Creek.

May 19, 2013

Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook

Silt pond finally pumped out, 24 hours after Gateway was alerted that it was overflowing. Action was taken as a result of public monitoring which has tended to be the case in all major and some of the minor breeches on site. Environmental monitoring of the site by the PEIDELJ full time dedicated environmental employee is absent.

Comments posted:

Deb Jeffrey The average Islander has no clue how much you are doing. Public monitors should not have to tell these supervisors how to do their jobs. It is a disgrace and where is Gov't opposition? They should be very concerned about how much money is being spent without anyone watching where all this money is going. It seems working for Govt is only important to get the pension in the end. If this is what happens when so many are watching, what is happening where we can't see, I wonder?
Gail Rhyno Well done Cindy.

May 18, 2013

Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook

Mitigations which are not employed are as effective as having none. The shallow silt pond at Crawfords brook, which has been routinely pumped out has not been dewatered for some time and has overflowed into the brook. No one is working or answering phones.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152821991930557&set=o.220834614673617&type=1&theater

Chris Ortenburger's Update

After a few days of holiday, there are lots of events next week to consider participating in, all relating to environmental issues and land use:

Monday, May 20

Tuesday, May 21 (Choice of two)

Wednesday, May 22

  • Upton Farm Trust Annual Meeting
    • West Royalty Community Centre, Lower Malpeque Road, 7PM, free admission but $10 memberships available
    • http://uptonfarmlands.com/
    • The Upton Farm Trust Inc. owns the land on both sides of the TCH starting at the North River Causeway and up to the light at Upton Rd.- Maypoint Road. The volunteer Board is charged with creating and maintaining the 135 acres as a green space in perpetuity.  It is their second annual meeting, and they would like to see as many interested people as possible to be part of this meeting.  This is one of the few big public green spaces in Charlottetown and it's obvious there would be money to be made in commercially developing it, so the success of this Trust is very important.

Thursday, May 23

  • "Don't Frack PEI" - film and discussion
    • Bytes Cafe, Hampton (west of Bonshaw), 7PM, free admission
    • Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/103487989857281/
    • Excerpts from the documentary "Gasland" will be shown, followed by a discussion led by Andrew Lush on the
      potential implications if fracking were to come to Prince Edward Island

and way in the future:
Monday, May 27

May 17, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Hope this finds all well and ready to enjoy the long weekend, no matter what the weather.

The Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee came out with its draft of recommendations for what to do with particular parcels acquired with the land for Plan B.  It is a pdf and the first download choice on this page "Read the Committee's report":
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills

Here is their schedule:
May 27, 2013    Public meeting for discussion of draft recommendations, Dutch Inn
Jun 27, 2013     Deadline for public submissions
Jul – Sep, 2013    Consideration of public submissions & revision of recommendations
Oct 1, 2013        Final recommendations provided to Minister by the Committee

The pdf has some "zoomable" maps which are *much* more accurate as far as where Plan B is going, plus other ones with details about forestry.
Compass from Wednesday night, about 6:30 minutes into it: http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2385454873/

So have a peak when you can.  It'll likely get addressed in another Update next week.
-----
Speaking of the land, a news item about "Mudrooters" dirt bike park being fined, and what is very likely the efforts of a committed group of local residents monitoring, reporting, and insisting government enforce its own regulations.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2013/05/16/pei-mudrooters-fine-environment-584.html

May 16, 2013

Bonshaw Hills public Lands Committee Draft Report -- CBC Compass

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2385454873/

Cindy Richards' Environmental Report -- Facebook

Quick repairs were made to remedy some of the failed mitigations yesterday as soon as they were reported to TIR, great! .... but begs the question why these problems had not been detected earlier than 10 am and after the rain, by those paid to ensure these mitigations are working. Where was the dedicated environmental person as outlined in Sherry's conditions???

Comments posted:

  • Pauline Howard R u beginning to think u r the dedicated environmental person? Thank you.
  • Cindy Richards yes it has become obvious that this role is only taken seriously by the public. Yesterday attempts to advise them that the silt pond was overflowing into brook and needed to be pumped were not addressed...it is reckless to think that the environment takes holidays.
  • Gail Rhyno Janice Sherry had no intention of keeping this close an eye on this project. Your work Cindy Richards makes that painfully clear.


Chris Ortenburger's Update

The rain this week has not been as much or as heavy as predicted, which is a good thing as far as Plan B runoff controls go.
The Crawford's Brook area, where the Brook is in a small pipe by-passing the box culverts while repairs are made, probably had the worst of sediment issues yesterday:

Crawford's Brook coming out of the by-pass pipe, downstream of box culverts, with sediment also entering watercourse (center/lower left).  Plan B in Churchill, west of Peter's Road, May 16, 2013.  Photo by Cindy Richards, who alerted officials and some work was done.  Box culverts are out of photo to upper right.

Hemlock Grove and Fairyland had the sediment controls beefed up this spring after failures due to the snow melt and rain in March. 
The Department of Transportation's weekly update on the project showing some of the controls is here:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044551&lang=E
However, it is a shame that these controls weren't anticipated and put in in the first place, when undertaking such as ridiculously extensive project in the Fall on PEI.
--------
Speaking of the need for proper land use, tonight is the Montague public consultation with the Task Force on the Land Use Policy, from 6:30PM until 9PM.    Tuesday, May 21st is the Summerside public meeting.  The website with background information is:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/landandlocalgovernance/index.php3?lang=E

An update on the various land committees tomorrow or later.

May 15, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Last week the PEI Legislature closed, with a quiet wheeze.  The reporters and the politicians declared this was a contentious, busy, productive sitting, which is actually a bit of an exaggeration.  The Legislature resumed a week or so earlier than usual this Spring to pass HST legislation.  Other legislation included a new French language services bill, a bill punishing doctors who overprescribe opiates, and stronger impaired driving legislation (ah, the first and most effective thing to make our roads safer).  And that was about it.

From CBC Mainstreet's political columnist, Richard Raiswell, a "political report card" (4 minutes):
http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/Mainstreet%2BPEI/ID/2385071324/
citing that the tired, no-purpose government thinks public consultation is best done *after* it decides what it is going to do.

There was a tabled petition, with over 1,200 signatures, calling for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which was followed by some dismissive comments by the Premier pooh-poohing the need for any such initiative.  Well, this issue is not going away. 

How did the Opposition do? 
Better that the previous sessions.  But to quote a writer from the not-too-distant past about a particular issue (in that case, as in who is to blame for increased non-resident ownership of land):
"...Nor is it enough to blame the Official Opposition, even though the P.C.'s seem to have no idea how they might cope with the problem if they were in power."

(From the same essay, "What Island Community?" by Harry Baglole in Cornelius Howatt: Superstar!  Williams & Crue Ltd., 1974)
"Nor is it enough to blame our local press for its generally shallow reporting and its apparent fear of disturbing the status quo or of creating public anxiety.")
Everything old is new again.


Anyway, the Tories did refer to Plan B as the "$20 (or $25 or $30) million dollar road nobody wants" -- great label!  But when a question was asked about the costs of Plan B or of the further TCH work in DeSable, the Minister of Transportation Robert Vessey went through the usual declamation about the superiority of his department, and told Leader of the Opposition Steven Myers he could ask about that when the TIR budget estimates where reviewed.  When they got to the road construction part of the budget, days later, they wandered into other questions completely unrelated.  Opportunity lost.  And "Island Voices" segment seemed to have been shelved.  But they did try hard.

Agriculture Minister Webster tried to defend shutting down the diagnostics lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College by saying those services are easily found at any local vet clinic.  Vet clinics do wonderful work, but they aren't doing advanced tissue cultures.  Webster seemed to be most happy announcing how many beef patties had been served during the "Burger Love" campaign, so much even the beleaguered Health Minister had to remind MLAs not to be excessive about any one thing.

There were many interesting little comments made, during the budget estimates or long-winded discussion of motions.  (During these times, those in the Gallery got to see most MLAs texting, iPad writing, or both at once, having loud conversations with deskmates or wandering to another desk to do so, snapping for a page's attention, and being absent for long periods of time.)  But that's when remarks such as "the environmentalists would go berserk" are made, or justifications that we needed Plan B for safety (MLA Alan MacIsaac apparently missed the admission that TIR "enhanced" their accident data to make the Plan B case). Searchable written "House Records" and audio/video archives are available here: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/

So a short-of-substance session.
But perhaps here is the biggest question of all:
When is the next provincial election is going to be?


Enhanced photo of Premier Ghiz; unknown source.

May 14, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

First of all, please forgive me if you get messages twice in the next few days, while lists are getting organized. 

If this is the first kind of update you have received, it's from Chris O., from the PEI Citizens' Alliance, which came out of the Stop Plan B movement.  If you do not wish to get any further e-mail updates on the Plan B site and other concerns about PEI, please let me know.  Otherwise, I hope these updates will continue to share information about what's going on, and often, what you can do to participate to make PEI a better place.

In yesterday's Journal-Pioneer:
This sums it up.                        By Wayne Wright, Journal-Pioneer, May 13th, 2013
------

While we aren't likely to get the government to stop this highway, we can work to make some positive change.
 
What do you think the PEI Citizens' Alliance should have as its overall goal(s)

What things should we focus on?

When you have a minute, send me a quick reply to these questions.  We hope to do some better "consultations" with you, the members of the PEICA -- electronically and at events --  while we figure out what directions to go in. 

May 13, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Just wanted to mention some events and information spots related to concerns about fracking on PEI.  Fracking is a process used by a company, which having been granted a lease of a huge parcel of land (let's say on PEI), establishes a vertical drilling well, and *going below the water* table, turns horizontally, and uses copious amounts of water and chemicals under high pressure to blast and shake the layer that has carboniferous deposits (hydrocarbons laid down about 320 million years ago, just before the age of the dinosaurs), to make them a little easier to collect and pipe off as "shale gas."

This diagram references a shale formation in the US, but it's similar to the Carboniferous Maritime Basin in our area.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/may%2013%20%231.png
Tomorrow, the Argyle Shore Women's Institute is hosting a screening of the movie "Gasland" on Tuesday, May 14th, starting at 7PM, with a short discussion to follow.  Admission by donation.  It's at the Argyle Shore Community Centre along Route 19 in Argyle Shore.  "Gasland" follows a guy documenting reports of contaminated wells in his home state of Pennsylvania, and how it has affected people.

Another chance to see excerpts from "Gasland" and join in discussion, Thursday, May 23rd, 7PM, Bytes Cafe in Hampton, on the TCH west of Bonshaw:
https://www.facebook.com/events/103487989857281/?ref=ts&fref=ts

The "Don't Frack PEI" group has started an informative and readable website:
http://dontfrackpei.com/web/
Note the two main choices of pages: "Our News" and "Other News", have *lots* of information.
There is a map of permits granted and lo-and-behold, the Plan B area (among a great deal of Island land), is boxed. (It sounds like a map is in the process of being updated by the Province.)

Relating fracking and Plan B, from April 3rd, 2013, in the Legislature:

Minister (of Environment Janice Sherry):  <public consultation before fracking is> part of the process. It would be part of the process as it was for the realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway. You have to have the public consultation prior to the final approval. It’s part of the process.
(MLA Colin) Mr. LaVie: Well, Plan B, you never listened to the public.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2013%20%232.jpg
When Government acts without listening to the public. 
Plan B, looking east from top of hill over Crawford's Brook. Current TCH by New Haven on horizon.  Friday, May 10, 2013.

May 12, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Happy Mother's Day, and in addition to wishing all the women with children (young and not-so-young) who have worked opposing Plan B over the past year a lovely day, I would like to show appreciation for all the people who have shown their maternal side by supporting others, bringing food, offering companionship, giving and getting hugs (more hugs then they may have given or received up until this point in life), sacrificing sleep and orderly homes, showing their kids (or those whose lives they touch) that somethings *are* worth fighting, even in lopsided battles.
--Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 11, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Just a few photos (after yesterday's excessive number) of what the box culverts at Crawford's Brook look like, mostly covered with gravel, nearly buried:

Looking west, Crawford's Brook, west of Peter's Road.  Cement box culvert sections for Brook being buried with gravel (trucked in) and shale.
A very large excavator at the top of the hill relentlessly digs into the hillside of bedrock and shale during daylight hours, which is delivered in a circuitous route though Crawford's property way off on the left by giant dump trucks.

Close up of one seam between boxes that got a little nicked by an excavator, presumably.  Otherwise, we are assuming the boxes have been fixed and "sealed" to some standard.  Apparently there was a provincial inspection on the culvert before the burying started.  

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%2011%20%231.jpg
Once it is done, the Brook will be reverted once again into the culvert.  This is a downstream view, taken by the downstream end of the Box Culvert, of the Brook in the blue pipe rejoining its original point.  Sediment settling pond on left.

May 10, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

To quote photographer Keith Kennedy, it's the road nobody wants.   And we can add to that:  and a road that we don't need and can't afford.

When Plan A (through Strathgartney Provincial Park) became Plan B, it meant cutting a swath through the land behind the Bonshaw 500 go-kart place, and through woods around the hill where the CBC transmission tower is.  A shale pit and rumors of plans for a subdivision were the first surprise discoveries.
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%231.jpgA busy map of Plan B. Riverdale Road is the unmarked road running north from Strathgartney Park.

Though there are streams and springs in this area -- lots of them -- the work on Plan B in Bonshaw is mostly dig-and-cart-and-fill, some areas visible from the road and a lot not seen at all.  It is without the trickiness of the box culverts or the emotional pull of Hemlock Grove, but it *is* going on.  (The trees were removed around the same time as Hemlock Grove was cut.)  The truckloads of shale/bedrock get dug up, and go from one end to the other and back again, piling up a ridge with a steep slope by the tower, and digging quite deep as it comes back towards the current TCH near the Bonshaw bridge.  All day long, six days a week.   Lots of beeping in the Bonshaw Hills has replaced bird song.

Here is what the parts of the Bonshaw section look like, Sunday, May 5th, 2013, going from Churchill to Bonshaw:
(Sorry for the overwhelming number of pictures -- but each one shows so much.)

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%232.jpg
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%233.jpg
Shale pit area. CBC Tower in background.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%234.jpg
Plan B, Looking east towards Riverdale Road.

Looking west.  It was a lovely ravine.
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%236.jpg
Storm culvert.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%237.jpg
Looking west towards Bonshaw. The equipment line-up is visible at center.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%238.jpg
Turning around and looking towards north at the equipment line-up (jokingly called "the Fisher Price line-up" for those of you who could see kids in a sandbox).

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%239.jpg
Looking towards Green Road in Bonshaw, at edge of Plan B (the road is continuing to be built up in this area).

Looking down embankment at sediment pond and berm.  Houses along Green Road in Bonshaw who used to only look at a wooded and farmed hillside get to watch the construction and traffic. (The Bonshaw Breezes Bed and Breakfast are the middle two buildings.)
A wide road. CBC tower on right, looking towards Churchill again.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%2312.jpg
A spring on eastern side of Plan B in a little holding area.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%2313.jpg
Same little holding pond for spring, with pump leading up to the east.  The current TCH is up and beyond the hill.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%2314.jpg
Towards the current highway and Bonshaw Bridge.  Digging down, water from seeps/spring on left.

(Temporarily unable to upload)

Looking towards Churchill and CBC tower (upper right), with lots of rock.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/monthly-stuff/2013-monthly-overviews/may-2013/May%2010%20%2316.jpg
Looking towards current highway, which is at top of photo; more rock.


Bedrock breakup tools.  Part of the overwhelming costs of Plan B. 

Falling rock, yes.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw


PS  The Women's Institute Roadside Cleanup is officially Saturday, and the cleanup in Bonshaw will be from 9-11AM around the TCH near the Bonshaw Hall and around the Pioneer Cemetery on the south side of the highway.  People can pick up trash along any road at any time -- usually Public Works will pick up bags and retrieved items along the roadways for the next two weeks. 

May 8, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A mixed bag of media on Plan B and other environmental issues:

After a discussion with Transportation people and our concerns about the Complaint Management System, TIR has boosted the content of its website updates on the Plan B project, and here is their first revamped weekly update:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044551&lang=E
It contains more technical information than other updates, with just small amounts of vagueness, repetition and grandstanding; but perhaps, just perhaps, responding to the public's desire for better and more accurate information about the project from the government itself.
The photos could be labeled with date and location, which would be great for all photos from the site.
----

Historian Richard Raiswell's commentary on the Save Our Seas and Shores petition being tabled last week, and the response from MLAs (or lack of response), regarding oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. 
http://www.cbc.ca/mainstreetpei/
Lots to think about, and stay tuned for. 
(It is the second audio link on the page.)
-----

In Monday's Guardian was an article by Nigel Armstrong about one of the climate change panels held on Earth Day, April 23rd, in Charlottetown, focusing on political action. The paper dusted off a photo of the September 28th, 2012, Stop Plan B Rally on the University Avenue side of Province House (the honking rally) before Minister Sherry announced her conditional approval of Plan B.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-05-06/article-3234628/Panel-suggests-best-ways-to-bring-about-effective-action-on-climate-change/1#

It's must have been tricky for the reporter to encapsulate the couple of hours of panel discussion.  Former MP Sean Murphy tried to describe what works and what doesn't, saying protestors usually don't represent a significant slice of the population, but qualifying that Plan B protests were definitely different.

One of the other panelists said you have to go where the money is and choke it off, which is very, very true, and something we tried to do with Plan B -- obviously on the provincial side by many of you writing MLAs about this poor use of money, and on the federal aspect by writing the local MP Wayne Easter and government MP Gail Shea with our concerns.  Both made time to meet with some of us, and Easter got us some good contact information for Transport Canada Minister Denis LeBel and then-Deputy Minister Yaprak Baltacıoğlu, but last spring and summer these Federal responses were cursory -- very much a "We are experts, and it's federal money, and if you have any concerns you should really be bringing them to the attention of the provincial representatives."  (Which, I believe, we were doing.  :-/  )

May 7, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

At Crawford's Brookhttps://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%231.jpgmap of Plan B area focusing on Crawford's Brook and Hemlock Grove, off Peter's Road, Churchill, PEI

work is nearly done making repairs to damaged culvert section boxes and seals -- the boxes that weren't designed to be left uncovered, and we had cold snaps this winter -- and we can't say anything about the quality of the cement powder or the finished boxes to begin with.  People were told there is no federal inspection, that the provincial folks will inspect it.

Photo from April 2013 of pock-marks that appeared over the winter on the concrete boxes, Crawford's Brook

They are getting ready to cover the boxes with gravel and then start pushing the dirt and rock from the hillside over it.
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%207%20%233.jpg
Looking west towards Bonshaw at hillside above Crawford's Brook (from a point higher than the box culverts on the hill towards Hemlock Grove)  May 3rd, 2013

Where is the Brook?
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%207%20%234.jpg
Crawford's Brook has once again been diverted through a pipe around the box culvert while work is done.  The hose and pump are to deal with overflow in a sediment pond, apparently.  May 3rd, 2013

and what's it doing
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/May%207%20%235.jpg
A view from the west side of the Crawford's Brook box culvert sections, May 3rd, 2013The whitish material by the box sections is crushed glass, used for facilitating drainage.  Each box section between the black "tape" is about 4 feet wide, and the sections are about 8 feet tall and long.  There are about 100 of them. The large orange pump on top of the boxes was on standby for any "events".

All photos taken along the:
Plan B Highway
Bonshaw-New Haven

-------
By the way, the Canadian Automobile Association is asking Canadians to vote on the Worst Road in Your Province.

If you have any roads that spring right to mind, enter them here:
http://caaworstroads.com/index.php/home/manual_vote/9

The Land Use Policy Task Force is in Wellington tonight, from 6:30 to 9PM, at the Vanier Centre, if you are near there.

May 6, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A little wandering in the Plan B area at the end of this week, the first week that the contractors and government people have been back at it in full force:

Peter's Road
The small earthen berm on Peter's Road has been taken out so their trucks can get to both the west side of things (Crawford's Brook, where the culvert box contractor is attempting to seal the box sections so they can be filled over),

and the east side, towards Hemlock Grove.

Walking east toward New Haven, from Peter's Road

Large rocks from east of Hemlock Grove have to go somewhere, and are being trucked just west of Hemlock Grove to what was formerly the property of Boyd and Alfreda MacDonald.  Presumably the rocks can be sold to stabilize coastal areas (a short-term solution, but that's another story) and offset some of the ballooning costs of Plan B.

Rocks from east of Hemlock Grove are trucked west and dumped.  The tiny blue spot (lower right) is one of the path entrances to Hemlock Grove.
The rocks, apparently too big to use to crunch up to build up the road, were likely calculated as part of those 100,000 truckloads of shale needed for Plan B.  How do those calculations work now?

Looking east towards Fairyland:
(This view taken from area with the big rocks.)  Largest dump truck is "over" Crawford's Stream at Hemlock Grove. 
The current TCH is at the top of photo, high above a nest of articulated dump trucks, excavators, etc.  The trench on the right of the "road bed" at the centre of the picture (little puff of steam/smoke) presumably is for the spring water that is flowing.  One of those springs they didn't realize was there.

A vibrating roller is working long hours, packing the shale, and folks across the current TCH along the roads like Cameron Road report the vibrations are felt for long hours each day, shaking the keys in their key stands, for instance.  These folks *never* knew Plan B was in the works (Plan A would not have gone as far east as Fairyland), and *never* received individual household notification about the project, despite being very close to it.

May 3, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Lorraine Begley, Board member and treasurer for the PEI Citizens' Alliance, gave this powerful speech at the May Day Rally, Wednesday late afternoon in front of Province House:

Good afternoon. I am Lorraine Begley with the PEI Citizens’ Alliance. You may not have heard of the Citizens’ Alliance yet so I’ll tell why we were invited to address this International Workers’ Day rally.

We are best know as that large amorphous group that stood with placards, roadside, in the New Haven-Riverdale-Bonshaw area, as we faced down heavy machinery, had encounters with police, were removed and received court summons, and were arrested by the RCMP--all in an effort to halt this misconceived highway project that bulldozed both trees and our tax money into a large pit in the ground.

We’re also the group that organized information sessions on civil disobedience and on using the access to information tool to pry difficult documents from the provincial government’s cold fingers.  We are a group of people who came together around opposition to the Plan B highway debacle. We experienced up close the lack of democratic process, perceived the muzzling of government workers that appeared to take place in relation to Plan B, witnessed the government’s unwillingness to consult, and the efforts to keep Islanders in the dark last fall, last winter, this spring, and if history teaches us anything, into the future-- but only if we allow it.

The PEI Citizens’ Alliance grew-- out of the wonderful public engagement of Islanders with citizen resistance and progressive politics. It grew from a group that coalesced around a largely environmental concern for the needless destruction of a portion of Island splendor, the waste of taxpayers' money, lack of public consultation, and the expropriation of residents’ homes-- big issues of concern to many Islanders-- to a group whose activism extends to a broad array of issues.

The PEI Citizens’ Alliance is planning a workshop in June on citizens’ rights in the face of the law and in particular of the increasing need for both civil disobedience and for knowledge of our rights in these circumstances. In the fall we plan a workshop on realigning the democratic system, rather than the realignment of a highway, to include participatory democracy and proportional representation.

Later, in November, we will hold a workshop on women’s reproductive rights and how the Island government is refusing to honour women’s right to abortion on PEI and placing another onerous burden, in particular, on economically marginalized women.

We continue to monitor the Plan B site, document the waste and environmental degradation, and watch out for workers' safety rights, the first thing to be overlooked as cost overruns loom.

The PEI Citizens’ Alliance is the workers of the world. And our rights on and off the job site have to be respected and enhanced. So I wish you, me, and the workers at the Plan B site, and across the Island a happy, safe, and activist International Workers’ Day.

www.watchpei.ca

May 2, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Land Land Land

There are three confusing committees or commissions all running around right now with LAND in their title. And they all want public input, and we humans have some essential quality where we continue to hope our input will be appreciated, incorporated, and acted on by the Powers That Be.

Here is my take on them -- errors are my own misunderstanding:

1) Lands Protection Act review (LPA)-- this is where Horace Carver, the Commissioner of the LPA, was surprised and pleased by being swamped with submissions. Horace covered the Island like the dew between February and April, better than dew, and people were drawn to engage.** The LPA review was looking at the 1982 Act and seeing if justifications could be made for increasing limits on acreage ownership (resident and non-resident, corporation and private), and a few other issues. He seemed to be hearing from the potato industry folks that increased acreage will solve the problem of half-hearted crop rotation and not result in more pesticide use or fertilizer run-off, and would level that ol' playing field with Washington State and other potato-producing regions. A big worry is the purchase of acreage by non-residents who might be trying to go around the LPA regulations.
Horace is technically done asking for public input (though he strikes one as a person who would read anything sent at this point, too), and needs to have his report in to Executive Council by June 30.
http://www.gov.pe.ca/lpa/
lpa@gov.pe.ca

2) Land USE Policy Task Force -- this is the one that is just coming to the surface, seemingly springing on everyone. In a way, this process is kind of like Horace to the power of ten, or if the LPA was an appetizer, this is the lobster supper buffet, and you have less time to eat it.
This is a group of five people, plus Wes Sheridan, who are to look at the land use recommendations from the 2009 New Foundations -- Report of the Commission on Land Use and Local Governance, commonly called Judge Thompson's Report (he was the Commissioner of that, and, no, I don't want to know how much the government spends on Commissions). They are to craft a policy with will guide the province:
"Comprehensive land use planning is the foundation for protecting our environment, economic development, efficient service delivery and quality of life – it is a way to make choices about the future. Provincial land use policies help to protect the broad public interest of all Islanders and will guide development in municipalities and in areas under provincial control." So they want to hear people's concerns and vision.
There is a draft report of recommendations available on this page, which expands on the goals listed:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/landandlocalgovernance/index.php3?number=1046735&lang=E
The website is good and has a lot of information -- worth the ten minutes to poke around.
But, there are only five public consultations scheduled:
**The only Charlottetown one scheduled so far is TONIGHT at 6:30PM at Charlottetown Rural High School.**
The list of meetings is here:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/landandlocalgovernance/index.php3?number=1046736&lang=E
(Ch'town, Wellington, Summerside, Montague, Souris) -- a Crapaud one has been asked by a few people, but anyone can write and ask, too, for Crapaud or another Charlottetown meeting:
landuse@gov.pe.ca
I am really not sure what the rush is, with something this important, except perhaps they feel they are very late.

3) Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee (BHPLC)-- this is the group formed to fulfill the requirement of one of Environment Minister Janice Sherry's 11 conditions to have Plan B approved, back in October 2012. Basically, it has to decide what to do with some scraps of land leftover from properties bought for Plan B that don't have a big fat highway on them. It's not all the remaining properties, though, and each piece varies as to what kind of shape it is in.
The Transportation website on the BHPLC is here:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1045127&lang=E
and it is pretty anemic compared to the LPA and Land Use websites, but there is a map and other information.

This committee, which includes my husband as chair of Bonshaw Council (he was elected the day before the meetings started in November, lucky guy), is totally unpaid and let's hope that it isn't a case of you get what you pay for ;-) . Yes, apparently the committee includes developer Tim Banks and some other choices that are head-scratchers, but there have only been at least a good half dozen people who show up regularly and are trying very hard to think about long-term protection for some land in this area. They have been meeting every two weeks (now every week) to iron out a general draft plan for the properties. Now they want public input, and will eventually send a report to TIR Minister Vessey. What he will do with it is anyone's guess. Then, in the next year, again according to Sherry's conditions, they need to work on the actual Management Plan.
The draft plan will be on-line soon, and a public meeting for a presentation, Q&A, maps, etc. is Monday, May 27th, at the Dutch Inn, at 7PM. There may be a presentation/Q&A for Bonshaw and New Haven-Riverdale residents a week prior to that.

**Because you can't have too much Latin, I like this quote about the original Horace, the Roman poet: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words."

Have a great day,
Chris O.

And just for fun, here is a bit of summary:

Name

Run By:

meetings

contact

purpose

what they want from public


Lands Protection Act (LPA)

Horace Carver, Commissioner

over

lpa@gov.pe.ca

Land Ownership

comments on acreage limits, etc.


Land USE POLICY Task Force

John Handrahan and four others

Only five, and this month! Tonight in Charlottetown, May 21st in Summerside

landuse@gov.pe.ca

Land Uses and Vision

comments on vision for land use (local governance comes in the Fall, I think)


Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee (BHPLC)

Todd DuPuis (Atlantic Salmon Fed.) and Brian Thompson of TIR

Monday, May 27th, Dutch Inn

Not sure yet

bits of land not used for Plan B

comments about ideas for what to do with land leftover from Plan B so it's both protected and can be available for public use







May 1, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A few dates to keep in mind:

Today is May Day and there will be a May Day Rally this afternoon in Charlottetown 4:30PM in front of PEI Legislature, Richmond Street side.
There will be speakers (representing Labour Unions, political parties, and workers' issues on PEI), and music!  People can get together afterwards at World Falvours on Richmond Street.

Lorraine Begley is speaking on behalf of the PEI Citizens' Alliance.  One workers' issue that popped up this year related to government employees and expressing their opinions on government decisions -- like Plan B. 

The full list of speakers is below.

Tomorrow is the first of the public consultations related to the Land Use Policy Task Force, Charlottetown,
Charlottetown – Charlottetown Rural High School, 100 Raiders Road
Thursday, May 2, 6:30-9PM
(I know, pretty short notice!)


Have a great day,
Chris O.

List for May Day Rally:

Musicians: Tony Reddin and Ron Kelly

Comments from Marian White and Leo Broderick and Tanbir Shiekh from Bangladesh. Followed by a minute of silence for the garment workers killed in Bangladesh.

List of speakers:

Craig Walsh - UFCW and Vice-president of PEI Federation of Labour
Debbie Bovyer - President of PEIUPSE
Lori MacKay - President CUPE PEI

Josie Baker- Cooper Institute immigrant workers
Mary Boyd - PEI Health Coalition on health care
Leo Cheverie - UPEI
Lorraine Begley - PEI Citizens’ Alliance

Mike Redmond - NDP PEI
Peter Bevan Baker - Green Party
Invited but no response yet
Colin Lavie and Janice Sherry

Organized by Common Causes commoncauses.ca

People are looking for rides -- please contact Marion C. at  <mcopleston@gmail.com>  if you are coming from the Bonshaw area.
Comments