January-February-March 2013

March 30, 2013

Hello, all,

Here is a lovely YouTube video with photo stills of the wonderful artists, musicians, organizers and volunteers of the Bet-R Plan Concert on March 3rd, set to a beautiful piece of music played by Roy Johnstone and Steve Sharrett.
With thanks to Bruno Peripoli and his son Robert, and Ruth Lacey, for producing this.

The Plan B Social is Monday, 2 - 4PM, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, and rain is forecast.  You may want to bring along rain boots and a camera, to head out to the site while you are in the area.
Other things to bring would be a snack to share, if easy for you, and any photos on a jump drive to share for Bruno and others helping archive photos. We hope to have a slide show running in one part of the room with a mixture of photos from the past year.

Silent Spring
John Hopkins' excellent letter of a week ago alluded to Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, looking at the possible future of the Island.  Worth rereading:

I thought about how one year ago today, Valerie Docherty, District 17 MLA, accepted our offer to show her the Plan B surveyor's cut.  Several of us walked around what are now named the Crawford's Brook (west of Peter's Road) and the Crawford's Stream (where Hemlock Grove is) areas. 

District 17 MLA Valerie Docherty with local landowner Ruth DeLong, March 30, 2012, looking west at Crawford's Brook.  The thin 6-foot wide surveyor's cut continues up the hill through maple and birch forest. 

Crawford's Brook 2013   (CO photos)

Despite how beautiful, how rare for this Island, and how fragile the areas are, despite how much this is costing financially, despite there being no consultation with the affected residents or other Islanders on this type of land use, this project is going ahead and Islanders endured a Silent Spring from our elected officials on the government side. 

And now we are entering a second Silent Spring. 

You can still express your opinion on this:
contains the subpage with a list of MLA and government contacts and media e-mail addresses.*

Have a lovely, sunny day,
Chris O.,

*we know we misspelled "government" in the url for the page; please forgive our rudimentary webpage skills which makes correcting things very time-consuming. ;-)

March 29, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A dip into the near past:

One year ago yesterday, the first map with details about Plan B was unveiled at the only government meeting scheduled to "inform" residents about it, on March 28th, 2012.  At that point, the extended community against Plan B was moving along, had the petition going, had held its own public meeting and the first of many, many poignant walks starting at Peter's Road. 

CBC Compass' coverage is here, about 14:55 into the broadcast.  This meeting was where Minister Vessey said, except for the trifling details of Environmental Impact Assessment, Plan B is a Done Deal.

The best round-up of the public meeting was by Doug Millington on a Facebook comment:

Here's what I learned at the New Haven public meeting tonight.
1) PEI's environmental review process is there to "mitigate", not prevent, environmental damage.
2) The highway building codes for PEI, a province of roughly 135,000 souls, are dictated by Ontario, a province of over 13 Million.
3) It is possible, in the short term, to justify an indefensible policy with a meaningless truism: "We have a mandate to make tough decisions".
4) A short-sighted policy is self-evident to anyone with unencumbered vision.
5) A consultation for plan "A" can also be counted as a consultation for plan "B".

That morning's Guardian had three brilliant letters-- Lynne Douglas and Andy Wells crystallized the issue, Terry Pratt ever so gently announced the meeting format was being changed by the people, who did in fact find or bring their own chairs. And this third letter, significant as that unfortunately, it applies just as clearly to the sitting government in 2013.

Liberals' plan B no real alternative

Published on March 28, 2012


Citizens deserve many things from their governments - amongst them transparency, openness and a clear vision of the road ahead. Here on P.E.I. all of these seem in short supply, particularly surrounding the recent decision to continue with so-called improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway in the Strathgartney area.

There was a very loud and sizable protest to the original plan presented to the public some months ago, and the Liberals' response was to concoct a never-before-seen alternative - the so-called plan B. The government claimed to have listened to Islanders, and that abandoning the original route, which bisected Strathgartney Park, was an example of a government that is responsive to its citizens' opinions. That's a little like a bully showing up at your house threatening to burn it down, and when you protest, he tilts his head sympathetically, says that he has understood your concerns and tells you that he won't torch the place after all; he'll just smash in the windows — and you'd better be appreciative.

Try as I might, I find it impossible to unearth any kind of coherent vision from Mr. Ghiz's Liberals. Like their predecessors, they appear to lurch from one issue to the next, patching up problems and scrambling around looming crises. A clear transportation policy with a long-term vision that focuses primarily on the needs of Islanders, has an appreciation of the uncertain place of long-distance haulage in our economic future, and respects the democratic, social and environmental values held dearly by all Islanders would never consider such blasphemy as plan B. We need an affordable, efficient and sustainably integrated transportation policy on P.E.I., and this proposal moves us in exactly the opposite direction.

The Liberal road ahead is a half-baked plan that steamrolls the rights of local citizens and spends at least $12 million of P.E.I. taxpayers' money that we can't afford at a time of great fiscal peril. If this is an example of the Liberals getting Islanders "moving forward together", I predict a rough road ahead for all of us.

Peter Bevan-Baker,

More archives from the last year can be found at
graciously organized by Sarah and Donna.

And this is why we are still at it, right?  See you Easter Monday/April's Fool's Day, 2-4PM.

Hope your today is a good day,
Chris O.,

March 28, 2013

Hello, everyone,

It's wonderful to be able to share what others have done:

Bruno Peripoli had made a poignant new slideshow about Plan B:


And Evan Gallant's letter says so much, and ends with a good bit of advice for the government:


Useful lessons from Plan B protest

Published on March 27, 2013  in The Guardian


Spring is closing in on the Island and many are probably preparing for what will hopefully be another warm, calm, relaxing yet profitable summer.

Many residents will see the resurrection of a hot socio-political issue that has benefited from much media attention over the past year. Plan B will most likely resurface with an array of government miscalculations, further financial burdens to a struggling Island economy, and an ever-increasing lack of empathy/respect for Island constituents.

Plan B, although detrimental to both the well-being of some Islanders and our environment, has created a dramatic shift in the way Islanders view government and, in my opinion, will forever change the communities of P.E.I.

Don't get me wrong: the highway clearly has room for improvement, but it was even apparent to me that something cheaper, more efficient, could have been done with the old stretch of highway. The Plan B opposition movement has united Island communities, creating a unique transfer of both political and social ideas. This community has branched out forming several organizations, actively assessing and protecting the rights of Islanders and educating people on responsible government.

For me, Plan B represents all that is wrong with our government, but also reminds me of our power to create change. A community of well-educated community-oriented individuals was a positive result of this process.

Islanders will hopefully see this as an avenue to pursue future activist movements. I was personally inspired by the tact, intelligence, understanding, and sheer determination of all the activists involved in the Plan B protest. It takes strong individuals to defend a position that defies an oppressive government. This spring marks a new year and hopefully a change in government ideology. I advise government to focus on the voice of Islanders and quit sifting through the public purse creating illogical, ill-advised, poorly planned projects that benefit very few people on P.E.I.

Evan Gallant,  Hunter River


Hope you have a good day -- and don't forget the Plan B Social, 2 -4PM April Fool's Day/Easter Monday, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road (turning onto Green Road in Bonshaw from the TCH, it's just a little way up the road).  Bring a snack to share if you wish, but just drop in to chat, see photos, set out for a hike, etc. 

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

March 27, 2013

Hello, all,

The Legislature opened, yesterday, for sessions in the afternoon and evening. (I am going on media reports and a little bit I got to watch on-line.)  During Question Period the talk was finances, with the Finance Minister saying the Robert Ghiz government has lead the country through the worst times since the 1930s, and the Opposition hooting about that and the raising concerns about the debt:

From The Guardian: "But Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward said Sheridan continues to come up with one excuse after the other for his government, a government that continues to spend beyond its means on questionable projects.
'He was the one who made poor choices like Plan B and the luxury Homburg hotel.' "

The Auditor General was named and tabled a report.  This one focused on money from the PNP program, but last year's said on average Transportation under-budgeted projects about 8 -12% (and these were relatively straightforward projects like a bridge widening).  With Plan B, that will be *a lot* of money.

The afternoon sitting ended with a series of government MLAs speaking to a motion against Distracted Driving.  One by one they said what a great motion it was, telling anecdotes about accidents caused by young people texting.

Sounds good -- but isn't there a law in place already?  And isn't this one of those "safety" issues -- driver inattention and driver error cause accidents, much more often than road design.  Yes, you can work on driver inattention without blasting holes in the Bonshaw Hills.

The budget will be released today, and with that questions about some more Plan B work and TransCanada Highway work in Desable may be answered.

Hope you have a good day!
Chris O.,

March 26, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Today and tomorrow the PEI Legislature will start its Spring Sitting. This is earlier than usual to pass HST Legislation and table the budget. Then they go off on an Easter Break until Tuesday, April 2nd.   I think both days will have Question Periods shortly after 2PM, if people are interested in attending.  Watching any part of the proceedings from the Gallery this Spring Sitting is a way to remind our MLAs that voters DO hold them accountable for their behaviour in the House (which can be atrocious) and their actions, including their *lack* of action on matters where they should be speaking out for their constituents.

From the comfort of your home or office, where you can make loud comments and not be tossed out of the Gallery, you can watch the video proceedings, shown in real time (and archived later):
and at least you can see the level of debate. 

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives are requesting questions from the public, as I have posted before:
Don't be discouraged by the"Spring Sitting 2012" on the page -- the link works and I am sure the Tories are updating things as fast as they can. 

From The Guardian yesterday: "Myers pointed to such projects as the Homburg hotel, the Bonshaw highway realignment, known as Plan B, as well as the celebrations planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the confederation conference in Charlottetown as examples of poor spending choices.
'Balancing the books is not about cutting front-line services or taking ERs out of communities, it's about spending money wisely and they don't seem to be capable of doing that.' "

NDP Leader Mike Redmond said yesterday in a press release that:
“Islanders can no longer accept unbalanced budgets, coupled with persistent wasteful spending. Projects like Plan B, the hills in Borden-Carleton and The Holman Grand Hotel are all examples of irresponsible use of tax dollars. The list goes on and on,” stated Redmond. “We certainly hope that the $400 million in infrastructure spending recently announced by the Federal Government will be used for better purposes.”
"Our focus should be on our waterways, culvert replacements, and actually addressing the 43 recommendations from the April 2007 Environmental Advisory Council report,” states Redmond.

Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker has pointed to the introduction of the HST as money being grabbed from Islanders to "be squandered on stupid projects like the Holman Grand and Plan B."

Peter's most recent two-minute "Pete's Peeve":


And keep in mind:

Easter Monday, April 1st, 2-4PM, Plan B Social, at the Bonshaw Community Centre -- hope you can drop in!  We'll be talking about some fun events for spring, and hope to have lots of photos from the past year on a big TV, and folks on hand to lead hikes in the area.

Have a good day!
Chris O.,

March 25, 2013

Hi, all,

I have wanted to document what is one of the worst parts of Plan B: the gutting of the community along the TCH in New Haven.

(temporarily unable to upload)

The small blue x's are approximate locations for just some of the homes bought for Plan B; the size variations of the x's are unintentional.

I sincerely want to respect the former residents' privacy and right to make their own decisions.  I also want to say goodbye and thank you to these residents, who lived long and I hope happy lives in the area, who were paid something for their property, but who are now gone and leave their former homes behind, to be pulled up and moved, or destroyed. 

Perhaps this is what the New Haven/Riverdale Community would say, if it were a she, and could paraphrase Paul Simon:

"And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow..."

This home has since been carted off.

The home located here was moved in winter.

Snow builds up.

The snow fills in between the screen and front door....

Wonderful people in all these homes...none of us can imagine what the stresses were like.

The gladiolus and other flowers were a joy to the passerby.

Remember, none of these homes would have been touched for "Plan A."  These residents had *no inkling* of what was ahead until the announcement in late December of 2011.  Most said they had no idea their home was in the path until the folks from the Land Office came knocking in January or later in 2012.

Farewell, families.  We were told you were given Fair Market Value, but we know it was a hard choice, and one we didn't think was Fair you had to make.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

March 23, 2013

Hello, everyone,

The fourth video documenting the failed mitigations at the Bonshaw site of Plan B last week, along with summary of the other three locations, has been produced by Cindy, with help from the other environmental monitors. A fantastic, informative effort -- it shows that on March 14th, berms completely eroded and silt fences overflowed while just a few minutes away an excavator makes puny attempts to break up bedrock.


There is another word that comes to mind when looking at these mitigation efforts: Lilliputian*

Environmental degradation aside, how can this project be on budget and on schedule, as Chief Engineer Yeo has repeatedly said?

If you wonder that, too, consider asking the Tories to raise these questions (budget, bedrock, burst berms) to government in their time during Question Period, which starts next week, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons after the Legislature opens. (The schedule may be altered next week due to when they will release the provincial budget.) But the Opposition is apparently collecting questions.

Island Voices (Opposition Tories initiative to hear Islanders' questions on issues):

Webpage:   http://peipcparty.ca/share-what-matters/

Or e-mail:    islandvoices@assembly.pe.ca

Have a great Saturday,

Chris O.,

*in the sense of very small, trivial, petty

March 22, 2013

Hi, all,

A thought-provoking essay by John Hopkins.


An Island silent spring

Published on March 21, 2013


Plan B destruction continues. With seeming unbridled contempt for the environment, it appears timely for the woodlot industry to demand buffer zones be dismantled. These protective areas, legislated for Island watercourses, are already woefully thin. To appease the farm lobby, their size was cut in half against the recommendations of the government's own Royal Commission on Land Use.

Hundreds of thousands of putrid belly-up fish, nitrates in ground water, sickly green estuaries, fish-egg strangling siltation, wide-scale soil erosion, blood red rivers, very high cancer rates, rampant asthma, disappearing bee populations; it's all happening in P.E.I. on a massive scale.

A new proposal has surfaced questioning limits on land ownership by the potato industry. Are demands by woodlot owners to cut down to the stream's edge, or those pushing for potato acreage and more control of our land resources, happening now because Plan B proved that even the worst environmental ideas are now fair ball?

It appears P.E.I.'s anti-environmentalists are no longer unashamed to go public. Given what's happened, can you blame them for not wanting to go all the way? Is this partly why NDP fortunes are skyrocketing? Perhaps many Islanders do not support of this boundless destruction of our remaining forested areas.

Enough is enough. It's time to start fighting back or we will lose this piece of Island paradise to those bound by an insatiable and incredibly irresponsible greed. What is being passed down to our own children and grandchildren? Those responsible look into the mirror every morning and give themselves a passing grade. They will never change. Island communities must step up now and act for positive change to stop this idiotic environmental vandalism.

Rather than relying on successive governments to truly act in the public interest in these matters, we must all act in good co-operative faith to begin re-building a healthy P.E.I. for the land and Island families; or face our own tailored silent spring. Look around you; see how our people, wildlife, and treasured lands are all suffering.

John Hopkins,

March 21, 2013

Hi, all,

Here is Gary Schneider's letter from *a year ago yesterday*, the first from an established group, decrying Plan B:
  It is worth reading again.

Now in 2013, Two sentences say it all:

From yesterday's paper:
(not online yet, so reprinted here:)

Overwhelmed by events

"Rain, melting snow causing headaches at Plan B highway realignment site" is what the headline says in Tuesday's Guardian.  It seems the environmental preparations for the "one-in-25-years" event has been overwhelmed by several "one-in-25-days" events.
Carl Mathis,

And recording of the failed mitigations by the volunteer environmental monitors continues:

Environment Assessment Part 3
Failed Mitigations -- Box Culvert/Crawford's Brook/Peter's Road

and a reminder of the previous two Failed Mitigations
Part 1: 
Part 2: 
and Land Protection Act sessions:

These are not on the LPA website yet, but yesterday's Guardian also had a small story. 
The Charlottetown second session is Monday, April 8th, Rodd Charlottetown, 7 - 9:30PM
Crapaud is Tuesday, April 9th, Englewood School, 7 - 9:30PM. 

Hope you have a great day,
Chris O.,

March 20, 2013

Hi, all,

Yesterday, almost a week after melting and rain, The Guardian printed this:


While reporter Ryan Ross does mention environmental concerns at the site, and speaks to Jay Carr, from the Environment Department (and for a little while, one of the Dedicated Environmental employees to the Plan B project) it's possible he didn't actually go to the site. The print version had no illustration, and the on-line version had a picture of Hemlock Grove from about early December, when the arches were being installed on Crawford's Stream.

Cindy and the other public environmental monitors were there. And, with collaboration of ideas and image-sharing, using the solar-powered tipi computer, Cindy has made this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-lpoXIpqLU

That's what happened at Fairyland.

And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXXH7lReGug is what happened at Hemlock Grove/Crawford's Stream.

Maybe you can send them on, too.

Kudos to the crew for their work!

Have a good snow day,

Chris O.,

March 19, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Here is a bit about Crawford's Brook:

The little stream is west of Peter's Road, crosses under a rather crummy culvert under Peter's Road, goes through a bit of a wetland, joins Crawford's Stream from Hemlock Grove, and goes under the TCH to the West River.  More on those other culverts another day.

Crawford's Brook is labeled.  You can follow the streams as the green (treed) vegetation in this area. The West River is the big wiggly waterway.

This pretty little brook and area was described by Gary Schneider as a true jewel along this whole misguided highway project path.  Not to diminish at all the Old Growth Forest of Hemlock Grove, the Crawford's Brook area consisted of different beauty and value, a mature beech and maple grove, with seeps and springs abound. 


March 2012   Looking east and downhill, from above the Crawford's Brook. (CO photo)                                              


January 2013  Looking east and downhill, from above Crawford's Brook. (photo thanks to Deb Jeffrey)

This little stream, with gets quite a load of snowmelt in the spring (none of it with sediment last spring, by the way), has been fitted with a box culvert to go under the metres of fill and under Plan B.  More on how that's currently doing tomorrow.

Hope you have a good day...one of those calm before the storm days!

Chris O.,

March 18, 2013

Hi, all,

Don't forget the Plan B Social, Monday, April 1st, 2 - 4PM, Bonshaw Community Centre-- two weeks from today!


Someone pointed out an article in Sunday's Halifax Chronicle-Herald, about valuing our Old Growth Hemlock:


It gives practical descriptions of the worth of the forest, and raises good questions about what we value and how we show it.  The author is in Nova Scotia and doesn't even address the stupidity of cutting forest for *roads* and the fragmentation of wildlife space.  It might make some good reading for our politicians.


Fact Check:  I screwed up talking about my terms when I described "decommissioning" one of the streams in Fairyland on Saturday.  It wasn't officially decommissioned because it wasn't classified as a "stream", or something. 

Very clunkily annotated map of Plan B: (temporarily unable to upload Chris' enlarged version)

I am referring to the most easterly ravine along the project line.  The two Fairyland ravines are too close together to distinguish on this image.   The second one was a lovely little stream of meltwater last spring.


Larger ravine (more westerly), Fairyland, March 17, 2012 (a walk last year)

Second (easterly) ravine, Fairyland, March 17, 2012

Both of those photos were taken one year ago yesterday, when my family explored the Plan B surveyor's cut for the first time end-to-end.  Bittersweet.

From November 2012's Flight Over Plan B:

November 11, 2012.  Overhead, west is left, over Fairyland ravines. This was before the culvert (little pile in upper left) were installed.

March 2013 -- And Fairyland this week, photo by Cindy Richards and crew, looking east.

Have a good return-of-winter day!

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

March 17, 2013

Hi, all,

Yesterday's CBC website had an mildly interesting article:

Two items of note about it:
One is that the photo to illustrate a story on aging culverts is from Plan B public monitors checking out the Fairyland culvert on Thursday.  It is almost humourous.  Plan B is not mentioned at all in the story.

And a comment at the end of the article (yes, they are often not worth reading at all) from a person who goes by Mr. Smithers:

"Most of PEI's secondary roads were paved during provincial election cycles in the 60s and 70s -- particularly when free? federal money was flowing during the 15 year comprehensive development plan
That's 40-50 years ago! The PEI government is notorious for not maintaining its infrastructure. Everything has a life cycle and ours expired many many years ago, and most of it was never designed by a professional engineer to begin with.
Don't believe me? Just look at all the places across this province where there used to be railway crossings. They were just paved over after the tracks were removed in 1990-92. That's 20+ years ago and that's just asphalt. Culvert and bridge replacement is even worse.
But I guess Plan B is very important for those 3000 vehicles per day. Mr. Chiasson (engineer mentioned in article) and I went to engineering school together (only 2 years apart) and I know he would never question the political directions given by his masters but I can only imagine the questions going through the heads of the engineers at TIR.
Here is a province that simply doesn't have its s**t together to have a proper infrastructure maintenance plan for existing roads (it never has), yet has $16+ million to throw at a 5 km realignment that is ''oh so important''.
Why do reporters and opposition politicians not ask the hard questions on these files?
We have infrastructure failure happening all across this province, yet idiocies like Plan B and the Borden Hills take priority? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ?
File those FOIPP requests and get us some answers. And please, someone in the know, slip the brown envelopes containing the cabinet minutes concerning Plan B and the Borden Hills under the doors of Kerry Campbell's or Teresa Wright's offices.
I'd be very curious to see the discussions that took place.

(asterisks are mine)

Folks, if anybody knows some useful information, we would be happy to hear it.

A while back, one of my kids calculated that if each MLA gets about 5km or less for paving for his or her district (which the MLA helps decide where), it will take more than 70 years to resurface a particular section of asphalt.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Chris O.,

March 16, 2013

Hi, all,

Here are a few details regarding Thursday's erosion control failures:

The Bonshaw area, like Fairyland, is far enough away from Base Camp and not too easy to monitor, but the public environmental monitoring crew has been there when needed.

Here is a photo from Thursday of a series of sediment ponds downhill from the built-up road base (visible in upper right of photo -- hill and horizontal dirt edge) that getting ready to curve around the CBC tower (thin black stick visible in upper right), photo thanks to Cindy Richards:

One section of the Bonshaw part of Plan B, March 14th, 2013.


On another part of the Bonshaw site on Thursday, closer to the most western edge by Bonshaw Provincial Park and right next to the existing road, an excavator, later joined by another, tried to scrape and break up the bedrock. Some of the excavators are rental, at of cost of tens of thousands of dollars a month.

Below is a link for a two minute YouTube.


Click the "gear" icon to select HD -- it is much clearer. You may want to turn down the sound, since it is mostly machine noise.

This video was shot Thursday afternoon, March 14th, looking out towards the TCH.

The white dust is bedrock dust made by the teeth (those ones that we heard cost $10,000 a week to replace) scratching bedrock.

About 1:20 into the video you can see efforts to break the rock.

The seven giant dump trucks were there that day, but were moved Friday.

Does the rental company know what difficult work these machines are being put through?

Have a great weekend,

Chris O.

March 15, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Mitigation failure was the theme for yesterday.  Yes, Thursday was preceded by a night of rain after a good melting day, but we aren't talking about a huge 1 in 25 year event...maybe, maybe 1 in 10 year.  And every area had a big failure of mitigations that were supposed to withstand this kind of water flow.

Some coverage from CBC Compass:
About 4 minutes into the broadcast.

Cindy, Larry, Deb and Dana, environmental monitors, spent the whole day investigating the Crawford Stream and Brook and the Fairyland sites, and around Bonshaw.  Most of their photos were posted on Facebook on the Plan B site:
which you can request to join.  I have borrowed a few for this.

Here are some of the "highlights", going east to west:
First, I apologize for the map and my amateur "skills", but to give you an idea of where we are talking about:

(Ignore the "Meet on Peter's Road..." , since this map was for a walk last year.)


This is along Plan B in Fairyland, which you cannot see from the TCH because of the remaining trees in the area.  It's been built up a huge amount, with the culvert being for the small stream there (the other stream was "decommissioned", I think).  This was one of those beautiful ravines last year, and still wants to be a ravine.

The Fairyland area, certainly, would not have been noticed if it weren't for Cindy and Company trudging in, discovering what's behind those trees, and encouraging Brian Higgins and his cameraman to do the same. 

Crawford's Stream -- sediment pond

This is upstream of the giant arch culvert on Crawford's Stream.  Sediment is pouring in from up above on all the fill used to bury Hemlock Grove and the construction east of the Grove. This is an area that was a clear water melt last spring.

Crawford's Brook

This is ironic - -where is the red water from Wednesday afternoon?   The contractor/TIR came to pump first thing Thursday morning, too.  It appears a lot of it seeped into the culvert (like perforated "tile"!) and rushed out of the culvert downstream.  The box culvert is supposed to be a watertight tube, with all that black sealing tape and caulk and such.

I don't have a photo of Bonshaw right now -- on the part between the CBC Tower and the western end (the curve by "Plan B" on the little map) there is erosion down the built up hillside and the sediment pond is filled.

At the very tip of Plan B nearing the bridge in Bonshaw, yesterday an excavator and sometimes two were working away on chipping the bedrock and forming it into neat piles to be carted off later (as the rest of the depression they are working on is a big lake).  The TIR folks were moving rocks at Crawford's Stream with their hands, and an excavator was chipping bedrock down the road. 
A YouTube video is coming soon of that area.

Photos by various environmental monitors, with thanks.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,

March 14, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Rain.  On top of snowmelt.

First, we all know some of our rivers and streams run red in spring melting and rain events, and this is often from open fields, clay roads, driveways, etc. losing sediment into the waterflow.

However, enough of us rambled around the Plan B survey zones last spring (2012) to document that Crawford's Stream (east of Peter's Road, old Hemlock Grove) and Crawford's Brook (west of Peter's Road, the maple and birch forest) never ran red due to runoff during rain or melt -- of course not, as there was forest floor (not exposed dirt) to soak up the water.

This year, the temperatures in past 24 hours have accelerated a mess, with flattened dirt on one side (both impermeable to rain and melt, and loose enough to lose particles in water flow) -- over Hemlock Grove, and a steep hillside denuded of its trees and mossy undergrowth on the hill up form Crawford's Brook.

Tuesday, March 12, there was snow and ice, and the water was running clear in Crawford's Stream (by old Hemlock Grove) and there was no run-off by Crawford's Brook (concrete boxes). 

Wednesday, March 13, by the late afternoon, red water was flowing down into the Stream on the east side, upstream of the culvert....all coming from the flattened roadbed area and where they are finding bedrock. 

Crawford's Stream, just upstream of Hemlock Grove, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.  Photo by Cindy Richards.

And on the other side of the road, in the ditches on either side of the box culvert, muddy water filled up on both sides. 

West of Box Culverts on Crawford's Brook.  Photo taken March 13, 2013 by Cindy Richards.

And keep in mind this was before it started to rain last night.

All this is to say it is unequivocal that the red water in Crawford's Stream and Brook as of today is caused by the faulty erosion control measures put in place in Fall and Winter 2012 in an attempt to lesson the impact of the ridiculous decision to start a major highway project in Fall on PEI.

More later. 

Yours truly,

Chris O.,


March 13, 2013

Hello, all,

Yesterday, on the Plan B site, east of the Hemlock Grove, a small crew put in a new patch of crushed glass to help with existing and anticipated run-off on that eastern side of Crawford's Stream. (Large-scale construction work is not expected to resume until late April.) This is area of a lot of little streams and seeps.

In this photo, by Cindy Richards, public environmental monitor, you are looking WEST towards Bonshaw, along Plan B. Fairyland would be across the current highway and behind you. That landing strip-looking area framed by the excavator's arm is Plan B above Hemlock Grove.


From yesterday's and last week's Guardian: an article, a letter to the editor, and opinion piece that show problems and connect the dots as to why. A little light reading for a rainy day. :-/

First, this article seems to confirm that the Legislature will open Tuesday, March 26, and on Wednesday the budget will be tabled. It sounds like two bills allowing HST to go ahead will be voted on, and then they will break for the Easter recess.


In a recent CRA poll, the government party had a 51% approval rating among decided voters.


Next, Boyd Allen describes actions (or lack thereof) speaking louder than words:


and in full:

March toward gender equality
Published on March 12, 2013


I recently attended a reception and film screening to celebrate International Women's Day. It was a very well-organized event involving a number of organizations and the venue was packed to capacity.

Progress made in the long march toward gender equality in this society was certainly celebrated but the appalling inequities were also painfully evident. In terms of workplace equity, domestic violence, affordable child care and reproductive rights, to mention just a few issues, government has chosen to not facilitate positive change to reflect the obvious need.

I noticed that only one of our MLAs of any party attended this reception (and not, incidentally, the one responsible for the Status of Women file). Was this laziness on their part or apathy? As evidenced by the HST implementation, Plan B highway realignment project, MLA wage increase, etc.,etc., there doesn't seem to be a role for public will in the "announce and defend" style of government we live under in this province.

Despite being our elected representatives, why unnecessarily expose yourselves to a group who may disagree with the party line? That's what you hire managers for, isn't it?

Boyd Allen, Pownal


and a thoughtful opinion piece from late last week by David MacKay about our eroding democracy (federal, but applies to provincial):


Hope it is some food for thought.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,
(with apologies for forgetting to bcc the list to some yesterday)

March 12, 2013

Hello, All,

Tonight is a talk at the University that may be of interest regarding Plan B and the federal aspect of the Environmental Impact Assessment, or Plan B in general.

If anyone is able to go, please let us know about it.

        The Federal Government, the Environment, and You

        What: A presentation about the Environmental Petitions Process. Created in 1995, this process is a formal means for                 Canadians to raise environmental concerns. To date, over 380 petitions have been submitted.

        Who: Hosted by UPEI Environmental Studies and led by guest speaker David Willey, Office of the Auditor General of                 Canada

        Where: Don and Marion McDougall Hall, Room 242, UPEI Campus, 550 University Avenue

        When: Tuesday, March 12, 7:00–9:00 pm

         Why: This presentation will show how Canadians can use the petitions process to bring their environmental concerns to             the attention of federal government ministers and get answers to their questions in a timely manner.

         For more information, contact Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown, Director of Environmental Studies and Assistant Professor, (902)         620-5066 or hcpbrown@upei.ca

Hope you are having a great week. People are keeping an eye on the melting at some of the Plan B areas, which has so far been slow.

Yours truly,
Chris O.

March 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Early this week, CBC Radio's Island Morning announced a contest where you could win a trip to the taping of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" in Hlaifax by sending in a 22-second rant of your own.

It sounds like they very soon changed it to something like a "22-second spot about your best Spring Break"; I didn't hear the explanation why, but perhaps they didn't want people to talk about issues...

But Gail Rhyno made this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOKJ6NAIV-A

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

March 6, 2013

Hello, all,

Legislative Update:
The PEI Legislature will start its Spring Session on Tuesday, March 26, from 2 - 5PM, take a supper break, and resume from 7 - 9PM.  They will also sit Wednesday, March 27, from 2 - 5PM, but then will go on Easter break until Tuesday, April 2nd.  The guess is that they will bring in the budget before they head out for the holidays, so the HST can be passed before April 1st, but without too much scrutiny before things shut down.  It should be an interesting two days.

Comments on Four Parties
A few of us popped in to the Coles building to say hi and give a Plan B update to the Tories yesterday, at their request.  Colin LaVie, Environment Critic, and James Aylward, Finance Critic, were there with a couple of the staff.  They listened, still get the main issues with Plan B (cost, damage to the environment, lack of consultation), but admit they will have lots of other issues to go after this Spring.
They are probably going to continue Island Voices (where they read questions on behalf of Islanders, so questions can be thought of for Question Period and sent in).
We explained how the PEI Citizens Alliance is moving forward to "watch PEI" about environmental and democratic issues.

And the other major political parties:
Peter Bevan-Baker of the PEI Green Party has always listened, always been there.

Mike Redmond and president Andrew Want of the PEI NDP have been very communicative and supportive.

Here's the last communication with my MLA, Liberal Valerie Docherty, when the Flight Over Plan B video came out:

I watched this video the day it was posted on FB (Facebook). It is well done & provides a great over view for everyone, regardless of the position one has on the project. The efforts of those involved are to be commended and I'm sure it wasn't an inexpensive project.  
Well, *Plan B* is certainly an expensive project, and we *don't* commend all involved.  (And everything about the flight was donated.)  And the Premier and Ministers involved either hide behind others or make promises they don't follow-up on.

Here is the Flight YouTube link, by the way:

Have a great week!
Chris O.,

March 5, 2013

Hello, everyone,

I thought I would take a quiet moment to mention another of the wonderful people who has been opposed to Plan B and is now active in the PEI Citizens Alliance.

Catherine (Russell) O'Brien said she got more involved in opposing Plan B early last Fall after a conversation with Bonshaw resident Tony Reddin, when he encouraged her to go and *do* more. (Yah for Tony!) Catherine organized a rally in very short order the Friday before Minister Sherry's announcement on Plan B came out. Many people came to that rally, which was held on the Grafton Street side of Province House, so the lunchtime traffic could "voice" their concerns. It was a perfect, breezy early fall day, and I still remember the honking of nearly every vehicle that came down the road.

Catherine was at the road along the construction site or in Hemlock Grove that entire week that construction started, waving signs, fielding calls from the media, and standing brave and tall when the RCMP swooped in that Friday afternoon.

photo by Shirley Gallant (I think)
Six RCMP officers and one construction manager zero in on one woman (left).
Hemlock Grove,October 12, 2012.

The November "A Concert for Change" was organized primarily by Catherine (we have GREAT concerts, don't we?), and she is currently busy as Artistic Producer for Young at Heart Theatre, a non-profit organization which brings musical theatre to seniors' residences across the island.


They are in the middle of the production of the show "Extraordinary", and there are performances in other venues around the island, including at the Arts Guild this Saturday, March 9th, for the general public.

More details on times and on their fundraising campaign with Indiegogo at their Facebook site:


A Plan B opponent, minus the raincoat and boots.

Have a great day,
Chris O.

March 4, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Thanks to all who made the concert yesterday a great deal of fun, and very productive!

It was a a great time, so good to see you all, and your generosity is amazing.  Hope you all had a lot of fun.

The media was here:


http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2340072730/    2:20 in the broadcast

Mark your calendars for Monday, April 1st for a Plan B Social -- to talk about the previous year, and the coming construction season, and everything in between.

Have a great day -- back to updates from Camp and other news later this week! ;-)

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

March 3, 2013

Hi, all,

Today is the Bet-R Plan Concert, from 2 - 5PM, at the Arts Guild. There will be a lot of fun and fundraising going on!

Admission is by donation. Performers will include Tim Hamming, The Misled Ukes, Scott Parsons, Nancy Clement and Graeme Hunter, Teresa Doyle and Todd MacLean, Margie Carmichael, and a host of others.

There will be a cash bar with beer, wine, pop, and juice; Casa Mia and other places are open down the street if you want to pop out to grab a coffee during the intermissions.  And one of the fundraisers is a bake sale going on at the Guild, too.

Both raffles will have the last chance for purchasing tickets, and the draws will be held during the concert:  Lisa Murphy's painting "Last Stand" and the Basket of Island Treasures.  And there will be a 50:50 draw, also.

The Bet-R Plan Art Exhibit is downstairs and will be open right before and during the concert, but then it is closing.  Most of the artwork is for sale and a portion of the proceeds goes to the the PEI Citizens Alliance for costs related to fighting Plan B.  Lovely images, all.

So come out for any amount of time that you can -- there has been a lot of planning and giving by wonderful people!

I'll be in the back at the PEICA/Stop Plan B tables.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,

Friends and organizers and contributors: Cathy Grant, Charlie DesRoches, Susan Christensen and Shannon Mader
photo from The Guardian

March 2, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Here is the link to the very nice story about the Concert tomorrow in yesterday's Lifestyles section of The Guardian:
The time is listed a bit wrong and should be 2 - 5PM.

Here a profile of the last artist in the Gallery exhibit downstairs:

Monica Lacey-
"I have always had a strong love of nature, and of plants and flowers in particular. I am inspired by traditional botanical illustrations and by the work of contemporary artists like Sarah Simblet and Meriel Thurstan who are keeping this tradition alive. Studying a plant carefully is an intimate, quieting experience; observing every tiny vein, every crease, every petal or leaf, and taking care to record it is a very meditative process for me and serves to deepen my connection with the world I live in and the nature that surrounds me."

Have a great Saturday,
Chris O.,

March 1, 2013

Hello, everyone,

In making your weekend plans, consider stopping by the Bet-R Plan Art Show today or tomorrow (noon to 5PM) or Sunday before or during the Concert (2 - 5PM), before it closes.

Here is the YouTube link for Bruno Peripoli's preview of the Art Show:

And here are some words from Shirley Gallant, who has "been there" at Plan B:

Shirley Gallant--
"Over the past 12 years my photography has evolved from landscapes of Prince Edward Island to photographs of Island nature and wildlife.  My goal is to obtain a 'quality' photograph of as many species of birds and mammals as possible.  To date I have well over 100 birds and most of the mammals that reside on the Island.  As a photographer, I try to bring realism and truth to the viewer.  I do this in hope that those who see my work will appreciate the raw beautiful of this island as I do and might awaken to the truth of our one-ness with nature. I believe that to regard human beings as all-knowing and superior to other species is an unconscious error.  When we continually deny the rights of the earth for the sake of advancing the economy, we confirm that we are in no way superior, as we are the only species that is blindly destroying its own habitat.    Look into the eyes of an Owl and you will see that 'life' is something we share, not as individuals but as co-occupants of this earth.  We depend on the same things to survive and as human we have no right to disregard the needs of even the smallest of creatures."

And some Plan B people and others will be participating in the the Soccer Balls for Haiti. One game I know of is the Green Party tonight at 8PM at Stone Park Jr, High School (back entrance):
The whole event runs 24 hours starting at 4PM.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

February 28, 2013

Hello, all,

The coverage of the vandalism at the Bonshaw end of the Plan B site from last night's "Compass" is here, featuring public environment monitor Cindy Richards:

Today, a spotlight on Sylvia Ridgway:

Sylvia Ridgway--
"I am inspired by this unique Island where I live - its landscapes have ‘coloured’ my life and inspire my work.
In this small province, everything is interconnected and fragile: the waters, both surrounding us and running through and under our soil; the fields, so vulnerable to wind erosion, and the slowly diminishing forests and woodlands. This landscape supports a multitude of life - both human and wild.
We constantly need to be reminded of the importance of protecting this rural environment and remember how serene, precious and beautiful nature can be.
The greens, golds and reds of this land, the sparkle of its sea and sky, and the dazzle of colour and light from its gardens and roadsides...."

The art show continues until Saturday, noon to 5PM, and will be open before and during the concert, which is Sunday, 2-5PM.
The Lands Protection Act Commission holding public consultations about changing the act is in Charlottetown tonight.  I have not heard any news about the Crapaud meeting which was cancelled last week due to weather having been rescheduled (if you hear, please let me know).

Tonight's meeting is at 7PM at the Rodd Charlottetown.

There are still some meetings in March in:

·  Souris - Access PEI 
Monday, March 4, 7 to 9 p.m.

·  Kensington - Royal Canadian Legion
Wednesday, March 6, 7 to 9 p.m.

·  Kinkora - Kanata Club, Seniors Room
Thursday, March 14, 7 to 9 p.m.

·  North Rustico - Lion's Club
Monday, March 25, 7 to 9 p.m.

·  Murray Harbour - Community Centre

·  Tuesday, March 26, 7 to 9 p.m. (As I have a previous commitment tonight, if Crapaud is not rescheduled, I will attend the Kinkora meeting.)


And, here is a story in today's Guardian about the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner Maria MacDonald, who spoke at the FOIPP workshop the PEI Citizens Alliance put on two weeks ago about her job.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

February 27, 2013 (afternoon)

Hi, all,

It looks like some vandalism was done to the parked giant dump trucks at the Bonshaw end of the Plan B construction site in the past few days, as in somebody shooting at the windows.


Roy Johnstone and Cindy Richards are talking to the media.

Of course, folks protesting Plan B condemn this kind of vandalism to any property.

Yours truly,

Chris O.,

February 27, 2013

Hi, everyone,

Ron Arvidson has been there stating his concerns about Plan B since the beginning.  The wonderful idea for the art exhibit in Hampton in August was his, and he has been instrumental in the A Bet-R Plan Art Exhibit ;-) 

In his own words:

Ron Arvidson --

" 'We have got to adapt and change our behaviour. But nature is the source of our well-being, and our lives, and every bit of it now is precious! We have got to stop the destruction, whether it is created forest that we got or Old Growth Forest. We have got to learn to live within much stricter confines.' - Dr. David Suzuki, November 16th, Symons Lecture, Charlottetown

I have worked in clay on the Island for many years. Through my career a love of form and decoration has been my muse. My pottery reflects my appreciation of landscape, nature and the beauty of the Island. My current concern, and my concern for the future, is the manner in which we are destroying the environment without consideration for the ecosystems of which we are a part. We must learn to live with and appreciate that which we have around us. We cannot destroy nature just for the sake of 'progress'. We must consider what the environment means to the health us all and put a value on that."


The Art Shows runs today through Saturday from noon until 5PM, and will be open during the Bet-R Plan Concert Sunday, March 3rd, from 2-5PM.  The concert will be hosted by Erskine Smith, feature a very full line-up of incredible talent:

Teresa Doyle and Todd MacLean, Johnny Ross, Wade Lynch, Scott Parsons, and more (tomorrow!).

It will be the last day for sale on both raffles, as the draws will be taking place, too.

Have a great, sunny day!

Chris O.,

February 26, 2013

Hello, Everyone,

Bruno's link for the YouTube of the Art Exhibit has been changed and is here:


The art show is open today though Saturday from noon until 5PM, and will be open during the concert Sunday (2-5PM).

And today here is the poster from the Art Exhibit from

Susan Christensen --

I have frequented the shores and hillsides of my home, Prince Edward Island since childhood. In my twenties, I bought my first 35 mm camera and paid homage to the beauty of my Island home through photography. Although I continue this practice, I am pleased that I am now able to celebrate Prince Edward Island’s beauty through my paintings.

I would have to say, my three greatest artistic influences have been Georgia O’Keefe, Emily Carr, and Lawrence Harris. It is not so much their style of work that has inspired me, although the work of all three I greatly admire, it is their spirit of exploration and determination that I admire in each one of these people. They were able to continue on and take their art further and further down the road of discovery. Something to which I also aspire.

The painting “Beyond the Trees” I created for this show is about looking forward to the future in hope of a better plan for democracy and sustainability for this beautiful Island.

February 25, 2013

Hello, all,

While not related to Stop Plan B specifically, foreign affairs journalist and author Gwynne Dyer is speaking at the UPEI Duffy Building, room 135, tonight, at 7PM.  He column on world affairs runs in The Guardian weekly, and he is a such an interesting speaker.

From the UPEI website: "His public lecture at UPEI will be 'The Triumph of Non-Violence.'
Non-violent revolution is both more common and more successful in the
modern world than the old and bloody version, but few people really
understand it. This is an attempt to explain how and why it works.

This event is free and all are welcome to attend."


This week the plan is to duplicate the Artists' Statements from the A Bet-R Plan Art Exhibit.  Susan Christensen produced these using the same theme as the poster for the art exhibit and concern.  I have copied the text and then the actual poster, the artist's words are so powerful.

Bruno Peripoli has been in the Stop Plan B movement since things got started, observing with his years of forestry experience, quietly documenting with his camera, carrying healthy hemlock saplings to the steps of Province House for each rally to serve as a reminder, creating and uploading heartrending videos of images of what we were about to lose.

Bruno Peripoli, his words --

"Many people are coming to see that we don’t inherit the earth from our parents and past generations, we borrow it from our children and future generations. When you borrow something you have an obligation to return it in the same or better condition. A problem with our way of living and governing ourselves is that we ignore those principles, we pretend the waste and damage is no big deal. And so, those too young to vote, future generations, our land, our sea and air are taken for granted and taken advantage of. We saved some money by not taking care of the axe we borrowed or sharpening it before we gave it back. Can we reasonably be proud of the state of our island with regular fish kills and dead zones in our rivers. Much of our drinking water is polluted, our rivers still run red with runoff after rain. Our once majestic forests gone. The sea depleted and under threat from drilling. Poor care and no sharpening. It’s hard to accept when bad things happen, it disturbs us yet we must be disturbed enough to want to do better. The movement to Stop Plan B, to save precious human and environmental resources, is a line in the sand, a decision point for many Islanders. Many caring, knowledgeable, responsible citizens want to stop the damage to our Island and want policies to heal and strengthen our natural world. We want sharpen to that axe before we give it back. That is something we could be proud of."


What's free and when you can give:

A clarification: there is *no* admission to the Art Gallery, nor is any donation expected, though there is a box for donations to the Arts Guild always there. Most of the pieces of art work are for sale with a portion of the sale being donated by the artist to the PEI Citizens Alliance.

Admission is by donation to the Concert next Sunday. At the concert:

There will be a cash bar (no profits to the PEI Citizens Alliance!).
There will be a 50:50 draw at the concert, a bake sale, and the final day of ticket sales (and drawing of winners!) for both raffles: 

  • for the painting by Lisa Murphy, proceeds of which are earmarked for helping develop a small renewable energy system for the Camp off Peter's Road,($5,limited number of tickets)
  • for the Basket of Island Treasures, tickets are $20 each for a package worth almost $600.

All proceeds will go to the PEI Citizens Alliance to help with legal and other costs associated with the Stop Plan B movement, and to continue to support the public environmental monitors.

And a little about a Plan B community member:
Alie Mills lives in Bonshaw, and this summer had the experience of being chosen to be one of the five members of the "Come Dine With Me" reality cooking show PEI version.  It is playing tonight on W Network starting at 8:30PM.

A lot going on!

Have a great week,
Chris O.,

February 24, 2013

Hello, all,

A Bet-R Plan Art Show -- it is now its last week, with the Concert next Sunday, March 3rd, 2-5PM at the Arts Guild.  Admission by donation for both the art show and concert.

It is beautiful!

But not so:
The most recent update on the Department of Transportation's website (January 22, 2013)

go back a page ("TransCanada Highway Realignment" choice at top of page) and select the "Protect the Environment" button -- from October 2012 -- and on the page is this:

·The ecological significance of all forested land is appreciated and valued. Government is striving to avoid and, where avoidance is not possible, to minimize the impact of this project on forested land. Most recently, the **alignment has been adjusted to significantly minimize the footprint of the alignment on an important old growth hemlock forest stand.** (emphasis mine)

 This looks like a significant boot-stomp of a footprint through Hemlock Grove (photo from their Update page):

Take care,
Chris O.

February 23, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Yesterday it was lovely chatting with Susan Christensen about her work, and to see what motivates her.
Thank you, Susan!
and I found out that Susan created the fantastic poster for the A Bet-R Plan Art Show and Concert.

There was a lovely feature by Sally Cole in Friday's Guardian:

I didn't see it, but Cathy Grant and Shannon Mader were on the "Community Events" pre-weather segment on Compass last night (Bruce instead of Boomer). Perhaps somebody could upload it to YouTube?
Today it is Bruno Peripoli who will be giving a demonstration and answering questions, from 1 - 4PM, at the Gallery in the Guild (downstairs, corner of Queen and Richmond Streets).

And, for a sample of what is there:

Bruno's YouTube regarding the art show--
The A Bet-R Plan Concert is in one week!
Sunday, March 3rd, from 2-5PM, at the Guild. Raffle tickets for the Lisa Murphy painting and for the Basket of Island Treasures will be available and the draws will take place.
AND, finally, remember how we had to cancel the Plan B Social due to blowing snow?
Well, please mark your calendar for its reinvention: Monday, April 1st, 2 - 4PM - what better day than a holiday Easter Monday that also happens to be April Fool's Day to Discuss Plan B? The Plan B Spring Social! (with thanks to all who cooked up the idea.)

Have a great weekend.
Chris O.

February 22, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Lots of things related to the Bet-R Plan Art Show and Concert happening today and this weekend.

The most beautiful thing today will be watching Susan Christensen working on a painting between 1 - 4PM at the Gallery in the Guild. Drop in any time to say hello, talk to Susan about her work, and see the rest of the show.

Friday, there will also be a feature on the Art Exhibit in the Guardian, and word is that talk of the concert will be with Boomer on Compass, too.

Saturday, Bruno Peripoli will go over his photography skills from 1 - 4PM at the Gallery in the Guild. "Five Steps to Photography" will start at 2PM, and people are welcome to drop in any time.

Sylvia Ridgway, Ron Arvidson, Shirley Gallant, Monica Lacey, Bruno Peripoli, Susan Christensen

Wonderful poster for the Art Exhibit and Concert -- so much information attractively displayed.

Have a great weekend!

February 21, 2013

Hi, everyone,

In yesterday's Guardian was a long article on the Environmental Coalition (ECOPEI)'s Annual General Meeting held two weeks ago in Charlottetown:


(It's funny that the key words or topics don't include "Plan B".  Nor even TCH realignment.  Makes it hard to track their news stories of the year....)

The reporter, Nigel Armstrong, stayed for the entire meeting and recorded very accurately what host Don Mazer, Gary Schneider, Wayne Corrigan (who spearheaded opposition to a landfill in the community of Tracadie Bay), and I had to say.  He clearly understood the theme of the evening as the importance of building community when working on environmental issues.

The last part of it:

“I remember talking to Chris and saying you have to be prepared to lose but you can’t give up,” said (Gary) Schneider. “This isn’t the only issue. I’m used to losing. I still think it’s tremendously worthwhile.”

Schneider said the past year has been brutal to the environment. He said the federal government is “kicking the devil out of environmental assessment,” and there is “madness going on” with resource exploitation. Locally there as Plan B, watershed siltation, fish kills and a seal slaughter.

People are scared to speak out because of neighbour attitudes, potential political pressure or loss of government contracts or jobs, said Schneider.

People get courage, however, to speak out for the environment when there is support from a community, he said.

“If you going to put your life into something like this, even for a year or whatever it is, you better have people around who make you feel good about that, even if you lose,” said Schneider. “Once people are organized and prepared and have the support of their community, it’s a lot more difficult for people to marginalize you."


Most of the comments after the story were kind and positive, but this one, from a commenter named "Chucker", has some constructive criticism:

Great. Good, solid, effective protest. It involved people on site and at rallies as well as people doing research, writing letters and web comments, and questioning public officials at meetings. Very well done. But never again do a Plan B message without clearly stating the key facts- the costs, the evidence, the fiscal state of the province, etc. Always repeat the facts that matter most. Always name Ghiz and Vessey and point out the complicity of the feds. Always name the companies that got the work. Make it about them and their decisions. And the motivations for their decisions. Do not make it about yourselves. Their MLAs are still more popular than you in their communities and their family networks. Keep the focus on them--- the government. Celebrate yes but keep the focus, what a stupid waste all of this is for the purposes of political payoffs. Do not get off message. That is where they want you to be--talking about yourselves instead of talking about them.

Hmm, good points -- **and people are welcome to continue the public criticism by way of letters to this paper and others** about the key issues that have not gone away:  the cost, the evidence (or lack, or distortion of), the dismal fiscal state of the province, and who is really benefiting from Plan B.  These kinds of contributions are still needed, especially now while all looks quiet on site.

Community -- from November of last year, planting hemlock seedlings with a huge group of volunteers, jointly organized by Island Nature Trust and ECOPEI.  Gary Schneider, Jackie Waddell, Shannon Mader and Ruth DeLong.

Have a great day!
Chris O.,

February 20, 2013

Hello, All,

**If I here that the weather preempts either of these events, I will send out an e-mail.**

Some reminders:
This afternoon is the artwork presentation with Susan Christensen, from 1-4PM, at the Gallery in the Guild, in Charlottetown. Come and see this wonderful artist


Tonight (Wednesday evening) is a Lands Protection Act Public Consultation in Crapaud, at the Curling Club, from 7-9PM.  What does this have to do with Plan B?  On the surface, not a lot, but when you look at a limited precious resource on this island, our land, the connection is made about a misguided project that squanders land to benefit a few, and squandering our land to benefit a few.

This looks like an issue that the PEI Citizens Alliance wants to keep an eye on, and a background page on the issue is here:

The main points are that the province is revisiting the Lands Protection Act and former MLA Horace Carter is in charge of the commission.  He is hosting some public consultations this month (including the one tonight in Crapaud which is the only one in the Plan B/South Shore area). 

He encourages Islanders to write or call with their concerns, comments or questions (contact info is on the link).  There is another series of meetings planned for spring (in Charlottetown, Summerside, Souris, and a few other places),and he has to submit his report by the end of June.  Issues like the size of a working farm, the definition of a land owner, diversification and the viability of the family farm and encouraging younger farmers need some discussion and comments from *all* Islanders, especially those that witnessed good farmland, woods and homes taken with no public consultation for Plan B.

So consider finding out more, and coming out to Crapaud or other meetings to see what this is all about, and who will benefit from maintaining or changing this legislation.

And let's hope the weather lets these events take place today!

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

February 19, 2013

How Do They Do It? How does the creativity and talent form such beautiful works of art?

There are fantastic works of art in the A Bet-R Plan Art Show running at the Arts Guild until March 3rd. Such beautiful messages from beautiful, caring people.

You are welcome to come to the Arts Guild any Tuesday through Saturday between noon to 5PM to see **their** work.

This week, two of the artists featured in the A Bet-R Plan art show are inviting you to see **them** work.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20, artist Susan Christensen will be in the Gallery at the Guild from 1 to 4PM working on one of her paintings.

Artist Susan Christensen


Saturday, February 23rd, in the afternoon, Bruno Peripoli will offer a free 40-minute "Five Steps to Photography" event, and also be available while he does some editing of his own work.

There aren't too many pictures of Bruno *in front* of the camera, but here is an example of his ability to capture a moment, and define a movement.

Hope you can drop by for these sessions, and we thank these talented people for their dedication.

Yours truly,

Chris O.

February 18, 2013

Hello, everyone,

We were hedging, in case the forecast changed yet again, but it looks like today is not good driving weather, or hiking around the Bonshaw Hills, so we will **cancel the Plan B Social for today.**

Stay safe and off the roads, since even the newest "standards" of road construction can't make things perfectly safe!

Yours truly,  

Chris O.,

February 17, 2013

Hello, everyone,

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act workshop yesterday in Cornwall was a lot of fun, and of course very informative.

Some things I learned:  The Information and Privacy Commissioner and her assistant realized what a great opportunity it was to spend the afternoon with a bunch of people who wanted to know how the FOIPP Act works on PEI.  Maria MacDonald and Mary-Lynn Smith did a great job explaining what they do and how they strive to be apolitical. 

Information and Privacy Commissioner Maria C. MacDonald

Administrative Officer from the OIPC (Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner) Mary-Lynn Smith.

The Province sent a Powerpoint regarding the FOIPP act, which we can post on the www.watchpei.org website.

I learned former journalists pay attention to the news but still filter information through that lens of *how* it looks, not necessarily what is happening.  Saying that, Ian Petrie's talk was compelling and eye-opening.

Ian Petrie, with Gail Rhyno's "For the Love of PEI" banner on the wall.

Kevin Arsenault, researcher, spent many many hours working on accessing information regarding the PVYN disaster, and his drive and honesty were infectious; both men had excellent suggestions for how to submit requests.

Kevin Arsenault

Sarah Saunders and I, with good intentions but crummy cameras, apologize for the blurriness of our photos.

As portrayed on the Maritime news, about 14 minutes into the broadcast:

So a good time was had by all, and we hope the share the materials with those who couldn't be there.
Speaking of being there, Monday's forecast looks a little dicey, so please stay tuned to your e-mail and the usual channels to see if we have to postpone the Plan B Social until next month.

Have a great snowy/rainy day!
Chris O.,

February 16, 2013

Hi, all,

Just a quick reminder about the weekend's events related to Plan B:

Today, Saturday
Freedom of Information Workshop
Cornwall Civic Centre (behind the Esso, NOT APM Centre), parking is on the side by the split-level entrance, and it is the upstairs level.
free, donations accepted.
Privacy Commissioner and her associate, former reporter Ian Petrie, and researcher Kevin Arsenault to speak about how to access information. All welcome!

Monday, February 18 (Islander Day)
Plan B Social
Bonshaw Community Centre
free, donations accepted.
Come and see some displays about Plan B, maps, hike the area (weather dependent, and please bring your own equipment).
What did we learn? Where are we going?

At both events light refreshments will be served, raffle tickets for "Basket of Island Treasures" and for Lisa Murphy's painting "last Stand" will be on-sale, and memberships for the PEI Citizens Alliance (the organization that had come from the Plan B opposition) will be available for $2. (You are welcome to bring a snack to the Social, if you can.)

On-going (until March 3rd):
A Bet-R Plan Art Show
Arts Guild
Tuesdays through Saturdays,
noon to 5PM
Beautiful works of art by six Island artists, highlighting nature and sustainability.
Special sessions with some of the artists (Details to follow).

Have a great Islander Day weekend. Let's put some meaning into the name!
Yours truly,
Chris O.,

February 15, 2013

Hi, all,

Hemlock Grove, Feb. 14, 2013  (culvert over Crawford's Stream, north end)

Down the dusty road
To the forest church
Let me wander there
Let me wonder why....

--excerpt from Neil Young's song "I Wonder Why"

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, all!

Jamie Germaine and Marie Nantes displaying The Basket of Island Treasures

Tickets are $20 for a Basket valued at almost $600.

To purchase tickets please e-mail Jamie at  seaclay@pei.sympatico.ca or telephone 658-2415  or contact Marie at  msnantes@gmail.com or telephone her at 658-2846.

**There will also be tickets available at the Plan B Social on Monday, February 18, 2 - 4PM, in Bonshaw.

Basket of Island Treasures

Pottery vase – Seaclay Pottery, Jamie Germaine                                         $35.

2 Jars preserves – Summer Garden, Gail Kern                                            $10 

Photography Note Cards -  Linda Greisbauer                                               $48   

Goats Milk Soap (3) – Kettlegrove Soapworks, Cindy Rice                          $15 

Oak Wood turned bowl – Kettlegrove Woodturning, Karl Meyer                   $28

Earrings – Nessya's Jewellry                                                                         $20 

Spicy Dill Beans – Josie Baker                                                                        $5   

2 Bottles of wine (Rhubarb/Strawberry and Cabernet-Shiraz) 

Jon Hutchinson/Lyette Sansoucy                                                                    $20

Gift Certificate – 2  organic T-bone steaks, Kenny Nantes                              $25 

Gift Certificate – Hair Products,  Brookvale Beauty Care, Becky McCue        $20                                         

Avon Skin Care Products, Marie Nantes                                                          $50

4 small prints, Gweneth Branch-Rice                                                                $80 

Dictionary of Prince Edward Island English, autographed by Terry Pratt          $25

3 books by David Weale                                                                                    $35 

3 CD's – Terry Hatty/Janet McGarry/Paper Lions, Back Alley Music                 $50 

Photograph, Marion Copleston                                                                          $15

Pottery plate, Jessica Hutchinson                                                                      $30 

Timothy's World Coffee cup                                                                                $15

Andalou Fruit Skin Care, Root Cellar                                                                  $20 

Basket, Hearts and Flowers                                                                                $40

                                                                                                          ($586 total value)

February 13, 2013

Hello, All,

Here is the Mainstreet link from Tuesday's interview about the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP) workshop interview (you have to scroll down -- you will see the photo of Roy and me:   http://www.cbc.ca/mainstreetpei/

Yesterday's Guardian printed this immensely enjoyable letter:

When the peons demand rights
Published on February 12, 2013

Dear Plan B site foreman, RCMP officers and anyone else who was so grossly inconvenienced by those irritating and selfish Plan B protesters who finally got what they deserved in court Tuesday last.Please accept this letter as my personal apology for the actions of these inconsiderate individuals who claimed to be representing Islanders.

I, for one, cannot imagine why anyone would consider it necessary to protect the environment, exercise their rights, stand up for democracy, or monitor in any way the spending of our tax dollars or the actions of those in government and the people they puppeteer.

Clearly, Ms. Lanthier and her cohorts were utterly unreasonable in expecting to escape punishment for assembling peacefully on public land. I shake my head at the nerve of these people believing they had, or deserve, any rights at all on P.E.I. All sane people know that ‘rights’ are for the overlords only.

On a more positive note, I’m sure the fines imposed on these ill-advised hooligans have more than made up for the cost over-runs incurred by the exemplary planning of Stephen Yeo and all the extra police required to subdue three women sitting in a hemlock grove. I hear the project is now firmly back on budget. However, should more funding be required, please feel free to raise the HST a few more percent, and possibly consider taxing the air we breathe. Finally, let me apologize once again for the terrible injustice done to the site foreman, workers, and RCMP. They should have been freely able to coerce, verbally abuse, and threaten physical harm with heavy machinery while completely failing to observe lawful safety procedures. This was only right and proper under the circumstances. It is indeed a terrible state of affairs when government and its shills are queried, challenged, obstructed or held accountable by the peons they control. What is P.E.I. coming to?

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." — George Orwell, ‘1984’

Judith Arnold, Hampshire

Have a great day,

Chris O.

February 12, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Gail Rhyno sets the editorial page on fire:


Apology for Plan B

Published on February 11, 2013


In The Guardian recently I read that Darcie Lanthier pleaded guilty, was fined for her part in a 'Plan B' protest last October, and ordered to write apology letters to the arresting officer and project workers. As a show of support for Darcie, here are some apologies of my own. 

Dear RCMP officer,

 With a heavy heart and muddy boots I write to say I'm sorry that you had to carry me out of the Hemlock Grove in October as I exercised my right to dissent in a non-violent manner. Sorry you got muddy, got hit by flying pieces of wood as the buncher/feller operated closely behind us, had to call for help to carry me, and subsequently filled out the paper work incorrectly resulting in my charges later being dismissed. Rest easy knowing that those woods no longer stand, and you'll not have to carry me out of them ever again.

 Dear Equipment Operator,

 I'm sorry that I cared so much about the Acadian Forest and sorry I felt forced to do the last thing I could think of to show this government that people on P.E.I. will not continue to be ignored. I'm am also very sorry you were not the only machine operator but that on other days men who decided to use the machinery in a show of force and intimidation were let at the wheel. I am sure you will find work on future TCH projects, and it will be a pleasure to meet you again.

 Dear Mr. Premier,

 I'm sorry, but because of Islanders like Darcie Lanthier I will be glad to stand in support of all people that seek to protect our Island way of life.

 Dear Darcie and all those who opposed Plan B,

 I am sorry, but I will never regret joining you in protesting the TCH Plan B project. It was one of the most important things I have ever done.

 Gail Rhyno, Charlottetown


Roy Johnstone and I were interviewed by Angela Walker for CBC Radio's Mainstreet, which was broadcast after 5:30 last night, about the upcoming FOIPP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) workshop this Saturday, Feb. 16th, 1-3PM, Cornwall Civic Centre, free.

And plan to come to the Plan B Social,  Monday Islander Day, Feb. 18th, from 2-4PM, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road, Bonshaw.  There will be light refreshments, displays, good conversation, and people to go hike or snowshoe/cross country ski in the Bonshaw Hills (bring your own equipment).

The Bet-R Plan Art Exhibit runs Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5PM, at the Arts Guild in Charlottetown.

Have a great day -- be careful on the roads!
Chris O.,

February 11, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Cindy and others at Base Camp enjoyed the blizzard this weekend! I will get some photos out when I can.


You may have heard that the PEI Citizens Alliance has organized the Bet-R Plan Art Show at the Arts Guild and the FOIPP workshop this coming Saturday (1-3PM, Cornwall Civic Centre). There may be a feature on Mainstreet about the FOIPP workshop sometime this week.

The PEI Citizens Alliance is the name of the organization that has come about from the Stop Plan B movement. Basically, we hope that the interest and involvement of people like you in the Citizens Alliance will help "Stop the Next Plan B."

Here are some questions that came up about the PEI Citizens Alliance:

Why doesn't it just stay as Stop Plan B?

Stop Plan B started out as a geographically local issue, though it affects all islanders. The factors that are so *wrong* about Plan B (the lack of consultation, the cost, the complete disregard for the land (and older landowners), and the justification of the project by what turned out to be lies) are the same for other issues. So it made sense to find a broader name.

Are you giving up the highway fight?

No! It could be stopped and the land reclaimed, even now. What the machinery put in, they could dig out, and replant with Acadian forest saplings, add some trails, etc. It would still cost less to stop it than to finish the project. We are still watching it this winter, as it is left now covered with snow, and we will all be watching in spring and as they resume construction.

What other issues is the group looking at?

Continuing to watch Plan B, certainly, but other ones that had a common theme are changes to the Lands Protection Act (Horace Carver's committee), a renewed discussion of Proportional Representation, and of course any additional "improvements" along the TCH that will follow the same "planbook" that Plan B did. This is were there "watchPEI" idea got going, and since there are a couple of organizations with "PEICA" in their website, we chose www.watchpei.org

There is a $2 membership?

When we started selling memberships at the walks along Plan B last year, we set a price of $2, and we are still doing that. Though there will be some small costs of getting an organization started, there are two priorities for donations and fundraising at this point: to help defray the legal costs of those who put their bodies between themselves and heavy machinery, (when all other forms of civil communication with the government had been exhausted), and to support the people who are out at the Camp as monitors to have communication abilities and basic needs met.

What role can I play in it?

Definitely what you are doing now -- reading, talking, getting out, staying involved. Help Watch Plan B and Remember Plan B! Come to events, comment on things you see going on, and don't stop urging our government to be accountable to us.

Why isn't this a co-op?

Originally, it made sense to explore a co-operative since we could register as a co-op, sell shares and have some sort of liability protection if we had been able to mount a judicial review against the approval of Plan B. But when that possibility was scuttled (due to the way the Environmental Protection Plan was written), we realized that any organization to discuss causes like Plan B was going to be too political, and so needed to be a non-profit organization.

Are you affiliated with another political party? Do you just hate the Liberals?

No and No ;-) The PEICA is in no way tied to any Island political party. Our board and our members have the right and ability to be active members of any party, or of none. We *definitely* want to keep dialogue open between the island parties, especially the "third parties", as they tend to be the more foresightful as far and anticipating change but wanting to preserve the best things about the Island. And we don't hate the provincial Liberals, just the way they are behaving.

Have a great day digging out-day!

Chris O.,


February 8, 2013

Hello, all,

Gail Rhyno, one of the people who camped at Hemlock Grove, was there when the RCMP were called in Friday, October 12th. She declined leaving when asked and was carried out, and given a summary offense ticket. (It was later dropped on a technicality.)

When The Guardian wrote the piece Wednesday on the fines imposed on the protestors, she wrote her reaction to this chapter of the the Plan B story here:


We love ya, Gail.


And it is worth reprinting the photo of Cathy and a special painting in a room full of beautiful art, as this painting is part of a raffle:

Lisa Murphy has donated her painting 'Last Stand' (Acrylic on Board, 16"x19") for a fund-raising raffle.

Tickets are $5.00. Funds will go to supporting the efforts of the public environmental monitors at the Plan B site.

Please contact Cathy Grant at 894-5559 to purchase them. The draw will be at the March 3rd Bet-R Plan Concert [Sunday afternoon 2-5 at the Guild].

Have a great weekend, and stay warm and safe with the coming weather. Word from the Camp is that they are definitely preparing today for the weekend's blizzard! They have been working on a small solar power system and would appreciate people setting aside Canadian Tire money for purchase of some components.

Best wishes,

Chris O.


February 7, 2013

Hello, all,

Yesterday was very interesting!!

Ryan Ross, who has written some glowing articles about Plan B for The Guardian, writes a unsurprising tone of article on what may be surprising news, that the offenses against those who protested Plan B at the construction came to court this week:


How the legal timeline worked out and why each of these very committed, braver-than-brave individuals did what they did I will leave for their voices to tell here, another day. In my understanding the black-and-white legal arena was not going to the place to get the *real* point across, and energy was better spent in other directions. I think they know most of us "get" why they did what they did, and would have stood with them, have stood with them, and *will* stand with them. Hats off to them!

And the A Bet-R Plan art show opened last night at the Arts Guild. It was an energizing, lovely time, a chance for people to see "small" pictures that show The Big Picture. I suspect other pages in the Guardian will get that point. ;-)

Beautiful works of art by Susan Christensen, Ron Arvidson, Monica Lacey, Shirley Gallant, Bruno Peripoli, and Sylvia Ridgway are displayed and for sale. Last night the opening also featured raffle tickets for a gorgeous gift basket (more on that another day) and for Lisa Murphy's Last Stand painting.

Here is Cathy Grant, one of the fantastic organizers, with Lisa Murphy's painting:

And Amalia Peripoli, amazing helper, with cards and other items:

Some of Bruno's and Sylvia's work is peeking out, but do stop by to see how gorgeous the works are. The show runs from Tuesdays until Saturdays, noon until 5PM, if you are near the Arts Guild, and the Concert will be on Sunday, March 3rd, 2-5PM.

Funds raised through the show and concert will help defray Plan B expenses, with priorities being the legal costs and maintaining the public environmental monitors.

The initiative is presented by the PEI Citizens Alliance, which is a non-profit group branching off from the Stop Plan B opposition.

Have a good, cold winter day,

Chris O.


February 6, 2013

Hello, everyone,


After a snowy, windy day, some other things to think about:


about 12:20 into the broadcast.

There is brief mention of the charge issued to the Plan B protestor who tried to stop construction, followed by a nice preview of the A Bet-R Plan Art Show, which opens tonight at the Arts Guild, 7-9PM.

Tuesday's ECOPEI meeting:

Last night was the AGM of ECOPEI and there was a panel discussion afterwards on "Building Community."   It was a small group, which was great in that it allowed everyone to join in an in-depth discussion of building community to challenge horrible government decisions (acute issues) and general bad directions (chronic bad policy).  Wayne Corrigan, who spear-headed the fight to stop the Binns government from putting a landfill in the Tracadie Bay area in the late 1990s, outlined what happened with that issue.  Parallels and profound differences to Plan B. It was great to meet Wayne and hear what happened.

Gary Schneider talked about the challenges and successes of the MacPhail Woods project over the years.

One quote from Gary:

"One way things can change is through building community, a core of people who trust one another, who are committed to making improvements and who are in this struggle for the long run.  One of my favourite definitions of community is that 'it is about place, spirit, belonging and connection.  It is about joy, fear, love and hope. Community is also about friendship, caring and being cared for.' "

That really says it all in regard to the Plan B fight.

Have a great day, and bundle up to come out to the Watershed public consultation from 6:30-8:30 at the Cornwall Civic Centre (behind the Esso), AND the opening of the Art Show, 7-9PM, at the Arts Guild. :-)

Yours truly,

Chris O.,


February 4, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Last week I showed photos of the box culvert west of Peter's Road (at Crawford's Brook), the berm on Peter's Road, the road in between Crawford's Brook and Hemlock Grove (Crawford's Stream).

Here are some photos taken last Tuesday (when it was cold but much of the snow had melted), from "the top" of Hemlock Grove and walking uphill (east) towards the current TCH  (across from the cut by Fairyland).  Work seems to be at a stopping point here for the winter.

The packed dirt and rock over Hemlock Grove, looking downhill and north, over jute matting, down down down into Crawford's Stream.  The rocks to the left are from what was dug up, but couldn't be broken by excavator or smashed by vibrating rollers. The Grove is still beautiful; the culvert and road -- monstrous.

North side, east of Hemlocks, showing bedrock that's been chewed through by excavators.

Perhaps this could be a location for a kind of Mount Rushmore...with Ghiz, Vessey, Sherry, Docherty...rename it Mount Accelerate?

A real rock "face", with a shopping bag showing scale. South side of Plan B, with gravel placed for drainage of seeps.

A skating rink for the Camp people!  This is at the top of this part of Plan B (east almost to existing highway, dug way down), on a cold day, with no melting....a spring is at work here, and one can see the water welling up.  It's a natural skating rink on a natural spring, right by a projected highway.


Truck heading west on TCH by Fairyland cut, now way up high since Plan B is dug down into ground for filling in Hemlock Grove.  This photo is taken from road cut east of Hemlock Grove by the skating rink, looking east.  Hope the guard rail is strong.

The view of Plan B stretching west, down over Hemlock Grove, to the hill above Crawford's Brook in the background. Sad.

Ahh!  Now we know what we are in for, thanks to the Busy Sign Folks in the Department of Transportation -- Falling Rock!

Have a good snowy Monday,

Chris O.


January 15, 2013

Hi, all,

Larry Cosgrave had a great letter in yesterday's Guardian:


He describes Environment Minister Sherry's October 1, 2012, approving of the Plan B project with her specific conditions that TIR (Department of Transportation) must adhere to, and her confidence in the mitigations for any negative impacts.  He wonders if she still has confidence after the very minor rainfall events in December.

Right after the sediment release episode on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, Peter Bevan-Baker, the leader of the PEI Green Party, wrote to Environment Minister Janice Sherry demanding that she address this issue.  She agreed to meet with Bevan-Baker, setting a date in January; and Cindy Richards, who is monitoring things on the site for the public, and I came along.  This was last Tuesday.  

I can specifically address their discussion of the sediment issue in the next update, but here is an overview of the meeting:

She may not be sitting on her hands, but she is wringing them.

What we observed and learned:

  • They took the concerns seriously enough -- not timely, but seriously -- to have her Deputy Minister, the Director of the Department, and the Director of the Environmental Lands Management division there with her to discuss the conditions and issues.
  • They said they are very worried about spring, and basically going to beef up things as much as possible.  
  • They hope to have TIR bring in an independent review of the mitigations plan (so basically, a Stantec from away) and make suggestions.
  • They did not realize what an inadequate job TIR is doing communicating with the public.  They will communicate this to Minister Vessey.
  • Minister Sherry knows she signed off on Plan B, she approved the conditions, and she is the one ultimately responsible to make sure TIR is meeting those conditions.

Here are the October 1, 2012, Environmental Impact Assessment Approval Condition numbers  and short description (my shorthand-- errors of interpretation are mine):

    • TIR must comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
    • TIR must comply with the Environmental Protection Plan (EPP)
    • TIR shall stop working if sediment associated with construction enters a watercourse (and fix the problem).
    • TIR will deal with a discovery of archeological material properly.
    • TIR will deal with contaminant spills properly.
    • TIR will get a super-permit from the Environment Department to frig around in the watercourses (they got it and they are).
    • TIR will communicate regular project updates to the public and answer public inquiries. 
    • TIR will pay for a dedicated employee from Department of the Environment to oversee the environmental aspects of the project.
    • TIR will set up a committee to deal with the remaining bits of land parcels obtained for Plan B that have some West River frontage, too.
    • TIR will follow rules on Natural Areas/protected lands regarding permits, etc.
    • TIR will be responsible for all the subcontractors and others employed on this are aware of and comply with conditions.

The real version is found here, but not easily:
it is the 16th document you can download. "Environmental Impact Assessment Approval"

#1, 2, and 11 are simple enough but ones that need to be strictly held to.

#3 will be addresses tomorrow.

#4 and #5 haven't appeared to have had any incidents, but this the protocol is there.

#6 shows that government gets what it wants when it wants, and the flaws in the permit-granting and this whole EIA process -- it's about permitting, not protecting, really.

#7 is apparently fulfilled here:
It was last update December 21st, with two photos, one of which shows lots of fall leaves.  Maybe they should visit www.stopplanb.org or join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/220834614673617/
for more timely updates.

And #3 (sediment), the dedicated employee one (#8) and the lands ones (#9 and #10) will get described tomorrow.

Take care today,
Chris O.,

January 13, 2013

Hello, everyone,

It's beautiful and wintry, but it is also a mess out there:

Crawford's Brook (west of Peter's Road) -- uphill a bit from where the concrete box culvert is placed (not in this photo). 

Yes, once the snow is gone, there will be a lot of exposed mud.


Path of Plan B, looking west, up hill from Peter's Road, towards UPEI property and back to current TCH, Churchill, PEI, this week.

Not sure if they are going to move any fill over the box culverts -- perhaps it just isn't safe -- and we know It's All About Safety -- to try to dig up and push dirt and rock (lots of rock) down that hill, and it doesn't look like there is much to spare anywhere else in this "balanced cut-and-fill project."  

Hemlock Grove (east of Peter's Road) Looking north

unknown_1.jpgHemlock Grove, late Friday afternoon, looking upstream, from the old path.

And turning on the same spot and looking South:


Hemlock Grove pointing south, Friday, on north side of Plan B, at the arch culvert.

Yes, it looks horrible; they are slowly filling in and burying the Grove. They are digging quite deep further east along Plan B up towards the existing TCH to dig up the fill.  Their idea is to have enough fill over it before quitting this winter so spring melting won't cause so much run-off into the Stream.  :-/

And David Bulger, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Studies at UPEI,  sums it up:  It was a "annus horribilis" for democracy on PEI:


Yours truly,

Chris O.


January 10, 2013

Hello, everyone,

No boom for now:

We have been told by folks in the Environment Department that no explosives are being considered on the Plan B site.  They would have to know, get the Environmental Impact rewritten, etc., so they checked, and apparently no one is planning on that.  Bedrock has been hit here, there and everywhere in between, but Transportation and the contractors will use heavy equipment (details as that comes out) to deal with it.

The funny thing is that *TIR* told some people the whole "have to use explosives" story was a "plant" to make people opposed to the Plan look bad.  Really?  Hmm.  It's obvious they are hitting the very rock that's indicated on soil maps and that makes them look a bit amateur and sloppy in their planning.  And overbudget and looking at "options."  It's obvious that people mentioned this to others at venues other then work, word traveled, and some more; other people immediately took stock of common sense (!), researched the implications, found experts, etc., and word got back around that the public knew explosives on a sandstone island with lots of residents and wells is a poor choice.  

Perhaps it was a good test of the informal communications systems ;-)


Work continues in the cold and snow on the fill at Hemlock Grove and the box culvert sections at Crawford's Brook.  And the cold and snow (and spring melt) will bring its challenges, which is what happens when Transportation insists on starting a mega-road building project in the Fall on PEI without appropriate research of the landscape and climate, among other things.


Daphne Davy's excellent letter is finally printed in the Guardian, but you read it here first last week ;-)


Best wishes,

Chris O.

A bill of rights for the ecosystem

Published on January 9, 2013 


I would like to share the following quote from a friend of mine in Toronto, who has given reprint permission. He was writing in reference to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the lengths citizens are having to go to get him to listen to their concerns. How appropriate for Plan B!

“It's like saying ‘Well, this flu was really good - it got my immune system working’. Or ‘That hurricane had the positive effect of giving the disaster relief system a good workout’. A well-run city should not require huge amounts of grassroots involvement. Citizens are having to take on, and think about, things that they elected other people to take on and think about so they could go one doing their own parts in making the economy and cultural life of the city run smoothly. So, it's nice to know that we have this civic immune system and it works. Now it would be great if it didn't have to work so hard."

I keep meeting people from all over the Island who are outraged about Plan B. This is not just a small group of environmental activists but a broad spectrum of the population, including well-informed citizens. It is not just about the destruction of a particularly sensitive ecosystem, but about democratic process, fiscal and social priorities – the list goes on.

We need a bill of rights for the ecosystem. Trees deserve to be protected that have graced and served this earth for 250 years, stabilizing the soil and the tributaries, providing shelter for wildlife to ensure an unbroken food chain, and reminding humans of our humble place in the scheme of things.

To learn what a governing body and its citizens can do together, watch the video on YouTube about the 100-year-old Ghirardi Compton Oak in League City, Texas. The municipality moved the tree 1,500 feet to a new park, rather than have it cut down to make way for road construction. If you want to see five big yellow machines being used not to destroy but to protect one single tree, this is not to be missed. Biologists say the tree is doing fine.

It began as Stop Plan B. Now it is Watch Plan B. At the next election it will be Remember Plan B.

Daphne Davey,

January 8, 2013

Hello, everyone,

First, a need for the Camp -- a loan or gift of a (used) laptop or netbook with a battery that holds a charge, one that would be able to use a turbostick wireless internet connection device (Macs can a little cranky about this).  This will help the folks there monitor and document what is going on, and to upload images to the internet to share. (The current one's battery isn't holding a charge, etc.)  Please contact me if you have such something suitable.  Thank you.

Second, at long last, the incredibly talented but busy "tech gal" was able to change the URL of the Stop Plan B website to .....


It's the same website, but with an easier name.  Yes, we were a little slow getting that going.

Please visit (typing it in -- www.stopplanb.org  )   so search engines get "primed" to use the new name.  Thanks.

On site:

Monday, with the cold and wind, there were problems working on the Plan B sites.  They are continuing to work in the Crawford's Brook trying to get in the 8x8x4 foot concrete box culvert sections.  They have about 56 of the 100 or so in.  Rather a cold lumpy group, and I don't mean the poor workers, I mean the concrete box section placement.


The 50-odd box culvert sections in the bed of Crawford's Brook, from which the snow was thoughtfully bulldozed yesterday.  The brook has been diverted in a pipe to the right of the of the construction (buried in snow right now). We think the plans are to get the box sections in, cover it all with gravel, and some fill, in the next little while.  


Lloyd Pickering writes:


Government treatment unfair

Published on January 7, 2013 


I read a letter to the editor in The Guardian newspaper on Monday, Dec. 3 by Transportation Minister Robert Vessey claiming his department is “striking the right balance"between treating property owners and taxpayers fairly.

However, I read the released names of property owners affected by property list payments by theLiberal government with disgust on Nov. 24. Also, the massive amount of taxdollars being spent putting these people out of their homes and property by this government. Where is the right balance spending tax dollars this way, Mr. Vessey, in doing these things?

Quite the contrary, I think it's very troublesome that these land purchases with taxpayer dollars, to my understanding, amount to $3.86 million, and a further $4 million is to go toward even more land purchases.

I think this is more like very reckless spending and it certainly seems that ordinary Islanders should be very concerned about this seemingly careless government. People are being put out of their homes for this Plan B highway and making the people of this province pay for it, I think, is very wrong.

The way these people were treated to make way for this highway called Plan B is certainly something I don't think this government should be proud of. I think it's more like it should be ashamed of what it is doing.

The politicians of years ago ran this Island with respect and were respected in return. But respectful politicians in power are something we don't seem to have running our province any more and it's a shame.

It seems this Liberal government and Vessey’s Transportation Department are doing a better job of ‘working against Islanders’. It seems to me that this would be the best motto for this Liberal government and the Plan B highway property list payments seem to verify it.

Lloyd W. Pickering,

January 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,


An excellent letter, followed by an unsurprising viewpoint, from Saturday's Guardian:

Wendy Budgeon's letter (link here and full letter below):


Editor Gary MacDougall's justification of why Plan B wasn't the news story of the year:


including this quote:

<< The Guardian editorial department opted for ‘Tory Turmoil’ as 2012’s top news story. Some readers disagreed with us, most notably people who are upset with Plan B, the controversial highway realignment project in the Churchill area. Without a doubt, Plan B was a big story on Prince Edward Island in 2012, along with others such as the HST, federal job cutbacks and EI changes. In the end, we opted for Tory Turmoil and The Impaired Driver, our thinking being those two stories impacted the most Islanders. That doesn’t mean the other stories weren’t good contenders, but those were our choices. Just as we had the right to select them, others have a right to disagree.>>

So spending money the government doesn't have to ruin land all of us share, and the trend this sets, doesn't affect the majority of Islanders.  Hmm.  This does tend to circle back to the lack of depth in our island media.

Blasting update:
Last week a Department of Transportation person said this about blasting and bedrock, "We haven't hit anything we can't deal with yet."  Utterly reassuring.

Dept of Environment person said they hadn't heard about blasting, and would definitely need to and have to have part of the Environmental Impact Assessment written. There are several households within a kilometre of the potential blasting sites.  Not that Environment saying it would make sure a revised EIA is in any way reassuring, but it would make everyone stop and think about what is going on here.

More tomorrow or Wednesday about what's happening on-site.

Yours truly,

Chris O.

Wendy Budgeon's letter:


During Premier Robert Ghiz's year-end interviews with media, he put forth statements that only served to show his complete disconnect with Islanders.
To say out loud that he was shocked at the reaction to Plan B speaks of a politician who has no idea what is happening outside of Charlottetown. Environmentally, this plan is devastating, but the colossal waste of money in this "new fiscal reality", as Mr. Ghiz and Finance Minister Wes Sheridan refer to it, is unacceptable.
When asked by CTV anchor Steve Murphy if the HST would come back to haunt him next election, Mr. Ghiz went over the top stating: "It's politics. Nobody remembers what you did in the past. It only matters what you do today." This from a man who stands, shouting, in our legislature about all the political sins the previous Conservative government committed, some more than 10-15 years ago. And yet the number of people who took to the streets in 2012 to protest this government's policies speaks volumes about the Ghiz government's inability to understand Islanders and their issues.
Mr. Ghiz and his MLAs need to listen to people outside the fifth floor and try to understand why most Islanders want good policies and laws, not platitudes from their representatives.
Remember...it's politics, it only matters what you do today.

Wendy Budgeon,

January 4, 2013

Hello, everyone,

What's going on on the Plan B sites?
Fairyland and Bonshaw are quiet, but work continues at Hemlock Grove (Crawford's Stream, arch culvert) to cover the culvert higher, presumably to channel spring melt sediment and run-off into sediment ponds nearby.

Also, at Crawford's Brook (west of Peter's Road), a crew is preparing to install the 50-odd remaining box culvert sections (these are 4x8x8 foot), and cover that with something for the winter.  

So despite the assuring tone of last week's article in The Guardian, fairly dramatic work continues.

The reports of plans to use explosives have *not* been confirmed by TIR, though I think most of us know that TIR has never been forthcoming with any details on this whole project.  The Department of the Environment has no information from TIR about plans for blasting, and confirms that sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment would have to be rewritten if this would be considered.  So stay tuned.

Recent letters published in The Guardian:

Normal Russell from Ottawa looks over at PEI with a message to government and media:

Gail Rhyno writes about other issues, with Plan B being the catalyst, where people are labeled and marginalized for demanding responsible government:

Also, a letter that didn't get published (yet), but is definitely worth sharing:
from Daphne Davy in Crapaud:
Inevitably, not all letters to the editor are being published. On November 8 I wrote the following letter to the Guardian (who acknowledged receipt) but as far as I know it wasn't published. In the interests of sharing ideas that someone else might use in another context for Plan B (including the quote that I know my friend in Toronto would be happy for someone other than me to quote), I would like to share mine with our e-listers (below).

To the editor:
I would like to share the following quote from a friend of mine in Toronto, who has given reprint permission. He was writing in reference to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the lengths the citizens are having to go to get him to listen to their concerns:
“It's like saying, 'Well, this flu was really good -- it got my immune system working.' Or 'That hurricane had the positive effect of giving the disaster relief system a good workout.'  A well-run city should not require huge amounts of grassroots involvement. Citizens are having to take on, and think about, things that they elected other people to take on and think about so they could go one doing their own parts in making the economy and cultural life of the city run smoothly. So, it's nice to know that we have this civic immune system and it works. Now it would be great if it didn't have to work so hard."

I keep meeting people from widely different parts of the Island who are outraged (no exaggeration) about Plan B. This is not just a small group of environmental activists but a broad spectrum of the Island population; not just people who live in the region or travel the highway at Bonshaw but those who live in Prince and Kings Counties as well; not just supposedly uninformed citizens, but a mix of professional and lay people with the ability to think with intelligence; not just about the destruction of a particularly sensitive ecosystem, but about broader issues of transparency, democratic process, priorities, affordability, legitimacy – the list goes on.

The trouble is that we don't have a Bill of Rights for the ecosystem, including trees that have graced and served the earth for 250 years, all that time contributing to the health of the surrounding ecosystem by stabilizing the soil and the tributaries, providing shelter and food to birds, insects and mammals to ensure an unbroken food chain, and providing inspiration to humans and a sense of our humble place in the scheme of things.

In the meantime, to learn what a governing body can do with political will combined with the will of the citizens, watch the video about the 100-year-old Ghirardi Compton Oak in League City, Texas. The municipality decided to move the tree 1200 feet to a new park, rather than allow it to be cut down to make way for road construction. If you want to see five bulldozers and front-end loaders being used not to destroy but to protect one single entity in the environment, go to the League City, TX, home page and click on the link to the oak story. Biologists say the tree is doing fine.

It began as Stop Plan B. Now it is Watch Plan B. In three years’ time it will be Remember Plan B.

Daphne Davey

Have a great weekend,
Chris O.

January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!
Hope you all had a rest from regular responsibilities and spent lots of time with family and friends.
Here is a quick update on Plan B happenings:

The Guardian did an on-line article on Cindy, who is living near the Plan B site:

Saturday's printed Guardian has an excellent letter by Boyd Allen --which would be a great letter to send to your MLA (letter both as link here and reprinted in full below):

MLA addresses here:
(notice we are working on streaming the website address -- thanks to Sarah S. for her abilities and time) (that misspelling is when *I* programmed it originally --sigh)

Guardian poll
The Guardian had an on-line poll of the top news story of the year last week, which Plan B handily topped.  However, the paper chose Olive Crane and the Tory Leadership Troubles as the top news story of the year, and The Impaired Driver as the top newsmaker of the year.  It is an interesting aside that at a July Legislative Committee meeting, Olive Crane proposed that Plan B be put on hold for a year while the province made a concerted effort to battle impaired driving, and see what the accident statistics showed.  Her idea was pretty much ignored by the majority on the committee.

Hope you all had fun with New Year's Levees -- we hope to have a Plan B one, for information and as a social, one Sunday later this month.  Details to follow.

What's going on this week at the Plan B site:
Despite what The Guardian article of last week said (that work was stopping), there were indications that work on the culvert at Crawford's Brook (west of Peter's Road) was to continue this week, and there is always the ability to use explosives on bedrock in winter (to free up rock to cover the culvert).  Any information about their plans that we find out will be related to everyone, via these updates, the Stop Plan B website, and the Facebook "Plan B Atlantic Gateway Highway Proposal" group. 

Best wishes,
Chris O.

Here is Boyd's Letter, which he has given permission for others to send to their own MLA and other government people:

It’s time for an update Published on December 29, 2012  in The Guardian


A little more than a year has passed since government announced the Plan B highway realignment project. Buttressed with skewed safety statistics and hastily gathered site data, the actual construction began in early October as per schedule in spite of the growing opposition building against it.

Three weeks into the construction phase, government acknowledged this opposition by providing the public with an itemized accounting of costs allegedly arising from the actions undertaken by elements of this opposition (‘Plan B delays cost…’, The Guardian, Oct. 23, 2012).

Since that time, ‘tens of thousands of dump truck loads of dirt have been moved’ (‘Highway realignment work wrapping up for winter’, The Guardian, Dec. 27, 2012) and many thousand trees have been run through the shredder and hauled away. There has been a steady stream of informed reports indicating that unforeseen elements of the hydrology and basic geology encountered in the Plan B site have generated a cascade of engineering problems.

Given government's zest for accountability, as showcased in the Oct. 23 press release, should we not expect a status report on this project as it is ‘wrapping up for winter’? Is it on schedule and within projected budget?  I think it's our right to know.

  Boyd Allen,