November 2013

November 26, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Here is a rather incomplete list of events coming up in the next few days:

During the Legislature sitting (Thursday) later this week, I am told the government plans to table the Capital Budget. Perhaps this is where the Opposition can ask how the books make Plan B "on budget", and what are their capital plans about highways in the Tryon and Crapaud regions.
Friday is likely to have an announcement about the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee and where they go from here (10AM to 1PM). Visitors are always welcome in the gallery, so feel free to attend for part of Question Period or when you can, or watch of listen from home:

Thursday, November 28th:
Gold Fever: The Movie, 7PM, Chaplaincy, UPEI campus.
"Gold Fever shines a light on the harms to health, community and environment caused by transnational industrial mining and the resource extraction industry worldwide. It also profiles three courageous Maya women who are leaders of the resistance to gold mining in their Guatemalan community of San Miguel."
For trailer, and more information:

For local information 902-368-3207

Sunday, December 1st, daytime,is the day the Farmers' Market in Charlottetown is open for craft selling, only. It's a great time to try some new things from the vendors and really and truly buy local.

Sunday, 7:30PM,


an illustrated public lecture at the Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), on North River Road;
presented by Dr. David Cairns

Time: Sunday, Dec. 1st, 7:30

Title: The Natural World of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as seen by Leif the Lucky

Description: Viking adventurer Leif the Lucky will be your guide on a tour of the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, as seen by Leif and his friends a thousand years ago. Leif's longship will skirt the
Gulf's barren north coast that Cartier later called "The Land God gave Cain," will pause at a
seabird island where you can scarcely walk without stepping on eggs, will strand on the
mudflats of Anticosti Island, and will beach on a headland covered with deer. Leif's ship will
finally come to rest in a land, rich in the bounties of nature, Cartier's "fairest land tis possible
to see," that is the legendary Vinland the Good.

Speaker: Leif will be assisted in this presentation by David Cairns. David is a marine
biologist, resident of Stratford, who has a peculiar affinity for places that are cold and wet.
This predilection has taken him to many remote and often desolate places, including those
that line the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Have a great week! I am heading to spend a few days with my mom and siblings in Virginia, but if time permits, anything interesting will be posted on the updates page of the Stop Plan B website and the Facebook group:
through the multi-talented Donna Sears.

November 25, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Perhaps is it time for yet another update on those three land committees:

Horace Carver and the Lands Protection Act  (LPA) revisions-- this Act covers more *how much?* than *what are you using it for?* among other issues.
Status: done, but waiting for its release

Mr. Carver was the only person (along with a small staff) and he went everywhere earlier this year, listening to presentations and recommendations.
He submitted his report on should land holdings limits be increased and any other concerns in late June of this year.
Cabinet has finally discussed his report, which will be released in some sort of announcement in Legislature any day now. 

LPA Commissioner Horace Carver making introductory remarks, Englewood School gym, Crapaud, Spring 2013.
more here:

and sharing a laugh with me over the suggestion that public engagement would be increased if there were an open bar, Englewood School gym, Crapaud, Spring 2013.

more here:

Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee (BHPLC) --
Status:  one part done, and a second part beginning.
This committee was struck by Minister of Transportation Robert Vessey after construction started on Plan B in Fall of 2012 to meet Minister Sherry's conditional approval, that certain lands acquired for the road be protected and a plan in place.
The group was made of representatives from environmental groups (Island Nature Trust, Nature Conservancy of Canada) and the local watershed, and sports and trail groups, the community council chairs (who had both just been recently elected), and folks from government, among others.  They completed the first part, the Big Dream if you will, and came up with a document saying the area should be protected and segments enhanced a bit to encourage active living.  Certainly one part has been seized and the idea of something government is calling a Wilderness Park has been mentioned in the Speech from the Throne.  There will possibly be more made of this during the Legislature one day this sitting.

The second part, the How That Happens if you will, will have to get going to meet Minister Sherry's condition about an implementation plan ready in the next eleven months.  The committee will likely trim down to representatives from government and from the groups able to manage the lands.  But before the first group disbanded, Minister Vessey invited them all for a thank-you:

Here is Minister Vessey and some members of the BHPLC Experimental Farm grounds in Charlottetown, November 2013.  Minister Vessey is holding a photo of part of the Bonshaw Hills, to be given to each committee member (that photo originally taken by John Sylvester).  This group photo was plucked by me from Facebook.  I do not know the photographer.

The photo used on the framed picture is also on the cover of this document:

temporarily unable to upload check facebook site for photo

and is by Island photographer John Sylvester, a talented man who cares deeply about our Island land and its future.  I believe it was taken  a few years ago, and is quite striking (so is all his work).  You can still see that lone tree from way above it when you are on the Plan B highway (look northwest when sailing by between the CBC tower and the descent into Bonshaw).
More info on the BHPLC, and image of Recommendations document from TIR's website):
 and on John Sylvester:

Land Use Policy Task Force  -- a group of five tasked with the job of creating some goals or vision statements regarding land use and any sorts of policies, listening to Islanders, and submitting a report, now due in January.
They held some meetings in spring, had a survey on-line, another meeting on Saturday, and are still asking for *any* comments in the next few weeks before they finish their report to send to Minister Sheridan. 

The reason the Citizens' Alliance stuck our nose in and made that Public Service Announcement
(here: )
and made such encouraging noise to promote the meetings and feedback channels is because it *is* a land committee we should be paying attention to, of all the recommendations in the "Judge Thompson Report" from a few years back.    Statements for land planning on such a tiny place as PEI seem critical, and while everyone wants to see good land stewardship, there are still big gaps in consensus over what that means.  We can only encourage you to write a little note about what you think is critical to protect, be it water, soil, air quality, farmland, etc.

The more voices they hear stating what we must protect, versus the polished corporate mantras, the more they will listen, and this can help make for truly decent land use guidelines.
Your thoughts to them:

more info:

Well, that's plenty for now.

November 24, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Red sign green sign, what does it mean?

Going east towards New Haven, Peter's Road on left in top picture, barely indistinguishable Hemlock Grove at bottom of dip, November 2013.

In various parts of the vapid Plan B layout, where guard rails have had to be installed in the event of drifting off the road or crashing down ravines, this week there appeared a curious pattern of red signs at one end of the rail, and green at the other.  At night they are *very* reflective, and a bit confusing, odd red or green rectangles appearing out of the mist.
It is likely they are for the snow plow -- red means lift wing blade and green means to lower it again.

And a big award for being a hardworking hero:

Mary Boyd receives Order of Canada

photo copyright THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

in Saturday's Guardian:

Governor General David Johnston invests Mary Boyd, from Mount Stewart, PEI, into the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday November 22, 2013 in Ottawa.

Mary Boyd, from Mount Stewart, P.E.I., was invested into the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday.

Boyd, who lives in Blooming Point, was made a member in the social service category. Her citation singled out "her contribution to the social justice movement, notably by introducing community-based initiatives to fight homelessness, poverty and underemployment.''  Boyd remains active in forwarding many social causes.

Earlier this year, former P.E.I. premier Alex Campbell was one of 34 Canadians named on June 28 as officers of the order, the second-highest grade. He was premier from 1966 to 1978.

November 23, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Thanks for all the kind remarks from yesterday regarding the Samara Everyday Political Citizen.
It's great to be a part of a community that is supportive, is paying attention to the things that aren't working or are just plain wrong, and wants things to get better.
That Samara campaign is inspiring because it is *easily* finding 308 people across this country who are stand-ins for the many, many others who get involved in some way.

If you can't make it to the today's public meeting in Emerald (I'd say drop in any time between 9AM and noon if you can) for the Land Use policy,
 viewing this public service announcement the Citizens' Alliance did to introduce the idea, or pass it on:

and make a little time to write the Task Force, or call
Task Force on Land Use Policy, 3 Brighton Road, PO Box 2000, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Phone:  620-3558
Today's event:

Land Use policy website info:
A consultation draft is available on the website:

Issues they want to hear about which you might mention:
pesticide use
other factors (nitrates, sediment) affecting our water and our land and our air
division of family farms for expensive subdivisions
public access to beaches and to vistas
encouraging our ability to grow food to feed ourselves / insuring we protect farmland (perhaps not giant farms, but farmable land)

They are wrapping up and getting their recommendations to government in January, so probably it's best to comment soon.

If you are in town, consider joining the PEI Food Exchange for discussion of where to go from here.  All welcome!
10AM- noon, Trinity Church at Richmond and Prince in Charlottetown.    (wish I could be in two places!)

November 22, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Things to cheer about regarding the efforts of people who opposed Plan B:

Kathleen Romans was instrumental in getting the government to agree to fund insulin pumps, (which they just did yesterday).  She smilingly whirled around everywhere getting signatures for the petition, and I can only guess at the many hours spent networking with people to get it to this point.

The Samara Everyday Political Citizen Project highlights at least one person from each federal riding, and Ann Wheatley, an unsung giver who glues so much together for positive change on this island, nominated me:

Richard Baker has been awarded a very prestigious national teaching award, and the description of how hard he works and of his positive outlook is amazing but also of course spot-on:

Events this weekend:

(Last) Public Meeting on Land Use Policy, Saturday morning, November 23
Time:   Open House from 9:00 – 10:00am

Location: Emerald Community Centre, 1910 Nodd Rd, Emerald, PEI
Presentation and discussion from 10:00 – 12:00 noon

IComments and suggestions are also welcome by email, letter or telephone.

 A consultation draft is available on the website:
Contact: Task Force on Land Use Policy, 3 Brighton Road, PO Box 2000, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8  /  Email: / Phone:  620-3558

Open Meeting for PEI Food Exchange, Saturday, 10AM to noon, Trinity United Church Hall, Charlottetown

Introduction to Fermented Vegetables workshop with Sharon Labchuk hosted by the PEI Food Exchange, Saturday, 12:30 to 2:30PM, Trinity United Church

Bonshaw Ceilidh, Sunday, November 24th, 7-9PM, Bonshaw Hall

Guests include 'Full Circle' from Summerside, the Forever Young step-dancers, pianist Herb MacDonald and others. Admission is by donation with proceeds this month going to the PEI Diabetes Association.

November 21, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Farming and Fishing:

A charming 6-minute video exploring the question of "Do we need industrial agriculture to feed the world?" -- information to welcome 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farm:

Regarding the concerns in the lobster sector:

David Weale's "Commentary" piece, which is better investigative journalism than anything our local conventional media has been able to produce.

Lobster Trap
by David Weale
originally published in The Guardian
November 20, 2013

We are led to believe by certain elements within the lobster industry that the cripplingly low prices being paid to lobster fishermen these last few years is the result of the natural functioning of the “free” market. But is it really? Is it a free market, or an increasingly “controlled” one? Demand for lobster in many parts of the world is strong, consumers are still willing to pay high prices for the product, and we have never had a transportation system so able to move product worldwide as we do today. So what’s up?

It might be an over-simplification of the situation to single out one factor, but it does seem that the most serious problem is not with the so-called ‘glut’ that we hear so much about these days, or with the commission buyers, or even with the processors. The problem, it seems, is with the brokerage part of the equation, where activity is overwhelming dominated by one massive firm. In a word, we are talking monopolization.

According to my information this firm, Orion Seafood International, based in New Hampshire, markets approximately 70 per cent of all the lobster caught and processed in the Maritimes and Maine.

In addition, Orion is also the lifeline for a number of these processing plants, in many instances bankrolling their day to day operations in order to keep them afloat. Orion effectively has a stranglehold on the industry, and because of that is able to control the price paid to the processors for their finished product, which in turn determines the price processors are able to pay the commission buyers on the wharf, and hence the fishermen.

Or, as one informant remarked, “If any of Orion’s plants pay a little extra money on the shore, Orion simply tightens their cash flow until they fall back into line. And the same thing happens if these same plants attempt to market some of their finished product on their own, or through other, smaller brokers.”

It’s a scenario that is all too familiar: the corporate middlemen between primary producers and consumers thrive. The consumers might or might not receive the benefit of lower prices, while the primary producers — in this case the fishers — are squeezed within an inch of their lives.

Island farmers, and former Island farmers, of which there are many,  know all about it.

The obvious answer is more competition, but when such an entity has so much control it is difficult, bordering on impossible, for competition to gain a toehold.

One suggestion is that the Canadian Competition Bureau needs to take a hard look at the situation.

Their mandate, after all, is “to give small and medium businesses an equitable chance to compete and participate in the economy.” (official website) That is clearly not the case in the Maritime lobster industry today.

They need to determine as well whether the domineering actions of this one company are detrimental to the industry, and to the individuals and communities whose livelihoods depend upon receiving a fair price for their catch.

Incidentally, on its official website Orion trumpets the fact that they are the “driving force” responsible for importing Maine lobsters into the Maritimes for processing.

The conventional media is criticizing MLA Charlie McGeoghegan for expressing his constituents' concerns regarding a tariff.  I am not sure the right plan here, but an MLA should be able to voice his constituents' concerns, no?  Also, McGeoghegan is paying attention to long-term fishing concerns such as oil and gas exploration in waters around us.

An interesting excerpt from a blog by Brent Patterson on the Council of Canadian's website (November 19, 2013):

The Vancouver Observer reports, "Before the National Energy Board's Joint Review Panel hearings on the proposed Enbridge (Northern Gateway) oil pipeline, the NEB coordinated the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands. The groups of interest are independent advocacy organizations that oppose the Harper government's policies and work for environmental protections and democratic rights, including Idle No More, ForestEthics, Sierra Club, EcoSociety, LeadNow, Dogwood Initiative, Council of Canadians and the People's Summit."

November 20, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

On priorities:

In the Legislature yesterday, during Question Period, the Opposition was asking about the sale of Crowbush Cove Golf Course. It has apparently hit a "snag" as the government did not consult with the Island's aboriginal peoples (to the best of my recollection, unlike what they said about the Plan B region, the Crowbush area is more traditionally important to them).  Government has indicated there may be a "land swap" to settle this. That government appears to have forgotten to consult is interesting, and what land is swapped bears watching.

Other questions brought up asked if two 60-acre parcels of land adjacent and nearby are related to the deal to sell the course.   Opposition House Leader James Aylward asked if they would be developed, to which the Premier nearly crowed that Of course they would be developed! We needed development!  And when asked about Environmental Assessment, he simply said that hurdle would be dealt with.*

And that's likely all that Islanders, citizens in addition to taxpayers, may hear about this until it is a "done deal."  Let's hope the Opposition and independent MLAs keep asking questions, the media provide accurate details, and that all of us let our MLAs (and the land use policy people) know what our priorities are concerning our Island land.

The Legislature sits today between 2-5PM.
MLA contact info is found on a link on this page:
and comments about the Land Use Policy can be sent here:

(*My apologies if I am paraphrasing inaccurately.)

November 18, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Just over a year ago, Gary Schneider of MacPhail Woods Ecological Project, along with the Island Nature Trust (INT), put into action a great idea -- to plant some hemlock seedlings and other native species on a property managed by the Nature Trust near Winslow.

Gary was upfront that this was not tit-for-tat, trying to make up for all the hemlocks and other trees that had been so recently cut for Plan B, but it was a bit of good that people could come out and do together.

And it was.  More about Gary's positive attitude and energy later.

left to right: (Two guys I can't name), Gary Schneider, Jackie Waddell and Shannon Mader of INT, and Ruth DeLong with some trail info brochures she helped create.  November 17, 2012, near Winsloe.

November 17, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

It's easy to say, "The new highway is ridiculous."   So we need some balanced coverage:

Well, once again:

Here are the Top Ten Reasons why people say they LIKE Plan B:

10: I wasn't paying attention when 'driver-ed' covered "steering".

9: It makes it faster to move my harvester from grove to grove.

8: Best darn stretch o' pavement my staff ever dreamed up.

7: I'm not that fussy about scenery. Oh yeah, and that global warming thing...don't make me laugh!

6: When CN pulled out in '89, my dad got $200 million for new highways. I just know I can beat that!

5: It brings back fond memories of kicking protester a**.

4: I'm so excited about how much faster I'll be getting to that red light in Cornwall.

3: I just love to cruise on shale from my own pit.

2: Got a 351 hemi under the hood. Can't wait to see what this baby will do on a decent straightaway.

1: At last... PEI is just like Toronto!

This was written about a year ago by Doug Millington, who could possibly be described as poet Will Nixon once was: a droll, suave curmudgeon.  But he might be grouchy about the last word, and I apologize if that's the case.

Anyway, Doug brought out this carefree list during a wonderful event about this time last year at the Murphy Centre, "A Concert for Change", organized by Catherine O'Brien and emceed by herself and Doug.  It was a lovely evening of music, poetry, song, and spoofs, in a room transformed by creative folks and inventive use of snow fence, trespass notices, hardhats, and tree boughs.  The idea of the Citizens' Alliance was introduced, and we all got to smile, cry, raise money for legal fees, dance and reconnect.

a few photos here:

and a YouTube of a beautiful and energetic lament with Roy Johnstone playing fiddle, John Redher's vocals, and Reg Ballagh (doppelganger for a certain construction project manager) on drums.  Some happy but frenetic dancing towards the end blocks the view of Roy :-)

November 16, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

The movie /Island Green/ was absolutely beautiful and inspiring (the other three Island-made films were great, too). Kudos to 
director Mille Clarke for vision and skills capturing that. I have heard that ECO-PEI may try to arrange a screening, if you haven't had the chance to see it. This is taken out of context from a longer piece he wrote, but it stands out: "For many of you 1914 probably seems like a long time ago but I'll be 91 next year, so it feels recent. Today, we have allowed
monolithic corporate institutions to set our national agenda. We have allowed vitriol to replace earnest debate and we have
somehow deluded ourselves into thinking that wealth is wisdom. But by far the worst error we have made as a people is to
think ourselves as taxpayers first and citizens second." /--- Harry Leslie Smith, British WWII veteran, historian and social activist, November 2013/ from (The *other/* //Guardian)/

November 15, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A few events coming up:
Today, the Legislature sits from 10AM to 1PM.  It's usually a fun morning, as the MLAs are ready for the weekend (!); the Gallery often has a school class attending, but usually room for more visitors.

Tonight is the film "Island Green" as part of the Island Media Arts Council presentation of short, Island-made films.
Arts Guild, 7:30PM, doors open around 7PM, $5

Saturday, November 16th, 1PM:
Defend Our Climate/Defend our Communities Rallies, 1PM.  The purpose is to demand that government recognize the dangers of continued fossil fuel dependence and its ramifications.
 I think there are two events planned for PEI at two MPs' offices-
- Charlottetown (outside Sean Casey's office, 75 Fitzroy)
-Summer, (outside Gail Shea's office, 250 Water Street)

Next Saturday, November 23, about 9AM to noon:
from the Task Force announcement:

Public Meeting on Land Use Policy

The Task Force on Land Use Policy was formed to recommend provincial land use policies.  Public discussion and feedback is important. Islanders are encouraged to share their ideas at an open house.  The meeting format will be the same as the meetings held in May and June, with a short presentation and small group discussion.  Early results of the public opinion survey will be available.

Date: Saturday morning, November 23 

Time: Open House from 9:00 – 10:00am 

Presentation and discussion from 10:00 – 12:00 noon 

Location: Emerald Community Centre

1910 Nodd Rd,
Emerald, PE

Comments and suggestions are also welcome by email, letter or telephone.

A consultation draft is available on the website:,


Task Force on Land Use Policy
3 Brighton Road
PO Box 2000
C1A 7N8

Phone: 620-3558

If you weren't able to get to the ones last Spring (and that is most of us), consider going next Saturday.

And if you want to see why the idea of a land use policy is important, in less than two minutes, see the Citizerns' Alliance PSA:

November 14, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

In the PEI Legislature yesterday:
It was mostly reaction to the Speech from the Throne, of course split along party lines. There was a normal question period of almost an hour, where new Liberal Hal Perry asked an easy-peasy question of government and was heartily cheered by his new friends.

Olive Crane, independent PC MLA, was not given the opportunity to ask a question.

Later in the afternoon, Members can speak at length; often several Members have departed, or changed chairs, or are passing notes when not actively talking, and of course texting -- it looks like they are bowing their heads for prayer -- Opposition House Leader James Aylward made his critique of the Speech and what the government has done, including a comment about the "$22 million Plan B."

To which Transportation Minister Vessey heckled, "Get your facts straight!"

Oh, yes, that would be wonderful, Minister.  It would be easier to get the facts straight if the Minister releases a break-down of all the Plan B costs.

Today is Question Period from about 2-3PM, and sessions until 5PM, and 7-9PM.  Apparently, according to the news, today there is a renewed focus on The Environment and waterway health.

From CBC's coverage yesterday:

As part of its environmental initiatives, the government announced it will launch a model watershed pilot project. One of the province's 31 watershed groups will be chosen for this pilot. Government will work with this group to put together a detailed inventory of the land, water, and wildlife resources under the protection of the group, and develop a plan for those resources.
If successful, the pilot project's approach could be applied across the province.

Well, OK, let's see what they are actually planning.

Tomorrow night is the screening of Island Green, a short documentary about PEI becoming organic (now *that* would revitalize and make our agriculture sector more unique than other nice ideas like coloured-coded bags of potatoes and lobster paste) at the Arts Guild at 7:30PM.

There are no advance tickets, but the doors to the theatre open about 7PM, and somebody there at the desk after 6:30, I think.  Admission is $5

November 13, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Back to politics:
Tuesday afternoon:

The Speech from the Throne:
Text here -- and worth the few minutes to look through it -- open it by clicking cover of speech picture

It appears the government has a few main objectives, and the environment is now one of them.  Even without being too cynical, this does look like they are hoping money for a watershed here and trees and a certain park there will cover over the misdeeds of Plan B.  That could happen, if memories are short. Or is there an expression about "grab the bait and spit out the hook"?

Both CBC and The Guardian provided observant, detailed coverage; good.  But it doesn't appear they mentioned this about the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee: (from
Speech from the Throne, page 7-8):

In October of this year, the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee made recommendations with respect to the long-term management and protection of environmentally sensitive lands in the Bonshaw Hills area. The Committee was comprised of volunteers with extensive shared experience in the areas of land use, conservation, recreation, and environmental stewardship.
In response to the recommendations put forward by this impressive committee, Government will establish the Bonshaw Hills Wilderness Park, the first of its kind in the province. Initially, the park will combine the existing Strathgartney and Bonshaw provincial parks, together with other environmentally sensitive public lands in the immediate area. The long-term plan will be to seek further extensions to the park through private land purchases and connectivity agreements.
Three core principles will guide the management and development of the Bonshaw Hills Wilderness Park – conservation of sensitive lands, recreation through active living, and nature education for all ages. This all season park will offer Island families excellent recreation opportunities including hiking, nature walks, biking, snowshoeing, wilderness cross country skiing, and canoe/kayaking.

Yeah, for keeping some of the land acquired fro Plan B from becoming subdivisions and shale pits, but, Ack, they are actually planning on calling it the Bonshaw Hills Wilderness Park.  Right, wilderness right next to a highway that digs 60 feet down intro bedrock or piles shale 60 feet over streams. Right, wilderness right next to a community now opened up for viewing by Plan B like a dollhouse.** 

(** I thank my neighbours nearby, who now look upon and are looked upon by Plan B everyday, for the painfully accurate dollhouse simile.)

Well, there is much more to comment on, for another day.  There is time.  Presumably the sitting will last a few weeks or until Santa Claus comes.

My favorite line of bibble-babble from the speech:

"A roadmap has been developed that will guide the conversion of the existing website." (page 5)

And an excellent comment on the CBC website from Andrew Lush, representing Don't Frack PEI:
"What a missed opportunity - we could have put a moratorium on fracking as Newfoundland & Labrador did last week. That would really have sent a 'green island' message to the world. Shame."

Tuesday morning:
Listening to Hal Perry churble on CBC Radio's Island Morning about the joy of joining the Liberal caucus, about how they greeted him and will listen to his voice and concerns (unlike that other party), reminding me of the lyrics to the Eagles' song, "Hotel California."

<<Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis >>

Sorry to date myself, and you can search for the song to get that creepy feeling of being with the "in-crowd."

OK, back to the real world of people who care about our Island:

Pruning Workshop hosted by Gary Schneider of MacPhail Woods Forestry Project
Sponsored by the Garden Club of PEI
Wednesday, November 13, 7PM at the Farm Centre
"It will be of interest to all those who work with and enjoy woody plants. Proper pruning maintains and improves the health and value of plants, whether in a commercial forest, a watershed, a private woodlot or just around your home."
The Farm Centre is on University Avenue next to Sobeys. Please use the rear entrance. Yearly memberships for the Garden Club will be available at the door and everyone is welcome.
For more information, please call Joan @892-7807 or Ken @ 892-2224

November 12, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Plan B mitigation problems continue.  Yesterday was a steady rain, out here probably a little over 20 mm, and many Plan B mitigations failed.  Of course, being Remembrance Day, the usual contacts where not in offices.
Plan B rough map: Black arrows indicate where sediment was getting into waterways (the left arrow) and the causes (right arrow).

The worst parts were sediment getting into clearly from near the footbridge in Bonshaw (from excess fill storage site) and sediment flowing into Crawford's stream at Hemlock Grove.

View near Bonshaw footbridge (by West River); sediment coming from this sediment pond (below) (up Crosby's ravine),
which is being drained into under Plan B from excess material (rock and shale) in Bonshaw by new McManus Road. November 11, 2013

Hemlock Grove (Crawford's Stream)

: sediment running into stream from (above) drainage from Plan B coming eastward from where Plan B cut into old TCH (by Kingfisher cliff). November 11, 2013.

Apparently yet again no plans were made for how to deal with a large amount of rainfall over a holiday.  A Transportation Department environment person spoken to later that morning said his phone was off the charger.

But Cindy Richards was out early, sensing trouble, and other volunteers were there at various times. Finding that no one was coming out to do any mitigation repair, she and another person worked on the Crosby part.
YouTube video of their efforts

Of course, fall ploughing and shale roads contribute to sediment, but both of these areas are caused by Plan B.

I really don't know how they can spend over $20 million on this road and *fail* to plan for the rainy days.   They have had a whole year to practice, and with the slopes the way they are, there is another six months of potential rain events.

The PEI Legislature opens with the Speech from the Throne just after 2PM today --  you can watch it live-streamed on the internet by following links at:

November 11, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A year ago a very generous gift was made to the people resisting Plan B -- a small airplane flyover of the area to document the changes in the landscape.  Some friends of friends against Plan B came over to PEI and took a few of us along around the area. 

It was only four weeks after construction began, and you can see the whole track exposed.
"Flight Over Plan B" from November 2012:

Fairyland, November 11, 2012, taken from about 1000 feet overhead. (CO photo)

From the end of the narration: "Plan B:  20 million dollars, an environmental mess, to modernize a few curves in a short highway section of a small, indebted province."

Many thanks to those who made the flight and the film possible.

To note, from August 2013, a series of photos taken by Stephen DesRoches from another flight over the area:

November 10, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Yesterday's Voluntary Resource Council's Breakfast and Banter was a lot of fun.   Karen Mair was a gracious emcee, and the VRC staff were exemplary organizers!  And the stories of honoured volunteers humbled me.

Cindy Richards and a display of photos of environmental monitors at work, made by caring and crafty friends, November 9th, 2013.
And another kind of award-winner or two:

From RED: The Island Story book Volume Seven: Fall&Winter 2013/2014, page 36:

Minister Sherry -- RED BRICK AWARD
    The dream, the wish, the hope...words from Environment Minister Janice Sherry in September of this year.  Was she channeling her inner Martin Luther King, or writing to Santa Claus?  Sadly, she was referring to the effectiveness of measures to prevent silt from running into the streams at the Plan B highway site.
    We wish, hope...and probably dream...that she read the Environmental Protection Act, and took her role as Minister seriously, standing up for the environment when Cabinet is making decisions, instead of deferring to First Minister Ghiz and his party henchmen, and dreaming about her MLA and ministerial pensions.
    Sherry's approval a year ago of Plan B, with tough-gal conditions, but with no follow-through besides the wringing of bejeweled hands, typified a weak Minister playing gun moll with the big boys who say this highway project as the perfect way to reward a whole lot of the party faithful by connecting dots on a map.  Sherry had the opportunity to rise above the patronage and make the right decision for our island and our children, and she waved it away.

Well, there you go, but I heard Minister Sherry's officials did consider shutting one segment of construction down until a problem with runoff was fixed this fall.  A gesture, but too little, too late.

And *I* would have added a chunk of that award for our lachrymose local MLA gun moll in that getaway car, too.

November 9. 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A bunch of events to consider:

Today is the "Breakfast and Banter" for the Voluntary Resource Centre at the Murphy Community Centre from 8:30-10:30AM. I suspect there are some tickets at the door, and you can be there to honour outstanding volunteers like Cindy Richards.

Sourcing local food: There will be beef from the Loo family farms at the Farmers' Market in Charlottetown, 9AM - 2PM.

Doubt will be performed at the Bonshaw Hall at 7:30PM, a two-act play with musical introductions by Coro Dolce.  It is a fundraiser for the Hall (completely independent of any plans the Department of Transportation does or does not have to raise and move the Hall next year).

Tuesday, November 12 -- The PEI Legislature Opens, with the Speech from the Throne at 2PM.
The public can attend any time the House is in session:
    Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays 2-5PM
    Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7-9PM
    Friday mornings 10AM to 1PM
    Question Period is after welcoming remarks during the first session of the day.
    Seating for the public is on the third floor Gallery of Province House.
But where are Olive Crane and Hal Perry sitting?
a pdf of the seating plan is the first choice on the left hand sidebar.

Friday, November 15th-  Charlottetown showing of the films
Island Green by Millefiore Clarkes (a "poetic documentary" about PEI becoming organic) and others, Arts Guild, 7:30PM, admission is $5

Saturday, November 16th -- Climate Change rallies across Canada, 1PM
It looks like plans are for these to be at the three Liberal MPs offices.  More details to follow.

Saturday, November 23, 10AM - 12noon- Meet the Land Use Policy Task Force!!  (just announced)
One of the final public meetings, at the Emerald Community Centre.   These are the five people working on the idea of a Land Use Policy for PEI, and have to report to government in the next few months.
Here's the wry, two-minute public service announcement made by the Citizens' Alliance on land use planning.
The Task Force will be sharing the results of the survey, discussing their goals, and listening to the people there.

Sunday, November 24th --
David Suzuki talk, Duffy Science Amphitheatre, $22
(it is listed as sold out -- unfortunately, it is not that big a venue)

Sunday, December 1st - 7:30PM, Irish Cultural Centre (former Benevolent Irish Society)
The Vinland Society is hosting a talk "The Natural World of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as seen by Leif the Lucky".
Biologist David Cairns will help the audience imagine the natural world of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and PEI a thousand years ago.

That's enough for now, though I am sure I forgot many things!

November 8, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Another issue of RED: The Island Story Book came out recently.
In the REDitorial, David Weale crafts brutal honesty with lyric beauty about the decisions we make regarding our Island's future.

an excerpt:

"The resistance to Plan B over the past year is a hopeful sign that some Islanders are in the process of drawing that line: of saying enough!  There are others who are puzzled, even irritated, by the actions of the Plan B resistors.  Why such a fuss over a small project they wonder. Well, I can't speak for the protestors, but I know from being among them that Plan B is a powerful symbol of our willingness to rip open the countryside in order to accommodate the corporate agenda: the symbol of a much larger assault on the environment that is occurring world-wide; and, at an even deeper level, the symbol of a dog-eat-dog world-view that has run roughshod over the spirit of reverence, the way those huge machines are running roughshod over the hills of Bonshaw."

Tucked in and peeping out are other references to Plan B and its effects (I'll highlight another one tomorrow).
RED: The Island Storybook Volume Seven is available at bookstores and many smaller stores.

Today and this weekend is PEI Crafts Council Christmas Craft Fair (among others) at the Confed Centre, featuring many wonderful local artisans.
Fair Hours:
Friday, November 8th 11AM - 9PM
Saturday, 9th 10AM - 5PM
Sunday, 10th 12PM - 5PM
admission is $3

And tomorrow's Voluntary Resource Council breakfast may still have space -- call 368-7337 to check.

November 7, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Work to "realign" the intersection of Green Road by the TCH at Plan B continues....but unfortunately not without another "unforeseen" incident.  The television cable line was accidentally cut affecting local residents starting early Tuesday and not fixed until the end of the day Wednesday. 

News came last week of the unexpected death of Katherine Clough in Ontario.  Clough lived on PEI for a time and co-authored Wildflowers of Prince Edward Island, still the easiest-to-use and lightest-to-carry wildflower guidebook for this region. I had the pleasure of attending a mushroom identification walk at Mac Phail Woods a couple of years ago led by Katherine.  A funny and informative time.

Here is a letter she wrote to The Guardian in 2012 about Plan B -- it said so much, so beautifully:

An evocative look to the future 

published on April 18, 2012 in The Guardian

Re Plan B to re-route the Trans-Canada Highway: It is sometimes said that even paradise is fraught with serpents. I lived on Prince Edward Island for many years, learned to love its quirks and warmed to the magnificent remnants of the landscape that once was.

Another CFA once said to me when we were talking about our adopted home that it was "paradise with serpents." That phrase resonated with me throughout my many years on P.E.I. The recent storm about re-routing the TCH in Bonshaw is precisely one of those serpents, feeding itself and existing on short-term single-issue thinking and opportunistic use of government funds.

I am not advocating a return to the past but rather an evocative look to a future where the strengths and values of both the human and non-human inhabitants can thrive in a vision for P.E.I. a hundred years from now.

The steady erosion of rural life and the natural environment it depends on has not gone too far; there is time to choose another way. Time to rise up and tell the serpents this isn't good enough. Wake up and smell those few remaining pines and hemlocks, walk on those hills and meet the inhabitants so beautifully described by Ian MacQuarrie in his 1989 book, The Bonshaw Hills.

Spend the money on a Cornwall bypass and post, then enforce, reasonable speed limits on the Bonshaw Hills section of the highway. Those trucks laden with inventory for fast-food outlets and the box stores would still make it to Charlottetown safely and on time.

Katherine Clough,
Halifax, N.S.


from the notice in the local papers:
CLOUGH, Dr. Katherine S.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understandings with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints in our heart, and we are never ever the same.”
Family and friends are mourning the sudden passing of an exceptional woman, Dr. Katherine Clough.  Just shy of her 67th birthday, she spent her final day doing one of her favourite things... hiking with a friend near Ottawa. She died unexpectedly yet peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday evening, October 29, 2013.
Katherine was born in Yorkshire and attended the University of Bristol. She got her Masters and received her PhD in plant pathology from University of Toronto in 1975. She was the devoted mother of Linnea Clough, currently of Montreal, formerly of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. She is also survived by her brother Fred Clough, his wife Sara and nieces Isabel and Olivia and Linnea’s father, Tim Bliss, all residing in England.
To all who knew her, Katherine was a brilliant, vibrant, social, resourceful and thoughtful woman who took great joy in all aspects of learning and exploring the world around her and did so with delight, wit and fun. She was passionately interested in so much; music, kayaking, tennis, scrabble, food, ecology and the wonders of the natural world. And she always came from a place of knowledge and caring. Whether she was skillfully organizing a group hike at a moment’s notice or finding new paths to explore while waiting for the locksmith after locking her keys in her camper van in Scotland, Katherine had a zest for life that was both natural and contagious. Her sense of adventure enticed many a friend to join her on trips they might never have otherwise taken. She was an active community gardener, a volunteer with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, a member of the Seton Cantata Choir and the You Gotta Sing! community choir in Halifax and a treasured member of the Gaia Singers and the Indian River Festival Choir in P.E.I.  Friends adored her dinner party invitations as the quality of her cooking was a match for her ability to converse. Katherine loved to travel and never lacked the courage to pick up and visit a place for the very sake of experiencing something new.
One of her favourite quotes was "Roots hold you close, wings set you free.
A botanist by profession, she authored the book Wildflowers of Prince Edward Island in 1992. She spent nearly a decade as the Director of Policy and Planning for the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Before that she worked at the ARK in Spry Point in the late 1970’s. She also worked for the P.E.I. town of Stratford as their Sustainability Planner, before moving to Halifax to begin the next part of her life’s adventure. Most recently she taught courses on The Flora of Nova Scotia for the Biology Department of Dalhousie University and conducted a survey on the endangered botanical species for the Muskrat Falls project in Newfoundland & Labrador.
As one of her close friends has written: “She awed me, challenged me, made me think, made me laugh, made me better, made this world better. An amazing smart funny lovely singing woman - a friend to many, and we will all miss her.”
A memorial gathering will be held at the Universalist Unitarian Church, Inglis Street, Halifax, Sunday, November 10 at 2 p.m. The family requests attendees dress in colorful outfits with headlamps and hiking boots encouraged! Family flowers only.
A gathering is being planned for P.E.I. and details will be posted on Katherine’s Facebook page.

November 6, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

Just an update of fracking, near and far, through some headlines.

Yesterday, over 400 people rallied at the New Brunswick Legislature against fracking.
The New Brunswick government Speech from the Throne said full steam ahead with fracking, as the economy needs it.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced a moratorium on fracking Monday.

Friday night Prime Minister Harper said, "We will not let environmental protection stand in the way of economic progress." (That what I thought I heard on the radio -- haven't been able to find a text of the speech.)

Nova Scotia has a new Liberal government. 

On PEI, last Wednesday over 70 people attended a talk on "Debunking the Myths of Fracking."  While no one in the room likely needed "converting" to the idea that hydraulic fracturing of our porous, crumbly rock layers -- and going beneath our water table --  is a bad idea, it was good to see explanations of commonly professed glossy reasons fracking is safe and needed.

Saturday, the Sierra Club put on an additional workshop on getting the message out about these types of environmental insults.  I wasn't able to attend but folks said it was a great opportunity to discuss and network.

Don't Frack PEI announced they will be hosting a similar communications workshop in the next month or two, focusing, obviously, about communicating about fracking.  Details to follow.
Don't Frack PEI's website:

Encana just announced that it is laying off about a quarter of its workforce since natural gas prices have been down recently, due to all the natural gas being produced in certain parts of the US (especially, I think, Pennsylvania and Colorado).

November 5, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

If you can make the breakfast for the Voluntary Resource Council honouring fantastic Island volunteers --including Plan B public monitor Cindy Richards --  this Saturday morning, there are still tickets available.  Call 368-7337 or e-mail Sylvie at the VRC <>   It will be a great time, great food and a great cause.  We are really fortunate to have this organization!

Regarding The Institute of Island Studies review:
The Guardian
lead editorial, Saturday, November 2nd, describes more than a news article would (below, with my bolding), which is helpful to the reader, but stops short of giving a thoughtful, seasoned opinion such as "The Institute of Island Studies makes invaluable connections with Islanders both here and abroad.  It needs to be able to speak up about issues affecting Islands about when no one else is willing.  AND, just like many other parts of a university, it should not be expected to be self-sustaining."

Future of IIS Will Depend on Cold, Hard Cash
Guardian editorial, Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
The report of an external panel commissioned to review the Institute of Island Studies said all the right things this week. The very first of 29 recommendations stated that the IIS should continue to exist, with the same mandate it has now. The only thing missing is money, and lots of it. Unless the institute can generate its own revenue and be self-sustaining within the University of Prince Edward Island community, then its future relevance could be minimal.

The report suggests the institute’s continuing education program should be a revenue generating operation. The conclusion is pretty simple, really. It would be nice to retain the institute as an important addition to UPEI, as long as it pays its own way.

The review was launched following a crisis this spring when UPEI did not renew the contract for Irene Novaczek, the institute’s director, citing cost savings. The institute was founded in June 1985, with a focus on research projects and public engagement activities with an emphasis always on Prince Edward Island, a key element of what makes the university unique.

The report noted the current IIS model is unsustainable and that the institute should refocus and pull back from its roles in advocacy and activism and return to its previous mandate of being “an honest broker.” One could conclude the institute was stepping on some toes and it had better become more pliant and obedient or else.

A final report on the institute isn’t expected until next year, past the university’s next budgeting process. So any hopes for a revived IIS won’t happen until 2015, unless a fiscal miracle happens.

It was suggested by a member of the public on hand for the report’s release that some reasons why the university cannot fund the institute are because of a recent massive building campaign, plus the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars on human rights claims.

It sounds perhaps that eventually restructured, details like the costs of continuing education would need to go way up, thus potentially out of reach of many people able to experience their programs and events in the past.  The IIS always looked frugal to me (recall the battered Mr. Coffee maker brought out for lectures) and needs to be supported for its contributions.

A great group with lots of interesting events, including:

The Natural History Society of PEI will hold its next meeting - Tuesday, November 5th, on PEI Offshore Islands, Their Values and Future Prospects - Gerald MacDougall will be the feature speaker. The Society’s meeting starts at 7:30 PM at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House at 2 Kent Street.

November 4, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

A Monday Mix:

From Daphne Davey, reprinted with her permission:

Yesterday at the gas pumps I crossed paths with a man who noticed my Stop Plan B bumper sticker. He asked it that meant the new highway construction, and when I said yes, he said "It's too bad," and made a face. He was in working clothes, 40s, I guess. I mention this because I also met another stranger recently, an older man also in working clothes who was "disgusted." Neither of these people fit the stereotype often promulgated in the media of Plan B opponents. It just highlighted to me how the opposition to this project is widespread in the population, both in age range and "type" of person -- and how the subject continues to bring out strong comments from people.

David Suzuki coming to PEI on Sunday, November 24, 2013

Climate Change in Atlantic Canada Tour with David Suzuki


Join us Sunday, November 24 for a screening of the documentary film Climate Change in Atlantic Canada and a talk by Canada’s best-known environmentalist: David Suzuki. The event begins at 7:00 pm in the Duffy Amphitheatre of UPEI’s Duffy Science Centre.

The cost is $22 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Kensington North Watershed Association for a new volunteer climate watchers program. The event is part of a tour of Atlantic Canada sponsored by the David Suzuki Foundation and locally by UPEI’s Climate Research Lab.

About the film: Across Atlantic Canada, coastlines and communities are already being adversely affected by climate change due to increasing storm intensity, surging sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding. Preparations are now being made for the super storms of the future, but this will not be easy, as ocean levels are expected to increase over one meter globally by the year 2100 due to melting Polar Regions and warmer waters undergoing “thermal expansion.” This film, shot across Atlantic Canada, represents a consultation with more than 100 stakeholders, and documents their real world experiences and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Despite being on the frontlines, Atlantic Canadians show that solutions to this pressing global issue are within our grasp, provided we decide to act. The film is directed by Ian Mauro, Canada Research Chair,

For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit

Additional Event Information
Location: Duffy Science Centre
Price: $22.00

And, from Naomi Klein's:  

How Science is Telling Us All to Revolt
published in The New Statesman on October 29, 2013

In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.

But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).

Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”

The rest is here:

November 2, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

From Cindy Richards, while out there Friday checking all the areas of open ground (and being the one to notice some run-off into Strathgartney):
"OK, so I figured out Vessey's 'on budget' rhetoric; it makes sense when overruns have not been considered yet, and of course 'on schedule' -- meaning able to drive from one side to the other but slow down for construction."

A reminder that today is the workshop on
"Strengthening Our Voice: Syncing Our Communities"
Saturday, November 2nd,  9AM to 1PM
Murphy’s Community Centre -- check for room number at sign in entryway
A four-hour workshop designed to support community action; participants are encouraged to bring their digital devices. Topics will include tips on crafting key messages and on meeting with politicians, and making change happen through social media. Suggested fee is a donation of $10 but there is no minimum donation expected. Light refreshments will be served.

And today is also the last day to see the exhibit "A Natural Focus", by Ron Arvidson and Brenda Jones at the Arts Guild, noon to 5PM, I think.

A special performance of the production of Doubt, a Parable is being given at the Bonshaw Hall, next Saturday, November 9th.

From the press release:

There will be a special performance by ACT (a community theatre) of DOUBT, A PARABLE by John Patrick Shanley at Bonshaw Hall, Saturday, Nov. 9, 7:30pm.  Each of the two acts will begin with special music performed by ladies of Coro Dolce, under the direction of Carl Mathis.

The play is set in 1964, the Bronx. The drama centers around the strict and conservative principal, Sister Aloysius, a progressive-minded priest, a young, naïve teacher, and Mrs. Muller, the mother of one of the students in the school. A tightly woven mystery, this Pulitzer Prize winner is an eloquent, provocative investigation of elusive truth and terrible consequence.

Directed by: Brenda Porter and Paul Whelan

Music Direction by: Carl Mathis

Featuring: Barbara Rhodenhizer (Sr. Aloysius), Renae Perry (Sr. James), Adam Gauthier (Father Flynn), Tamara Steele (Mrs. Muller), and the ladies of Coro Dolce

“That rarity of rarities, an issue-driven play that is unpreachy, thought-provoking, and so full of high drama that the audience with which I saw it gasped out loud a half-dozen times at its startling twists and turns. Mr. Shanley deserves the highest possible praise: he doesn’t try to talk you into doing anything but thinking hard about the gnarly complexity of human behavior." The Wall Street Journal

Don’t miss this special performance, proceeds of which will be jointly shared by ACT (a community theatre) and the Bonshaw Hall.

Ticket Price: $16 Regular, $14 Discount (students, seniors, unwaged)

Cash only at the door

And, finally, Bruno Peripoli's video from one of the Hemlock Grove days last October.

November 1, 2013

Chris Ortenburger's Update

It was crowded on that new section of Plan B that opened yesterday, with imaginative and imaginary creatures:
Someone dressed up like an environment minister who actually protected vulnerable land, a chief engineer who looked at the terrain and the maps and said Plan B was totally misguided, an MLA who worked for her constituents, a transportation minister who didn't lie about safety, and a Premier who listened.
They pointed to the road and shouted, "Trick or Treat!"  Indeed.  And they would have run into the Haunted Woods at Fairyland, but there are no real woods left.

The last children in the woods, Fairyland ravine, March 2012.  Plan B has the stream at the bottom culverted, the ravine filled in, and asphalt, guard rails and traffic on top.

Surveyor stake in early Fall 2013, on side of the TCH in New Haven where old highway would cross Plan B.  The stake indicates the area must be dug down 13.8 metres (44 feet).  They did.

Compass briefly announces the "controversial Plan B highway...on-budget and on-time" opening, at 2:35min into the broadcast:

Transportation was quick to send out press releases:
In this they link the TIR "TCH Highway Realignment" Updates, which hasn't been updated for over six weeks....

Today is the LAST DAY to fill out a survey to give your opinions to the Land Use Policy Task Force.  It takes a good ten minutes or more, but it is worth their hearing you care about these things.  You could consider encouraging them to hold another round of public meetings, since the last were in spring during very busy planting times.

The Citizens' Alliance public service announcement on the Land Use Policy Task Force (two minutes):

And the survey:

And what of Horace Carter's Lands Protection Act review?  It's done, but it still hasn't been released to the public, pending French translation and making sure the Premier and Municipal Affairs Minister were familiar with the recommendations.

If you are planning on going to the Voluntary Resource Council breakfast fundraiser next Saturday, November 9th, please contact the VRC to reserve your spot.  It'll be a great time.
The VRC is at 368-7337.