Crawford's Brook 2013 (CO photos)
what I learned
at the New Haven public meeting tonight.
Liberals' plan B no real alternativePublished 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.
And this is why we are still at it,
right? See you Easter Monday/April's Fool's Day, 2-4PM.
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
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,
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.
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
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.
NDP Leader Mike Redmond said yesterday in a press release that:
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!
(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
This home has since been carted off.he 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.
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):
Or e-mail: email@example.com
Have a great Saturday,Chris O.,
*in the sense of very small, trivial, petty
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,
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.
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
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,
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.,
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!
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
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!
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,
(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
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.
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.
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
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.
(with apologies for forgetting to bcc the list to some yesterday)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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-AYours truly,
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:
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)
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
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! ;-)
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.
Friends and organizers and contributors: Cathy Grant, Charlie DesRoches,
Susan Christensen and Shannon Mader
Have a great Saturday,
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 -
· Kensington -
Royal Canadian Legion
· Kinkora - Kanata
Club, Seniors Room
Rustico - Lion's Club
· 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.)
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.
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.,
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.
From the UPEI website: "His public lecture at UPEI will be 'The Triumph
This event is free and all are welcome to attend."
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.
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."
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.
A lot going on!
Have a great week,
It is beautiful!
·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):
Bonshaw 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.
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!
In yesterday's Guardian was a long article on the Environmental Coalition
(ECOPEI)'s Annual General Meeting held two weeks ago in Charlottetown:
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.
Have a great day!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Sarah Saunders and I, with good intentions but crummy cameras, apologize for
the blurriness of our photos.
Just a quick reminder about the weekend's events related to Plan B:
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
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!
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"
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.
**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)
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
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,
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!
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!
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.
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,
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. :-)
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,
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:
Here are the October 1, 2012, Environmental Impact Assessment Approval Condition numbers and short description (my shorthand-- errors of interpretation are mine):
The real version is found here, but not easily:
#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:
And #3 (sediment), the dedicated employee one (#8) and the lands ones (#9 and #10) will get described tomorrow.
Take care today,
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
Hemlock 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:
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 ;-)
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
Wendy Budgeon's letter:
Premier Robert Ghiz's year-end interviews with media, he put forth
statements that only served to show his complete disconnect with
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 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.
Have a great weekend,
Happy New Year!
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)
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.
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.