UPDATES‎ > ‎

April-May-June 2013

Contents

  1. 1 June 29, 2013
  2. 2 June 28, 2013
  3. 3 June 27, 2013
  4. 4 June 26, 2013
  5. 5 June 25, 2013
  6. 6 June 24, 2013
  7. 7 June 23, 2013
  8. 8 June 22, 2013
  9. 9 June 21, 2013
  10. 10 June 19, 2013
  11. 11 June 17, 2013
  12. 12 June 16, 2013
  13. 13 June 15, 2013
  14. 14 June 14, 2013
  15. 15 June 13, 2013
  16. 16 June 11, 2013
  17. 17 June 10, 2013
  18. 18 June 9, 2013
  19. 19 June 8, 2013
  20. 20 June 7, 2013
  21. 21 June 7, 2013
  22. 22 June 6, 2013
  23. 23 June 5, 2013
  24. 24 June 4, 2013
  25. 25 June 3, 2013
  26. 26 June 1, 2913
  27. 27 May 31, 2013
  28. 28 May 30, 2013
  29. 29 May 29, 2013
  30. 30 May 28, 2013
  31. 31 May 27, 2013
  32. 32 May 25, 2013
  33. 33 May 24, 2013
  34. 34 May 23, 2013
  35. 35 May 22, 2013
  36. 36 May 21, 2013
  37. 37 May 18, 2013
  38. 38 May 17, 2013
  39. 39 May 16, 2013
  40. 40 May 15, 2013
  41. 41 May 14, 2013
  42. 42 May 13, 2013
  43. 43 May 12, 2013
  44. 44 May 11, 2013
  45. 45 May 10, 2013
  46. 46 May 8, 2013
  47. 47 May 7, 2013
  48. 48 May 6, 2013
  49. 49 May 4, 2013
  50. 50 May 3, 2013
  51. 51 May 2, 2013
  52. 52 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
  53. 53 April 30, 2013
  54. 54 April 29, 2013
  55. 55 April 27, 2013
  56. 56 April 26, 2013
  57. 57 April 25, 2013
  58. 58 April 24, 2013
  59. 59 April 23, 2013
  60. 60 April 22, 2013
  61. 61 April 21, 2013
  62. 62 April 20, 2013
  63. 63 April 19, 2013
  64. 64 April 18, 2013
  65. 65 April 17, 2013
  66. 66 April 16, 2013
  67. 67 April 15, 2013
  68. 68 April 14, 2013
  69. 69 April 12, 2013
  70. 70 April 11, 2013
  71. 71 April 10, 2013
  72. 72 April 9, 2013
  73. 73 April 8, 2013
  74. 74 April 6, 2013
  75. 75 April 5, 2013
  76. 76 April 4, 2013
  77. 77 April 3, 2013
  78. 78 April 2, 2013
  79. 79 April 1, 2013

June 29, 2013

Hi, all,

"It's all about safety." 

We heard that *so* often by the government in justifying expensive "realignments" to the TCH, ever since the Atlantic Gateway funding was announced.  People opposed to Plan B wrote and presented many, many more cost-effective options with better safety outcomes.  Many are archived here in April of 2012:

http://www.stopplanb.org/monthly-stuff/2012-monthly-overviews/april-2012

Now, as the behemoth is being built, we have a system to log our *environmental* complaints (the begrudging Complaint Management System at gateway@gov.pe.ca), but the public doesn't have a formal way of filing safety concerns, on behalf of the workers (Occupational Health and Safety seems set up for internal reports, not the public) and for the traveling public.  (We can talk about the workers another time.)

Regarding the traveling public, the Plan B construction is not even listed on the Transportation's website under "Find construction in your area": http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1027827&lang=E

but it doesn't look like the page was worked on more recently than August of last year.  Clunky, clunky map software.  Not great for tourists coming from the bridge to Charlottetown.

And for residents, this all came to mind because other people have recently noticed the excavation west of the Riverdale Road (across from Strathgartney Park) and what appears to be a deep ditch just off the right shoulder when traveling west. 

Going west on TCH.  Riverdale Road on right.  Curve through hill by CBC Tower used to be well-outlined with trees which have all been excavated.  June 28, 2013.


Past Riverdale Road, it appears like a drop-off on the right.  Some warning- and arrow-signs were put up late Friday. June 28, 2013

The speed limit is still 90kmp and there are no construction zone signs in this part.  Presumably the lack of guard rails is a cost-saving measure since the construction will start joining the current TCH here.  The work may not be *on* the current road yet, but the activity (watching tax dollars go up in diesel smoke) may be distracting for some drivers.

The province has a creaky form for reporting road safety concerns:

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=78409

Safe travels this Canada Day weekend,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 28, 2013

Hello, everyone,

At the Plan B cut by the current TCH, it's Halcyon Days.

Modified from Answers.com (annotated):
Halcyone or Alcyone, in Greek mythology, Halcyone threw herself into the sea when her husband drowned. Out of pity the gods changed the pair into kingfishers (or halcyons), and Zeus forbade the winds to blow seven days before and after the winter solstice, the breeding season of the halcyon (this was the Mediterranean, by the way!).   The expression "halcyon days" comes from this myth and means a time of peace and tranquility or that of a lucky break, or a bright interval set in the midst of adversity.

It turns out the birds that made the nesting holes in the road cut just northwest of the current TCH looking down towards Hemlock Grove are belted kingfishers, Megaceryle alcyon, not Bank swallows. 

Belted Kingfisher image (Creative Commons)**

But, Belted Kingfishers are migratory and are protected while they are nesting, I believe. (map image below)

Environment Department Manager of Investigation Wade MacKinnon has been out this week and determined they were Belted Kingfishers, and issued an "exclusion zone" around the area -- 100 metres for vehicles and 20 metres for any monitors on foot.  Fish and Wildlife will determine when the exclusion zone can be lifted.

From the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Final (produced by the consultants, Stantec), from last August:
"In total, considering all of the field surveys, 59 bird species were recorded in the vicinitiy (sic) of the Project. Of these, none are SAR, and three species are considered SOCC: Belted Kingfisher, Bobolink, and Killdeer. None are likely to be nesting within or immediately adjacent the PDA." (italics mine)

Jargon decoder ring:
SAR -- "Species At Risk"  (SARA --Canadian Species at Risk Act) -- Act which provides "legal protection of wildlife species and the conservation of their biologic diversity"
PDA -- Project Development Area -- the "footprint" of Plan B, so to say.
SOCC -- "Species of Conservation Concern" -- Species of conservation concern that often have additional ecological, cultural and/or economic importance
.


Kingfishers *do* take advantage of fresh new excavation cuts and build nests there, most easily found bird sources say.  Not sure if that is mentioned in the EIA.

 Range of the Belted Kingfisher:
 Yellow is the breeding summer visitor range, green is breeding resident, blue is non-breeding winter visitor

**I know our wonderful Island birders and photographers have taken photos of the Kingfisher, but I will have to go with creative commons images for today.

Have a great Friday,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 27, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A year ago, in the most ambitious effort to date to inform the government about the wishes of the electorate, a citizen-initiated plebiscite on Plan B was held.  Voting was on-line over a two day period, and by mail-in ballots.

The results, announced on Canada Day, were no surprise -- over 90% of respondents voted against Plan B.  More than 5000 people voted -- a huge number, when you think about it.

Counting ballots, June 2012.

Why was the plebiscite held?  Besides rallies and countless letters to the editor of Island papers, a lot of letters and a few face-to-face meetings with politicians, the message that Islanders did not want Plan B and wanted a say in the decision was not being listened to.  Summer was here, the Environmental Impact Assessment was being done and time was running out to cancel the project.
A request for a province-initiated plebiscite was made to the District 17 MLA, who promised to bring it up in Cabinet, but later she indicated it was laughed off.  (So much for her justification that by publicly supporting the Premier's wishes on Plan B and thus staying in Cabinet, she "had a louder voice at the table".)
A letter was written to the Lieutenant Governor, who pretty much said, "Go ahead with exercising your rights."  So it was planned, with help of the internet and survey software and conditions to deal with ballot stuffing. (By the way, a bit of ballot stuffing was caught, on both the yes to Plan B and the no to Plan B sides.  I think there were actually more individuals who tried to stuff the "yes" to Plan B side.)  There were glitches but on the whole it worked!

We poorer students of Island history thought it was the *first* citizen-initiated plebiscite, but in fact there was a plebiscite conducted in 1973 by the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt (The Cornelius Howatt Confederation Referendum).  Since this was before the internet, voting was by mail-in ballot (which the newspapers carried -- imagine that!) and in-person in front of Province House, apparently in a outhouse-themed polling booth. (Home rule for the Island won handily, by the way.) 

I would like to express my gratitude once again to the Island Co-Op Food stores for welcoming a flyer with the mail-in ballots on their community notice boards, after so many businesses and government offices wouldn't touch it.

A bit of a wrap-up is on the votepei.ca website:
http://votepei.ca/
which can certainly be used in the future for citizen-initiated plebiscites.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw
----

This letter from last year says so much:

**June 27, 2012**Plebiscite offers chance to speak up -- The Guardian Letter to the Editor

"The citizens' plebiscite will have no influence on the government's decision to reroute the Trans-Canada Highway." This comment from Transportation Minister Robert Vessey this week is precisely the reason why I will be going to votepei.ca and casting my vote.

If a large number of Islanders do so, we will be sending out a strong message that will be hard for the government to ignore, however hard it tries to cover its ears.

The government's firm commitment not to listen to its electorate is astonishing and should be something of deep concern to all of us, whatever our views on 'Plan B'. For Islanders who have a growing sense that their elected officials are not in tune with public opinion, the citizen plebiscite offers a great opportunity to speak up in a positive way

Jonathan Simmonds,
Bonshaw

__________________


PS  Once last reminder about today being the last day for comments to the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee about their draft recommendations for the remainders of land acquired from Plan B.

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills

June 26, 2013

Hello, all,

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 27th, is the deadline for any public comments on their draft of recommendations from the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee. (The deadline is not listed on the website but on page 4 of the report.)
There have been some excellent comments, with the ones from June 8th onward cut-and-pasted below.

Bonshaw Hills, March 2012.  Let's take care of what we've got left.

Please consider taking minute to look at the recommendations and to comment on them.
The website with the 30-page draft recommendation report is here:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills


and if you want the summary (page 27), this is it:


7. Summary of Committee’s Draft Recommendations
1. Regarding ownership of the provincial lands, the Committee recommends:
a) The lands be transferred to non-profit land conservation trusts where possible; this is our preferred option b) As an alternative to transfer of the lands, those parcels in the vicinity of the two provincial parks (Bonshaw and Strathgartney) could be incorporated into an expanded provincial park
c) The lands could also be leased long-term (50+ years) to land conservation trust(s); we see this as a possibility only if the previous two options turn out to be unworkable d) Ownership of productive agricultural land could be turned over to the private sector if there was interest in a trade for other (private) lands of high ecological value in the vicinity
2. The Province should seek partnerships to undertake restoration, nature interpretation and active living recreation components of long-term management
3. All provincial lands in the area should be designated under NAPA for their exceptional ecological value, both individually and when considered as a whole, connected environment
4. Loop trails of several kilometres in length should be developed for active living and would be of great value in an expanded parklands concept
5. Trails must be carefully planned to balance the ecological sensitivity of some of the riparian and older upland forest stands with public use
6. The all-season use of any expanded park lands should be facilitated through access to year-round parking facilities and low-maintenance composting toilets
7. The leasing of land parcels A and B by University of PEI and Holland College is endorsed by the Committee; research and conservation needs should be the determinants of timing and extent of public access
8. The Province and partner NGOs should explore options to protect adjacent private lands with high ecological integrity
9. Parcel-specific management recommendations are listed in Table 2


Here are some recent submissions (put on the website after I batched the ones until June 8th) to the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee on their draft recommendations (I removed names):

June 18, 2013
------------------------------------------------------ FEEDBACK FROM ------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
I agree with the committee that the public good would be better served by transferring ownership of the provincial lands to land conservation trusts, where long-term Provincial administrative costs could be minimized and any NAPA designation could not be easily lifted. Potential groups include Island Nature Trust or the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Macphail woods Ecological Forestry Project, Cycling PEI, West River Watershed Group and Island Trails Inc. could be involved as partners.    Governments seem to find a way to justify use of protected lands so should not hold the title to these public lands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------
Yes, as a family we have hiked within the Strathgartney Park and the Bonshaw Park. There were many a birthday party walks to the footbridge at the Green Road. Therefore I would like to see the footbridge replaced and maintained so this experience is there for other families in the future. The increased size of the lands would be encouraging for longer walking trails and the loop trails.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
The plan to join all land parcels and expand the parklands providing private land owners are in agreement. The fact that no motorized vehicle access will be allowed (except wheelchairs) is great news. The consideration of Education and nature interpretation is important as we lose more and more of these older forests. Year round access and low-maintenace composting toilets
available. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Other Comments: ---------------------------------
This committee did a great job in covering all the angles. I want to thank them for their time and passion toward shaping the future use of this special land. I would like to see Peter''s Road and Bolger Park Road both designated as heritage roads. I would also recommend that the government hold a public meeting and an opportunity for comments on the Management Plan before it is finalized.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 20, 2013 #1
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:---------------------------------
We use these lands for walking and would like to use the River for Kayaking. We are hoping that a boat launch would be built to be able to launch canoes and kayaks near the Bonshaw Bridge.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 20, 2013 #2
Who should own/manage these lands?:---------------------------------
The public with input from Environmental groups and other interested parties who are pro-environment and pro-healthy outdoor activity (ie: hiking, cycling, birding, conservation)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:---------------------------------
yes, hiking and mountain biking - there are already some trails through these lands and can easily add more.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- no comment at this time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
no comment at this time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other Comments:---------------------------------
Why does this feedback site not have a "Thank you, your submission was successful" or some such. As it is, it simply goes back to the page with all my comments on them and says Please enter the key in red as if it did not work the first time, still not sure!
As part of any work that is planned for out there, a singular need is for the wooden bridge from Green Road across Bonshaw River to be replaced. The big carrier beams/trees are rotting. Also need to make a trail system that complies with IMBA guidelines.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 21, 2013 #1
Who should own/manage these lands?:---------------------------------
Province, Island Nature Trust, UPEI, and Holland College as discussed in the report
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:---------------------------------
Hiking, biking, snowshoeing, picnics
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?:---------------------------------
Joining of the two existing parks. Maintaining leases with the two educational institutions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other Comments:---------------------------------
I think there needs to be consideration made to accommodating foot traffic as well as bike traffic in existing and proposed trails for both the safety and enjoyment of both groups. Separate or parrallel trails could be an option.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 21, 2013  #2
Other Comments: ---------------------------------
Listening to CBC Mainstreet this afternoon I learned of the request for people to submit ideas with regard to Bonshaw Hills. Would it be possible to attempt to recreate a woodland area of sufficient acreage which would eventually (perhaps in 100 years time) be similar to the old growth forest which was removed for the highway realignment? Effort could be made to replicate the mix of types of trees and other verdure which would then become a protected area saved for our posterity. This is just a thought. Thank you.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 22, 2013
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
I would like to see Island Nature Trust mange this land. Or the provincial government if it will be protected in perpetuity.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------
Yes. Hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, being. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
The area should be used for educating. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 25, 2013

Hello, everyone,

How we longed to find a rare bird or plant or archeological ruin last year, or anything that would have stalled Plan B for enough time for government to listen, or at least to put a kink in the federal funding through a delay....

Yesterday a sharp-eyed public environmental monitor saw two holes on the cliff of Plan B just off the TCH between the two road cuts (the western or Hemlock Grove side with the Fairyland cut on the east side).  He saw swallows around, identified as Bank Swallows.  At some point the traffic will be diverted and the TCH dug through to join the two cuts.
Probable Bank swallow holes, on Plan B near TCH in New Haven, June 24th, 2013.

Close up of probable bank swallows nests, June 24, 2013.

Map someone else made (perhaps why it is readable) of TCH in New Haven with location of nest holes. Plan B will cut the current TCH where the yellow pin is.

The volunteer environmental monitor wrote to the folks at Island Nature Trust, and various people in wildlife divisions of government were notified, who will talk to the site managers, etc.  I will not go into detail about the protection classification of the bank swallow (because I will likely get it wrong), but it sounds like it has been upgraded to warrant more protection federally since the Environmental Impact Assessment was done a year ago.  Migratory birds are protected during their nesting seasons.

What does this mean for Plan B?   Well, likely that that particular area may have to be off-limits to construction up-close for a few more weeks, but they weren't working extremely close to it, perhaps having so much else to do in nearby areas with lots of rock and wet spots.

Anyway, just thought we would send an update on that, as you might hear about it.

Here are some background pages: Canadian government listing of "Species at Risk Act"  (SARA) public registry:
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/speciesDetails_e.cfm?sid=1233#protection

info sheet form same place (you will have to open the pdf it brings you to):
http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/search/advSearchResults_e.cfm?stype=species&advkeywords=bank%20swallow

and a more detailed sheet about the bird from Cornell's Ornithology Lab (but its status is not threatened in the States, apparently): http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bank_swallow/lifehistory

Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 24, 2013

Hello, all,

Bedrock and springs --- two things we know the Bonshaw Hills has in abundance.  We know because many have wandered around them, and because the geology and hydrology of the area suggest it.  Even the consulting firm Stantec mentioned these in a cursory fashion in the Environmental Impact Assessment from last summer, but it appears the people who drew that Plan B line on the map didn't really take them into consideration, and the road builders are having to deal with them. 

Bedrock: Another pile of large rock chunks to be moved.  Plan B Bonshaw area, looking south (cliff with current TCH going down to Bonshaw Bridge on left), June 23, 2013.

Seeps:  closeup of current cut of Plan B, east of Hemlock Grove, June 23, 2013.  You may be able to see a drip in center lower right.

What does carving into the side of spring-filled hills do to the water table?  There are many homes (that haven't been torn-down) in the area that all rely on groundwater.

Here is a very short video of a channel dug to help drain the water from the road:
https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10152933325685705
There might be difficulties with Facebook settings, but I think it is public the link should work.

Cindy Richards commented on this video and the water flow: "Predictable for anyone who had walked in this spring-abundant soggy area before they carved 30 feet down, or for anyone who had at least peeked at a topographical map. Wondering if perhaps the existing TCH was designed where it is to avoid these trouble spots."

This is not sustainable road building or land management, nor a wise use of our money;  we have to remember this as we see signals of government public relations efforts to justify or gloss over Plan B.  Consider reminding your MLAs of the facts on Plan B when you see them at Canada Day events and such.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 23, 2013

Hello, all,

These are photos from the same area of the Bonshaw part of Plan B, close to the bridge that is being widened, taken this month about two weeks apart, to give a very rough idea of the depth of digging.  The concrete culvert pad (center of both pictures) was very old and presumably drained the current TCH at some point; it's useful as a marker.

    
Early June 2013   
Two weeks later (mid-June 2013)   Bonshaw cut, looking east, current TCH at top just behind guard rail.

The pictures aren't very accurate match-ups, but show depth of the cut in this area over time and therefore the amount of digging that took place in two weeks (12 hour days, six days a week, at least two excavators and several giant dump trucks).  It appears to be at least 30 feet down now, and according to the maps needs to go another 10 feet or so, and eventually connect to the current TCH by the bridge.

The large pieces of rock are sometimes beyond the excavator's ability and they have to send a crane and flatbed truck down there to move them.

------

Also on a cliff, of another sort, are the Best family of Tryon.  While solving the problems of conventional agriculture and the winnowing effect is seems to have on the family farm on PEI are not related to Plan B or a goal of the Citizens' Alliance, the Best family puts a face on the issue,
and is a story worth sharing.  Help first, work on solving the problem later.

Edith Ling and Steven MacKinnon, caring individuals who have seen a lot of pressures in farming on PEI, wrote in Friday's Guardian: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-06-21/article-3284826/Defending-the-Best-family-farm/1

Defending the Best family farm

Published on June 21, 2013

Commentary

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has been kept updated on the issues facing Best Acre Farm in Tryon, which is confronting bankruptcy. We are speaking out in strong support of one of our valued members. The Best family - David, Heather, Brian, Dale, Greg, and their families - are facing a possible devastating loss. Their potato farm is under threat. It's not just a farm. It's not just a livelihood. It is their life.

David Best says, "for years we couldn't do anything wrong, and then these past years we can't seem to do anything right." The NFU knows that this competent farm family has every reason to be bewildered. Their present situation is not their fault. They are good farmers. They make their decisions with great care. They do not buy new machinery, if what they have serves them well.

The NFU has seen too many good farmers go down, caught in the same confusing and hurtful bind. Many of the farms that are no longer in operation lose ground because of forces outside their farm. The NFU knows that a farm family can rarely recover from a series of misfortunes like the loss of crop sales due to the threat of diseases, weather patterns, and uncontrolled fluctuation in prices. They know how unfriendly the marketplace is for farm families. Most farmers in financial difficulties know in their heads that this is true, but often, deep down, they tend to blame themselves.

The Best family farm has contributed untold amount of wealth to the local and Island economy, including the interest they have already paid on their farm debts. It is sad that after 50 years of hard work that the family could end up with nothing.

The Best family has had the courage to go public with their situation, even though this is very painful for any farm family to do. But now that it is in the public domain, on the Internet, and in local media, the community has an opportunity to share in the thoughts and feelings of these neighbours. The Bests appreciate all the gestures of support they are receiving, from the Kensington variety concert to cards and letters as well as the contributions they are receiving in person and via the Internet. Donations can be made at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/saving-best-acre-farms or at any Canadian branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia (acct. # 307830019186) or any branch of TD Canada Trust (acct #56836108480) across Canada.

The family's immediate objective is to satisfy the creditors in order to have the mortgage sale cancelled so the farm can remain in the hands of the Best family.

It is in the community interest to keep Best Acre Farms in operation. It is against the best interests of the society to continue to let family farms disappear. It is time for our society to take responsibility: we cannot go on losing more and more family farms. We have to speak up for this way of farming. We have to defend farm families like the Bests. Consumers are paying a healthy price for produce at the grocery stores, but there is too little of the consumer dollar staying at the farm gate. Not many people are working for the same wages as they received 40 years ago. Potato prices this past winter were the same as they were 40 years ago yet farm input costs have increased eight to 10 ten times over what they were during the same time period.

Edith Ling of North Winsloe is the NFU's women's district director and Steven MacKinnon of New Argyle is district director.

Enjoy your day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 22, 2013

Hello, All,

If you have a chance this weekend, you may want to comment on the draft recommendations of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee, which is asking for public input with a deadline of Thursday, June 27th.  (Consider coming to Bonshaw Provincial Park to walk around the area, too.  No nearby construction usually, on Sundays.)

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills

I was able to go on the walk along some parts of the properties Friday, and it was a lovely morning to be out.  Megan Harris, West River Watershed Coordinator and committee member, led a group and talked to the media.


Hemlock along the area

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%2022%20%232.jpg
Hikers along one of the existing trails


Footbridge from Bonshaw trails to Green Road (leads to other trails in the area), picturesque and functional for walkers and cyclists. You can see it could use some help.

The media knew about the walk and CBC sent a camera crew, as it's a feel-good story without being too complicated.  This piece, about 8:30 minutes into the broadcast, does give the false assumption that the committee's work right now *is* the final plan and will be what is done.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2392988082/

**Rather, the committee is seeking public input for another few days, will finish its recommendations, then the province will figure out the management plan for the land in the next year.

------

My comments for commenting:

The website form is fairly quick to use and walks you through some questions (it's a choice on the front page of the website and here):

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawfeedback.php3

Some suggestions you may want to consider:

*this committee or some members of it should help with the management plan, and the public be able to comment on the management plan (next year)

*recommendation that the footbridge along Green Road (by Crosby's Mill) be replaced to improve functionality of trail system

Would you like to read others' submissions but don't want to open several different pdfs?

OK, they are cut and pasted below.  These are the only ones on the website as of today:

Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee Draft Recommendations Feedback (May 15th to June 8th, 2013)

taken from TIR's website without their permission!

May 15th

Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------

I love to bike and what a great idea. One would not have to be concerned about traffic. I do not bike the roads - only our beautiful Island Trails. I am also a walker and snow shoe in winter time. I for one would make good use of any new trails and it is so close to my home.

May 17th

Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------

Lands should be owned by the province but be protected forever by legislation. This environmentally sensitive land should not ever be sold and building permits should never be permitted within this environmental zone. (ie. see cottages built on dunes at St Peters Lake) Lands could and should be managed by a group like "Island Nature Trust", but some of these groups eventually "die" or become overtaken by people with other interests. (Legislation needed.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:

---------------------------------

YES, my family would use these trails in every season to enjoy the seasonal changes of the riparian zone and the woodlands by hiking, snowshoeing and skiing.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

The best thing about these recommendations is that the protected natural area is close to thousands of children and should be THE mandatory spring fieldtrip of the schools in the area. This area can continue as a research area for UPEI and Holland College. Interpetive fieldtrips should be a requirement of schools at about the grades 6, 9 and 12. These could be provided by DOE through the Island Nature Trust or UPEI.

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What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- This should have been done before the "shovels hit the ground".

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Other Comments:

---------------------------------

I''m a retired Science teacher and the most common comment that I get from my former students is the appreciation they now have to give their children about nature from the fieldtrips that I walked them to in the woods, streams and beaches.In June we didn''t go ton the usual school trips to Cavendish, we found "Lady''s Slippers" and other forest plants, caught and released "spring peepers", released salmon we had raised from eggs in the classroom aquarium into the Morell River and then went swimming with them.

I just read the report today and will probably have more reaction in the future. (Also no spell check done)

May 19th

Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------

The Island Nature Trust with input from other stakeholders. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------

Yes - primarily hiking. There is a great opportunity to make this an area an exceptional learning and cultural "experience". For example - how the forest provided food (maple sugar), and medicine in addition to tree identification and the properties and uses of the trees, as well as the habits of the creatures that live in the ecosystems.

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 What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- Motorized vehicles are forbidden. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

The report is vague and lacks vision. This is somewhat surprising as the public interest in this area is very high.

Canada''s first ediable public food forest would be a wounderful aim for at least part of this project. (there is currently one being developed on private land in Brookvale - a permaculture ediable food forest as reported in the Guardian July 26, 2012) The first food forest in the US (in Seattle) is currently getting great fanfare.

It does not appear the First Nation people had input into this report. Much was written about their involvement in the Plan B protests. There is at least an oral tradition that they used the area historically. Perhaps bringing this history alive could be a part of the plan to help bridge the cultural gap and help honour their tradition. (certainly in respect of the products the forest in this area provided, like medicinal plants)

There is no comments of including art in the plan. A sculpture trail, made from fallen wood from the area, would seem appropriate.

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 Other Comments: ---------------------------------

It would be useful if a guided tour of the area could be given and the vision for each site and the overall plan explained on site. This would enhance the public''s understanding of the committee''s vision and help ensure meaningful public input.

An opportunity to alleviate some of the pain caused by Plan B-largely a result of perceived or real lack of public consultation should not be passed up.

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May 19th (#2)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who should own/manage these lands?:

---------------------------------

I fully endorse the recommendations of the committee. The two parcels of land closest to the parks might best be incorporated into the existing protected regions while the remaining parcels could be owned and/or managed by the Nature Trust. I''m slightly concerned about management costs - the Nature Trust is, I expect, stretched financially given their current projects/lands and the provincial government hasn''t shown a strong interest in conservation projects. However, as the costs should be minimal, I think that both could take on the responsibility.

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Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------

Primarily walking the trails and snowshoeing. It would be nice to see the trails as being "dog friendly" (i.e. off leash). While this might interfere slightly with cyclists, the traffic volume is likely to be low so I doubt that this would be a huge problem.

As a teacher, I can also see myself using the areas designated for educational use (mainly by Holland College and UPEI) for field trips, etc.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

The recommendations were well thought out given the differing the range of current and possible uses of the land. I''m glad that they''ve separated them into individual recommendations based on the ecological and existing characteristics/location of each parcel (although I''m not sure why the two parcels directly north of the Bonshaw Park aren''t combined into one). I also like the idea of swapping some of the land that could be used for farming for more sensitive land such as that adjacent to the river.

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What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

The possibility of a footbridge over Eliot River was discounted a bit too quickly in my opinion. This could be done in an ecologically friendly manner with little disruption to the stream itself. It would be great to join the new trail system to the existing one on the west side of the river. The more important problem might be the increased traffic using the current trail system. Given that this is on existing land, it should be discussed with the current landowners to assess the feasibility of linking the trails. This would no doubt provide the longest continual trail system on the Island.

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 Other Comments: ---------------------------------

This was an excellent committee made up of some very bright people. Many views were obviously considered and the report was balanced with a set of strong recommendations. I encourage the provincial government to consider it very closely when determining the fate of this land.

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May 21st

Who should own/manage these lands?:

---------------------------------

I''m not sure who should own/manage these lands but I do think the land should be reserved as some sort of nature trust with hiking/biking/snowshoeing trails.

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Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------

My family (myself, wife, young son and dog) use the strathgartney trails to go for hikes and I also use the trails for biking. IF there were more trails we would continue to use these trails and may visit more often as there would be more trails.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

I like that they are recommending that the park be expanded with more trails. This area of PEI is ideal for trails. There seems to be more and more people getting into mountain biking and snowshoeing and having more trails for them to use will only help attract more people.

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May 24th

Other Comments: ---------------------------------

Balancing land preservation, protection and public access / use. The idea that these two different goals can successfully coexist is important to apply due diligence to. The Conservation of Public Lands – The focus on the Long-term Management of Public Lands is critically important and I believe the scope of the work of this committee should soley focus on those parcels that are currently designated as such.

The question of HOW we go about things is as important as the What to do. I think about the rights of the private sector land owners adjacent to parks and suggest a respectful approach in the exploration of potential acquisition and or use of privately owned land. A responsible approach is one that respects the land rights of the current ownership. Upholding Riparian Rights is not negotiable, strategic or optional. It is foundational and required. As I review the draft recommendations, it clearly explains land acquisition as the purchase, trade for other land(s) or acceptance of a gift of land(s). I do not see any recognition of a very important point - Private land owners always maintain their right to a 4 th option: None of the above. In other words, to be very clear, acquisition is only an option with the agreement of the land owner. I believe this should be a key driver that is respected and maintained within this process. THE HOW we proceed is critical in maintaining a respectful process.

Maintaining the pristine nature of a space in the purest sense is leaving it untouched. We have VIRGIN woods to protect and preserve. Untouched equals undisturbed. This is the purest form of protection.

What can public access bring without a long term commitment to responsible environmental and fiscal management? In a word, Risk. Mitigating Risk is best done with an intensive assessment on the front end of a process. Anticipating potential risks with public use needs to be an important part of this committee’s deliberations.

What kinds of risks should we be thinking of? Environmental Footprint. ( natural habitat ) Effective management will require resources. Long term management plans for the ecologically important lands that have been impacted by the TCH Realignment Project identified as 5 provincial parcels I believe should be the primary focus of the committee.    Strategic Acquisition of additional lands in my view is unnecessary and is contrary to the goal of preservation and

protection. Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking “ bigger is better.” Maximizing our efforts with existing land acquired / owned should be paramount.

Infrastructure will need to be maintained. This hasn’t been the case consistently with the parks as they exist today. Human activity unmonitored can bring negative outcomes. Safety and Liability need to be carefully considered

Is the concept of JOINING TWO PARKS central and committed as a VISION moving forward? Full exploration, consideration and true consultation would suggest the JOINING OF TWO PARKS is not an eventuality but rather a concept for consideration. I would suggest the objectives of the committee can be met without the JOINING OF PARKS.

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May 27th

Hello: Late coming but I have a suggestion for some of the Bonshaw Hills land. As a dog owner and lover, I would love to see a Dog Park created so our dogs can run free, play and connect with other dogs. Dogs are not allowed off-leash on the Confederation Trail or in Provincial Parks or on beaches. All that great fencing up around Encounter Creek could be recycled and used to surround a Dog Park.

Please consider this suggestion. It wouldn't take up a lot of space but would certainly be a welcome feature!

May 28th (#1)

Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------

Ideally, a non-profit trust would be the best steward of the lands. If not possible than the provincial government would be the next best option; however, I would like to see legislation in place protecting those lands in perpetuity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------

I currently use the trail system at Strathgartney that connects all the way to the equestrian park . I really enjoy running on the trails and would definitely take advantage of an expanded trail system. The trails should be kept as natural as possible, similar to the trails that already exist at Strathgartney.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

The incorporation of recreation into the wilderness park. Our province promotes itself as a natural, wholesome, destination, yet there is very little choice when it comes to actually getting out on a true trail and getting close to nature. The recommended type of park system would be ideal, and generally very inexpensive to maintain.

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What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------

I hope that the areas that would be leased to UPEI and Holland College would still be available for public use.

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Other Comments:

---------------------------------

I think the recommendations are very solid and if implemented would be an excellent draw for tourists and visitors to the area, as well as the Island.

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May 28th (#2)

Who should own/manage these lands?: --------------------------------- probably mixed ownership ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other Comments: ---------------------------------

After reading the draft report and attending the public meeting on May 27 I offer the following comments. The Committee is to be congratulated on the excellent work done in preparing the draft report. The Committee has obviously gone beyond the defined mandate of developing a long-term management plan for the five properties identified by the department of Environment, Labor and Justice.

The Committee has done an excellent job laying out the potential for management, development and conservation in the general area of the Plan ‘B’ highway realignment. Allow me to quote from the draft report page 17; “The Committee has put considerable thought onto how best to balance competing uses and enhance linkages between parcels. We recommend that the Province and their partner NGOs promote increased connectivity by exploring options to protect adjacent private lands, particularly those with ecological integrity.

Although the potential for connectivity of these pieces is important, it will likely not be possible to link them all. Hence, the following table and subsections describe the attributes and possible management of each land parcel individually.” My concern is that staff at TIR will focus on the last paragraph and ignore the first paragraph and recommend to the Minister to accept the management plans for the five identified parcels of land as laid out in section 5.4 Land Parcel – Specific Management Recommendations. The Department will close the file having met the requirements of Condition 9 imposed by the Department of the Environment. The Committee should consider rewording the last paragraph.

Personally I like the expanded park concept as depicted in fig. 10. Infect I would like to see this concept expanded. 1)    Include a corridor along the West River to parcel C. This was also brought up by a local resident at the meeting.

2)    Parcel G.... A developer spoke at the meeting about building affordable housing on the boundary of this parcel of land for people with disabilities on the New Haven side. I have no issue with this plan if developed properly. Another person raised the question of building an interpretive centre in the area. The latter suggestion was not encouraged by one of the Committee members. It has been a while since I took the kids for a train ride on the former Fairyland property. Having said this I wonder if this parcel G, which has some commercial infrastructure, should be considered in part, or at least have land set aside for building an interpretive centre. The interpretive centre should have a broad definition to include the aspirations of Nature PEI to build a facility to display the natural history and geology of Prince Edward Island.

3)    The old highway right of way is not mentioned in the report. As part of a master plan I suggest that the Government should consider developing a paved trail for cycling and walking along this route similar to the work done by Parks Canada along the north shore. This cycling/walking route would provide connectivity between the various parcels especially parcel G if this parcel was to become a significant interpretive centre.

4)    As mentioned by the moderator at the meeting the work of the Committee has become an organic process. It would be a shame if this organic process came to an end October 1. TIR has a mandate to fulfill. The organic process is beyond the scope and mandate of TIR. The final draft of the report should have language to allow TIR to satisfy the requirements laid out in Condition 9 imposed by the Department of the Environment.

5)    There should be a strong recommendation that Government review and accept the report of the Committee. That Government narrow down some of the ownership options. That Government accept the concept of a Provincial “wilderness "Park. That Government appoint a new Committee to build on the work done by this Committee. Government should consider making another Department, probably Forestry, to be the lead agency of the new Committee.

The new Committee may very well be composed of the same members as the current Committee. My comments are in response to the request for feedback and are in no way meant as criticism of the staff of TIR or its minister. The first order for the new Committee should be to meet with all land owners in the area and get them to buy into a master plan. This does not necessarily mean that they have to agree to relinquish any property rights.

I look forward to the opportunity to stop in at the Interpretive Centre on Parcel G. Walk or bike along the old TCH right of way. Maybe walk down parcel C to the river and follow the river. Cross under the highway and walk the trails of parcel E and F.

May 29th

Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------

Island Nature Trust would be the ideal organization to own these lands. Partnership with the Provincial government would be beneficial particularly with regard to liability issues. I would not want to see it as a provincial park in case it was later treated as an asset to be sold.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: --------------------------------- We would use an area like this extensively for hiking, bird watching and winter activities. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- The vision to see multiple areas being linked in order to provide maximum benefit for wildlife. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments: ---------------------------------

This is an excellent proposal, and the government should use this as a template for similar projects in other areas of the province.

June 3rd

I live in (---) and have been following various aspects of the Plan B Project. I also belong to a number of Voluntary or Community organizations.

I have raised the question of interacting trails. pathways, etc on the so called Bonshaw Hills Land. In particular I am concerned about accessibility as well as safety in accessing and the future use of these lands.

I understand that there will be an underpass as part of the reconstructed Bonshaw Bridge. Good. However there should be another underpass access at the eastern end of the Lands presumably east of Peter's Road. In conjunction with the culvert structures for passage of water I recommend and urge that there be a provision for an underpass here to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and possibly even horses depending on the ultimate use of themlands in the medium and or long term as well whether in the form of a concrete box culvert or other structure.

Now is the time to do this when the road bed is being put in place. If this is already a part of the Plan for the highway realignment and future use of the adjacent property then that is good to know.

This then for your use and consideration. I ask that my comments be brought to the attention of your full committee.

June 8th

Who should own/manage these lands?

---------------------------------

With the exception of the existing Provincial Parks an independent party such as the Island Nature Trust

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Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:

---------------------------------

Yes. Walking the existing and hopefully new trails.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?:

---------------------------------

The concept of tying the two existing Provincial Parks into a bigger entity.

Having walking trails from Starthgartney Provincial Park along the River to and above the Green Road bridge.

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Other Comments:

---------------------------------

The Green Road walking bridge should be replaced. It is on a public right of way so should be replaced by T.I.R.

June 21, 2013

Hello, All,


Some items of interest:

Walk areas of interest with some members of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee (BHPLC):
The good news is that the BHPLC, taking the suggestion of tireless Plan B opponent Pauline Howard, planned a walk of some of the parcels they discuss in their draft proposal of recommendations, before the deadline for public submissions -- June 27th.
The bad news is the walk is *this morning*, June 21st, at 10:30AM, meeting at the Bonshaw Provincial Park (west side of the TCH past the go-cart place).  Sorry for the short notice, but I didn't hear about it until last night.  There is an article in today's Guardian (copied below).

If you can make it, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and your favourite bug repellant.  Also, be aware that today is the day they are bringing in cement trucks to pour the extension of the Bonshaw Bridge, which will be unloading from the westbound lane of the TCH near the provincial park entrance.

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Demotion of property acquired for Plan B.

The home of some wonderful residents, Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, along TCH near Strathgartney Park's entrance.

Thursday, June 20th. 

One of the saddest chapters of this whole Plan B debacle is the provincially-staged exodus of some older residents along the TCH in Churchill and New Haven.  Now provincial property, the shells stood after a winter of abandonment, a spring of neglect, and in recent weeks marked with yellow "property sale" signs; this past week it was as if ravens arrived and plucked out the windows and other valuable components.   Yesterday, two of the homes were destroyed by excavator.

About a year, I think I remember Transportation Minister Vessey, when it was revealed that cost of the properties was not part of the matching-funds Gateway money, said they might make money selling the homes (along with the "valuable" Fairyland buildings).  Someone told me recently all the costly hoops a potential buyer was expected to go through made the price of buying and moving one of the homes unrealistically expensive.

And rather disappointing CBC TV Compass coverage last night:
8minutes in
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2392668217/
Excerpts from what the anchor read:
"Demolition started today on homes that are in the path of the island's new highway.
The Province says three homes.....
Some residents opposed the project because of the impact on communities and natural areas.
The Province says demolition will be complete in a few weeks.  The *new highway* [said with near-patriotic emphasis] should be done by fall."

Yes, some residents did oppose it because of the impact on communities and natural areas.  *Many Islanders* oppose it for those reasons AND because of the cost, the lack of consultation on Plan B, and the way safety data and public comments were hidden or distorted.   I think the Province is getting *their* message out through the mainstream media just fine, but Islanders have to keep their eyes open and not forget the whole story.
----
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-06-20/article-3284723/Islanders-invited-to-tour-Bonshaw-Hills-land/1
Islanders Invited to Tour Bonshaw Hills Land

Published on June 20, 2013

 

BONSHAW — Islanders are invited to join members of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee on Friday to see the property under consideration and to give their feedback on the future management of the land.

“The land in the Bonshaw area is unlike anywhere else on Prince Edward Island, but many Islanders have not had the opportunity to explore and experience this area,” said Todd Dupuis, co-chairman of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee.

“That’s why we want to invite Islanders to tour some of the land and encourage them to give us their feedback on how they think it should be managed and used in the future.”

The public tour will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Participants will meet at the Bonshaw Provincial Park.

The committee, consisting of representatives from a variety of organizations with expertise in the areas of land use, conservation, recreation and environmental stewardship, was formed to make recommendations for the future use of roughly 400 acres in the Bonshaw and New Haven area.

The land includes parcels acquired as part of the Trans-Canada Highway realignment project in Churchill, known as Plan B, as well as existing provincially owned lands in the area.

Recommendations in the committee’s draft report include linking the properties with Strathgartney and Bonshaw parks to create one expanded provincial park; designating all provincial lands in the area under the Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA) for their exceptional ecological value; and exploring options to protect adjacent private lands with high ecological integrity.

The public can view the report and submit online feedback at www.gov.pe.ca/bonshawhills. The deadline for feedback is June 27. The committee will carefully review all of the feedback before submitting a final report and recommendations to the minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in the fall.

Happy Summer Solstice, all!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 19, 2013

Hello, all,

Plan B, Fairyland, June 16, 2013 (a week after June 8th rain).

An excellent letter in yesterday's Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-06-18/article-3282564/What-about-other-projects/1

What about other projects?

Published on June 18, 2013

Editor:

The Guardian's article in June 14 edition, ‘Rivers run red around Plan B site after heavy rain', brought a number of issues to the surface.

Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal's designated spokesperson, Stephen Yeo, spoke of siltation mitigation on the Plan B site needing "adjustments" after the last significant rainfall. In Section 3.23 of the Environmental Protection Plan cobbled together for this project, it states that "The Federal Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances, including eroded soil, into any fish bearing watercourses and wetlands." It further states that "all erosion control structures will be inspected before, during and following each rainfall event."

Any "adjustments" required to adequately address the incursion off sediment generated by this project should have taken place before the system was breached.

Once again, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal isn't in compliance with its own regulations.

When Mr. Yeo states that the on-site environmental controls on this project being "over and beyond any construction job ever done on P.E.I. before", it makes me wonder how low the bar was set before Plan B spawned such prolonged public scrutiny. I am that much more concerned about any other projects they now have on the drawing board.

Boyd Allen,
Pownal

Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 17, 2013

Hello, all,

What a difference a year makes:

Fairyland, New Haven, PEI, June 2012, along the surveyor's cut:


Going down toward one of Fairyland ravines, June 2012.

The top of this ravine had the largest group of Lady Slippers flowers I had ever seen, June 2012.

Fairyland, New Haven, PEI, June 2013
Dirt blows in the wind, Fairyland, top of ravine, looking east, June 2013.

----

Saturday afternoon was lovely and we had a great clean-up at the Camp, to get it ready for summer environmental monitoring.  Thanks to all who were able to be there.  I'll find some photos to share.

----

Just a reminder that a memorial service will be held today at 2PM for Erskine Smith, entertainer and giver, at the South Shore United Church, Route 10 (off the TCH in Tryon).

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 16, 2013

Hello, all,

Riddle:  What's black and white and not as "read" as it should be?
Answer: RED The Island Story Book

It's big and beautiful and costs more than a cup of coffee, but so much is tucked between its glossy covers.  The best little stores carry it, but if it's not in the budget, the library has the current issue and back issues to check out.   You could consider reading it as " current events for Islanders": current events of days gone by, and current events of everything-old-is-new-again. The spirit of what it means to be an Islander, the spirit of the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, told through stories. It's a talented crew putting it together, with contributions from young and old, far and wide.

In previous issue (Fall/Winter 2012), David Weale's editorial notes are worth reading and rereading.  The article about the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society is eye-opening, Joe Kern's story on hugs heart-warming, and many stories offer a peak of times past.

The most recent Red has a biscuit recipe by Chef Michael Smith worth the cost of the issue, and it also has a simply sweet bouquet to all of us Plan B people, which is acknowledged with humble gratitude.

Hope you can find a copy.

http://davidweale.com/red-the-island-storybook/

Happy Father's Day to all!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 15, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Just in case you didn't see the article with Larry Cosgrave where he refutes Chief Engineer Yeo's soft-pedaling of last week's mitigation failures:

Bonshaw creek runs red around Plan B site

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/media/photos/unis/2013/06/13/photo_2364600_resize.jpg

Larry Cosgrave, SPECIAL to the GUARDIAN

Screen capture of video taken by Larry Cosgrave of a silt fence being over-run during heavy rains at the Plan B construction site on Saturday, June 8.

Published on June 13, 2013  by Nigel Armstrong RSS                 Feed

A river running red at the Plan B construction site after heavy rains this past Saturday is either a testament to indifference or a minor glitch in a success story depending on which side of a silt fence the viewer stands.

Larry Cosgrave has long been an opponent of the Trans Canada highway re-alignment project in the Churchill Bonshaw area.

He knew that forecast rains for last weekend would show up troubles with systems designed to control silt runoff from the construction zone.

"I thought I would just go and record it, so I did," said Cosgrave. "It wasn't as dramatic as the previous one (in November) but it still shows that they are not doing adequate mitigation's to stop the problems.

(Video here: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-06-13/article-3276758/Bonshaw-creek-runs-red-around-Plan-B-site/1
or here: http://www.stopplanb.org/   )

"Last November there was a huge one (sediment runoff)," said Cosgrave. "They have done a lot of fixing up, but it's sort of like they do it after the fact.

"They fix it after, rather than being able to forecast and engineer it for what they should logically expect to happen.

"They are pumping out from a silt pond and (the muddy water) goes up a hill then down through some vegetation. That's where they expect it to dissipate and sink in before it gets down but the rain was so heavy that it just flowed right down the hill.

"It's still turning the rivers red," said Cosgrave.

Only during really hard rains, and it's not so bad, says Stephen Yeo, chief engineer for capital projects with the province.

"We do have an awful lot of (sediment) controls out there, from settling ponds to straw matting to rock dams, to filter bags," said Yeo.

"There is a lot of mitigation measures in place there. A lot of it is working tremendously well and we do have vegetation growing on the slopes already, in areas, so things are working well.

"With the measures we have taken, it's over and above any construction job we have probably ever done on P.E.I. before, the mitigation for environmental controls out there."

The video shows some areas that had mud flowing over the top of silt barriers.

Those were just a few isolated areas in a large-scale silt control project and will be patched, said Yeo.

"You always get the red discoloured water because of the types of soil we have on P.E.I. here, you know, suspended particles," said Yeo.

"We see that all across the Island in heavy rain conditions like we had. Every water course probably on P.E.I. had discoloured water in it that day," said Yeo. "We try to filter out, catch and maintain particularly the larger sediments."

The video show that areas upstream of the work site have waters running clear, but bright red below the work site.

"It's entirely from plan B," said Cosgrave.

"After a heavy rain event there will be sediment behind all the control structures, like behind silt fences, said Yeo.

"We do have discoloured water. We don't like any discoloured water but in rain events like that, we do.

"We worked hard to prepare. We knew the rain was coming but when you get that much rain you do have some structures that reach their capacity."

"Where is that (suspended particle) going to end up then?" said Cosgrave. "It's still heavier than the water so it has to settle down at some point.

"I think that he is just trying to soft peddle it, myself," said Cosgrave.

"Either they don't know what they are doing or they are not doing it right," he said.

"It is almost like lip service, or window dressing to kind of show 'oh look, we care for the environment,' when in fact, they don't seem to.

"I would just like to see something that is really going to work, that is going to stop the runoff and do something serious," said Cosgrave.

What is in place now at the highway project is doing a good job and just needs adjustments, said Yeo.

"We are making adjustments, to put some straw bales and straw dams behind that because it is at its maximum what it can hold back now," he said of the silt fence in the video.

NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca

On-line link to Guardian article:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-06-13/article-3276758/Bonshaw-creek-runs-red-around-Plan-B-site/1

June 14, 2013

Hello, all,

The Guardian website features a story by Nigel Armstrong that explores the two different viewpoints (what people on the ground saw and how Chief Engineer Stephen Yeo tried to explain it) of the results of the rain Saturday at Plan B, featuring a link to Larry Cosgrave's video from last Saturday:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-06-13/article-3276758/Bonshaw-creek-runs-red-around-Plan-B-site/1

CBC Radio touched briefly on the concerns about the rain in a short news item Wednesday, with comments only from Mr. Yeo.

And the West River Watershed of the Central Queens Wildlife Federation is holding its monthly Volunteer Day starting at 9AM, meeting at the corner of Wynn Road and Peter's Road, to work on Howell's Brook.  For more information, see:
http://centralqueenswildlife.com/get-involved/
 and write:  cqwf.pei@gmail.com
----
Also, 2PM Saturday, if you are going to be near MacPhail Woods in Orwell, Gary Schneider is hosting biologist Bob Bancroft for a session on "Bringing Nature Back to Woodlands". 
http://www.macphailwoods.org/
Bob Bancroft is a *fantastic* speaker.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 13, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Fortunately, yesterday's rains were mild at the Plan B sites and no major run-off happened that I have heard of.

Just a few reminders:
Tonight:
"El Contrato", a movie about migrant tomoto pickers in Ontario
Movie, 7PM, Murphy's Center, admission by donation
sponsored by Cinema Politica
https://www.facebook.com/vents/648317938515858/

"Food vs. Fuel: The Great Grain Dinner and Debate"
Fundraiser for the Atlantic Agricultural Leadership program
Dutch Inn, 6PM, $60 ($25 tax receipt)
http://www.agleaders.ca/food-vs-fuel/

----------------

By June 27th:
And there are two weeks left to make comments about the draft recommendations from the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee.
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills
This webpage has the map produced for the BHPLC (which has the most accurate drawing of where the road and access roads are going that's been made public by TIR), and three choices (to download the report, to get to the form to send a comment, and to select to open and read pdfs of other comments). 
It is rather clunky to keep selecting and downloading the comments --perhaps the website person could stitch all the comments together and put them on one page instead of having to open multiple pdfs -- but checking out others' comments may be a good way of reminding yourself of the important things that you may want to comment on.   The comment form is pretty short, if you want to use it.  Otherwise, I believe you can send comments to admin@islandnaturetrust.ca with "Bonshaw Hills" or something like that in the subject line.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

From the Committee's Report, copied without permission from:
Recommendations for the Conservation of Public Lands, Bonshaw – New Haven
Prepared by the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee   -- Draft for Public Comment May 2013

7. Summary of Committee’s Draft Recommendations
1. Regarding ownership of the provincial lands, the Committee recommends:
 a) The lands be transferred to non-profit land conservation trusts where possible; this is our preferred option b) As an alternative to transfer of the lands, those parcels in the vicinity of the two provincial parks (Bonshaw and Strathgartney) could be incorporated into an expanded provincial park
c) The lands could also be leased long-term (50+ years) to land conservation trust(s); we see this as a possibility only if the previous two options turn out to be unworkable d) Ownership of productive agricultural land could be turned over to the private sector if there was interest in a trade for other (private) lands of high ecological value in the vicinity
2. The Province should seek partnerships to undertake restoration, nature interpretation and active living recreation components of long-term management
3. All provincial lands in the area should be designated under NAPA for their exceptional ecological value, both individually and when considered as a whole, connected environment
4. Loop trails of several kilometres in length should be developed for active living and would be of great value in an expanded parklands concept
5. Trails must be carefully planned to balance the ecological sensitivity of some of the riparian and older upland forest stands with public use
6. The all-season use of any expanded parklands should be facilitated through access to year-round parking facilities and low-maintenance composting toilets
7. The leasing of land parcels A and B by University of PEI and Holland College is endorsed by the Committee; research and conservation needs should be the determinants of timing and extent of public access
8. The Province and partner NGOs should explore options to protect adjacent private lands with high ecological integrity
9. Parcel-specific management recommendations are listed in Table 2

June 11, 2013

Hi, all,

The sediment flow has stopped and workers from Transportation and Environment were assessing the damage from Saturday's rain. 


Plan B between Peter's Road and Crawford's Stream, June 10, 2013.

Dale Thompson from Environment, who is the Dedicated Employee as ordered by condition number 8 of Minister Sherry's approval of Plan B, along with another member of the Environment Department, met with a few of us yesterday to talk about what he does and how he works with TIR's Land and Environment people.  It was a good discussion and we were able to articulate our concerns (with communication between departments, with our wondering how his recommendations are handled, etc.), and felt we were being listened to.

Meanwhile, the hill above Crawford's Brook is being reduced and the area above the box culverts built up (where they are dumping).


Somebody is missing a back-up light, Crawford's Brook, right over the box culverts, June 11, 2013.

We will see what lessons they will apply for tomorrow's rain.

-------

Some events of note for Thursday, June 13th, revolving around food production issues:

"El Contrato", a movie about migrant tomoto pickers in Ontario
Movie, 7PM, Murphy's Center, admission by donation
sponsored by Cinema Politica
https://www.facebook.com/vents/648317938515858/

"Food vs. Fuel: The Great Grain Dinner and Debate"
Fundraiser for the Atlantic Agricultural Leadership program
Dutch Inn, 6PM, $60 ($25 tax receipt)
http://www.dal.ca/faculty/agriculture/news-events/news/2013/05/14/food_vs_fuel_the_great_grain_debate_and_dinner.html

Have a lovely day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 10, 2013

Hello, all,

First, a note about Erskine Smith, who died unexpectedly yesterday, with how he touched our lives:  it was his enthusiastic giving.  He gave to his community, to his friends and neighbours, to every individual organizing something and needing a person to get up there and talk and keep things in line and pleasantly going.  He will be missed, and my heart goes out to those who knew and loved him.
-----

The "Protesting After Plan B -- A Legal Perspective" symposium Saturday afternoon was the second in a series of workshops organized by the Citizens' Alliance of PEI.  Lawyer Jacinta Gallant spoke to some legal issues with Plan B (what authority was cited in removing protestors, what they were actually charged with and why) and what could be applied to any other protest in PEI.  The Cooper Institute's Josie Baker looked at societal issues that influenced the Plan B situation and also at the future.  It helped to see the situation from various angles; it all crystallized in the root problem:  the government did not listen to the voice of the people regarding Plan B.  Distressingly, this seems to be the case with other issues, and citizens will continue to educate themselves on the issues and make their voice heard to government by every way they can.

It was a very nice afternoon of sharing: stories, experiences, concerns, food, camaraderie, and looking positively towards the future. It was great to see people thinking:  "Plan Beyond."   (And thanks to Kathleen Romans for coining that.)  Stayed tuned.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%2010%20%231.jpg
Josie Baker and Jacinta Gallant at the Rights workshop, Cornwall Civic Center, June 8, 2013.

-----

Follow-up to Saturday's rain and the mitigation failures at Plan B
Here is the link to the two-minute video by Larry Cosgrave, in case you haven't see it:
https://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10152885566845705
(this should work even if you are not on Facebook.  Press the "HD" button (may need to pause it while it loads) to see it in much better detail.

Perhaps this link should be send to MLAs, along with this reminder:
Here is Minister Sherry's condition number 3 from her October 1, 2013, approval of Plan B:
3) TIR shall, in the event that sediment associated with the construction project enters a watercourse, immediately cease operations in the affected area and implement measures to divert sediment from entering the watercourse.

It was too wet for any cut-and-filling road crews to be working on the project, as they are most Saturdays.  There were one or two government employees seen and somebody pumped a bit, and fiddled with a sediment fence.  But no effective measures implemented: No crew of sandbaggers, no backhoe with additional gravel, nothing but a guy pumping the runoff back up the hill where it found another way to Crawford's Stream.   Is this because it was a Saturday (no media), because it's not seen from the road?   What about the conditions written and supposed taken so seriously by the Ministers of Environment and of Transportation?   Simply spraying hydroseed mixture a few hours before the rain begins is not good enough.  Nor will the predictable quotes from the chief engineer that "red water goes into red water on PEI" be an adequate defense for this.
A rough idea where the video and pictures of Saturday's rain were taken. 

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 9, 2013

Hello, all,


Yesterday's rain event was predictably distressing, as most if not all sediment controls failed. Here are a few photos from about 5PM, June 8, 2013, taken by me, so a bit after the peak of rain.

At this first part, east (or to the right if you were walking up Peter's Road for a walk) of where they have just closed Peter's Road off with a mountain of shale building up Plan B, mud was sliding down and into the wetland (on the right)

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%231.jpg

East of old Peter's Road at bottom of Plan B slope, June 8, 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%232.jpg

Close-up of area.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%233.jpg

Standing on Plan B and looking down, further east from Peter's Road, June 8, 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%234.jpg

Run-off from Crawford's Brook hill, standing "above" the box culverts, June 8, 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%235.jpg

Not easy for the on-site employee to drive looking at things. Looking south, about 5:30PM, Saturday, June 8, 2013.  Plan B highway between Peter's Road and Crawford's Stream.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%236.jpg

Moving eastward towards "new south Peter's Road", filter bags overwhelmed.  Runoff is going towards Crawford's Stream. There were issues with effective pumping of the sediment pond in upper right corner.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%237.jpg

Sediment running into Crawford's Stream, June 8, 2013 (Hemlock Grove arch in bottom right).

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%209%20%233.jpg

Turning north, the hydro-seed washed out, north slop of Plan B, between Peter's Road and Stream.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 8, 2013

Hello, all,

Yesterday, various groups of workers on various Plan B sections were working to stabilize some of the slopes by hydroseeding or by blowing chopped hay on them.

Even with application of hydroseeding, modest rains can cause ravines to form.  Hydroseeding sounds great but it's hard to coax grass to grow on broken chunks of sandstone, which is part of the mix on many of the slopes:


A north-facing hillside, Plan B at the top, recently hydroseeded.  Near Hemlock Grove, Plan B Highway, June 4, 2013.  (Apologies for the picture quality.)

TIR posted its (bi)weekly update on June 6th: http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044551&lang=E
And again, we give them credit for beefing up the content without self-aggrandizing.
No new photos, though.  (They are welcome to use ours.)

Their update is one of the buttons on the main TCH Plan B page http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/tchimprovement
Here is a screen shot:

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%208%20%232a.jpg
Screen shot of TIR's website.

It still has:
  • a cutesy map on the home page without a scale or without the West River labeled
  • the top three buttons that lead to justifications for the project, written last fall in a defensive, pugnacious *and* pompous style, but also the current Updates botton
  • the "Detailed Route Map" link that goes to an outdated map as it shows "new south Peter's Road connection" going through Crawford's Stream (they changed the plan for this connector road a third time to avoid crossing the stream twice -- as it does at Hemlock Grove-- but remiss, 8 months after this decision, to get an updated detailed route map on this page).

but it does now have (not in this screen shot):

  • a construction schedule (!) link as a pdf, but you need to find a good, accurately labeled map to understand the location code numbers - will try to find one that is easy to post.
  • a direct link to the Gateway e-mail box saying "Send us an e-mail" 

While they cannot improve the justification of the project, but they are trying to improve their environmental control attempts on-site and their communication with Islanders on this website.  That's appreciated.

------
Today is our Rights Workshop -- the legal lessons learned from Plan B and how they can be applied to the future.
1-3PM, Cornwall Civic Centre (not APM Centre, but the building behind the Esso)
Free admission (donations accepted) and coffee and cookies will be served.  Come out of the rain and pop in!

Have a good weekend,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A few odds and ends:

Yesterday's Legislative Committee meeting on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry was interesting. The MLAs present included Chairperson Paula Biggar, and Government members Buck Watts, Bush Dumville and Sonny Gallant, and Opposition members James Aylward and Hal Perry.  Excellent presentations were made by Andrew Lush and Marie Burge from Don't Frank PEI http://dontfrackpei.com/web/  and by Ann Wheatley and Dr. Irene Novaczek from the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition.   Not only were descriptions of how fracking and drilling are conducted explained, but clearly, but why these are contraindicated for our land and our Gulf waters.  Grave concerns about the inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment process were also expressed. 

In addition to just saying, "Don't do this!", the third presentation was by Matt McCarville, who tried to pass his enthusiasm and expertise on the subject that WWS -- Wind, Water and Solar -- are easy, clean energy options for PEI, with straightforward implementation strategies.  But it was a long afternoon and one of the MLAs was perhaps a little bushed and rested his eyes for a bit.
However, Matt has summarized his work in many places, and this YouTube is very informative and perhaps should be a primer for all the MLAs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teqRn6IjCxg

It was disappointing, and perhaps revealing, that one of the questions from a Government MLA was something like (I am paraphrasing), "Well, of course water is our more precious resource, but if fracking is done right, then it will be OK."  Audible groans from the 25 or so spectators in the public seating.  So of course this bears continued public (and government!) information and watching.  These groups are here, with fantastic individuals working very hard, and as the Citizens' Alliance we support them.

------
A letter to the editor regarding the Institute of Island Studies makes a good case:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-06-05/article-3269561/Renew-the-contract-for-IIS-director/1
----
And please remember the "Rights" workshop is tomorrow, from 1-3PM, at the Cornwall Civic centre.  You can pass on this link to people with any concern on PEI that they may need to bring to government's attention.
http://www.watchpei.org/

Enjoy this sunny day!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw


June 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A few odds and ends:

Yesterday's Legislative Committee meeting on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry was interesting. The MLAs present included Chairperson Paula Biggar, and Government members Buck Watts, Bush Dumville and Sonny Gallant, and Opposition members James Aylward and Hal Perry.  Excellent presentations were made by Andrew Lush and Marie Burge from Don't Frank PEI http://dontfrackpei.com/web/  and by Ann Wheatley and Dr. Irene Novaczek from the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition.   Not only were descriptions of how fracking and drilling are conducted explained, but clearly, but why these are contraindicated for our land and our Gulf waters.  Grave concerns about the inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment process were also expressed. 

In addition to just saying, "Don't do this!", the third presentation was by Matt McCarville, who tried to pass his enthusiasm and expertise on the subject that WWS -- Wind, Water and Solar -- are easy, clean energy options for PEI, with straightforward implementation strategies.  But it was a long afternoon and one of the MLAs was perhaps a little bushed and rested his eyes for a bit.
However, Matt has summarized his work in many places, and this YouTube is very informative and perhaps should be a primer for all the MLAs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teqRn6IjCxg

It was disappointing, and perhaps revealing, that one of the questions from a Government MLA was something like (I am paraphrasing), "Well, of course water is our more precious resource, but if fracking is done right, then it will be OK."  Audible groans from the 25 or so spectators in the public seating.  So of course this bears continued public (and government!) information and watching.  These groups are here, with fantastic individuals working very hard, and as the Citizens' Alliance we support them.

------
A letter to the editor regarding the Institute of Island Studies makes a good case:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-06-05/article-3269561/Renew-the-contract-for-IIS-director/1
----
And please remember the "Rights" workshop is tomorrow, from 1-3PM, at the Cornwall Civic centre.  You can pass on this link to people with any concern on PEI that they may need to bring to government's attention.
http://www.watchpei.org/

Enjoy this sunny day!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 6, 2013

So, you decided to give out 130 Ipods to people on a flight from Toronto to Montreal, build an expensive road that nobody wants, still haven't disclosed exactly what happened with the disgraceful PNP scandal (hrm, wonder why?) and plan on spending a pile of money on next year's celebrations?
--Islander commenting on CBC news story on-line

Hello, all,

Cue the Munchkins: Follow the Bedrocky Road, Follow the Bedrocky Road!

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%206%20%231.jpgPart of Plan B east of the former Peter's Road, June 2013, presumably not the final layer of "fill."  Most of the road is packed down shale, but this section appears to be made of broken-up bedrock.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%206%20%232.jpg

The rocky road material (larger cat food can for comparison), June 2013.

From May 2013, the size of bedrock chunks they are digging out around the Hemlock Grove area.
----

And a reminder about the Standing Committee meeting this afternoon, 1:30PM, Coles Building, where there will be presentations by Don't Frack PEI, Save Our Seas and Shores, and alternative energy ideas for PEI.  A nice way to hear some interesting information and show your support.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 5, 2013

Hello, all,

An update on what is going on at the Bonshaw end of things (in addition to the slow work of expanding the bridge over the West River) and why I don't hear as much digging.

Bonshaw cut of Plan B, Bonshaw Bridge to right out of photo, June 2, 2013.  TCH is at top, and small white figure is 5 foot 4 inch woman.

It's because they are digging so deep the sound isn't carrying up and over the hills as much as it was before.

And where are they putting the broken rock and shale?  That we do hear:

Built up section for Plan B, north of first picture, looking southwest towards Green Road, June 2, 2013.

---------

Reminders:
Thursday's
Legislative Committee meeting, with presentations from Don't Frack PEI and the SOSS group and an alternative energy expert.
1:30PM, Coles Building (red brick building next to Province House)
Who is on the committee?
http://www.assembly.pe.ca/committees/getCommittees.php?cnumber=11

Saturday
Here is the homepage of the Citizens' Alliance website with information about the "Legal Perspective" workshop Saturday:
https://sites.google.com/site/watchpeiorg/home?pli=1
facebook event
https://www.facebook.com/events/473373982742567/
A goal of the workshop is about understanding the legal implications of protest and finding ways to be effective in responding to government action.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

June 4, 2013

Hi, all,

We are on the boundary of a lot of issues on the Island these past few years.  Looking west at Crawford's Brook Hill, west of Peter's Road, Churchill, June 2nd, 2013.

"We don't need another commission to know which way the wind is blowing. We need our provincial government to come up with a step-by-step plan to significantly reduce pesticide use throughout the province. It is the right thing to do and the only way to get us out of this harmful cycle of annual fish kills."

That concludes Ann Wheatley of ECO-PEI's commentary in yesterday's Guardian.  She finds the real story in what's going on with Island agriculture and what government can do:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-05-31/article-3267489/A-disappointing-land-use-report/1
Full text below

Ann's article is in response to the "Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management", which sounded like it sustained the use of a lot of chemical inputs, and didn't have much action in it or action on it since it was released.  It is too bad that The Guardian used "Land Use Report" in the headline -- too many other reports or commissions right now, and they could be trying to clarify tittles, instead of muddying the waters while the Land Use Policy Task Force is going on. 

------
The Guardian printed a pleasant article about the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee's recommendations last week.  It was a nice piece of armchair-journalism, and the reporter has an open invitation to come see the area -- he hasn't seen Plan B since October.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-05-29/article-3264353/Public-input-begins-on-Bonshaw-Hills-proposal/1
Islanders are encouraged to comment on the proposal:http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/bonshawhills
This website has a nicely updated Plan B map (the most accurate one on TIR's site, though that is not saying much), which I copied, annotated and used here to point out Plan B construction locations -- sorry for any confusion as to purposes.

And since some of these are Guardian links, I will add:
If you want to see Island computer guy Peter Rukavina's advice about changing settings on your computer so you can continue to enjoy access to The Guardian on-line, go to his twitter feed:
https://twitter.com/ruk/status/334679389247791106

Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

------

A disappointing land use report

Published on June 3rd, 2013

Tags: Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management , Board of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island , P.E.I. , Canada

By Ann Wheatley, member of the board of the Environmental Coalition of PEI

Commentary

Sometimes it's the lack of news that is, in fact, newsworthy. This is certainly true in the case of the release of the report of the Government of Prince Edward Island's Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management.

The committee released its report in November last year, but you may be forgiven if it didn't catch your attention - it escaped notice by media and opposition parties alike. Later, in February a story did appear about the report, but again, there was very little public response. In a flash, it appeared and disappeared from view.

The report seemed to be deliberately underplayed, and the reason for that seems clear: it contained nothing of substance. It's a sad conclusion to an endeavor that started with such promise in the eyes of Agriculture Minister George Webster. When the committee was announced last fall, Minister Webster said that "Preventing fish kills is a priority for all Islanders, especially the agricultural community. The action committee is an opportunity to build new relationships between government, farmers and watershed groups at a community level to work together on solutions."

Some of us were less enthusiastic than Minister Webster. We wondered why the committee charged with finding solutions to fish kills, many of which are suspected to have been caused by pesticides, included a representative of CropLife, the industry association for manufacturers of chemical pesticides.

The final report, available on the P.E.I. government's website, gives an idea of how CropLife may have influenced the work of the committee. Despite clear evidence linking pesticides run-off to the fish kills that created the need for the "action committee", the report's authors never actually address the idea of reducing the use of pesticides. In fact, one of the committee's recommendations - to increase organic matter in soil adjacent to waterways - is suggested not as a means to improve nutrient levels, sequester carbon, retain moisture and reduce runoff - but to increase the capacity of the soil to hold pesticides. One could hardly argue against improving soil quality, but one could argue against doing so simply in order to facilitate pesticide application in close proximity to our rivers and streams.

The report recommends that attention be paid to soil conservation practices, and that's a good thing. But all of the recommendations are based on the premise that pesticides will always be with us. Several recommendations focus on the research into and selection of appropriate types of pesticides, and while responsible chemical use is obviously to be encouraged, we also need to look at ways to reduce or even eliminate chemical use. The report completely ignores organic agriculture as a possibility, despite the success of organic producers here in P.E.I., in the rest of Canada and around the world.

Thousands of tons of chemicals are released into our environment every year, and it only makes sense that there should be strict controls on where and when this can be done. At no point in the document is there a call for better enforcement of current regulations (although the authors do appeal to farmers to adhere to current regulations), or for strengthened policy to avoid fish kills in the future.

Instead, Islanders are called upon to share responsibility for stewardship of our land and water in a practical way, by directing tax dollars towards buying sensitive lands from farmers. Most Islanders would agree on the importance of supporting our producers. We deplore the idea that farmers are paid less than cost of production for the excellent food that they provide to the market and for our consumption. But as much as we may believe that farmers should be compensated for their efforts to farm in an environmentally responsible manner, we still understand the need for stricter controls on the practices and products that are ruining our water and killing our fish.

The report fails to address the most important issue affecting the health of our watersheds and all of the people, plants and animals that depend on them. That is, the prevalence of large-scale industrial-style agriculture in this province. We live on an Island that has soils highly prone to erosion, with a rock base that is fractured and very porous. We then allow huge acreages of potatoes to be planted in short rotation, using large amounts of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. With so many acres of land in conventional potato production, there is too much potential for damage to our environment and to our health.

Proponents of pesticides claim that without those chemical tools, they can't survive. They say the global food supply depends on widespread use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. They refuse to consider the evidence that organic agriculture and small-scale farming is working in many places; in fact, in many contemporary research circles it is thought that this is the only way we can feed the world. It is shocking that a report on sustainable land use practices could so completely ignore organic food production as an option.

And so it is with some fear and trepidation that we face a new season. Waiting for the first "extreme weather event" and news of more fish killed, we are left to wonder how we could have let another opportunity slip by.

Time and again Islanders have witnessed the extreme damage caused by overuse of farm chemicals. At this point in our history we need deliberate actions to reduce or eliminate their use. We do not need a meek plea to farmers to continue what they are doing, only better. A stronger, more meaningful report would have contained recommendations such as:

• Increased crop rotation: a four-year rotation without all the present loopholes would mean fewer chemicals entering our soil and water;

• Further restrictions on spraying (lower wind speed, increased setbacks, no turning of spray equipment in riparian zones);

• More rigorous regulations and monitoring of sprayers;

• Increased support for organic producers;

• Restrictions on fall ploughing;

• A requirement to ensure cover crops are in place in the fall and that they do not count as rotational crops;

• Wider, more diverse riparian areas requiring both a grass buffer and a tree or shrub corridor and strict enforcement of buffer zone regulations;

We don't need another commission to know which way the wind is blowing. We need our provincial government to come up with a step-by-step plan to significantly reduce pesticide use throughout the province. It is the right thing to do and the only way to get us out of this harmful cycle of annual fish kills.

June 3, 2013

Hello, all,

I attended the PEI Women's Institute Convention Saturday, at Credit Union Place in Summerside.

The highlight of the day for me was not Agriculture Minister Webster's address, but one particular award: Edith Ling of North 
Winsloe (and I think the Oyster Bed Bridge WI) received the Women In Agriculture Recognition Award, and most deservedly so.
She and her husband David were one of the first family farmers to convert back to organic methods in raising grain and meat,
and remain very active supporting the family farm and good land stewardship. (Many of you may know them through the Charlottetown's Farmer's Market, where they sold beef, pork and preserves for many years.) It was with elation that I heard her
praised to the rafters about her successful and diversified organic farming in front of an agriculture minister who appears to
believe these concepts as mutually exclusive. Early Spring 2012, when no other media outlets were at all interested in Plan B, Andy Walker from the bi-weekly /Island Farmer/
(Paul MacNeill publisher) called and did a story, about Plan B ruining acres of arable land. Later, he also talked to Edith Ling,
who forthrightly said what a misguided idea Plan B was, relating it to poor land use and government priorities. (This was when
a lot of people were very skittish about saying anything bad about it.) Edith works tirelessly with the National Farmers' Union to
promote, protect and support family farming, and has been very aware of land use issues, including Horace Carver's review of the /Lands Protection Act/ this year this spring. Island farmers, those who care about land use and land issues, and those of us who eat, are all indebted to Edith. She's a fine
farmer, wife, mother and about 50 others things all at once. It was an interesting day with the usual AGM-type business and lots of time to socialize with women from across the province.
Even without a "Stop Plan B" button to remind people, many women shook their heads and said what a terrible waste Plan B is.
It may seem like an aging, stolid organization, but with participation of dynamic Island women like Edith, it may actually work
towards living up to the PEIWI purpose: "Women being a voice, taking action and creating change in PEI communities." Have a great day, Chris O., Bonshaw
David and Edith Ling outside their home in North Winsloe from /The Guardian /website and used without permission Guardian Article (reprinted below) http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Living/2011-11-19/article-2809378/A-natural-choice/1 The public library has the book (/Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada/, by Chris Benjamin) http://24.224.240.218/uhtbin/cgisirsi.exe/?ps=THln3gcvcw/PLS/283740007/123
A Natural Choice by Mary MacKay from The Guardian, published November 19, 2011/

It seemed like a natural choice for long-time farmers David and Edith Ling of Fair Acres Farm in North Winsloe.

After years of farming conventionally and using more and more fertilizers and chemicals to attain the same crop yield, they went organic in 1985, years before that term became a popular buzzword.

“It was called crazy then,” laughs Edith, who is featured with David in a new book titled Eco-Innovators: Sustainability In Atlantic Canada.

Written by Chris Benjamin and published by Nimbus Publishing, this book profiles some of the region’s most innovative and progressive leaders in sustainability. These entrepreneurs, educators, activists, agitators, farmers and fishers have all made measurable contributions, both in their respective fields of interest and in motivating others to make change.

David’s life underwent a big change 50 years ago when his father died suddenly and the then-16-year-old had to quickly follow in his farming footsteps.

Despite only having a Grade 8 education, he plowed forth and started building on what his father had accomplished.

In 1967 he purchased 165 acres from a neighbour.

The Lings, who were married in 1970, now also own 100 acres of the original homestead. They now have 125 acres in cultivation.

They specialized in hogs at first and practised the same conventional farming methods as most other P.E.I. farmers at the time.

“Back in the 1970s, I was getting on the treadmill with the rest of the farmers saying. ‘I’ve got to use more fertilizers and more chemicals to get more productive’ and I was going that route,” says David, who at the time developed severe allergy problems.

“We were having severe soil erosion. We were having good crops mind you but the biggest part of our income that we were making was going out and paying the bills from the chemical companies. They were reaping the benefits and we were the slaves.”

In 1985, he attended a conference in Ontario that included a seminar on organic growing methods presented by a farmer who had immigrated to Canada from Sweden.

“I was quite surprised to see how he could grow his crops so good . . . . So I said to Edith (when I got home), ‘Well if he can do it, why can’t we?’” David remembers.

“I knew I’d been growing a garden for years without any chemicals or fertilizer; we always had a great garden, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ We have to try something different. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess,” Edith laughs.

Going cold turkey from typical applications of fertilizers and chemicals wasn’t easy, and being that they were one of the first farm-sized operations to try it there wasn’t anyone to turn to for advice.

“I had to learn how to make compost, and there was nobody here who could tell me what was the best way to make it,” David says.

It was a process of trial and error that at one point had the compost pile so hot he couldn’t even put his hand in it.

“So the first year I didn’t have very successful results, it just ruined the compost . . . . But gradually I got a better technique,” David says.

The price paid for the shift over to organic methods that first year was a 35 per cent drop in his cereal crops’ yield.

“I guess I was really stubborn. I just kept persevering,” says David, who also changed other traditional farming ways to ones that were more conducive to healthy soil.

For example, he used to work his fields as early as possible in the spring but now he waits until the earth has warmed to cultivate in order to avoid compacting the soil.

Gradually, the soil detoxified and the organic matter increased to its present rich dark loamy texture.

Today the Lings are harvesting one to one-and-a-half tons of grain per acre, similar to what a conventional farm would yield, but minus the fertilizer and chemical costs.

Another plus was that about three years into this organic venture David noticed that his allergies had lessened significantly.

A number of years ago, the Lings switched from hogs to beef, which they sell directly to the consumer through custom orders and their booth at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market where they have been since 1996.

“I think the customers are still learning. In the beginning, a lot of people would ask ‘What is organic?’ They’re more educated now. They want to buy that beef because it doesn’t have any antibiotics, growth hormones, no spray or chemical fertilizers on the farm,” Edith says.

“They’re more onto that now, but in the beginning it was just (that) the beef was there and once they tried it they’d come back and say, ‘This beef tastes like what my father used to raise years and years ago’ — of course because it’s raised similar to back before all this chemical explosion took place.”

As they have in the past, the Lings continue to share their farming ways with the public through numerous farm tours.

“Anytime you’re promoting, that’s good, whatever it is,” Edith says. “There’s something about just being there, seeing it up close and personal (that resonates with people).”

The farming life truly resonates with David, who after 50 years is still on a road of discovery.

“I thought I knew it all when I was farming with chemicals, but after I got into organic, the more I got into it I realized how little I knew about how nature works.”

June 1, 2913

Hello, all,

Events for this week:

Thursday, June 6th, 1:30PM, Coles Building, Pope Room (building next to Province House)
Two local, forward thinking environmental groups will be making presentations to the PEI Legislature Standing Committee on Agriculure, Energy and Forestry on Thursday, and the public is invited.
  Andrew Lush from Don't Frack PEI will explain the many problems associated with fracking, and the additional problems that are specific to PEI.  There will also be a presentation by Ellie Reddin and Irene Novaczek from the Save Our Seas and Shores about off-shore drilling of gas and oil. The public sits on one side of the room, and is asked to be quiet, as in the Gallery of Province House; an increased public presence perhaps reminds the committee members that we are expecting them to work diligently for Islanders.
www.dontfrackpei.com
www.saveourseasandshores.ca
(I may have some of the details mixed up, but the point is the presentations will be very good, and it helps make our politicians more accountable if people are paying attention to these committees, too.)

Next Saturday, June 8th, 1-3PM, Cornwall Civic Centre (Cornwall Road, behind the Esso, NOT APM Centre)
"Protesting Plan B and the Next Plan B -- A Legal Perspective"
What happened with the Plan B protest and what lessons can be learned for other groups expressing dissatisfaction with government decisions?  Lawyer Jacinta Gallant and community organizer Josie Baker will present these topics and participate in a question and answer session.  Free admission, and all are invited to attend.
This workshop is sponsored by the Citizens' Alliance of PEI.

-------

Strong words about the closure of Peter's Road, from an Islander who has been following the debacle since last spring (sorry if language offends):

Those of us who deeply oppose Plan B probably have a deep personal reason for doing so. For me, aside from the political deceptions and corruption, it is Peter's Road. There was a magical moment of transformation when I swung off the highway and onto that historic strip of red clay. Everything changed, and the change was for the better. This is why it's so important for us to work hard to make Plan B forever exist as a symbol of our mistakes. But, that work is up to us. After-all, and let's never forget: The future of our beautiful little Island doesn't have to look like Plan B any more than intimacy has to look like rape. 

Standing on Peter's Road, looking north, a bit off the TCH.  It was a canopy of trees before Plan B.  The height of the fill is about 15 feet now, with more to go, and it is flattened on the top for Plan B.  The camp is up and off to the right.  May 31, 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/June%201%20%232.jpg
Looking down from Plan B onto the edge of it and south at Peter's Road towards TCH.  The wetland they are hoping to enhance is center top of the photo. May 31, 2013.

Have a good weekend,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 31, 2013

Hi, all,

"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

Hello, all,


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. 

Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 29, 2013

Hello, all,

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.

----------
Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 28, 2013

Hello, all,

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.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 27, 2013

Hello, all,

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

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 25, 2013

Hello, all,

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

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
----

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)

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 24, 2013

Hello, all,

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

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 23, 2013

Hello, everyone,

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)
Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 22, 2013

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.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

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

May 21, 2013

Hello, all,

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.


Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 18, 2013

Hello, all,

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


Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw


May 17, 2013

Hello, all,

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

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 16, 2013

Hello, all,

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.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 15, 2013

Hi, all,

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 Oppostition, 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.

Have a great day,
Chris O.

May 14, 2013

Hello, all,

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. 

Thanks, and have a good day!

Chris

May 13, 2013

Hello, everyone,

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.


Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 12, 2013

Hello, everyone,

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

Hello, all,

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.

Have a good day, pick up some trash if you can,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 10, 2013

Hi, all,

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

Hi, all,

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.  :-/  )

Have a good day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw


May 7, 2013

Hi, all,

At Crawford's Brook
https://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.

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 6, 2013

Hi, all,

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.

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

May 4, 2013

Hi, all,

Helping others and having fun:

Two benefits this Saturday night (tonight) for people in circles of community:

Prize Bingo to aid Noreen Gallant:

Noreen lives in Bonshaw and had a car accident some months ago and needs a series of surgeries to get back to walking. She and her husband are raising their grandchildren, so they could use some help.

The Prize Bingo starts at 7PM at the APM Centre in Cornwall. Entry at the door is $5, and you can bring pennies for bingo markers. There are some wonderful prizes that have been donated.

---

Raymond Loo Benefit

Also, organic farmer Raymond Loo, whom you may know from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, and always works for responsible stewardship of the land, is battling cancer and his friends and siblings have organized a benefit:

It will include a silent auction, a 50/50 draw, door prizes, and a dance with entertainment by Kickin’ Country. Mr. Nils Ling will be emceeing the event.

Where: The Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown

When: tonight, May 4, 2013 from 8:30pm until midnight

https://www.facebook.com/events/353986188044074/?suggestsessionid=41325bb80859d1d114413d32dc26a0b9

And Karen Mair did a sensitive, upbeat, caring piece on him for CBC Radio:

http://www.cbc.ca/mainstreetpei/healthmedicine/2013/04/23/raymond-loo---cancer-and-courage/

And Sunday, noon to 5PM, is a "yard sale" at the Windsor Motel, right off Route 9 and the TCH in New Haven. Matt and Shona fought against Plan B tooth and nail, and they are left *still* not knowing how the new road and spur lanes will go by their property, and of course never understanding how Plan B could have just come up out of the blue with no knowledge in the community....

Anyway, they are moving back to Alberta -- Shona has left and Matt is selling off lots of decent items from the housekeeping suites -- dishes, cookware, decorations, cleaning supplies, outdoor equipment -- a great deal of stuff in good condition. Stop by and make him an offer, to lighten his load to deal with before he leaves, too.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

www.watchpei.org (I had the wrong website yesterday)

May 3, 2013

Hi, all,
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

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

Hi, all,

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.

April 30, 2013

Hi, all,

Construction is restarting in some of the Plan B sites, on a limited scale:
Digging around the Bridge in Bonshaw,
Breaking bedrock in the rest of the Bonshaw section,
Scraping off the flapping tape on the Crawford's Brook culvert boxes,
Resuming burying Hemlock Grove in shale.
(Nothing resuming in Fairyland yet -- perhaps there is not enough rental equipment.)

I think one thing that makes people upset about the misguided spending of money for Plan B is that most of the money is going into *things* -- gigantic equipment rental or subcontracting (tree harvesters, articulated dump trucks, excavators with impact drills) and concrete structures that already need repair (culvert box segments) -- instead of paying more *workers* to fix the roads and culverts we already have utilizing much less expensive "things."


Crawford's Brook, west of Peter's Road, Sunday, April 28th, 2013.

--------
Hats off once again for the PEI Watershed Alliance in providing leadership on watershed issues, and the place for Islanders to get more information about issues affecting water.

Here is a link to the WA's article about the letter they wrote recently to the US Food and Drug Administration, calling for a moratorium on the development and sale of GM fish.  Their letter is a link from this article:
http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=706

Also, the petition by Save Our Seas and Shores (SOSS) calling for a moratorium on drilling for gas and oil and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is being presenting to the Legislature, by MLA Buck Watts, who appears to care about water issues, today about 3PM. What kind of direction the Legislature will take on this issue?  Not sure.  More information regarding the SOSS campaign:
http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=713

--
Having made such an impact on Lands Protection Act Commissioner Horace Carver, now the public's attention is being asked to turn to the Land Use Policy Task Force.  More later this week.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 29, 2013

Hi, all,

From Question Period in the PEI Provincial Legislature, Friday, April 26th, 2013

Stephen Myers, Leader of the Opposition: Question to the minister (of Education): Has this government gotten so arrogant that they would bypass their own board –
Speaker: Hon. member, I would ask you to refrain from using that word.
Leader of the Opposition: Sure.
Speaker: Thank you.
Leader of the Opposition: (Pause) There’s no other word to explain this government, unfortunately.
Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.

The Legislature will be sitting for this week, but this may be the last week or so before the House closes for the summer.  The public can attend the sessions, with Question Period after 2PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday after 10AM.
More information on the Legislature, including the live and archived broadcasts of sessions and House Records:
http://www.assembly.pe.ca/

Tuesday afternoon, the petition calling for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be tabled in the House.  The Save Our Seas group has been working very hard for many months on this issue.  More information can be found through links here:
http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=573

Wednesday starting at 4:30PM is a May Day Rally in front of Province House to mark International Workers' Day, with an emphasis on issues facing PEI workers.

Have a great week,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 27, 2013

Hi, all,

A year ago yesterday, April 26, 2012:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2012/04/26/pei-tran-canada-highway-bonshaw-584.html

The Stop Plan B Rally, on a brisk, beautifully sunny April day: yellow balloons, a fantastic roster of speakers (among them an economist, a teenager, political leaders, caring Islanders, all), the music ("Quit the Road Ghiz", among others), the Opposition Motion in the House against Plan B (defeated by the majority Liberals with hollow pageantry), and the odd, violent reaction by MLA Valerie Docherty against another member of the Legislative Assembly.

What's the same? Plan B is still being pushed through -- bullied through, as the hard-working Jackie Waddell of Island Nature Trust said to the media a year ago. That's interesting when Alan McIsaac stands up in the Legislature and derides bullying as a huge problem. (Yesterday: McIsaac: "This whole issue of bullying is out of control, and I understand that.") Perhaps children emulate what they see from the top?

And regarding Cabinet Minister and District 17 MLA, who was quoted in The Guardian Friday as saying, regarding the very small increases to the amounts paid to facilities for community care residents by the government: The "government's offer was acceptable given the province's fiscal situation."

A comment from an Islander (with permission):

Evidence shows that Minister Valerie Docherty knows her priorities; she worked extremely hard to enable millions and millions of our tax dollars to be dumped into that stupid Plan B thing in her riding for something so few want and nobody needs.  But to be fair, Islanders have to look that piece of work through her point of view.  After all, what will get her re-elected, patronage payola to one of the Island's most powerful political lobbyist or seniors with dementia and younger people who have mental health issues?
And yep, nobody could have created more irony here: Tax funds not supporting Park Hill Place because of "the province's fiscal situation" as the park-like hills of Bonshaw are being destroyed by millions of our tax-dollars. And Docherty's title: "Community Services and Seniors Minister"? I mean really, you just can't make this stuff up! However, the real test of our morality is how many of her constituents will speak up against this madness. Lest we forget, the only thing that makes Docherty right is our silence, and therein lies our shame, not hers. 

vedocherty@gov.pe.ca
premier@gov.pe.ca

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 26, 2013

Hi, everyone,

There are some events going on tonight and tomorrow regarding Earth Day, coordinated by the Sierra Club Atlantic: 

Tonight: A fundraising concert at The Pourhouse (above the Old Triangle) from 10PM-2AM.
Performers include Jordan Cameron, The Time Traveling Werewolves, The Downwalls, and Badson Breez.
For ages 19 and older, and all proceeds going to Sierra Club programs.
https://www.facebook.com/events/278605625605299

Tomorrow: Earth Week Expo on Saturday, April 27th (which also happens to be Save the Frogs Day) from 12-4PM at the Murphy's Community Centre.
Free admission- all ages welcome. Drop in.
Information booths, activities for kids, music, and included in the Expo is a panel with 10 minutes presentations followed by audience Q and A. The panel takes place concurrently, from 1:30PM to 3:00PM, and presenters include Josie Baker, Andrew Trivett, and Mark Leggott.
https://www.facebook.com/events/608836839141815/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Have a good weekend!

Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 25, 2013

Hello, All,

This video about a year old, has mild inaccuracies, and the voiceover is a little low in volume. But, it's eight minutes that encapsulates Plan B, and still worth another viewing. Plan B is still "a colossal mistake."
http://youtu.be/NF4ZanbD3AY

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 24, 2013

Hi, all,

The Department of Environment placed on its website an independent review of the sediment controls and measures, which it ordered early this year.  The original measures were prescribed by Stantec.  The review was done by Stantec.  It's a bit of an "I told you so" -- maybe, "I told me so."   Also posted is an ever-so-slightly huffy response letter to Dept. of Environment from Transportation.  We mere citizens would like to hold to the ideal that these departments and hired companies are all working towards keeping this indefensible road project from being an even bigger mess and waste of money.

The two new documents are the last two downloads above "Addendum #1"

http://www.gov.pe.ca/environment/index.php3?number=1041923&lang=E

The project review was dated March 21st, a week *after* the heavy rainfall event of March 14th.

Here is a funny quote from it, in a laugh-or-cry way, in the "Project Challenges" section:

6. There were numerous springs encountered on this Project that required the separation of these flows from the sediment-laden runoff generated onsite to prevent additional sediment-laden water. This complication appears to have been adequately addressed by PEITIR based on the work observed to date.

Based on the soil type and the large amount of material that has to be moved, it is Stantec’s view that environmental effects due to the release of sediment on this Project can at best be minimized, but not eliminated.

---

I think TIR was charged about $30,000 for this report.  I haven't read all of it, but I hope you poke around in it, too.

Though the list is still a bit overwhelming, the Environment people have tried to make all these documents available to the public and have recently tidied up how they appear on the page  (with the exception of "Appendix #1", it is in chronological order).

------

And Teresa Doyle talks about Land Protections in yesterday's Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-04-23/article-3224918/We-must-protect-land/1

and farmer Ranald Affleck always tells it like it is:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2013-04-23/article-3224913/Farming-unique-and-important/1

and Mr. Carver himself is impressed!
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-04-23/article-3225463/Horace-Carver-staggered-by-Islanders-passion-about-land-holdings-issues/1

Have a good day!  I have the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association AGM, tonight at 7PM at Grand Tracadie School, off Route 6, talking about community and environmental change ;-)    All are welcome.

Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 23, 2013

Hi, all,

One of the presentations to the Lands Protection Act review commission from a large group making the case for increased acreage limits ended with a slide that read:

"Change is Mandatory
Survival is Optional  
Edward Denning"

Of course all of us understand that changes in life must happen, but this group was insinuating if you don't agree to the change they want, you are against progress.

Many of us were sensitized to this kind of manipulation in trying to overturn the Plan B highway proposal.  We were told we were being Luddites who wanted to go back to horse-and-buggy days for resisting this.  New standards needed to be met, and we were "afraid of change".   We weren't afraid of change; we wanted responsible, attentive government, not a highway being built through sensitive areas, propped up by doctored data, and promoted to take advantage of "bargain" federal dollars; only it seems to be going through to reward certain landowners and companies.  (Not much change there.)  Even now sometimes an MLA will continue to read from this script of the "necessary change of Plan B" during the sitting of the Legislature. 

Regarding that "Change is Mandatory" quote:  Strangely, I can only find out that "Edward Denning" is former financial consultant and small renovations contractor in Ontario.  W. Edward Deming was a 20th century statistician and lecturer who wrote:
"No one has to change.  Survival is optional." 

However, here is a much better quote of Mr. Deming's, regarding change:

"To successfully respond to the myriad of changes that shake the world, transformation into a new style of management is required. The route to take is what I call profound knowledge—knowledge for leadership of transformation."
  

And if we look around, this Island has bright, caring people who will help with this transformation.  It just needs the rest of us to pay attention, discuss things, get the whole picture, and participate -- that's the "change" the PEI Citizens Alliance wants to be part of.

Hope you had a good Earth Day.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 22, 2013

Hi, all,

Today is Earth Day, and few places is it more profound than on an island, where our land is finite and our decisions must exemplify stewardship.

Since Earth Day is always April 22, and this year on a Monday, some of the activities are spread out over the whole week, for more people to participate.

Earth Day activities

Here are some activities today and later: http://howtogetclimateaction.wordpress.com/earth-week-2013-2/

This afternoon MacPhail Woods is hosting an Earth Day Volunteer event, starting at 2PM, a wonderful place for ages: http://www.macphailwoods.org/event/earth-day-volunteer-event-at-macphail-woods/

Monday evening there are *two* very interesting talks on Climate Change going on from 7-9PM:

At the Arts Guild, 111 Queen Street:

Getting Action on Climate Change: What political parties, environmentalists and citizens need to do with former MPs Shawn Murphy and Bill Casey. lawyer Stephen Hazell, and car-sharing pioneer Pam Cooley. Megan Burnside will be the moderator.  https://www.facebook.com/events/595798597116436/

At the Confederation Centre Studio 1 (next to Mavors):
Earth Day Panel with provincial climate change coordinato
r Erin Taylor, UPEI's Dr. Adam Fenech, environmental consultant Don Jardine, and artist Catherine Miller. This talk is in conjunction with Catherine's show at the Art Gallery, Changing Environs (which runs until May 26).  http://www.confederationcentre.com/en/gallery-events.php

Tuesday, April 23rd, at 7PM, at Holland College, room 21C (Kent Street), admission by donation, Cinema Politica and Sierra Club Atlantic Canada present the movie:

Surviving Progress is "the story of human advancement as awe-inspiring and double-edged... With rich imagery and immersive soundtrack, filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks launch us on journey to contemplate our evolution from cave-dwellers to space explorers." (86 minutes plus discussion afterwards) Trailer here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1462014/

More events later in the week, including the annual Earth Expo Saturday from 1-4PM at Murphy's Centre in Charlottetown.

-----

A little different, is a contest regarding tractor photos to promote Dear John Deere, one of the Charlottetown Festival plays this summer. Part of the plot of the play is that a highway is being planned to go through the couple's farm. Sounds a little close to home. The gist of the contest is that they want photos of tractors, which are posted and voted on by viewers, and the top 20 entries receive tickets to the play. Someone mentioned once seeing a tractor with a Stop Plan B sign or bumper sticker, and wouldn't something like that make a great entry? The contest deadline is April 30th.

http://charlottetownfestival.com/en/25-Dear-Johnny-Deere
You have to find the green bar that screams "Contest" at the bottom of the page.

Have a great Earth Day. Hope you can spend part of it outside. We'll take a look to see what on Earth they are doing at Plan B.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 21, 2013

Hi, everyone,

Some slightly connected thoughts:

Forests and Rivers

A letter in Friday's paper, from Island biologist, author and founding member of the Island Nature Trust, Ian MacQuarrie, on the value of healthy forests, with an subtle nod about the fallacy of Plan B:

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter%20to%20editor/2013-04-19/article-3222777/Understanding-the-value-of-healthy-forests/1

Gary Schneider of ECO-PEI and MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project spoke on this theme at the Watershed Alliance (WA) AGM yesterday in Hunter River. The Island was once mainly forest, and of course the riparian (river) areas thrived. Gary said forests are not just a crop, nor something to be completely removed; and any islander can improve any amount of woods -- mix in just a little bit of diversity, and just don't clearcut or plant monocultures!

Much information can be found at the MacPhail Woods site: http://www.macphailwoods.org/ select the "forestry" section, and consider bookmarking and reading a bit every day -- it's a straightforward way to learn about our Island woods and improving them. (Plus, MacPhail Woods is getting ready to open for the season, and so it's time to start thinking about any native trees or shrubs you might want to get from them.)

The fact that a bunch of people who volunteer across the island (or who are one of the few paid employees) working for their local watershed group would give up most of their Saturday speaks a lot for the Watershed Alliance, executive director Shawn Hill, the board, and their willingness to listen, discuss and advocate. Fred Cheverie of Souris deftly kept the program on time, and the sessions were interesting. Minister Janice Sherry and Environment Division Director Jim Young were there in the morning; Sherry spoke for a while on the important of watersheds (obviously she was preaching to the converted), and they answered the preselected questions -- the toughest being where is the action from the "Action Committee on Sustainable Land Practices" (the committee struck after the horrid fishkills). The answers had some actuality in them, but were wrapped in enough layers of rhetoric to eat up most of the time (no MLA Colin LaVie piping up with "Answer the Question!" as in Question Period).

The basic message was that government worked hard to keep funding for watershed groups, PEI gets lots more than any other Atlantic province gets (that does not say much of anything, though), they are working on past recommendations, and feds are pretty much to blame for any issue. She didn't get asked about Plan B -- it would have been a platform to declare how well mitigations are working, and I think she knows the WA's thoughts about Plan B (that the lack of public consultation for Plan B was wrong, the environmental damage unjustified, and Plan B was one of several similar disturbing trends in government decision-making last year).

The Watershed Alliance's website is: http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/  and the top bar choice for "other news" is where there are announcements of interesting meetings and such related to watershed issues.

And a quick note on: Earth Day activities http://howtogetclimateaction.wordpress.com/earth-week-2013-2/  (more tomorrow)

Have a great Sunday!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 20, 2013

Hi, everyone,

This weekend is the deadline that Horace Carver, the commissioner of the Lands Protection Act review, has set for submissions from the public, so he can read and consider, and work on his report (due to Executive Council on June 30, I think). 

Any comments can be e-mailed to:
lpa@gov.pe.ca

Just to visualize one aspect of the LPA, which is about non-resident limits of land ownership:
Four video maps
that were made to show the extent of non-resident ownership of land in particular areas. 
After some technical difficulties, the **one of the south shore (DeSable to Fernwood) is up and most of you may not have seen it.**  In these videos, a red transparency is put over the land that is held by non-residents and the video slowly "flies" over the area.  There may be a few variations in the placement of the names of locations, but you certainly get the "big picture".

The other three videos are along the east and west points of the Island, and of the north shore.  Spend a couple of minutes and take the tour.
http://www.gov.pe.ca/mapp/index.php?number=1046743&lang=E

And from the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission's website on the LPA and non-resident holdings:
http://www.irac.pe.ca/document.aspx?file=faq/documents/lpafaq.asp

A non-resident person or corporation, or a resident corporation must make application if the person or corporation will have an aggregate land holding

·         in excess of 5 acres, or

·         having a shore frontage in excess of 165 feet.

A non-resident person who acquires a land holding by gift, devise or inheritance from a spouse, sibling or direct descendent or ancestor is exempt from making application.

----

Roy Johnstone had a great letter in Friday's Guardian. 

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter%20to%20editor/2013-04-19/article-3222797/Lets-be-good-stewards/1

Let's be good stewards

Published on April 19, 2013
Editor:

The Lands Protection Act represented an enlightened, forward-thinking policy when it was introduced in 1982. Now, however, with over 33 per cent of Island land owned by corporations and over 10 per cent by non-residents, I would argue that the legislation needs to be more restrictive, not less, if we want to be able to protect our environment for future generations.
It's time to implement an upper limit on non-resident and corporate land holdings.

At the Crapaud meeting on April 9, the P.E.I. Potato Board argued for increased acreage limits. When questioned about their arguments, it was acknowledged that there are many factors affecting profitability of potato production on P.E.I. that won't be improved with higher acreage limits, one of the main factors being supply and demand.
The fact that other North American producers are now competing in the same markets that Island growers have traditionally held should be a warning to be cautious about increasing production.

Increasing potato acreage and thus total production may actually deflate the price. Other factors such as crop rotation, soil fertility and conservation; reduction of capital expenditures on fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizer; and diversifying crops all affect profitability and should be seriously addressed before any increase to acreage holdings is contemplated.

There is no question that the potato industry is a major contributor to the Island economy, but it is disheartening that the industry expects to increase its profits while continuing to negatively impact our air, water and soil.
The potato industry on P.E.I. needs to rethink its corporate industrial model of farming and change to a more sustainable, ecologically based system.

Given that land is a finite resource and knowing that it is such a critical element in food production and the health of our water, air and forests, why are we willing to sell it off to the highest bidder?
We must rigorously maintain the "steadfast stewardship" of the Island, which was the motive for creating the Land Protection Act in the first place.

Roy Johnstone,
Argyle Shore

Many articulate arguments have been raised in this discussion.  If you would like to read some of them, please go to:
http://www.watchpei.org/is/lands-protection/lpa-submissions

and the general information on the LPA is here on the PEI Citizens Alliance website

http://www.watchpei.org/is/lands-protection

A snippet of a letter from Cathy Grant:
I believe that we have to rethink the adage "Go Big or Stay Home" .
I believe that PE Islanders need to change this.
 We need  to "Go Small AND Stay Home".
 Otherwise, we are going to lose an entire generation to Alberta.

And Cathy mentions an excellent speech recently brought to light again, made by Premier Alex Campbell in 1978, about how we really could achieve economic process.  This was 32 years ago, and it rings true today.  It is the first choice on this page:
http://www.watchpei.org/is/lands-protection/lpa-submissions
even though former Premier Campbell is not submitting it to the LPA -- perhaps we should on his behalf?
______

Your comments, short or not, can be sent to:

Mr. Horace Carver, Q.C.
3 Brighton Road
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Telephone: (902) 620-3558
Fax: (902) 569-7545
Website: www.gov.pe.ca/lpa
Email: lpa@gov.pe.ca

He has certainly heard from very well-funded groups; it would be good if he hears from many Islanders about the future of our land for our children and grandchildren.

Have a great weekend,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 19, 2013

Hello, all,

Yesterday was a bit of a work day at a couple of the Plan B sites:

In Bonshaw, the drone of trucks and the thrum of the vibrating roller were heard, so they are planning on continuing chipping at bedrock. 

At Crawford's Brook:
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%231.jpgMap of Plan B area, showing Crawford's Brook and Hemlock Grove.

All photos from yesterday, Thursday, April 18th.
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%232.jpg
View looking west over Crawford's Brook.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%233.jpg
At the area with the leaky box culverts, a crew with an excavator prepared once again to divert Crawford's Brook out of the box culverts so the sections can be repaired. 

Crawford's Brook is here, really.  The hay they are spreading for mulch has hard a long winter and sounds like it's decomposed a bit.

Apparently, they will dig out along the sides to get access to these sides to try to reseal them so water won't get in the tops or sides before covering with gravel and many metres of shale.

I am not sure what is intended for the water leaking in from the bottom; the apparent lack of seal of the bottom and sides of the section allowed heavy, heavy silt to mix in with the material.


View inside box culvert, nicely branded by the manufacturer, partially drained of Crawford's Brook.  The contractor placed a rocky dirt mix on the floor of it originally in January, but *much* silt has flowed in since then.

https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%236.jpg
Flapping seal tape on eastern side of box culvert. (Each section between black tape is about four feet wide, eight feet high, eight feet across. There are about 104 sections.)  The granular material is a coarsely ground glass mixture, which I think is acting like crushed rock. 
---
And looking east, with somebody's best friend:
https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/updates/April%2019%20%237.jpg
Walking east, looking east to New Haven

What looks like a little metal dish in the center of the photo is a dumpster-sized construction box on the flat surface above Hemlock Grove.  The red Fairyland roof is up and to the left, and a dump truck goes east on the current TCH (top center). 

Yes, they are digging well, well, below the current TCH. 

Thanks to Cathy, Sarah and Cindy for photos and input.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 18, 2013

Hello, all,

A list of upcoming events, needing no translation:

Tonight, Thursday, April 18th:
Two events that you could go to sequentially, if you wish:

  • An "Island-Wide Hospital Access" Rally, gathering between 6:30 - 6:45PM at Peaks' Quay, and marching towards the Legislature as the MLAs go for their evening sitting before 7PM. 
  • At 7:30PM, there is a information-sharing session regarding opposing GMO salmon egg production at the Rodd Charlottetown, free admission.  Alaskan State Representative Geran Tarr is one of the panelists, along with Sharon Labchuk and Leo Broderick from Islanders Say No to GM Fish, and Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

The PEI Citizens Alliance has put together some resources on their webpage:
http://www.watchpei.org/is/island-water/gmo

Saturday, April 20th:
(These would be a bit harder to do sequentially, but both look interesting)

  • NDP of PEI Convention Saturday, Rodd Charlottotown, registration starting at 8AM, with guest speaker Megan Leslie, MP for Halifax.  Megan has been attentive to Plan B, from her perch as Environment Critic and in wanting responsible government. For more information, call the NDP PEI office at 892-1930. There is admission at the door.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2013-04-14/article-3219246/Megan-Leslie-guest-speaker-at-Saturdays-PEI-NDP-convention/1

  • The Watershed Alliance AGM is rescheduled from last week's threat of bad weather.  This starts at 9AM at Hunter River Community Hall, behind Harmony House, 19186 Route 2, in Hunter River.  I am not sure about admission -- I do not think there is any, but will check.

Here is a bit of the agenda, with approximate times and items:
9:00 AM   Call to order and custodial remarks
9:15 AM   Opening message from the Honorable Janice Sherry, Minister: PEI Department of Environment, Labor and Justice
9:30 AM    Moderated question/answer session with the Minister (**note: the questions had to be pre-submitted and selected questions will be presented to Minister Sherry and Dept. of Environment's Director, Jim Young**) (!!)
10:00 AM - 1PM  Reading/approval: AGM 2012 Minutes,Coffee Break, Reports, board elections, lunch 
1:00 PM    Gary Schneider, Manager, MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project - "Healthy Forests, Healthy Watersheds - The Importance of Forests for Watershed Health"
1:30 PM   Dr. Michael van den Heuvel, UPEI/ Canadian Rivers Institute - Northumberland Strait Environmental Monitoring Program
2:15 PM    Sarah Weston, Coordinator, Community University Research Alliance CURA H2O: Community-Based Integrated Water Monitoring and Management
2:45 PM    Bruce Smith and Cathy Corrigan, Winter River/Tracadie Bay Watershed Association - Water Extraction Impacts on Winter River
3:15 PM    Adjournment
    Full notes here:  http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/

  • Saturday is the unofficial deadline for comments to the Lands Protection Act Commissioner, Horace Carver, at lpa@gov.pe.ca

Have a lovely day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 17, 2013

From Gaius Cornelius Tacitus's Annals of Rome, written around 109 AD, translated from Latin by Alfred Church and William Brodribb

42. Nero meanwhile availed himself of his country's desolation, and erected a mansion in which the jewels and gold, long familiar objects, quite vulgarised by our extravagance, were not so marvellous as the fields and lakes, with woods on one side to resemble a wilderness, and, on the other, open spaces and extensive views. The directors and contrivers of the work were Severus and Celer, who had the genius and the audacity to attempt by art even what nature had refused, and to fool away an emperor's resources. They had actually undertaken to sink a navigable canal from the lake Avernus to the mouths of the Tiber along a barren shore or through the face of hills, where one meets with no moisture which could supply water, except the Pomptine marshes. The rest of the country is broken rock and perfectly dry. Even if it could be cut through, the labour would be intolerable, and there would be no adequate result. Nero, however, with his love of the impossible, endeavoured to dig through the nearest hills to Avernus, and there still remain the traces of his disappointed hope.

If you substitute "highway" for "canal", and switch dry for wet, it sounds a little too familiar....

and the original:
42. Ceterum Nero usus est patriae ruinis exstruxitque domum, in qua haud proinde gemmae et aurum miraculo essent, solita pridem et luxu vulgata, quam arva et stagna et in modum solitudinem hinc silvae, inde aperta spatia et prospetus, magistris et machinatoribus Severo et Celere, quibus ingenium et audacia erat etiam, quae natura denegavisset, per artem temptare et viribus principis inludere. namque ab lacu Averno navigabilem fossam usque ad ostia Tibernia depressuros promiserant squalenti litore aut per montes adversos. neque enim aliud umidum gignendis aquis occirrit quam Pomptinae paludes: cetera abrupta aut arentia, ac si perrumpi possent, intolerandus labor nec satis causae. Nero tamen, ut erat incredibilium cupitor, effodere proxima Averno iuga conisus est, manentque vestigia inritae spei.

Bene vale (Be well),
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 16, 2013

Hello, all, 

Here is a little bit about the DeSable TransCanada Highway work planned for this summer (generally, the area west of Bonshaw but east of Crapaud):

Alie Mills wrote that the folks who own the Blue Goose were told that construction will be to lower the grade along the TCH from near the intersection of Route 19 and South Melville Road (where the Ozendyke Bed & Breakfast is), past the DeSable Motel on the south side and on the north the Blue Goose Restaurant/ C&T Convenience Store and the attached building where District 17 MLA Valerie Docherty has her constituency office, towards the abandoned frozen pizza factory. It does not appear to include the DeSable bridge or the curve going toward Hampton (the community with the one turn down to Victoria, and Peter Bevan-Baker's dental clinic).

The owner of the Goose has wanted to put in a gas bar for quite a while, especially as the owner of the pump in Hampton decided to stop selling gas.

By the way the Goose, one of a series of restaurants along the South Shore with a coloured avian theme, is a great place to stop in for lunch, a newspaper and baked goods, or pretty much anything else you may need. The owners run a nice business in an area where -- blind turn or not -- it's straight road and traffic just screams by.

This area has been on a list to upgrade, I remember being told a few years ago; but I think I missed hearing about any sort of public consultation before plans were made. Minister Vessey told the Opposition during a Question Period they could ask about specific projects like DeSable when going over the budget estimates, but when asked during budget estimates about other TCH projects by the Opposition Leader, Minister Vessey said:

"and if there are more gateway dollars to come available, we’ll be looking at that and we’ll be working on it well through the Capital Budget, as well, on fixing areas with as much resources as we possibly can within our budget."

From TIR's website, an interactive (and prehistoric from a technicalviewpoint) map of construction projects: 

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1027827&lang=E

DeSable, nor Plan B for that matter, is not indicated on this map.

Take care,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 15, 2013

Hi, all,

A little more on the Lands Protection Act, as the informal deadline of this Saturday, April 20th, has been set by the Commissioner, Horace Carver, for public submissions.

Better background than what I can write: http://www.watchpei.org/is/lands-protection/

and here are the Terms of Reference, provided by Executive Council, that he was asked to follow in his review **and what he wants public input on**: http://www.gov.pe.ca/lpa/index.php?number=1045314&lang=E

which can be summarized sloppily:
1) should acreage limits change?
2) should he recommend red-tape reduction for landowners (mainly large farms where leasing goes on)?
3) other areas of the legislation seems creaky on (easement for utilities, multiple-owner properties, etc.)
4) and anything that Mr. Carver thinks needs addressing (like valuing our vistas, e.g.)

Basically Mr. Carver is hearing very loudly and clearly from the organizations that represent larger potato growers on PEI (The Federation of Agriculture, the PEI Potato Board) that they cannot make a living with the current acreage as they cannot compete with potato growing areas like Washington State; without raising the limits they feel the crop rotation (of potatoes only once in three years) to be very limiting, as to them there is little value in forage (hay) or grain crops. They recommend the acreage go up from 1,000 to 1,500 acres (private) and 3,000 to 4,500 acres (corporate). My math (change over original x100) says that's a 50% increase. I believe the Executive Director of the Federation of Agriculture called it a small increase during one of the presentations earlier.

The public meeting I attended was very interesting (Crapaud on April 9th), as gentlemen from the PEI Potato Board made a presentation and then answered questions from the audience. They felt that the amount of nitrates in the groundwater would not be increased with increased acreage, nor other issues of topsoil loss or pesticide runoff would be exacerbated.

In 2009, acreage limits *were* raised when the farmers were allowed to exchange non-arable land (or non-farmable -- like woods, wetlands, etc.) for arable land. Apparently this resulted in about a one-third increase in production acres, and nobody has really measured the effects of this change.

Another interesting fact that came out was that there is only 75% compliance with the three-year rotation, anyway. This leads to the second Term of Reference for Mr. Carver, which is looking to see if "red tape" could be reduced. It's hard to know how information like this would be quantified if it weren't for some of the "red-tape" reporting.

A talented and patient fellow who does map work for the government used the maps of non-resident ownership and made "fly-over" videos.  This page has three -- there is one of the Crapaud area I am checking on not up yet -- and they are interesting to watch: http://www.gov.pe.ca/mapp/index.php?number=1046743&lang=E

What to see what others have written? Here are some submissions to Mr. Carver that we have filed with the authors' permission:
http://www.watchpei.org/is/lands-protection/lpa-submissions

And Elwin Wyand of the National Farmers' Union -- very much against increases -- in the current Eastern Graphic:
http://peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/letter_editor/increased_land_limits_will_drive_prices

And a very heartfelt piece by John Hopkins in The Guardian this week:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letters-to-editor/2013-04-12/article-3218275/Say-no-to-increasing-acreage/1

OK, so consider dropping a note to Horace at lpa@gov.pe.ca before his deadline of this weekend.
----
In other news, Saturday's Guardian had an interesting column on MLA salaries with a lot of background in a pleasant format by Alan Holman:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columns/2013-04-13/article-3219117/MLAs-should-do-more-to-earn-their-keep/1

and no, it was not April 1st, reading the column on the same page titled: "Too Rural for Our Own Good". A bit of head-shaker.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letters-to-editor/2013-04-13/article-3219165/Too-rural-for-our-own-good/1

Have a good day -- more about the Plan B site soon,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 14, 2013

Hello, everyone,

CBC *usually* does a bit of homework on their Plan B stories, instead of just converting a press release from a department's media contact or talking to one person in a department, but it was a Friday afternoon and all.

From Compass Friday night, a very brief note (about 8:50 into the broadcast):
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2376440693/
(about 8:50 into the broadcast)

A quote from the story: << "...Transportation and Environment officials are doing work at the Plan B TransCanada Realignment site to ensure against environmental issues during spring rain.  The work includes tightening silt fences and cutting through bedrock.">>>

(I am not sure how cutting through bedrock is going to ensure against environmental issues during spring rain.)

The item continues by saying the Department of Transportation has decided to put in a right-turning-lane onto Green Road from Charlottetown (the road that heads toward the Bonshaw Community Centre).  "Has decided" could use a bit of background:  Plan B extended the length of the original Strathgartney "Plan A realignment" greatly, and included a fairly indefensible expansion of the bridge in Bonshaw.  Concrete tenders went out for the vertical "I-beams" to enlarge the bridge by one lane in July of 2012, well before the Environmental Impact Assessment was out and any sort of approval was given.  I believe the same company that made the box culvert was awarded the contract to make the I-beams.

Originally, the first detailed Plan B map showed the "new" lane being a second east-bound towards Charlottetown. Any resident of the are knows the tricky part is coming from town, turning right onto Green Road, and having a tractor trailer on your back-end.  The only part to turn onto Green from Plan B was a little "slipway."  Residents pointed this out, argued, sent comments, etc.  (Something about as it was all about safety.)  The Bonshaw Community Council repeatedly requested the opportunity for input, and polled affected residents about the intersection. It appears TIR has agreed. 
---

In Saturday's Guardian page C-10 is an ad calling for tenders for the summer's road construction, including DeSable.  Have any of you, especially local residents of the area, heard *anything* about the "Route 2 DeSable, District 17 - Reconstruction 1.4km"  DeSable reconstruction", as it is called?  (Route 2???)

Here is a silt fence and apparent rain gauge, taken in early March 2013, near where Plan B and "south Peter's Road" meet.

Have a good Sunday,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 12, 2013

Hello, all,

Friday musings on government (but more on the Lands Protection Act tomorrow):

Lloyd Pickering says scrapping Plan B and putting that money towards hospitals would save more lives:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letters%20to%20editor/2013-04-11/article-3217441/A-bad-news-government/1

A bad news government

Published on April 11, 2013

Editor:
It's kind of ironic that we have a bad news Liberal Ghiz government gang in our province bringing in the HST while the British Columbia government phases it out. It's also very unfortunate for us that this government is very incompetent in the way it manages our tax dollars in a reckless manner.

This Ghiz government and Sheridan claim they don't want to hurt Islanders, but I think that's exactly what they're going to do. You cannot take massive amounts of tax dollars out of Islanders' pockets and not hurt us. It doesn't make any sense. It appears to be very hypocritical of this government to tell us what seems like absolute truths to fill their own agendas.

What about the hospitals this Liberal government is supposed to be closing on the western and eastern ends of our province? To me, it would make more sense to scrap the Plan B highway project and this money redirected to keep these hospitals open instead. I believe more lives would be saved keeping the hospitals open for these Islanders than the Plan B highway ever will.

I think by not keeping these hospitals open, the Ghiz government shows strong disregard and disrespect to these Islanders on the eastern and western areas of our province. Unfortunately, this government doesn't seem to care about Islanders and their families, but they do a great job at pretending that they do care.

Lloyd W. Pickering,
Kensington

The recent hospital announcements, the challenges the dialysis people had to go through when dealing with the first decision to close rural dialysis, HST and Plan B are all examples of the government action plan of Decide Behind Closed Doors, Declare It, and Defend It and sometimes (depending on the Minister) Denigrate those who oppose.

But could they Stop Plan B??
Of course; other projects have been stopped when they were further along.

Could we scrap it? What would happen?
Construction companies could focus on fixing the existing roads of PEI, and there would likely be *more* Islanders employed doing that than spending money on impact hammers and articulated dump trucks.

How much money could be saved?

*At least* half. It's apparent that they are certainly not half done. But no one really knows the actual revised schedule how much money has been spent or is projected to having to be spent on Plan B.

What would they do with the land they have bought?

Offer it back to the original owners first, and even without a new road, work on a trail system both south of the TCH and north -- this would get people outside appreciating nature and being active. (Do you still wonder how many MLAs have actually hiked around the area?)
Rip up the problematic box culvert, and replant, replant, replant. We have a wonderful provincial forestry nursery and excellent places like MacPhail Woods to supply stock.


What about fixing up the current TCH?
There is still overwhelming evidence that simple fixes of signs, edge rumble strips, proper banking, and adjusting the speed limit are all effective and much cheaper.

Some provincial government Ministers kept saying their experts told them that government would be liable for damages caused by accidents on a declared unsafe road. Isn't that still true?
A very smart Islander once paraphrased, "Liability is the last refuge of scoundrels" (with apologies to Samuel Johnson); I wonder how a government could be liable when one department admits they padded data statistics?

What kind of signal would that send to the Harper government to reject government money?
That PEI has remembered its cultural identity -- its independence, and its past and possible future of self-sufficiency.

Have a good snow day tomorrow! 
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 11, 2013

Hi, all,

Four weeks ago melt and rain caused some serious failures of the Environmental Protection Plan's specifications for various areas along the Plan B site.

Here are the documentary videos links, again, from the home page of the Stop Plan B website:
http://www.stopplanb.org/

*But* the Department of Transportation has a page with a reassuring update:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044551&lang=E

Despite saying "New Haven and Bonshaw", the two photos they show are above Hemlock Grove, in Churchill, going east and uphill towards the parking areas.

Here is a map of Plan B in red (note, the Google Earth image is a few years old -- before construction):

Here is what things are really like, going east to west:
Fairyland ravine:
Cindy reports that some skiffy work was hastily done a few days after the berm broke in Fairyland to scrape the rocks and such back up around the Fairyland culvert, and that rock "fences" were placed where the sediment fence failed so miserably.  Other than that, not much.  Still, the excavator time and rock cost something -- how is that accounted for?

Hemlock Grove (Crawford's Stream):
(See above)  Granite rock piles made and moved around.  More additional mitigation costs.

In addition to water flowing back and forth between the box sections, the concrete boxes in Crawford's Brook have a lot of irregularities that appeared since January -- they were not built to sit out in the winter uncovered -- but the contractor is going to inspect and fix things, we are told.

Here are a few pictures of the boxes from a few days ago:

The box culvert at what was Crawford's Brook, April 2013.

The downstream end of the box culvert.  This pocking has appeared since winter.
Between two box culvert sections -- water is flowing out of the culvert (and drains in, depending on amount), in joints that are supposed to be water tight.  Not sure how that is going to be fixed by the contractor, Hy-Span.

Bonshaw:
Occasionally, digging with excavators (with the teeth or with a special impact hammer) takes place in Bonshaw, and piles of ripped up bedrock are left until the lake of water clears away and the articulated dump trucks can really move around.

Two excavators on break.  The one on the left is fitted with an impact hammer, the impact part being the metal-looking drill almost between the tracks.
Piles of sandstone bedrock, broken up with impact hammer or excavator teeth at a rate of about one wheelbarrow-load at a time.
Remember, the Stantec Environmental Impact Assessment said there was over 60% exposed bedrock in this area.  They may have done sloppy work and cut-and-pasted parts of their EIA from their other projects, but Stantec got the geologic formations described accurately.

Time to keep asking how can this project be on budget and on schedule, with the (new) budget and schedule to prove i
t.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 10, 2013

Hello, everyone,

The usual setting -- gym floor, chairs, handouts.

Here is a brief summary of last night at the Lands Protection Act public meeting in Crapaud, from **Cathy Grant** (thank you, Cathy).

I attended Horace Carver's Land Use Protection Act Consultation in Crapaud (Englewood School) tonight. I was impressed by Mr. Horace Carver's even tone and in his interest to hear all views. Obviously, there are opposing points of view, and a long history of land use in PEI to deliberate upon. I observed inspiring presentations from Peter Bevan-Baker (Green Party), Mary Boyd, and Harry Baglole. The PEI Tourism Assc. is interested in protecting and promoting rural, historic vistas. I truly support them on this, but where were they when the Bonshaw Hills took such a hit via Plan B? !

Good comments from Catherine Russell directed toward the PEI Potato Board...really, how can PEI expect to compete toe to toe in potato production with Washington and Dakota states? As Stuart MacLean (via CBC's Vinyl Cafe) always says about Dave's record store: "We're not big, but we're small."
(I know there were many other comments that I missed because I left at 9:30.) Proud to be an Islander tonight! Thanks to those of you standing up for our beautiful, fragile Island.


Cathy Grant, by the way, has been involved in fighting Plan B for a very long time.  She was *everywhere* waving signs, providing sustenance to the other sign-wavers and to the folks hanging out at Hemlock Grove (in fact, she was one of those wonderful people who would not leave Hemlock Grove the afternoon the RCMP were called in), and was instrumental in the concert and fundraisers in November and March.  She continues to provide excellent observations as the PEI Citizens Alliance moves along.

Cathy Grant, with Lisa Murphy's Last Stand painting earlier this year, making fund-raising efforts look glamorous. 

More comments on the LPA meetings in the next days, when I am done yawning (last night's session ended about 11PM!).
Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 9, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Our MLAs at work:
From Thursday afternoon's (April 4) session, when the government members were supposed to be commenting on an Opposition Motion related to the HST and the effects on small businesses.  The discourse was rather rambling, but here is one part that stood out:


Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning (Alan McIsaac): (bold mine)
We talked about the roads. The famous Plan B now is a road that we were told by our engineers was unsafe, was built to 1952 standards. They said to us: If there’s an accident on that, you’re responsible. Now the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has addressed this on many occasions. It’s a change that had to be made, not because we want to straighten all the roads in the province, but because our engineers tell us that is unsafe. It has never been dealt with by previous governments. We need to do that. They also tell us that there are other sections of that Trans-Canada
that are unsafe as well and they need to be changed.
We also at the time were able to receive financing so we could cost-share that as a one-time deal for that section of road. We were very lucky to have that so we saved half the cost of doing that and it was great work done by the minister with regards to that. A lot of complaints have come forward with regards to that but it’s a change that we had to make.

OK, OK,  we get the talking point that they can defend Plan B with a simplistic and untrue statement: "it's a change that had to be made."
 Lots of money spent on media relations, huh?

(And they are still saying the engineers said the TCH in Churchill -New Haven was unsafe -- does Minister McIssac acknowledge TIR's engineers used falsified data to justify "the famous" Plan B?)

Blogger and journalist Marco Lapegna talks about McIsaac's opinions on a discussion of progressivism on a YouTube video:
http://youtu.be/zqom0e4aWlI
about 9 minutes into the commentary is the Plan B part, if your time is limited. 

The Legislature sits Tuesday through Friday of this week.  Today, Wednesday and Thursday things start a bit after 2PM, with announcements and Question Period, and go until 5PM.  Tuesday and Thursday have 7-9PM sessions, too, and the final session of the week is Friday, 10AM to 1PM, if you would like to attend.
---

Have a good day -- stop into the LPA discussion in Crapaud, 7PM, tonight, if you can. Here is an evocative snippet from the well-thought-out submission by the National Farmers Union (more of their submission later):

<<More people are insisting on thoughtful planning so that communities can have the safe, quiet space which land provides them. The outrage of the "continuous" opposition to "Plan B" is a new moment in Island land history. It has solidified the concept of the public good. Opposition to "Plan B" took into consideration many aspects of land as a common good: from the perspective of ancient cultures, ancient growth, clean rivers, farmland, beauty of the landscape, the future of children, the power of the people to give the land a voice, and democratic processes. >>

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

www.stopplanb.org
www.watchpei.org

April 8, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Now some rather scattered thoughts about the Lands Protection Act (LPA) and why people would want to pay attention to any revisiting of it, attend the last of the public meetings, and consider writing a comment.

Some background, hopefully accurate:  Being an island, land is finite, and there is a lot of history (since European settlement) about non-resident land owners in the Island's past ; so our historical perspective on this is different from a lot of places, like....Kansas.

There was a lot of discussion of land protection in the 1970s, when the amount of land being sold to non-residents was increasing.  The Lands Protection Act was passed in 1982, and Horace Carver, who had been a cabinet minister, was instrumental in the original legislation.  This was the first of its kind in Canada, and was not favoured by the federal government; but PEI maintained this was about its own identity, thank you very much.

Here is Mr. Carver's mandate now -- worth a quick look:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/lpa/index.php?number=1045314&lang=E
And two maps, very eye-opening, of existing non-resident and corporate land holdings (actually, it's hard to tell if these are 1983 or more current):
http://www.gov.pe.ca/lpa/index.php?number=1046446&lang=E

What is good about this is that the public has been welcomed to participate in the process.   We don't have all the answers, but we can remind Mr. Carver this is about our Island's cultural identity.

He has to present these findings by June 30 of this year.  And, well, yes, Executive Council may totally ignore his findings and ideas, but that may not be enough reason *not* to participate.

One part of the LPA is limiting the amount of acreage that can be owned by an individual or corporation.   Mr. Carver is hearing from some farmers saying that of course the limits need to be extended -- this is a continuation of the "Get Big or Get Out" mentality of Earl Butz and other US and Canadian agriculture political leaders in the 1970s.  Horace Carver and Islanders need to hear their rationale for the requested increases, and decide if that is the future face of farming we want.

This is also a chance to tell Mr. Carver that government isn't doing such a great job taking care of the land -- fishkills without any real plan to reduce events this summer (related to run-off from fields), Climate Change happening without thinking how this will affect coastlines nor setting money aside for culvert replacement, the whole idea of the words "Lands Protection" when the government does something like Plan B.  Any changes to the LPA could include ways to support small farmers and diversified farms.  PEI is a fantastic place to explore this -- it is part of our history.

This is about more that how many acres one can have.  It is about what kind of land culture we want on PEI, and having the invitation to take part in the discussion. 

The last meetings:

·  Charlottetown - Rodd Charlottetown, 75 Kent Street
Monday, April 8, 7 to 9:30 p.m. (Storm Date: April 15)

·  Crapaud - Englewood School, 20280 Trans Canada Highway
Tuesday, April 9, 7 to 9:30 p.m. (Storm Date: April 10)

·  Wellington - Vanier Community Centre, 48 Mill Road, Saturday, April 13, 2 to 4:30 p.m.

  •  
  • Address for comments:
  • Mr. Horace Carver, Q.C.
  • 3 Brighton Road

·         PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Telephone: (902) 620-3558
Fax: (902) 569-7545
Website: www.gov.pe.ca/lpa
Email: lpa@gov.pe.ca

A mixed field along the Plan B site in Churchill. 

In the next few weeks we will print or link to submissions from other groups to the LPA commission, for more information.

And tonight is the annual meeting of the Central Queens Wildlife Federation, which is the West River Watershed group, at 7PM at Bonshaw Community Centre.

Have a good week!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 6, 2013

Hi, all,

Here is Bruno Peripoli's courageous letter:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letters-to-editor/2013-04-05/article-3213770/Protecting-the-environment-going-to-cost-money/1

Protecting the environment going to cost money

Published on April 5, 2013

Editor:

Are you like me in wondering what an environment minister does?

We used to hear that elected politicians were so capable that they could handle any department. They were supposed to be highly talented individuals with a burning desire to serve the public and promote the goals of their department.

After fish kills last summer an “action committee” was formed because, in the words of Janice Sherry, P.E.I. Environment minister, “Islanders want an end to fish kills” and “...to protect the wildlife and water resources that belong to all Islanders”. (Guardian July 23, 2012).

Agriculture Minister George Webster added on the same day, “Preventing fish kills is a priority for all Islanders...”

The committee reported in February and a key recommendation called for a $200,000 per year environmental impact fund to buy agricultural land along streams and rivers to take them out of production.

Can you believe the following response about funding for this?

“I would say it would be very premature for me to even venture a guess on that.

“I would say that it would not be considered in this year’s budget”: Janice Sherry (Guardian Feb. 23, 2013)

How’s that for action? Did she not think that protecting the environment might cost money? Did she not alert Wes Sheridan that her department needs money or did he just say no?

By the way, Wes Sheridan announced last week that he “sold a Testori loan” at a loss of $ 8 million dollars.

If you do the math, this single disaster could have financed this buyback program for 40 years. The $12 million spent on Plan B would take care of  60 years. Now that would have been action “to protect the wildlife and water resources that belong to all Islanders”.

Where are the priorities? Where is the drive and talent?

It’s obvious we have ministers who are highly paid but are not highly qualified or motivated.

Bruno Peripoli,
Cardigan
-----

and:

Notices from the Watershed Alliance, which may be about AGMs of various groups, or meetings of concern to watershed issues (as in fracking), etc.

http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?page_id=182

Still lots of interesting things to pass on -- more tomorrow,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 5, 2013

Hello, everyone,

HST
A big problem many people have with the HST is not just the tax grab, the federal "bait", and the haphazard things it exempts, but that it was implemented by a government who pledged they were not in negotiations with the federal government when they obviously were.  No public consultation before it was announced as a Done Deal -- the same "Decide-in-secret--Do it--Defend" strategy as with Plan B.

Today at 1:30PM at the Murphy Centre, the Islanders Against HST group will have a press conference about their court proceedings, AND leader Cindy Baird's interview for the show "The 180" (about Vancouver repealing the HST the same day PEI implemented it) will be broadcast at 1PM Friday and Sunday at 9PM on CBC Radio One.
------

LPA

OK, *tomorrow* I will discuss Lands Protection Act information, but a couple of clips from Wednesday's proceedings in the Provincial Legislature are interesting enough to mention here.  From Question Period and then from later on in the afternoon (some bolding and comments in black are mine):

HANSARD  (transcribed House Records)  PEI LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY    3 APRIL 2013  page 1066-67

Questions by Members

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition (Stephen Myers)

Plan B

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I have a question for the transportation minister. Can he please give us an update on the Plan B project?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

Mr. Vessey: Madam Speaker, the update on the Plan B project is it will proceed as soon as the frost is out of the ground.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Will the minister give us the figures for the provincial and federal funding parts to Plan B this year?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

Mr. Vessey: Madam Speaker, could he repeat the question?  I couldn’t hear him there.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I’m wondering could you provide for us the figures, both the federal part and the provincial part, that will be spent on Plan B this year.

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

Mr. Vessey: Madam Speaker, we know the opposition are against safe highways in our province.

I think we heard that last night here on the floor of the House when the hon. Member from Tignish-Palmer Road called it a curve in the road.

We on this side of the House, we take our highway infrastructure seriously. We invest in it, and we also invest in things like school buses for our children, which the hon. member, when his party was in power, they didn’t do that. We also invest in manors so

our seniors wouldn’t have to wear hard hats when they come into their senior homes.

Madam Speaker, our government stands by its record and we’ll stick to that.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Perhaps the minister here will be reading from a statement tomorrow, like his seatmate there, updating me on the actual details on this.

-----------

Here is what Hal Perry, MLA for Tignish-Palmer Road, said on Tuesday that Minister Vessey was referring to:

Hal Perry:  (in talking about water quality issues) The use of pesticides is being looked at and land management practices are being reviewed. Our province has experienced many examples of the impact of intense rainfall events, which have resulted in our rivers having fish kills. The department of transportation and public works has in recent years implemented policies and procedures aimed at reducing the amount of runoff that occurs during construction. Although one has to question the effectiveness of these efforts, in the Bonshaw area, where the $24 million curve in the road is being built, the photos of the runoff and broken down pumps and red water pouring into the streams certainly is cause for alarm. The destruction that has occurred to our ecosystem in that area is one that will be felt for a long time into the future. It is even more tragic because, as we all know, it was not necessary. But that issue will be addressed another day.

and HANSARD    PEI LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY    from Wednesday, March 27, 2013, pp. 990-991

James Aylward: The $24 million on the curve in Bonshaw, which in all reality will probably come in closer to about $34 million by the time it’s completed, is a prime example of unnecessary spending, and someday we hope that Islanders will have a full accounting for the cost of this project, and the decisions that were made. All I know is that it was not a priority just a few short years ago when government was looking to put the Cornwall bypass in.

--------------

2)  Later Wednesday afternoon, during looking at the Department of Environment's budget, this exchange between the Opposition Environment Critic and Minister Janice Sherry on Plan B, and what might be scary news regarding fracking.

The hon. Member from Souris-Elmira.

Mr. LaVie: Minister, are you aware of any plans for PetroWorth or Corridor Resources to do any fracking in the next year or the next few years?

Ms. Sherry: I haven’t received any requests or letters in regards to anybody who is interested in fracking on Prince Edward Island to date.

Mr. LaVie: So, Chair, I wonder if the minister – or the agreement for PetroWorth, are they expired?

Ms. Sherry: That is a name that I have not heard anything of since I’ve been minister. I can certainly find out. But I know that I have not received a request or a letter in regards to any fracking on Prince Edward Island.

If there was a request that would come through in regards to fracking it would have to undergo an environmental impact assessment.

Mr. LaVie: So there are no requests in now?

Ms. Sherry: No, there are absolutely no requests on my desk for fracking.

Mr. LaVie: Chair, I wonder if the minister can explain fracking to me, how it works.

Ms. Sherry: Basically, it’s a drilling process where they put a bit down into the ground, and it’s used to disrupt the levels of shale for the purpose of finding gas in the core of the soil.

Mr. LaVie: Is that a new process or an old process?

Ms. Sherry: I think that probably the process that they use now for fracking is potentially different then it was 25 years ago. But I think that the term fracking has always been used to refer to removing minerals or gases out of the earth.

Mr. LaVie: Do you deem that to be dangerous to the water?

Ms. Sherry: I would say that I would have concerns, absolutely. I know that I’ve watched a lot of coverage in regards to fracking in other parts of the country and other parts of the world. I guess you always have to keep in mind the source of the information, who is giving the information and from what side. I’d say that for – my own personal opinion doesn’t come in to play, it would have to be a decision or thoughts through a process of exact science. We are watching what’s happening in New Brunswick and we are still waiting to finish reviewing the federal report in regards to fracking, the science side.

As it stands now, I don’t have the request on my desk. When that time comes there will be a process in place. I keep my mind open;

I listen to all of the information that I can in regards to fracking. My biggest concern, I would have to say, is the water. The amount of water used in the process of fracking that I have a lot of questions about.

Chair (Paula Biggar for this part of the proceedings): The hon. Member from Souris- Elmira.

Mr. LaVie: Chair, the minister mentioned New Brunswick. Do you think we have the same big rock in New Brunswick as we do on the Island?

(Chris here:  I think he said "bedrock".)

Ms. Sherry: I would say absolutely not.

Mr. LaVie: Absolutely not?

Ms. Sherry: Absolutely not.

Mr. LaVie: Did you ever have anybody in any of these companies, from PetroWorth or Corridor, to explain fracking?

Ms. Sherry: No.

Mr. LaVie: You haven’t?

Ms. Sherry: No.

Mr. LaVie: How long have you been minister of environment?

Ms. Sherry: I was sworn in as the Minister of Environment, Labour and Justice I believe November 13th of last year.

Mr. LaVie: That’s 2011. You don’t think it’s important to have somebody in to talk on fracking?

Ms. Sherry: I guess from my perspective we run a very large department. There are a large number of issues on any given day. If the opportunity was one that was of relatively pending concern, as minister I would be obtaining all of that information prior to any decisions being made. We do have enough issues on the table at this time and my method has always been to deal with what’s right in front of us and in the near future. That’s what I intend to do.

I have great people who work in the department who I feel have great expertise. It may not be me directly who is gathering or sitting in on briefings, but certainly the staff in environment recognize that fracking

is an issue of interest and concern to Canadians and certainly Islanders.

Chair: Anything further?

The hon. Member from Souris-Elmira.

Mr. LaVie: Yes, thanks, Chair.

Did you ever go out to speak to watershed groups?

Ms. Sherry: I’ve been to one of their annual meetings and I think I’m due to go back within the next couple of weeks. I had a number of watershed groups that I have met with across the province, yes.

Mr. LaVie: Chair, I wanted the minister – did they ever mention fracking at these group meetings?

Ms. Sherry: I have been involved with very high level discussions, not necessarily with people in the watershed groups, but Islanders have asked me about fracking and shared their feeling about fracking to me, whether they’re in a watershed group or not.

Mr. LaVie: If any company came to us or to you on the Island for fracking, would you have public meetings?

Ms. Sherry: I would say that if anyone came to our department looking for – they would be looking for a permit to frack. In that process there would be an environmental impact assessment which would have to happen as part of it, and part of that process would definitely be public consultation.

Mr. LaVie: So would you have public consultation before or after?

Ms. Sherry: It’s 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.

Mr. LaVie: So you’d have it before the final approval?

Ms. Sherry: Yes. It is part of that.

Mr. LaVie: Would it be the same as Plan B or would it be the opposite? Would you listen to the public or would you listen to your own?

Ms. Sherry: I’m not quite sure what your question is there.

Mr. LaVie: Well, Plan B, you never listened to the public.

Ms. Sherry: Pardon me?

Mr. LaVie: Plan B, you never listened to the public.

Ms. Sherry: We absolutely did listen to the public. Now if you’re talking from the proponents – I won’t answer the questions in regards to the proponents which is –

Leader of the Opposition: (Indistinct).

Ms. Sherry: Madam Chair?

Chair: Could we just stay to the topic here on this?

Ms. Sherry: When I think of Plan B and I think of the history of Plan B, there was public consultation right from the beginning in regards to what projects where. I remember the process, which was well over a year before any work had started, where the headlines in the paper were that government listens to Islanders saying that they were going to change the direction of the realignment and go around Strathgartney, because Islanders felt very passionate and were very sure that they did not want it to go through Strathgartney Park.

There came the second design or realignment and there was public consultation. It was very important to me as the minister of environment to ensure that every person who had an issue in relation to the realignment of the Trans-Canada Highway were heard and responded to. I can tell you that I think we left 10 days after the public meeting as a cutoff point for any public feedback.

If my memory serves me correctly, I believe there was around 265 concerns brought forward by the public. One hundred and fifty-one of those concerns were not related to the environment, they were questions of

cause, etc., that would be responsibility of the proponent themselves. I believe that there were 98 of those questions that were already answered in the original EIA, and 18 that required addressing in the second draft of the EIA from our department.

So I do believe that the public was listened to and heard.

Chair: (Indistinct) next section. Anything else under this?

Mr. LaVie: Not right now, no.

An Hon. Member: (Indistinct).

Chair: Yes, I’m just checking with this member.

An Hon. Member: Okay.

Chair: The hon. Member from Stratford- Kinlock, you had a question in relation to this section?

Mr. Aylward: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair.

I’m just wondering if the minister could verify whether or not there are any lands here on PEI that are currently being held or in trust for future fracking processing, or process?

Ms. Sherry: I’m sure you’d like an honest answer to that.

Mr. Aylward: I’m not used to it, but sure, let’s give it a shot.

Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Ms. Sherry: From my perspective, I have not heard of any land that’s being held on Prince Edward Island for fracking.

Mr. Aylward: So you have not heard personally?

Ms. Sherry: Nobody has ever indicated to me – my director of environment, any of my staff, broad or deep, have ever mentioned to me that there is land being held in the Province of Prince Edward Island for the purpose of fracking.

Mr. Aylward: Okay, Madam Chair.

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Sorry that was SO long, but I hope it was a bit revealing -- the Opposition is trying, and the government is really spinning things.    If you want to watch the actual debates, the video archives are here: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/video/archives/index.php

Link to Hansard transcripts: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/hansard/index.php

First it was Stop Plan B, and now we need to "watch PEI" for decisions being made that may not be in the best interest of Islanders and our Island.

And let's hope we don't get a lot of rain tonight!

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

www.stopplanb.org
www.watchpei.org

April 4, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Here are some upcoming events that might be of interest to you:

Monday, April 8th:  Lands Protection Act public meeting in Charlottetown, at the Rodd Charlottetown on Kent Street, 7-9:30PM

That same night is the Central Queens Wildlife Federation (West River Watershed) AGM at the Bonshaw Community Center at 7PM.  Many watershed groups are hosting their AGMs this month, and the PEI Watershed Alliance does a great job posting notices:

http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/

Under "Alliance News" there is a link to click to see notices from other sources -- lots going on and it is good to know what's going on in your local watershed!

Tuesday, April 9th: Lands Protection Act public meeting in Crapaud, 7-9:30PM, Englewood School.  *This is an important meeting for people in the extended area to try to attend, even for a little while*, as the reevaluation of this Act does seem to have more opportunities for public input then some other things in the past year. 

Lands Protection Act Website link

http://www.gov.pe.ca/lpa/

And tomorrow I will discuss what does this have to do with Plan B.

----

Saturday, June 8th: an afternoon about "Knowing Your Rights When Demonstrating", sponsored by the PEI Citizens Alliance.  This may be useful for all kinds of activities in the future, and will be similar to the Freedom of Information workshop in February.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 3, 2013

Hello, everyone,

(Hold on:  this update is filled with alphabet soup)

I think a lot of us have complaints about the Plan B Complaints Management System:  this is the process, run by the Environmental Management Section of the Department of Transportation (TIR), outlined in the Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) for Plan B, where people can submit concerns or complaints about the environmental issues related to the project.  There is an e-mail address (gateway@gov.pe.ca) and phone number (675-7490).

Transportation is in charge of the whole project, though Environment had to give final approval (Minister Vessey's boast of The Done Deal is unfortunately realized), so Transportation is also in charge of the "environmental management".

Here is their "Protect the Environment" page from the Plan B page:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/index.php3?number=1044458&lang=E
This page hasn't been updated since October 19th (just a week after they razed Hemlock Grove).

The actual Environmental Protection Plan (all this prepared by consultants Stantec) is on a link on Environment's website:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/environment/index.php3?number=1041923&lang=E
This is the page with the Environmental Impact Assessment information for Plan B. It's a huge list of documents -- good that the department is being complete, but it is such a tangled mess it's hard to make your way through it.
The ninth document down is the "Final Environmental Protection Plan."

From Appendix A of the EPP:
"Complaint management system
As public interest in this project is anticipated to be high, PEITIR has devised a complaint management system (see Appendix E) with respect to environmental issues. This plan will allow for the effective and timely flow of communication through various project personnel, resulting in an efficient resolution of concerns, complaints, or questions regarding project activities and identified environmental risk. This plan will also provide clear direction to other regulators (PEIDELJ and DFO) who may be responding to complaints from the public. Regulators and PEITIR staff who may be receiving calls from the public will be able to obtain information and resolve issues in a timely manner. This system should reduce, or avoid duplication of effort and ensure accurate information is delivered."
----
OK, the whole point of this is that a couple of us are meeting with TIR people next week about their system and how it is
working, or not.  It would help to know people's experiences with this system.

 **If you have sent a complaint, did you get an answer, and was it satisfactory to you?  Could you dig up and send me any of the correspondence, if you have time, in the next couple of days?**  stophighwayplanb@gmail.com  Any other comments on how this could be working or isn't working would be appreciated, too.

Hope you are having a good week!
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

April 2, 2013

Hello, all,

A lovely Plan B Social yesterday -- it was great to see so many people, and sorry for the folks who couldn't make it. The afternoon gave everyone a chance to relax and chat, and look at the fantastic displays produced by Viki Gregory and by Bruno Peripoli and family, a video by Larry Cosgrave, and a running slide show of Plan B photos from the past 12 months put together on the spot by Richard Baker and Mitch MacKinnon -- great work! Catherine Russell helped with set-up and Cindy Richards helped break the tables down. The food was delicious, as always -- the biscuit, cupcake, cookies and cake makers are extraordinary.

One of the sets of displays set up at the Plan B Social April 1st. As usual, some of us were too busy talking to remember to take photos while people were there.

------

Shannon Mader was featured in The Guardian yesterday talking about the lending library at the Island Nature Trust, and had also passed on this link to MacPhail Woods website with its *excellent*, comprehensive on-line nature guides.

http://www.macphailwoods.org/nature-guides/

And in the Trees section, here:

http://www.macphailwoods.org/nature-guides/trees/eastern-hemlock/

is this rather poignant description of the Eastern Hemlock:

"Conservation:

All efforts should be made to conserve this species, since it has been so heavily harvested on the Island. While it could be selectively harvested from areas that have sufficient amounts of hemlock, these types of woodlands are few and far between."

A clear voice on maintaining what we have, and leaving it better for our children and grandchildren. And these Guides (and the whole website) help us Understand what we have, and be able to explore and enjoy it.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,
Bonshaw

PS Loud, but perhaps not-so-clear, voices can be heard at Question Period, today after the 2PM session of the Legislature begins at Province House, by viewing from the upstairs Gallery.

April 1, 2013

Hello, everyone,

The weekend's sun and gentle warming temperatures are melting the most recent snow at the Plan B sites, and unfortunately is looks like the sediment controls are not handling it adequately. Again. Consider bringing boots along to have a trek before or after you stop into the Plan B Social today, 2 - 4PM, Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road.

----

A few days ago I wrote about the residents in the New Haven and Bonshaw area who in the end sold their homes to the government.

I didn't mention two other groups:

...Landowners who had to sell a part of their land, even though it wasn't their home on that part of the land. While they didn't have to move, I can imagine this was a very, very stressful time. (They certainly weren't being offered the sums per acre that the Fairyland property owner got.)

...and business owners who are not in business anymore. Here is an amateur map showing three locations, and my take on what happened:

The arrows and names in blue show the approximate locations of three businesses that are now up for sale, very likely due to Plan B.

The Windsor Motel had just gotten new owners a couple of years ago, and they made many renovations. The Strathgartney TCH plan (flawed as *it* was) would have ended before Peter's Road and not affected them at all, so you can imagine their shock when Plan B was announced. It's hard to run a motel that depends on a lot of drop-in traffic from the road when you don't know where the road is. We *still* really don't know how the motel property will be accessed. The couple running the motel thought of innovative ways to turn the place around, but the uncertainty left a lot of people unwilling to commit to its new format. The couple is moving west in the next few weeks. Goodbye and better times, Shona and Matt. We appreciate your strength and your tireless giving to the community!

This photo inadvertently shows more of the garage next door than the tidy motel that's for sale.

Along the current TCH, where you want to have a lots of traffic, is "the go-kart place", the Bonshaw 500. After Plan B, it will be away from the highway, high above the new highway and hidden from view.

Signs for Bonshaw 500, with CBC tower in left background. The TCH is on the right, and Plan B will cut down, down and to the left and around the back of the CBC tower.

-----

In Bonshaw, the lovely Bonshaw Breezes Bed and Breakfast would suffer for opposite reasons -- a place that built its reputation on being a quiet respite of gorgeous vistas now has two years of construction and then a new highway in full view just across the river.

now off to the northeast, the view of Plan B and its path that plows around the north side of the CBC Tower.

And here is a link to the *current* map on the Department of Transportation's website:

http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/tchimprovement

and choose "Detailed Route Map" to download (it is too big for me to send).

This map shows the first plan for Peter's Road South going through Crawford's Stream a second time (something they eventually realized would be a mistake, but that map is still there). You can see the spaghetti bowl of roads trying to branch off from Plan B at Colville Road on the east side of the project -- not sure how why anyone would design this and how they could not provide better details on access.

Of course we know it is because they didn't really think this through, having made Plan B up in the few short weeks from when the comment period from Plan A closed (November 30, 2011) and Plan B was announced (December 20th, 2011).

So a warm smile to the landowners, whose past year we cannot fathom, and best wishes to the business owners, too.

Right now the business owners are still paying business property tax rates to their communities, which cannot be easy if you are not making any money as a business. (On a different note, the sold home properties, as now owned by the government, do not pay any tax to the community as the privately owned homes did -- so Bonshaw and New Haven communities have taken a hit on that.)

But we wish these folks were free from their misfortune and uncertain times -- the cause of which is very much due to Plan B.

----

Hope to see you later,

Chris O.,
Bonshaw
www.stopplanb.org
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