July-August-September 2013

September 30, 2013

Hello, all,

There is a new meaning to "overlook":

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The part of the old highway just up from the Bonshaw Bridge that is slated to be lowered to meet Plan B; September 29, 2013.  Note that dark areas on hydroseeding (not the shadows) are likely cuts into water table.

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Looking west towards the Bridge and entrance to Bonshaw Provincial Park.

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Looking down onto Plan B (and we have always looked down on Plan B). Big truck in a small lane.
Pink line may be indicator of the edge up on the old road to note any crumbling down to Plan B below. Bonshaw, September 29, 2013.

Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,

PS  The kids and I were watching a BBC production set in the late 1700s, and noted it was filmed in the Cotswolds in southwestern England.  Gorgeous landscapes, and I thought how did they find a spot without roads blasted through it?  (It was filmed before CGI.)  I read that this area is an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_of_Outstanding_Natural_Beauty  and protected as such.  How forward thinking.  How pathetic that "Moving Forward Together" was the Liberals' slogan in the last election.

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What we have done to an area of outstanding natural beauty. 
Land just east of Plan B used for materials storage, Bonshaw, near equestrian park, September 29, 2013.

September 29, 2013

Hi, everyone,

Evan Larter spells out the reaction most of us had to Minister Vessey's comments on Plan B:

Another World?
published Saturday, September 28th, 2013, in The Guardian

Last week I was watching Compass and they were doing a story on the first part of Plan B to open when Mr. Vessey told the reporter and us viewers that only a small group of our province was against the Plan B highway and the majority of us were all for it.

The comment made me cough in my Diet Coke because the shock made my pop go down the wrong way. My goodness, where does he live and work cause his P.E.I is not the one I live on.

A majority was all for this project? Does he read the paper because if he did he would have seen hundreds of letters of uproar and sadness from Islanders in disbelief that the plan got approval to start?

Does he listen to his surroundings because if so, he would have heard the front yard of Province House full of chanting, picketing Islanders wanting the plan halted. People lost their homes out of the blue with no warning and then having no input on the matter.

Does he watch Compass because if he did he would've seen a crowd at the Plan B site that was so big, they used to make work on it halt and a tent city was erected in the nearby woods.

My question to Mr. Vessey is this. If his ‘for it and against it’ percentage comments were accurate, then why didn't he have a ribbon cutting and big announcement with handshakes take place on the day of the first stretch of highway opening?

Instead there was a hush-hush secret opening that only was revealed when Trans Canada daily commuters saw that it was open. I wish our government would stop playing the ‘think we’re stupid card ‘and get in the loop and follow us Islanders.

Remember back when it was getting off the ground we told them that Plan B will create speedsters, not slow the road down making it safer. Well surprise, surprise, the first full week of being open and the cops had a big increase of speeders and tickets. Just like we've been telling them all along.

Evan Larter,


Farm Day in the City is one of the many events taking place today, if you wish to head towards Queen and Richmond, with Community Garden tours taking place, too:

From: https://www.facebook.com/events/176346742552836/
Community Garden Tour: The PEI Food Exchange with support from the City of Charlottetown is offering free tours of three community gardens on Sunday September 29th to coincide with Farm Day in the City. Anyone interested in growing food in an urban environment is encouraged to attend. Participants will learn about crop selection, gardening tips and techniques and what to do with the abundance from the garden. Each garden on the tour has a unique model of community gardening, with a common goal of providing healthy and nutritious food to our community. You are encouraged to walk or bike between the three gardens. This will be an informal format and everyone is invited to share their knowledge.

11:30 :: Spring Park United Church, 65 Kirkwood Drive. This is a private community garden, awarded the first prize in the 2013 edible garden category in the Make Charlottetown Bloom contest for their "Grow to Give" garden. All produce is donated to the Upper Room Soup Kitchen.
12:30 :: Desbrisay Community Garden, Desbrisay Crescent. This is a mixed private/public garden initiated in 2001 by the Cooper Institute in collaboration with the City of Charlottetown through an initiative that focused on sustainability in an urban environment.
2:00 - 4:00 :: Victoria Park Community Garden and Clubhouse, Victoria Park Ball Diamonds. This is a community garden space provided by the City of Charlottetown. In addition to a tour of the container gardens at Victoria Park the City of Charlottetown will provide information on the resources they have committed to support community and urban gardening.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

September 28,2013

Hi, all,

In case you didn't see this editorial cartoon in Thursday's Journal-Pioneer:

Journal-Pioneer, September 26, 2013, by Wayne Wright

Take care,
Chris O.,

September 27, 2013

Hi, all,

An update on the Land Use Policy Task Force:
This is the group that is making recommendations to the Department of Municipal Affairs about what Islanders think is important regarding land issues and prudent land development.

Here is a page with a link to the 2-minute public service announcement that introduces the topic, made by the Citizens' Alliance:
http://www.watchpei.org/  and more links to the Task Force from the Citizens' Alliance website.

The Land Use Policy Task Force has a survey for islanders to assess their priorities.  This is pretty important because it is the chance to comment on concerns like pesticide drift, subdivision development, smart road development, etc.
It *does* take about 15 minutes to contemplate your answers.  http://www.gov.pe.ca/landandlocalgovernance/survey

Events this weekend:
Farm Day in the City is this Sunday  -- lots of lovely fresh produce, great producers, and looks like beautiful weather.  It's on Queen Street between Grafton and Sydney Streets: http://www.fallflavours.ca/calendar/56/2155-Farm-Day-in-the-City
and there will be tours of three community gardens  https://www.facebook.com/events/176346742552836/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

The monthly Bonshaw Ceilidh is Sunday night, 7PM, at the Bonshaw Hall.

Friday, October 11 -- later afternoon/evening -- a Plan B  Anniversary event -- Plan Beyond

Tuesday, October 15 to Saturday, October 18th -- Save Our Seas and Shores PEI is sponsoring "Cradled on the Waves: The Gulf at Risk", public talks and discussions in four locations across Prince Edward Island. The talks will be led by Sylvain Archambault, a highly-respected expert on oil and gas issues in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 
A second section of Plan B is set to open today, presumably the section over Crawford's Brook and Stream (Hemlock Grove) and on a tight by-pass section back to the current TCH near Fairyland.
Take care,
Chris O.,

September 26, 2013

Hello, all,

People speeding on the new shiny asphalt and straighter road?  Really?

Driving into Bonshaw, Wednesday, September 25, 2013; hillside to be dug up on left, note the speed limit signs.  Photo by helpful passenger.

CBC and The Guardian did stories yesterday on speeding on Plan B (evidently after the RCMP sent them a news release telling them they were cracking down on speeders in the Plan B area).  Hurrah for the Mounties for protecting public safety, though it appears requests for RCMP to enforce speed limits go on a two-year waiting list.

By the way, the speed limit during the construction time for the whole Plan B area is 60kph whether it is the shiny new asphalt or the incredibly rutted bit near Churchill.  Residents were told it would be posted at 90kph once the road is done; there has been inconsistent information about the eventual speed limits through the communities of Bonshaw and New Haven.

The CBC story also had a video of shots of the quiet of the now "old" road, and an interview with a family happy to contemplate biking on it.  Sweet, though that family moved to that house with the TCH right there, and no word of plans to change it; now there are families along Green Road and Cameron Road who bought homes on purpose to be *away* from the TCH, and without any public consultation have had the road moved in their "front yards."

You just can't move something like the TCH in a place as small as PEI and not have it be in someone else's space.   Protecting our Island land through responsible land use planning could possible help here -- more on that tomorrow.

Island Nature Trust
is having their annual general meeting tonight at 7PM at the Carriage House at Beaconsfield.  Fiep de Bie is giving a talk on her adventure exploring the Antarctic by tall ship.  All are welcome!

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Digging down the hillside in Bonshaw, September 25, 2013. Photos while driving on Plan B by passenger with a simple digital camera.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,

September 25, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Here is a reminder that the Environmental Coalition of PEI Energy Project will be making a presentation to the provincial Legislative Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry today, with the meeting starting at 10AM.  These meetings are open to the public.  It's at the Pope Room of the Coles Building, which is next to Province House (just go in main doors and to the sign-in desk). 

The presentation will be on promoting alternatives to fossil fuels.  The presentation will be very good -- the questions and response will be interesting! 

The Farmers' Market in Charlottetown is open today from 9AM to 2PM.

Have a good day!
Chris O.,

September 24, 2013

Hi, all,

An early-morning order of asphalt was delivered and soon after traffic was moved to a section of Plan B between the Bonshaw Bridge and near the Strathgartney Provincial Park in Churchill yesterday.  With a preternatural determination and apparently lots of money for machines, it's inevitable that sections would open, though construction is ç*months* behind the schedule on the Department of Transportation's website (a snippet copied below). 

CBC Website article:
Compass last night (lead story):

Minister Vessey is kind of entertaining for his peculiarly consistent message, like a "SeeNSay" toy I had as a kid -- the reporter just prompts him with words like "safety" and he says the same thing over and over again  -- 24 driveways eliminated; softened the curves; few protesters; on schedule and budget...

So let's see the budget breakdown, please.


"TCH Realignment Updated Construction Schedule May 30, 2013"
Phase -- Construction Date
TCH Bonshaw Phase 1 Station 6+200- 7+900 Bonshaw Provincial Park East to existing TCH alignment near Strathgartney Park TCH Bonshaw Phase 2 --     Spring 2013- end of June 2013 for earthwork components Pavement by end of July 2013

Odd that with all the concern for safety, only one of the excessive number of new streetlights installed on the Bonshaw section by the connector road was operating last night.  The posted construction-zone 60kph speed limit does not appear to being followed.  Hmm.

And a reminder about an event today:
Tuesday, September 24th, 2-4PM, Valerie Tarasuk, co-author of the report Household Food Insecurity in Canada (2011)
will make a public presentation at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 106 St. Peter's Rd in Charlottetown.

Drive safe ;-)
Chris O.,

September 23, 2013

Hello, all,

CBC Radio announced that part of Plan B is opening at 10AM today, which is interesting since as of yesterday the Bonshaw part just west of the bridge looks like this:

Very nicely rolled gravel on Plan B, a little west of Bonshaw Bridge, Sunday, September 22, 2013.
But maybe there will get asphalt in there this morning, as the budget for hurrying up and "getting 'er done" seems elastic....

After the traffic *is* moved over, drivers will have the chance to watch the crews chew down that hillside to allow access to the horse park and little church.  Drivers and others will also have the chance to "vote" on plan B and other decisions in a couple of years.


Last Thursday, The Guardian very nicely printed this press release verbatim from the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice, which is copied below from its website (bold is mine):

Minister Sherry to chair Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
The Province of Prince Edward Island will be a voice for sustainable development and careful protection of resources when it leads the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), says Environment, Labour and Justice Minister Janice Sherry.
“As chair, I intend to continue the work of our departing chair – Minister James Arreak of Nunavut – and to lead a nationwide discussion about environmental issues,” Minister Sherry said.
Minister Sherry assumed the chair of the CCME Tuesday as Ministers set an agenda for discussion and collaboration among Ministers in 2013-14.
Among the areas of collaboration for the CCME are:
• Improving Canada’s record on reducing and recycling waste;
• Continuing progress on the Air Quality Management System;
• Implementing the CCME’s water action plan.
As chair, Minister Sherry will host the 2014 meetings of the CCME in Brudenell in September 2014.
“Not only is it our turn to host, but 2014 is a very important year for Prince Edward Island as we mark the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference,” she said. “I look forward to welcoming my Environment colleagues to the Island as we celebrate this important milestone.”

For information on the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment see www.ccme.ca.

This was in the News section, not the Comics page.

Most folks opposed to Plan B could write fairly awful lampoons at the drop of a hat, and in that spirit this is passed on:

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan:

Perhaps for a production of The Pirates of Cabinet during these 2014 meetings--

"We are the very model of en-vi-ron-mental stewardship
We had an Old Growth Forest and we built Plan B right thru-oo it,
((humming -- need next few lines))
And frack we might if the dough it right,  For the Island is for sale,
And you'll hardly recognize it once the Ghiz Gang is all through with it!"

Culverts, 2014 money -- there is better doggerel that could be written -- perhaps for our little social on October 11th.


And I wish a happy 16th birthday to a dear daughter who never writes doggerel, is kind to dogs, and along with her siblings and some other young people, gives us all hope for a bright Island future. 

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

September 22. 2013

Hello, All,

A bit of weekend reading, the third of the four articles reflecting on the Toronto Conference on "Our Changing Atmosphere:"

Reflections on the Toronto Conference - 25 Years Later: So What Happened?

(The end of June) marked the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Conference, a “perfect storm” of events that launched the issue of climate change onto the global policy agenda. So what happened in international environmental diplomacy over the past 25 years?

After three years of deliberations following the Toronto Conference, the International Negotiating Committee (INC) on climate change drafted a text to be signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992 as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objective of the treaty is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The treaty itself set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. Instead, the treaty provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called “protocols”) that may set binding limits on greenhouse gases. Presently, 195 Parties have signed and ratified the UNFCCC.

Five years after the drafting of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to place legally binding limitations/reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases in two commitment periods for many developed countries. The first commitment period applies to emissions between 2008 and 2012, and the second commitment period applies to emissions between 2013 and 2020. Presently, there are 192 parties to the convention, including all UN members, except Andorra, Canada, South Sudan and the United States.  The United States signed but did not ratify the Protocol and Canada withdrew from it in 2011. The Kyoto targets varied among nations. Some nations were allowed to increase their emissions by a certain amount; others were required to make significant cuts. The average target was a cut of around 5% relative to 1990 levels by 2012. According to standard data, developed countries can claim to have reduced their collective emissions by almost 2% between 1990 and 2012.

Many have argued these numbers as cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries since 1990 have been cancelled out many times over by increases in imported goods from developing countries such as China. Under the Kyoto protocol, emissions released during production of goods are assigned to the country where production takes place, rather than where goods are consumed. Once the carbon cost of imports have been added to each developed country, and exports subtracted – the true change in greenhouse gas emissions from developed nations since 1990 has been an increase of 7%.

The Kyoto protocol was amended in 2012 to accommodate the second commitment period, but this amendment has not entered into legal force. The USA, Japan, Russia, Canada and New Zealand have indicated they would not sign up to a second Kyoto commitment period unless developing nations signed up as well. The Kyoto second commitment period applies to about 15% of annual global emissions of greenhouse gases. At the 2012 UNFCC/Kyoto protocol meeting of the Parties in Doha, Qatar,   an agreement was reached to extend the Kyoto Protocol to 2020, and to set a deadline of 2015 for the development of a successor document, to be implemented from 2020 forward.

The international climate negotiations have not been very effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions – the major force behind climate change – and are now stalled.

(In the last article in this series), we’ll discuss a way ahead in addressing climate change.

Questions? Contact Adam Fenech at afenech@upei.ca or (902) 620-5220

The whole series of four articles and the Climate Lab blog can be found here:

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

September 20, 2013

 Hello, all,

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's Guardian:

In an article focusing mainly on that MP Wayne Easter thought Raymond Loo was a great guy and worth listening to, but here is the heart of the story:
a quote from Karen Loo about her husband:
"We hope that people will remember the kinds of things that he tried to do and try to take that forward," she said.  "That is really the best way to remember him, is in doing the kinds of thing that he thought were important for the long-term health and longevity of this Island."

Perhaps that gives all of us a task:
Long-term:  make an organic PEI not just a dream but a definite plan.  It is doable, and worth more that spending money on certain highway projects I could name, and would have positive repercussions in every community and every government department.

Short-term: buy local, as it is harvest time and our farmers have been working hard.  Try to buy extra and "put by" some of it for winter.
The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is still open on Wednesdays, too, until Thanksgiving, I think. 

Here are some events and items of note coming up, in (local) arts and crafts, entertainment, nature, and policy....

Saturday and Sunday, PEI Crafts Council Studio Tour -- http://peistudios.ca/studio-tours/studio-tour-weekend/?id=70

Saturday, September 21, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall -- the Gene MacLellan concert -- a lovely, caring concert of warmth, reminiscence and joy.

Sunday, September 22, 2PM, MacPhail Woods -- Autumn Walk at MacPhail Woods

And while you are wandering outside this weekend, consider taking some nature photos to send to a contest National Geographic is hosting:
It's trying to get a record number of outdoor nature photos uploaded to web photo-sharing sites during September 21 - 29th.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2-4PM, Valerie Tarasuk, co-author of the report Household Food Insecurity in Canada (2011)
will make a public presentation at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 106 St. Peter's Rd in Charlottetown.

Wednesday, September 25th, 10AM, Pope Building (next to Province House), a Legislative Committee meeting with a presentation on alternative energies explained, in the hopes the MLAs will be more inclined to look at sustainable energy versus fossil fuels.

Have a great weekend,
Chris O.,

September 19, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Electric power lines have been strung up along the middle section of Plan B, around the Peter's Road, Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove) and Brook area.  It definitely adds one of the last touches announcing that man has marked out his territory (or in this case, government is building a road nobody wanted).

Here are a few pictures to show what's going on in Bonshaw to show the work to connect the newly-widened Bonshaw Bridge to Plan B.
I am not sure when they plan to make the cul-de-sacs in the Bonshaw end, effectively forcing all traffic onto Plan B, but it looks like they will get traffic over to the new section in a few days.  It is likely to be a temporary-type road for a while.

Bales of straw lined up and staked for sediment control, apparently.  September 19, 2013.

Looking (north)east towards the CBC tower, Plan B comes in behind excavator.  Bonshaw Provincial Park access appears shut down now while they did down.  Wednesday, September 18, 2013.

Lots of manpower and machinery.  Just west of Bonshaw Bridge, September 18, 2013. 

Take care,
Chris O.,

September 18, 2013

Hi, all,

Continuing the "News As Entertainment Category," Part 2, the top story in Tuesday's Guardian shows North River Fire Chief Kirby Wakelin clarifying that no, really, his fire crews are *fine*, thanks, and that they don't need any additional training to deal with accidents down the embankments at Plan B.

The Guardian considers it a scoop for their publication that Chief Wakelin (a very nice person, by the way) is clear: read his lips, No New Training Needed.  The CBC story last week (over several broadcasts) was completely sure that he felt more training was warranted.

One commenter on The Guardian's webpage makes the observation:
"Mitigation Myopia" -- September 17, 2013 - 06:48
Wow. If Plan B has given Islanders anything , it's insight into the pandering propaganda that passes for journalism - not only in The Guardian, but in the local CBC as well. Thankfully, most Islanders are intelligent enough know that the whole project and all the problems it generates is a needless, useless waste. Saying that the North River Fire Department doesn't need special training to deal with the steep slopes of the new road is like saying doctors don't need more training to deal with the victims of a chemical spill . Of course they have the training - we all know that's not the story. The story is what causes the potential problem! Let's face it, the problem of "steep slopes" didn't exist before Plan B was built. The way this story is presented, now Islanders are supposed to be happy that our firefighters and doctors are ready to deal with accidents should they happen!

A few suggestions for the media:

  • a more interesting story would be what really helped the fire chief changed his mind,
  • or perhaps touring the road with him and looking at all the embankments and access to gauge his reaction to the real Plan B.
  • use photos that are current, not weeks old (yesterday's accompanying photos in both print and webpage versions are not at all recent).

Here are some photos of those embankments, with current photos:

Bonshaw, just north of CBC Tower, September 15th, 2013. 
Guardrail and Plan B off to center right. Apparently, that track around the crater-like sediment pond in the middle of photo is the access road.

Standing at guardrail a bit west towards Bonshaw from first picture, September 15th, 2013.
Down there are just the remnants of a beautiful ravine.  (Aside: Note the material that the hydroseeding is supposed to be growing on.)

Fairyland ravine-now-with-sediment-pond, September 15th, 2013.
It is much steeper than could be caught on camera.

From Maureen Kerr kerr.maureen@gmail.com
There is a meeting tonight in Stratford, at the Sobeys community room, from 7-9PM, to discuss taking action on banning cosmetic pesticides in Stratford.  

There will also be an update on meetings with Stratford town officials.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,

September 17, 2013

Hi, all,

Observing how the media reports stories would be entertaining if actually didn't care about what was happening on PEI.

A week or so ago, CBC reported on the mitigation failures and Janice Sherry's hopes and dreams.  Their coverage reminded their Island audience about things wrong with Plan B, including the enforcement of the Environmental Impact Assessment approval from just about a year ago.
Yesterday, they pretty much read a press release and got some carefully worded statements from TIR spokesman and chief engineer Stephen Yeo about how the mitigations all worked.  Only a little "discoloured water".

To quote a note from one of the volunteer public environmental monitors after seeing that -- " Well that is great news hip hip hooray, oh wait but that is not true."

Web article:
Compass from last night (at 10:20)

If this link works for non-Facebook people, it shows a little of that "discoloured water":


 Don't Frack PEI is hosting a public meeting tonight, Murphy's Community Centre, 7-9AM.
from the notice: "We need your input as we discuss what we should do next to stop fracking from coming to PEI."

And a reminder about the Gene MacLennon concert at the Bonshaw Hall this Saturday, September 21st, at 7PM.

You have likely heard that organic farmer Raymond Loo died yesterday morning, here on PEI.
His obituary:
Visitation is tomorrow from 2-4PM and 7-9PM at the Davidon Funeral Home in Kensington.  The funeral service is Thursday morning at the funeral home chapel. 
The funeral home is just off the north side of Route 2 west of the main intersection in Kensington, on Sunset Drive.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

September 16, 2013

Hi, all,

According to the flashing road sign, the TCH at the Bonshaw Bridge will be one way with traffic lights while they connect Plan B to the current TCH.

Here is what it looked like Sunday:

View from near Bonshaw Provincial Park, looking northeast on Plan B towards CBC tower, Sunday, September 15th, 2013. Note the un-hydroseeded slope, by the way.

Over thirty feet of rock stands between Plan B and current TCH in Bonshaw before they meet.  It was still very wet from Friday's rain; rows of hay bales have been placed in the Bonshaw Provincial Park leading to the river, so they are anticipating some sort of sediment flow at some point.
Also, for south shore residents or folks going to or from the bridge, the road work in DeSable is continuing.  The current TCH is being ripped up and shaved down in front of the Blue Goose.  The shale they are digging up is dumped in the Little Christos plant parking lot (which has new owners, the rumour is), and fresh shale to pack on the TCH is trucked in -- truckers going at very high speeds on Appin Road and the TCH down to DeSable -- apparently from the old Mudrooters property on Todd Road in DeSable.  All's well that ends well??

Anyway, watch out on the roads, but have a great week.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

September 15, 2013

Hello, all,

Some Sunday Sit-Back-and-Read offerings, from three Islanders speaking clearly and truthfully:

Shawn Hill, the executive director of the Watershed Alliance, points out that the federal gutting of the Island office of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans leaves PEI unwatched and unprotected.  I have highlighted some parts of the article:

DFO Cuts Make Monitoring Harder, Say Conservationists
CBC Website
September 14th, 2013

Recent cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada will make it harder to monitor environmental issues on Prince Edward Island, says a watershed protection group.

There used to be three habitat management biologists on Prince Edward Island, but the department eliminated those positions in the spring. The biologists were responsible for the protection and conservation of fish habitat.

Shawn Hill, executive director of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, said those concerns are at the forefront as heavy fall rains hit the Island.

“As far as we're concerned, there's no law in the books that prevents silt from being put into a waterway. We've heard some reports here last week about that and that concerns us,” he said.

“In the past, the Fisheries Act was a very powerful piece of legislation across Canada and equally on P.E.I. Now that status there in unknown and without the supporting DFO staff, were (sic) concerned that developments and other activities could seriously damage the environment on PEI and there's no one here to say much about it.”

There has been some concerns in recent weeks after heavy rains have caused silt to flow into waterways in the Bonshaw area near the controversial Plan B TransCanada Highway realignment.

Excessive silt in the water causes cloudiness that can result in harmful effects on fish and other aquatic wildlife, according to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Silt and suspended sediment can reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, suffocating organisms.

A spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said biologists will be dispatched to P.E.I. from Moncton, N.B., when required.

Chris here:  So who determines "when required"?  Is it provincial officials who brush off these incidents with "red water goes into red water"?

"You always get the red discoloured water because of the types of soil we have on P.E.I. here, you know, suspended particles," said Yeo.
--June 13, 2013, The Guardian

Some breakfast table calculations determined that Plan B's gravel requirements could have covered 40km of Island clay roads.  Think of the positive effects *that* would have had on sediment getting into Island waterways.


You may not always agree with publisher and columnist Paul MacNeill, but you have to give him credit for speaking his mind, and for giving his staff the opportunity to do the same.  Luke Arbuckle from the staff of the Eastern Graphic (and blogger and conservationist) writes in last week's Graphic in the column titled "Our Space":

Islanders have the power to change things

by Luke Arbuckle, Eastern Graphic, September 11th, 2013

We’ve heard about the construction of the new wind farm in Hermanville, the largest equipment to arrive on PEI.

Now we’re hearing about the need for a new power cable between the Island and New Brunswick.

When do you suppose we’ll hear about a solar energy project?

You’re right, we probably won’t, it makes too much sense.

But, if our government was able to see past its nose, it might realize renewable energy is something this province could have in abundance.

In 1997 the Danish island of Samsoe became 100 per cent powered by renewable energy sources, so the concept is proven.

Ontario was temporarily home to the largest solar farm in the world (in October 2010) until surpassed by larger farms in China and India. Located in Sarnia, Ontario, the 97 megawatt[2] Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant can power more than 12,000 residences. That’s a large portion of Island homes.

So where is PEI’s forward thinking ingenuity?

Oh yeah, it’s wrapped up in Maritime Electric’s monopoly on Island power.

Even if Islanders allowed (yes, we do have a say) another $90 million power cable to be sunk into the Northumberland Strait, or weaved through the Confederation Bridge, it wouldn’t help reduce Maritime Electric’s control over our energy future.

There’s talk of an Atlantic Energy Gateway. We’ve heard it discussed both federally and provincially, but long before our governments can proceed, we as a province need to look at projects like Plan B and decide if we still think our leaders are competent enough to make these decisions. Most already know the answer to that one.

A responsible government would put a call out to vendors to build a solar energy plant here. My guess is it would cost less than $100 million and PEI would be producing its own electricity.

What would happen to energy prices here on PEI if the two 35-year old power cables we have were to fail? Islanders would lose their shirts and our only energy supplier would be all the richer. Glaring evidence of a flawed and outdated system.

Why are we (as taxpayers) investing money in selling energy so we can buy it back at inflated prices? That’s not only bad business, but bad economics.

Sorry Maritime Electric, your reign of social and economic tyranny must come to an end.

The people of this province need to stand up for themselves, run against the furrows and learn to create, harness and distribute their own power.

Luke is one of the young people on this Island that should give us all hope for the future.

And Roger Gordon, retired professor of biology, dismantles the supercilious criticisms from lobbyist Lorne Hepworth regarding Roger's original letter of August 29th):


Scientific Evidence Supports Ban on Cosmetic Pesticides
Commentary by Roger Gordon, published in The Guardian, Friday, September 13, 2013

I would appreciate being given the opportunity to respond to a couple of points made by Lorne Hepworth ("Pesticides can be used safely" - the Guardian Sep 6, 2013), who took issue with my previous submission to the Guardian on the issue of using cosmetic pesticides ("P.E.I. government should ban cosmetic pesticides - the Guardian Aug 29, 2013).

First, it is important to recognize that Mr. Hepworth, as president of Crop Life Canada, represents the interests of a global network of manufacturers and distributors of pesticides, including those commonly referred to as cosmetic or lawn ones.

Mr. Hepworth contends that I "cherry-pick Information to support his (i.e. my) view on the topic." Proving beyond any shadow of doubt that cosmetic pesticides cause cancer or other serious conditions in humans is difficult, because science must rely upon epidemiological or case history studies of human populations after exposure has been inflicted under uncontrolled conditions.

Thus, it is unsurprising that every single study would not show a positive correlation. Yet, many well executed investigations of this type in which robust statistical analyses have been performed do show a worrisome trend. In 2007, an international group of medical researchers extensively reviewed the literature connecting pesticides of various ilks with cancer in humans.

As an example, 10 of 12 studies showed a positive correlation for Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, in four cases reaching statistical significance. Twelve of 14 case studies were positive, 8 reaching statistical significance. Dicamba, mecoprop and carbaryl (all being sprayed on lawns in P.E.I.) were among the culprits. When one pieces together the evidence from these "field" studies with laboratory evidence of damage at the molecular level, it is small wonder that the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001 ruled that a 100 per cent cast-iron cause and effect relationship was not required for a governing body to exercise the "precautionary principle" and ban these chemicals. It is also unsurprising that a growing list of respected bodies have advocated such a ban -the Medical Societies of P.E.I. and of Canada, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Ontario College of Family Physicians, to name but three.

A second point of Mr Hepworth's is that we should be reassured of the safety of these pesticides because they have been approved by Health Canada. I am afraid that this does not give me the same sense of comfort. In the first place, Health Canada only tests the active ingredients, whereas commercial formulations contain a variety of so-titled "inert" ingredients (solvents, dispersants, etc) that in many cases have undesired effects of their own.

Also, there are several examples of pesticides that were once approved by regulatory bodies in existence at the time that have, in light of subsequent knowledge, been banned. DDT, fenitrothion, and 2,4,5-T (the partner to 2,4-D in "Agent Orange") come to mind. Up until the 1970s, farmers were allowed to spray apple orchards with lead arsenate. So please, let's not look to Health Canada for peace of mind. The only responsible course is to ban these chemicals that are being sprayed unnecessarily on lawns.

- Roger Gordon of Stratford is a retired biologist and former Dean of Science at UPEI. During his career at several universities he conducted research and published extensively on controlling insect pests using biological, environmentally-sound strategies.

You may need a whole pot of coffee or tea to get through all this!  ;-) 
Or just go enjoy Open Farm Day!  http://www.gov.pe.ca/af/openfarmday/index.php3?lang=E

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

September 14, 2013

 Hi, all,

The bad news is that is was Friday the 13th. 
The good news is that it wasn't all bad.

The bad news is that the environmental monitors got soaked and muddy and so did our cameras.
The good news is that there were warm temperatures and fine companions.

The good news is that there were no major, catastrophic failures at Plan B.
The bad news is that everything failed a little bit.

The good news is that on Friday the chief engineer said they had hydroseeded and mulched everything and did all they could.
The bad news is that wasn't really true.

The good news is that the Environment Minister said her approval of Plan B ordered that Plan B construction mitigations could withstand a 1-in-25-year storm. 
The bad news is that it can't even withstand these late summer tropical depressions we get once or twice each year.

The bad news is that many of our elected officials and their designates do not have our Island's best interests at heart.
The good news is that more and more of us are aware of this and will work together to change things.

Take care,
Chris O.,

A few photos from yesterday (many more on Facebook or other places later):

Late afternoon, Friday, September 13th, 2013, sediment from new South Peter's Road area entering Crawford's Stream (downstream of Hemlock Grove). Sediment is more orangey-brown and coming from shale-fill hillside at upper left and inappropriate mitigations.  Photo by Larry Cosgrave.

Sediment further downstream later that evening, September 13, 2013 (CO photo with raindrop artifacts).

September 13, 2013

Hi, all,

Let's hope it's a lucky day on PEI and the amount of rain is less at Plan B and it falls gently.

TIR spokesman and chief engineer Stephen Yeo is confident, saying that they did everything they could and they feel good (at 2:45min):
The first shots (after the intro with the anchor) are of Bonshaw looking down into Plan B if you are standing on the current TCH.  The purplish spray paint line marks the edge of the cut.
It's a steep ride down, and connecting the two roads is going to be interesting.

from middle of August 2013, on Plan B at Bonshaw near provincial park towards bridge, looking up at cliff, guard rail, and TCH on top of it
Upcoming events and groups to note:
Fresh, local food:
There is a group of people who have organized the PEI Food Exchange, where they help obtain, sort and distribute extra vegetables from local gardeners and farmers for people who don't have access. They are busy most of these upcoming weekends; details here:
The always-giving Kat Murphy has been a driving force behind this.

Sunday is Open Farm Day

(and no event, but an interesting group started by the great Di Hill:)
PEI Peasants -- Small Scale Food Producers:
"This group is dedicated to the production of food on a small scale on Prince Edward Island, Canada. It's open to anyone who is interested in growing their own food with maybe some extra to sell, trade or donate. Whether you have a herb pot on the balcony of your apartment, or a few acres with a handful of livestock, we hope you will find this group useful for networking and information."
Next week:
Don't Frack PEI is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, September 17, at 7PM, at the Murphy's Community Centre, featuring St. Francis Xavier University professor of political science Peter Clancy, activist Eliza Knockwood, and singer Teresa Doyle with her original and quite catchy, "Let's Ban the Foolin' Fracking!"

If, however, you are in Summerside, Martin Rutte is giving a workshop "A BOLD Tomorrow -- co-creating a Heaven on Earth."  Details at:

A week from Saturday (September 21) is the annual Gene MacLellan tribute concert at the Bonshaw Hall.   More details next week.

Dates in October:
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is giving the annual Symons Lecture at the Confed Centre on Thursday, October 10 at 12:30PM.  The topic is usually some aspect of confederation, and the speaker is usually quite open and critical of things. 

Last year the speaker was David Suzuki, when he said:

"I will say, We have to stop forcing nature -- we have to stop shoehorning nature -- into *our* agendas, for God's sake!
Don't tell me that so we can drive a little more 'safely', we are going to devastate forest -- I mean that doesn't make sense to me!
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."

The year before was Ivan Felligi, former chief statistician for the Census, and he really lit into scrapping the mandatory census by the Harper government.  So Paul Martin could be interesting.
Tickets are free, but you have to call to reserve them (566-1267 after 10AM) and there is a limit of two per person.

And, finally, we are in the planning stage of a Plan B  Anniversary event -- Plan Beyond, to take place on Friday afternoon/evening, October 11th; details to follow. 

Hope you have a good Friday afternoon,
Chris O.,

September 12, 2013

Hi, all,

A lot of loose-ends - with apologies for the length.

A huge bouquet, perhaps of hydroseeded clover flowers, to Cindy Richards, public environmental monitor, who has been tirelessly communicating with the people from Environment and from Transportation who are trying to keep the sediment from flowing into the waterways, especially with Friday's rain coming.
Media from yesterday:
CBC Compass (@6min) from last night, John Jeffery tracking down Liberal MLAs after their caucus:
Robert Vessey ("Bessy" in closed-captions) emerged as if from a time-warp and said that his department is all about making tough decisions, and getting the highway up to standards with federal dollars.

and about 8minutes into it, Compass repackaged the "Plan B steep embankments worry otherwise positive fire chief" story from the previous night's Maritime News.  "Nice" shots of the steep embankments.

Glad that CBC is finding more angles to report -- and  **how much is this costing?** -- a real breakdown of the numbers-- would be appreciated.

Steep embankments are seen on the last of Stephen DesRoches' photos from August 21st, 2013:
all photos found here: http://www.focusedonlight.com/2013/08/a-new-island-highway-is-born/

Looking west towards the CBC tower at Churchill, where the two roads are meeting for a bit.  This area is currently causing a lot of runoff into the waterways.
Western edge of Bonshaw:  A curve replaced by a curve ripping into a hillside. The hillside on the right was mostly trees last year.
Bonshaw Hill (what's left): Switching perspective and looking east, Plan B built up 50 feet.  You can see the "access road" on the downhill side of the curve at center and bottom left.  Is that path going to be cleared in the winter of snow in case of accident??   The triangular-shaped dirt area is a "storage area for waste" as former mining engineer and now chief provincial engineer Stephen Yeo puts where the shale and rock chunks deemed not road-grade had been dumped and packed down.  This area is also causing runoff into the Bonshaw (West) River, down by the footbridge along Green Road, out of the photo at the bottom.
Looking towards Bonshaw Bridge: Another view of curve, embankment, and the unwanted shale site. Bonshaw 500 go-kart park on center left.
The Bonshaw end (bridge not in shot but below bottom left) looking north-east.  Now the excavation has gone so deep the road will be surround by embankments that really need some vegetation growing on them right now.
All welcome to a Plan B "planners" meeting tonight -- we will talk about what's going on at the site, Citizens' Alliance activities, etc.  6PM, Bonshaw Community Centre, with people bringing an easy snack to share as dinner while we meet.
An upcoming event in Nova Scotia:
(the preregistration date is today, September 12)
Saturday, September 14th, 10AM to 4:30PM in Tatamagouche, NS
Gandhian Non-Violence and Community Organizing

"A unique one-day workshop opportunity to learn about Gandhian non-violent approaches to organizing being used in India today - and a chance to reflect on what might apply to our own communities! This workshop will be of interest to everyone wanting to build a strong, self-determined, resilient and sustainable local community."
For further information contact Wilf Bean at wilfbean@gmail.com

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

September 11, 2013

Hi, all,

"Just slow down, and everything will be fine," said Chief Engineer Stephen Yeo, on the radio last night.*

Oh, now you get it.

*(he was referring to the deplorable condition of the TCH at Riverdale while they dig up the road)
CBC Radio this morning and the Maritime TV news last night mention the safety concerns about rescuing people in vehicles who might go over any of the new steep embankments. 
Maritime Late news last night (@3min):

Some of the views of those partially grassed steeped embankments of Plan B in the story are taken from Green Road across the river valley, a view which was once a hillside covered with trees.

It's a little dicey driving through Plan B construction now, as Steve Yeo mentioned.

from earlier this summer at cut near Fairyland

Saturday there were so many articulated dump trucks and giant excavators criss-crossing the site or working very near (too many to bother with flagman, evidently), I felt like a tiny reptile in the age of dinosaurs.

Just goofing around.  Have a good day,
Chris O.,

September 10, 2013

 Hello, all,

With relief, and since the rain stopped, this update contains no further reports of compromised mitigations at Plan B, and no news media reports as apparently they are as tired as we are of images of sediment dumping into waterways and government people nodding and waving their hands.  We will see what happens at the sites to improve cover over the exposed road cuts.

Other issues out there:
Maureen Kerr wrote a descriptive letter on what's happened with cosmetic pesticides, and where we should be going:


Islanders still don’t clue in

Published on September 09, 2013, in The Guardian


Shortly after I read the letter to the editor by the chair of the Cancer Society (re: Pesticide Concerns, September 4th, 2013) urging the health minister and premier to ban cosmetic pesticides because "they provide no health benefit, but rather may increase the risk of developing cancer," I was told that a daycare and kindergarten in my community spray their lawn with cosmetic pesticides (but not in the enclosed area) and I felt physically sick to my stomach.

People I’ve spoken with, upon learning that P.E.I.’s cosmetic pesticide ban that took over two years to enact was, in fact, a ban of just one chemical, have been outraged. The provincial government listened to hundreds of presentations on the dangers of cosmetic pesticides, but chose only to ban one chemical, 2-4-D (although golf courses and farmers can still use it).

I can’t imagine there would be a single person who would still spray their lawn after hearing from a scientist (retired UPEI Dean of Science, Roger Gordon’s letter: Re: P.E.I. should ban cosmetic pesticides, Aug 29, 2013) or from the chair of the P.E.I. Cancer Society, about how dangerous these chemicals are, especially to children. But they aren’t the first to confirm this. This has gotten to be an old message, and a painstakingly old fight.

Many people think a government wouldn’t allow such a thing to happen in this day and age, spraying toxic chemicals near children, but in P.E.I. where we have become known for our disturbingly high cancer rates, it happens frequently. Schools, sports fields, and playgrounds all subjected to pesticide drift (Google it if you don’t know what it is).

Come on, P.E.I. This is urgent. Do the right thing and put the proper laws in place to ban these carcinogenic chemicals. Just look at Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland or even Manitoba’s new laws. Islanders would love to join the 22 million people across Canada who aren’t exposed to cosmetic pesticides. That’s what we expected you to do years ago. Do the right thing now.  

Maureen Kerr,
Social media & technology trainer,

Maureen writes with a collection of dedicated "health hackers" on the website http://peicancer.com/
The most recent post also includes a link to a 14 minute TED talk by Margaret Heffernan on "The Dangers of 'Willful Blindness'", well worth watching, as it discusses something that seems like it doesn't happen here-- purposeful acceptance of something that is not right; the speaker also champions individuals who have worked so hard to bring a serious health issue to light and their difficult journeys.  Hats off to Maureen and those working on this.

and here is a bit of news from the University of Regina, regarding response to a situation which is interestingly familiar:

Petition calls for vote on a vote

By Emma Graney, The Leader-PostSeptember 4, 2013

A potential motion of nonconfidence in University of Regina top brass all boils down to one thing - money.

Susan Johnston, an associate professor and member of the Coalition of University of Regina Educators (CURE), says the 60-plus members of U of R council who signed a recent petition simply want to know "Where is the money going?"

The petition, launched in August and submitted to university management Tuesday afternoon, effectively calls for a vote on a vote; that is, council would vote on whether its members are prepared to cast secret ballots to determine if president Vianne Timmons and vice-president Tom Chase are safeguarding the academic mission of the university.

Timmons last week scheduled a special Sept. 27 university council meeting to discuss the petition, but there's now a chance the initial vote could go ahead on that day.

However, even if the council does conclude through a final vote that it has no confidence in Timmons and Chase, it doesn't mean either of them will step down.

Timmons said she will raise the issue to the board of governors, but board chair Lee Elliott has publicly thrown his support behind the university's senior management.

Sean Tucker, an associate professor in the business faculty, didn't sign the petition.

Although reluctant to talk about the issue publicly, he said he felt compelled to as "this is a critical juncture for the university."

"We could be potentially risking our reputation here," he told the Leader-Post.

"I think the positive out of this (Sept. 27) meeting is that it will clear the air, and we need to clear the air on this campus and start to move forward."

He also said he believed Timmons's record - when it comes to the First Nations University of Canada, for example, or assisting the two Nigerian students in sanctuary - is "something to be proud of."

"My concern is, really, what is the alternative?" he said.

"Practically speaking, I don't see it."

Johnston, on the other hand, thinks there is not enough transparency at the top level of university management - hence the push toward a non-confidence vote.

"Our concerns here are genuine," she said.

"The level of (budget) information we're getting is not very much. It doesn't tell us, for example, the change in spending in the president's office over the past decade or five years.

"What it all comes back to is that, right now, the kind of cuts we're enduring are unprecedented."

Timmons says while she believes faculty and staff do have adequate access to funding and budget information, she will "absolutely stand by any faculty member" who has concerns or signs the petition.

"I understand there are concerns, because yes, times have changed," she said.

"Whether it's 10 or 50 faculty members with these concerns, I want to hear them and respond to those concerns."

Timmons said she would stand by her record at the U of R.


Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,

September 9, 2013

Hi, all,

It rained yesterday, a lovely deep rain that the farmers need, that our aquifers need.  But Plan B doesn't need it because nothing really was "mitigated" since Tuesday's rain.

I would show you new photos that the volunteer environmental monitors took, but really, just think about the photos from:
September 4th
June 8th
May 18th
April 12th
March 14th
December 11th, 2012
November 9th, 2012

and it looks pretty much the same (OK, one new photo below).

(descriptions and new videos from yesterday and older photos and video can be found in the www.stopplanb.org front page and archives or on Facebook at the Plan B Atlantic Gateway Highway Proposal group)

As Carl Mathis pointed out sardonically a few months ago in a letter to the editor, that's about one-in-25 day rain event, not one-in-25 year event the site is supposed to be prepared against.

One can come to the conclusion that in the effort to stay "On time and on budget", mitigations (manpower, low-tech interventions like sandbags) are being given the short shrift.

Perhaps those travel writers for GoMedia should take a stroll to Plan B...

Take care,
Chris O.,

Volunteer Environmental Monitor at downstream side of Crawford's Brook Culvert, Sunday, September 8th, 2013, about 5PM.  (Photo by Environmental Monitors) Sediment coming in from upstream side due to improper covering of exposed shale hillsides uphill.

September 8, 2013

Hello, all,

The Sierra Club session on water last night was very interesting, not only the excellent speakers and the seriousness of their topics, but the discussions initiated from members of the audience. 

Of note to the backbenchers were the exchange between Winter River - Tracadie Bay watershed co-coordinator Don Mazer and Charlottetown city councilor Eddie Rice, the sight of former provincial environment minister Richard Brown nodding about all the good he himself did, and NDP Leader Mike Redmond, who asked about particular decisions showing misplaced priorities.  While Mr. Rice sincerely understands the seriousness of one watershed being drained to be used and flushed into another watershed's harbour, he tossed finding the solution (other than water conservation) back at Don.  So a bunch of volunteers in a watershed are the ones who have to invent the solutions.

We circled the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Irene Novaczek as if we were going through her garden, except she tends her garden and we have polluted and overfished our Gulf.  Add to this the sensitive location of the proposed Old Harry site for an experimental offshore well, and you can see how absolutely reckless putting a exploratory well would be.

Andrew Lush also spoke about fracking and its hazards, especially for PEI, and when the floor was opened for general comments, Mount Allison (Sackville, NB) environmental studies professor Brad Walters got up and said, basically, if our government allows companies to put wells on their leases, it usually means about a oil rig a kilometer -- just google "images landscape fracking" to get an idea. He said New Brunswick has allowed that is facing the consequences, but PEI!  It jeopardizes *everything* that means the beautiful Island way of life.

A 2 minute video from National Geographic, very dispassionately describes fracking in the US.

However, the much-touted The Economist, a publication with decent reporting on world news (without the froth of celebrity "news" of many North American news magazines) publishes happy shiny stories like this:
saying Pennsylvania is the very best place to frack and it's oh-so-safe.

Don't Frack PEI is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, September 17, at 7PM, at the Murphy's Community Centre, featuring St. Francis Xavier University professor of political science Peter Clancy, activist Eliza Knockwood, and singer Teresa Doyle.

Usually government people and industry cite revenue and the need for fossil fuels when permitting these kinds of explorations, but both SOSS and Don't Frack PEI discuss the need to end dependency on fossil fuels, and Don't Frack PEI provides plans for alternative energy in their subtitle ("Wind, Water. Sun -- Energy for the Long Run") http://dontfrackpei.com/web/

All three talks focussed on water and its long-term importance in the face of short-term shouts. Good job, Sierra Club!

Have a cool, rainy Sunday,
Chris O.,

September 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Tonight, three talented Islanders are speaking about water issues in an event organized by the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.   You likely have heard their names and what topics they speak most knowledgeably and passionately about, but when I was thinking of these three, these words came to mind:

Watching, ready to defend  -- Andrew Lush will be speaking for "Don't Frack PEI" and was recently spotted in a crowd of thousands wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a stop sign with the words "Say NO to Shale Gas".

A Class Act -- Irene Novaczek will be speaking about efforts of the SOSS-PEI (Save Our Seas and Shores) and the ridiculous risks in oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Irene, with grace, has dealt with a set of circumstances which shed only enough light on situations at UPEI and the Institute of Island Studies to confirm a need for more transparency, better leadership, clearer vision, and a more intuitive understanding of this dear Island. 

And Tireless -- Don Mazer will be speaking about watersheds.  I came across a clipping I had saved and was shoved in with some recipes (!) from The Guardian in August 2007 referring to fishkills and other mistreatment of our freshwater, and what it says about us. (And how he could have written it last month.) It is well worth rereading.

Bonshaw River, September 3rd, 2013.


Creating a "green Island" requires a change of mind and heart
Commentary by Don Mazer
printed on August 15, 20078, in
The Guardian.

During my training to be a clinical psychologist, I worked with a psychiatrist who was very enthusiastic about drug treatment with his patients. He described his practice as "medicate to toxicity, then reduce it one level." That is, prescribe just a little less than what it would take to make the patient sick (or maybe even kill her) and it will hopefully make her better.
I believe this is a useful story for reflecting on what we have come to accept as normal practices in how we grow food and the thousands of fish that were killed in the waters of the Dunk and Tryon Rivers recently.
Potentially toxic levels of chemicals are routinely applied to the land in order to produce the food that is intended to help make us healthy. We know that these are dangerous chemicals. We require those who use them to be well trained and to protect themselves when applying them. We require what we believe to be just enough of a buffer zone, just enough crop rotation and just enough restrictions on plowing on sloped land to hopefully prevent these chemicals from finding a way into our water. We develop environmental farm plans that are adopted by many Island farmers. And then, another big rain comes, the waters run red and many fish are killed.
Even with legislated changes, we only managed to go three years without a major fish kill. And the excellent work of undersupported watershed groups to protect and restore our waterways is once again heartbreakingly undone.
What is to be done? The Guardian editorial called for "dramatic change" should it be conclusively determined that farm chemicals seeped through the buffers, and proposed more effective buffer zone legislation, stricter rules on the application of pesticides and stronger enforcement of regulations.
And should it not be 'conclusively determined', would it indicated such dramatic change is not required? Would these 'normal' farming practices be acceptable? After all, provincial health officials do not believe that the link between pesticides and human health has been conclusively determined, and so no change in the application of farm chemicals is regarded as necessary to protect human health.
The Guardian's suggestions are timely and useful, but the problems that we face go far beyond the restorations of fish habitat and populations. As Dr. Palanisamy Nagarajan clearly pointed out in his article, our environmental problems are more systemic and interrelated. The fact that thousands of fish have been killed is deeply disturbing. It is also a symptom of the degree to which local ecosystems have become degraded and disturbed. We should not require fish to die before we conclude that our waterways are endangered and that action is required.
Most of the environmental problems we experience, and the practices that contribute to them, come to be reflected in our waters. At the watershed consultations last winter, there was a broad consensus among diverse environmental, community and farming groups that the Island waterways and environment were at a turning point, where there was only a limited window of opportunity to take significant action before the ecological health of the Island is irretrievably damaged.
What we require is not only a fundamental shift in perspective and policy but a change of mind and heart. We need to be guided by an ecocentric vision, grounded in the value of enhancing ecological health in all of our practices. We can no longer afford the 'risk management' models that push the land to its limits, try to stay right below that level of toxicity, and hope that no 'illness' results. It would be useful to develop benchmarks of ecological health (e.g. for water quality, soil quality, forest cover) with the aim of ensuring that, as stewards of the land, we should not only 'do no harm', but leave the land better than we found it.
Only those practices that enhance the ecological health of our land and waters should be supported. And if the idea of the 'green Island' is to be anything more than glib marketing rhetoric, then it is incumbent that government provides leadership in articulating a vision of a what a truly sustainable, ecologically healthy P.E.I. would be like in 10 or 20 years and that all programs and policies be in support of this vision.
And of course, such a vision of an ecologically healthy Island requires that we address what The Guardian and many other Islanders recognize as the chemical dependency of our mainstream farming practices. As a psychologist, I use diagnostic language only occasionally and with great care, but it does seem to me that our collective reliance on farm chemicals has many of the hallmarks of the clinical chemical dependencies and addictions to drugs or alcohol. Traditional addictions reflect 'tolerance', an increase in dosages over time, and a range of disturbances in thought, such as denial, rationalization and cognitive distortions, that seem quite evident in our use of farm chemicals. Along with increasing use, we feel that we can't live/farm without them, deny their negative effects in the face of compelling evidence, and provide many reasons why we must continue using them.
We have often framed these issues as a conflict between the 'environment' and the 'economy.' But in fact, our human economy and well-being is ultimately dependent upon the well-being of the environment. Perhaps the central insight of ecology is that all things are connected. It is imperative that we recognize that human practices that degrade and endanger the environment actually threaten the very basis of our economy as well as our human health. Theologian and environmentalist Thomas Berry once suggested that "there are no healthy humans on a sick planet." We need to regard the death of these fish as a reflection of how much the health of this Island and all of its inhabitants, human and non-human alike, has been jeopardized. and to make the dramatic changes that would contribute to a truly healthy, sustainable and 'green Island.'

Don Mazer taught psychology and environmental studies at UPEI before recently retiring and is a board member of ECO-PEI. He lives in Suffolk on the Winter River.

Tonight's tentative agenda for the Sierra Club event (Room 207, Murphy's Community Centre):

6:30 pm- public viewing of displays, plus ongoing video recording for those who want to state their 'water' concerns [to be used for doc's &/or youtube postings]
7 pm- Introduction MC Bethany Toombs
- Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter short report of activities- Chairperson Emma Hebb
- Sierra Club Canada short report of national activities- National Board member Tony R
7:30 - 1st Panelist Andrew Lush- 'Don't Frack PEI'
7:45 - Qs for Andrew [comments to be held until 8:45]
7:55- 2nd Panelist Don Mazer, Co
Chairperson, Winter RiverTracadie Bay Watershed
8:10- Qs for Don [comments to be held for 8:45]
8:20- 3rd Panelist Irene Novaczek, SOS/S
PEI (protect the Gulf)
8:35- Qs for Irene [comments to be held for 8:45]
8:45- Comments from the floor and follow-up by Panelists
9:15 Wrap up including summary of action plans

Have a great weekend, and pop into the salsa-making workshop hosted by the PEI Food Exchange at 10AM at the Farm Centre if you are in the area,

Chris O.,

September 6, 2013

Hi, all,

Minister Sherry: The dream, the wish, the hope that mitigations would work...
(top story)

She didn't write Dream, Wish or Hope in her exact and exacting order to Minister Vessey for her conditional approval of Plan B:

excerpt from Minister Sherry's conditional approval for Plan B, October 1, 2012.
Certainly, on Tuesday construction continued in Riverdale (#3), these measures are not even working for our normal rainfalls (#2), and she IS the one responsible for this (#1), even if she can't control the weather.

It was good to see Opposition Leader Stephen Meyers at Plan B, looking around for himself, and West River Watershed Coordinator Megan Harris.  Glad to see CBC investigate these issues and take the Minister to task.

Upcoming events:
Saturday, September 7th, 7-9PM, Murphy's Community Centre, Charlottetown.
'PEI Needs Clean Water - Come Join the Movement to Protect It!' A panel discussion will be led by Don Mazer from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, Andrew Lush from 'Don't Frack PEI', and Irene Novaczek from 'Save Our Seas and Shores- PEI'. 
Other events are planned, including a walk in the Winter River Watershed and a social at the Bonshaw Community Centre --details contact Bethany Toombs <btoombs01@gmail.com> or https://www.facebook.com/events/373811692721458/

Council of Canadians and CUPE re: Health Accord
from their press release:

"The Council of Canadians has partnered with CUPE to launch a nation-wide campaign that will pressure the Federal government to renegotiate a fair Health Accord. We have a chance to protect and strengthen universal health care in the upcoming 2014 Health Accord.  We need to make sure that Islanders have access to the same high quality health care services as those in other Canadian provinces.

 "The campaign will be rolling out in three provinces in 2013! In PEI the two-week campaign starts September 7th and ends September 21st.  The Council of Canadians, CUPE and other allies, will be organizing workshops, public outreach campaigns, and media-grabbing events including a Town Hall September 16th from 7pm to 9pm at the Loyalist, 195 Harbour Dr. Summerside and a Community Festival for Public Medicare September 21st from 11am to 2pm at Britannia Hall, Canada Rd., Tyne Valley.

 "If you have time to attend a workshop, volunteer during a door-to-door canvass, or attend the townhall and community festival, please be in touch! For more information or to sign up for a workshop or to volunteer, please contact Leonard at: 2014pei@gmail.com  or Leo Broderick at lcb45@eastlink.ca "

Workshops are Tuesday through Friday next week in various locations -- full schedule, more events here at the excellent Status of Women's weekly newsletter:

and checkout the PEI Food Exchange's website:
and its salsa-making workshop tomorrow (10AM, Farm Centre). More on them later!

Take care,
Chris O.,

September 5, 2013

Hello, All,

CBC coverage from Wednesday, kudos to Cindy Richards for documenting and

Last night's Compass coverage of Plan B mitigation failures from
Tuesday's rain:

CBC News web story:

Let's hope today's rains aren't heavy or substantial.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

September 4, 2013

 Hello, all,

After such a sunny summer, we were bound to get a September rainy day, and we got it.  Not *that* much rain fell, for September, but it completely overwhelmed various mitigations along Plan B, and blew open new problems.

When I checked things before lunch, the mitigations were holding, but after the lunchtime rains, Cindy Richards found different story:

Bonshaw:  Sediment spilling into the Bonshaw (West) River:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Sediment rushing down old Crosby Road embankment into West River, September 3, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Bonshaw River, Plan B side, by footbridge, sediment coming from old Crosby Road ravine, September 3, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
From the footbridge (that could use replacing) over the Bonshaw (West) River, September 3, 2013.  Sediment from Plan B, Bonshaw section.

Despite all that crushed glass and shale to stop up the springs, by afternoon the mitigations failed at Crawford's Stream:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Sediment running into Crawford's Stream (downstream of Hemlock Grove), September 3, 2013.  Again.

And a new but totally predictable failure was sediment-laden water rushing down from the denuded hillsides by Riverdale Road, into Crawford's Brook and the box culverts upstream.  This is placing more stress on those shifty shifting boxes.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Sediment rushing down ditch from uphill and upstream of Crawford's Brook, September 3, 2013.

All photos by the indomitable Cindy Richards.

We should add the workers on the project are trying to deal with this Hydra, but they didn't create this mess.

Frustrated? Disgusted?  Consider contacting Environment Minister Janice Sherry  jasherry@gov.pe.ca
local MLA Valerie Docherty     vedocherty@gov.pe.ca
Transportation Minister Vessey   rsvessey@gov.pe.ca


On water issues, the Sierra Club is hosting a workshop Saturday:

7-9PM, Murphy Centre,
You are invited to attend a special evening focused on protecting Prince Edward Island’s precious waters.

Speakers include:
Don Mazer - Co-Chairperson, Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association,
Andrew Lush - Don't Frack PEI, and
Irene Novaczek of Save Our Seas and Shores-PEI.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

September 3, 2013

Hi, all,

Comments on the set of photos taken by photographer Stephen DesRoches (from a small airplane on August 21st).  Here are some more features on each photo:

Thanks to Stephen for permission to reprint his works.  The entire set is at  http://www.focusedonlight.com/2013/08/a-new-island-highway-is-born/#more-4072

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo


Fourth photo: New Haven, looking East  New Haven, PEI: Looking east, with Fairyland structures in upper left.

Note the ballooning of tree cutting in the western part of Fairyland.

The "barley road" is on the centre left where traffic apparently will be rerouted up the hill from Plan B to the current TCH by the Fairyland buildings while they did the cut at the current TCH (where the kingfishers' nest was).  It is hard to get a feel for the depth in photos, but the hill is a good climb.

Middle area shows shale covering crushed glass which is how TIR is dealing with the springs that were uncovered from the hillsides when digging down.

Springs are being routed down into Crawford's Stream (gravel ditch to right of Plan B leading to oval-shaped sediment pond in lower right corner).  So will all the road run-off, in all weather.

The road leading off to center right is the new South Peter's Road, which continues to be built up with shale not able to be used for Plan B.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo 


Photo 5: Looking east, also, a little south of first picture.  Homes on Cameron Road in center-lower right.
Yup, the TCH looks pretty straight here, and new South Peter's Road curvy and with a steep embankment of shale.
Hemlock Grove is off to the lower left (can't see arch culverts over Stream ).

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo 


Photo 6: Churchill, PEI Looking east, continuing along Plan B towards Bonshaw, where the two roads will merge in Churchill.
The current TCH has its "dangerous" curve.
Other notes: Hemlock Grove way to upper right.
In the center-left there is a dirt smudge and that is the backyard of the former Crawford, which is by the TCH and what's left of "old" Peter's Road, now totally filled with huge piles of shale.

The photo inadvertently doesn't show the arch culvert, the box culvert, or either side of Peter's Road being built up 30 feet where Plan B cuts through it. 
If you can remind yourself of what was in all the green areas that were once connected and now have been obliterated, you will know it was more than Minister Vessey's "Eight, or six, trees cut."

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo


Another unauthorized use of a TIR map (ignore green property color variations, please), but it shows the "alignment" of what will be the old road more accurately that the cartoonish map TIR has on its Plan B page (link below).

"New" roads are red with white spots (Plan B and cul-de-sacs on current TCH).  Squiggle on left is new overlook and entrance to Strathgartney Provincial Park.  S-shape in centre-right is "new South" Peter's Road. The tipi is near the "m" in "camp".    Orange arrow points to Crawford's Brook and the box culvert.

The happy shiny map from TIR:

Some of the environmental monitors will check on the rain today around Plan B.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,

September 2, 2013

Hi, all,

Here are three of the twelve photos from Stephen DesRoches' website with my descriptions of his aerial photographs taken of Plan B on August 21, 2013:
(His website photoblog is http://www.focusedonlight.com/ )
A bit of a map is below the photos.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Looking west, from New Haven, into Fairyland.  Gass' Store is the red-roofed building lower left, original TCH on right, Island Coastal is in right foreground.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo 


Same view, a little more angled. 
The "spaghetti bowl" of roads for access to what will be the cul-de-sac former TCH and Route 9 north. Fairyland buildings and wave pool upper right (reddish roof).
The Windsor Motel, now closed, but still sits tidy and shady off to middle right.
Plan B is over three homes of former New Haven families on this stretch; a remaining resilient resident, vocally against Plan B, is totally surrounded (home in lower centre with little red truck).

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo


Fairyland, looking EAST.  "Encounter Creek" buildings and wave pool in centre left. 
Why is Plan B ballooned here?  It lots like way more fairly valuable hardwood was cut than in the rest of Fairyland.  Could be because of how deep they have to cut (13.8 metres) at the current TCH.  The "barley road" access to reroute traffic from Hemlock Grove to current TCH while they make the 13.8 metre cut across both sides of Plan B is angled road lower centre-right through yellowy barley field.

A segment of a TIR map, copied from their website, annotated and used without permission, and very blurry, to show Fairyland and the spaghetti bowl of access roads.The arrows aren't too meaningful, but the black one shows the wide forest cut location.

Enjoy your day,
Chris O.,

September 1, 2013

 Hello, all,

Here is the second in four articles regarding climate change that were published most recently in The Guardian by Dr. Adam Fenech of the Climate Change Lab at UPEI.

The term "ppm" gets used a lot and I had to remember what it meant:
Parts per million (ppm) is a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and in this context means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere when you count out a million particles.

"The Toronto Conference 25 Years Later -- So Where Are We Today?"

Published on July 29, 2013 in the Guardian (link below) and on July 4 at http://projects.upei.ca/climate/
by Adam Fenech
Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Conference, a “perfect storm” of events that launched the issue of climate change onto the global policy agenda. So where are we today – 25 years later?

Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Continually Rising

The global level of carbon dioxide, the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, passed a long-feared milestone in May of this year reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years. Scientific instruments show that carbon dioxide levels had reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million (ppm) – a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering. For the entire period of human civilization, roughly 8,000 years, the carbon dioxide level was relatively stable near 280 ppm. But the burning of fossil fuels has caused a 41 percent increase in the heat-trapping gas since the Industrial Revolution, and scientists say the climate is beginning to react, though they expect far larger changes in the future. Scientists say the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide level symbolizes that so far humans have failed miserably in tackling this problem.  A continuing rise could be catastrophic. It means humans are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds.

Climate Science More Certain

In the past twenty-five years, the science has become more certain, the threats more clearly understood, and the need to reduce emissions more urgent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global community’s scientific authority on these matters, will release its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) over the next 18 months. The Fourth Assessment Report (2007) concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Further support is given for this conclusion in the AR5 through new observations, longer data sets, and more paleo-climate information. Confidence is stronger that many changes in the climate system are significant, unusual or unprecedented. Widespread warming is observed across the surface of the Earth, as well as in the upper ocean. Each of the last three decades has been significantly warmer than all preceding decades since 1850. It is extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature since the 1950s. There is high confidence that this has caused large-scale changes in the ocean, in the cryosphere, and in sea level in the second half of the 20th century. Some extreme events have changed as a result of this anthropogenic influence.

Effects of Climate Change More Foreboding

The drastic melting of Arctic sea ice reached historic lows in 2012 setting off new warnings about the rapid pace of change in the region. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center recorded sea ice in August 2012 covered about 1.32 million square miles, or 24 percent, of the surface of the Arctic Ocean. Some scientists are concerned about the larger climate effects of low sea ice conditions. Some think the collapse of Arctic sea ice has already started to alter atmospheric patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, contributing to greater extremes of weather in the United States and other countries, but that case is not considered proven. What is particularly worrying is that the sea ice is declining much faster than had been predicted in the last IPCC report on the state of the climate, published in 2007. The most sophisticated computer analyses for that report suggested that the ice would not disappear before the middle of this century, if then. Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020.

Last summer’s continent-wide drought – the worst seen in over a decade – led some residents outside municipal water districts to struggle for water supplies for the most basic of activities. Farmers complained about stunted crop growth. Complicating matters, many of the worst-hit areas have even less water on hand than a year ago, raising the specter of shortages and rationing that could inflict another year of losses on struggling farms.

Around the world, extreme weather has become the new commonplace, especially last winter. China endured its coldest winter in nearly 30 years; Brazil was in the grip of a dreadful heat spell; and Eastern Russia was so freezing — minus 46 degrees Celsius— that the traffic lights stopped working in the city of Yakutsk. Bush fires raged across Australia, fueled by a record-shattering heat wave. A vicious storm bringing rain, snow and floods struck the Middle East. In the United States, scientists confirmed that 2012 was the hottest since records began, and in the UK, 2012 was declared the wettest year in England since records began more than 100 years ago. Each year we have extreme weather, but it is unusual to have so many extreme events around the world at once. Such events are increasing in intensity as well as frequency, a sign that climate change is not just about rising temperatures, but also about intense, unpleasant, anomalous weather of all kinds.

Tomorrow, we’ll find out what happened in international environmental diplomacy over the past 25 years.

Here is the link to the Guardian article:

Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,

August 30, 2013

Hello, all,

Walter Wilkins wrote on August 30, 2012:

"Regardless of the physical / social damage Plan B may cause, factually it represents the value system we teach, by example, to our children.
Which, of course, raises the question: Does Plan B represent the value system we hope our children perpetuate?"

Crawford's Hill, Churchill, Fall 2012.

Take care,
Chris O.,

August 29, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A year ago this week was the public meeting on the Environmental Impact Assessment for Plan B.

The Compass coverage, about two and a half minutes, worth watching again (@3:00):
featuring so many dedicated, dear people speaking from the heart.

And The Guardian article is below in full, but here is one short quote, from Yvette Doucette (photo below), a question that encompassed assessing the impact on the environment:
"How many areas on P.E.I. do we have left that are like this area? How can anything mitigate damage to an area that is this precious by the fact that it is so rare on P.E.I. ?" said Doucette.
To which, of course, Stantec had no answers.

Documentation of that damage:
Aerial photographs from last week, from Island artist and photographer Stephen DesRoches:
And I thought it looked bad enough from the ground.

(For comparison: "Flight Over Plan B" from November 2012:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VZvNeqqaA )

from August 27, 2012

Crowd airs frustration with Plan B assessment

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/media/photos/unis/2012/08/27/photo_2157327_resize.jpg photo by Nigel Armstrong

Yvette Doucette of Charlottetown draws a reaction as she speaks during the public input portion of a meeting Monday held to consider the environmental assessment report of a project to modify the Tans (sic) Canada Highway through New Haven, Churchill and...

Published on-line on August 27, 2012

No significant environmental damage, Stantec says

The environment was decidedly hostile at a public meeting Monday in Cornwall to discuss an environmental assessment report on changes to the Trans Canada highway.

The room at the Dutch Inn was laid out with 180 chairs and all but a few were filled. Not one person spoke up in favour of the project.

The meeting was hosted by the PEI Department of Environment, Labour and Justice to get public input on an environmental assessment of the highway project known as Plan B. The report was done by Stantec and made public on the government website on August 2.

"No significant residual environmental affects are likely to occur due to this project during construction (or after)," said Dale Conroy on behalf of Stantec.

"I am wondering if, as part of the environmental assessment you looked at how many areas on P.E.I. are as environmentally sensitive as this one is, that has this level of diversity, that has the plant life and the tree life, the watershed that this particular area has?" said Yvette Doucette when the meeting opened for public input.

"How many areas on P.E.I. do we have left that are like this area? How can anything mitigate damage to an area that is this precious by the fact that it is so rare on P.E.I. ?" said Doucette.

"How many areas on P.E.I. represent what that whole area represents," she pressed as the panel struggled to answer. "How many areas do we have like that on Prince Edward Island. We don't protect what we have here."

"We haven't done an inventory of the whole Island so it's a difficult question to answer," said Jeff Barnes of Stantec.

Members of the public wanted to know what "significant" meant. That too was a difficult question to answer, the meeting was told.

Barnes told the meeting that the purpose of the entire environmental assessment process is not to rule for or against a project but to identify what damage might be done and come up with ways to limit, or mitigate that damage.

"I'm not surprised that environmental assessments leads to better projects that are acceptable," said Barns.

"During the (environmental assessment) the planning has resulted in the avoidance of a large wetland, the (avoidance of the) majority of the hemlock stand and reduced the length of water-course crossings," said Conroy.

The meeting was told that there will be daily inspections and monitoring of the work to check for requirements to reduce environmental damage, like silt control and washing off vehicles that move through areas with invasive species of plants.

Residents went to the microphone in a stream with concerns ranging from wanting more time to respond to the report to allegations that Stantec was hired just to rubber stamp a done deal.

The report is on line and there are ten days from Monday to for the public to submit concerns about the environment and the assessment to government.


Take care,
Chris O.,

August 28, 2013

Hello, all,

This is from Andrew Lush, another Islander making a difference in our environmental future:

(Monday night) I went to the Liberal Caucus Town Hall, along with Dawn Watson
and Angela Douglas from the PEI Watershed Alliance. I asked a question about
fracking, asking if they will start a study into the adverse effects of
fracking if they win the next election. Here's a bit of a summary:

There were about 28 MPs, candidates, and Senators there. The session about
resource development was led by John McKay, who replaced Kirsty Duncan as
Environment Critic six days ago. His knowledge of the portfolio was
obviously patchy. The questions were about Kyoto, pipeline safety, fracking,
green energy, watershed protection, native rights - they were good
questions. The answers were not bad but the speakers, perhaps
unsurprisingly, would not come out against fracking or pipelines. In the
summary, Senator Hubley said that the proposed motion on getting a federal
study done on the adverse effects of fracking was so that we can be sure
that it is safe - not what I had said in my question. Afterwards I spoke to
John McKay, who was already having a heated conversation about fracking with
someone else, and he asked me if using some kind of gel instead of noxious
chemicals for fracking would be acceptable - so I said 'no', and that the
reason we need a study is so that we can show our provincial legislators
that fracking is not acceptable - period.

So it's disappointing that they are not opposing oil and gas development,
but they did say they would undo much of the damage that Harper has done to
environmental legislation. At least it was open questions, credit to them,
not like with the Tories!

MP Lawrence MacAulay is having his summer barbecue for islanders and presumably some of the caucus will be there --
tonight, at his home, 6-8PM, at 6241 St. Peters Road.   They need to hear Islanders' opinions.

Also, it is the last week for the productions Nunsense and Dear Johnny Deere, if you are looking for fine Islander theatrical entertainment.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,

August 27, 2013

Hi, all,

Dr. Adam Fenech wrote an interesting four-part series about climate change last month for The Guardian, and I am repeating it here, one part today.   He is a climatologist who was part of a team that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on climate change, and is currently head of UPEI's Climate Research Unit; he understands and encourages citizens to be involved in the science around them.

He summarized the conference on global atmospheric issues that was held 25 years ago in Toronto, in June of 1988, about what was going on then and implications for now.  Do you recall 1988 and what we were worried about environmentally?  Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan led Canada and the USA (An aside: Reagan had the solar panels on the White House from Jimmy Carter's era removed, and Obama has had new ones installed recently.)  The Berlin Wall and Soviet Union were still standing, and it seemed primary atmospheric concerns were about ozone holes from CFCs.

Here is Part 1: the background on the conference

Reflections on the Toronto Conference
by Adam Fenech

June 29 marked the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Conference that launched the issue of climate change onto the global policy agenda.

Sponsored by the government of Canada, the conference, “Our Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security,” brought together hundreds of scientists and policymakers from across the globe to Toronto with the goal of initiating international action on climate change.

Starting on June 30, 1988, international scientists and policy makers met in Toronto to discuss emerging concerns about global atmospheric issues including acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming.

While the previous decade had seen discussions of both global cooling and warming, the Toronto Conference was the “perfect storm” of events to launch the issue of global warming onto the international policy agenda.

1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research scientist Dr. James Hansen told a U.S. Congressional committee on June 24, 1988, he was 99 per cent certain that a warming trend being witnessed was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere. This received international media attention including the influential newspaper, the New York Times.

2) The conference came one year following the successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce and eventually eliminate pollutants causing depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Canada played a major role in this negotiation which has been heralded as the poster child for successful international environmental diplomacy.

3) The appearance at the Toronto Conference of then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney ensured other international leaders would be in attendance and would bring their international media along with them.

4) The international media remarked on the high level of scientific consensus at the Toronto Conference on the issue of global warming. The media was not accustomed to this amount of consensus on an environmental science issue.

5) The conference occurred during a record setting heat wave for Toronto with daily temperatures at levels never recorded before in over 150 years of observation.

These events combined to generate an enormous momentum towards global discussion and global action on climate change. The 1988 conference, hosted by Canada, put climate change on the global agenda and proposed a specific initial target for a global reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide — 20 per cent below 1988 levels by 2005 — on the way to a much larger ultimate reduction, to be set following further research and debate.

The conference concluded by issuing a stark warning to the world: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.”

Take care,
Chris O.,

August 26, 2013

Hi, all,

Perhaps Transportation or the construction crews can remove the sign alerting people to the Kingfishers' nest, since the birds have been fledged a while, the nest holes in the cliff excavated away....

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Small plastic-protected sheet on sign, east side of area notifying of Kingfishers' nest; TCH at Plan B looking west earlier this month.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Signs from the west side, in drainage ditch made for springs at Plan B cut by TCH in New Haven.  Crushed glass laid down last week has been covered with several feet of shale (bit showing white in lower centre).  Looking west towards Churchill, paved part over Crawford's Stream and Brook in upper right, August 25, 2013.
unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Drainage ditch with old "Construction Zone" and Kingfishers' sign, New Haven, August 25, 2013.

Reminders for events today:
Nature Conservancy of Canada Conway Sandhills Clean-up
, 10AM to 4PM
More details: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/prince-edward-island/stories/a-chance-to-see-a-spectacular.html

Liberal Caucus "Town Hall Meeting", 7 to 9PM, Convention Centre, Charlottetown
the second topic is about "Steps needed for responsible natural resource development", open to the public,
RSVP requested: charlottetownassociation@gmail.com
Some topics that should come up: pipelines, fracking, northern resources, a real commitment to alternative energies....

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

August 23, 2013

Hello, everyone,

There is a lot going on this weekend and the next weeks:

Music and Art events showing other sides of folks involved in Plan B and the Citizens' Alliance:
Jazz and Blues Festival has concerts and workshops in various locations today through Sunday, including music all afternoon Saturday (noon - 6PM) free at Victoria Row.  More details:

and Art in the Open, a free contemporary art festival, around the same place and other locations and times:

The last Sunday afternoon showing of Nunsense is the 25th, and the last two shows are Tuesday and Thursday.

And the Bonshaw ceilidh, tirelessly organized by community members every last Sunday at the month for years (proceeds to a different charity), 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, admission by donation.

A fabulous listing of events is compiled by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women's office:

A few from it:

Seaplant Workshop/ Mini-Spa at Rock Barra Artists Retreat

·  Sunday, August 25th, 11AM - 4PM,  with marine botanist Dr. Irene Novaczek
Fee: $60, includes shore walk and lecture about identification, harvesting and use of our local, edible and medicinal seaplants; a seaplant - veggie lunch (hands on cooking with seaweeds); preparation of several home spa options followed by testing them out!  Great fun in a lovely setting; most activities outdoors, weather permitting.
Please preregister with inovaczek@upei.ca    see http://www.teresadoyle.com/rockbarra.htm

Monday, August 26th, 10AM to 4PM, Nature Conservancy of Canada Conway Sandhills Clean-up
More details: http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/prince-edward-island/stories/a-chance-to-see-a-spectacular.html

"The Nature Conservancy of Canada's Prince Edward Island office is looking for volunteers to help clean beach areas, knock down and remove these structures and help identify birds that are present there. Dependent on good tide conditions, NCC staff and Conservation Volunteers will head out to the Conway Sandhills on Monday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m . There will be a boat leaving from Milligan’s wharf to transport volunteers. However, there is an option for anyone with a canoe or kayak to paddle to the Sandhills if conditions permit.  This event has been scheduled for after the plovers have finished nesting so they will not be disturbed, but please feel free to bring a pair of binoculars along as we can survey for shorebirds too!   To register, visit www.conservationvolunteers.ca; e-mail us at atlantic@natureconservancy.ca or contact our office at 1-877-231-4400."

(this looks interesting, and is open to the public -- it sounds like the Federal Liberals support Keystone Pipeline but not fracking)
Federal Liberal Caucus Town Hall this Monday

Monday, August 26th, 7 - 9PM, PEI Convention Centre, 4 Queen Street, Charlottetown

Moderators: Sean Casey and Senator Catherine Callbeck
There are two 30-critic sessions, the second being:
Second Set of Critics - Steps that are needed for Responsible Natural Resource Development

with Kirsty Duncan, Liberal Environment Critic and member of the IPCC and Marc Garneau, Liberal Natural Resources Critic

Outline:  The set of critics speak each for 5 minutes on the proposed topic followed by a Q & A session for 25 minutes. Each critic will have 5 minutes for a concluding remark. 
Please RSVP to the charlottetownassociation@gmail.com if you are able to attend.

Future events -- September 6th to 8th --

Sierra Club Hosting Panel on Water Issues

"A special evening entitled 'PEI Needs Clean Water - Come Join the Movement to Protect It!' will be held Saturday, September 7th from 7 – 9 pm at the Murphy's Community Centre, 200 Richmond St, Charlottetown. A panel discussion will be led by Don Mazer from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, Andrew Lush from 'Don't Frack PEI', and Irene Novaczek from 'Save Our Seas and Shores- PEI' . Everyone who enjoys clean water and wants to protect it is urged to attend.

This event is hosted by the Atlantic Chapter of Sierra Club Canada as the highlight of their annual gathering Sept 6 to 8th celebrating another year of protecting the Earth with clean, green activities. Sierra Club welcomes all to participate in other parts of the Gathering, such as: Social Enterprise 101, a walk in the Winter River Watershed, and a social gathering at the Bonshaw Community Centre.  For more information, please contact Bethany Toombs <btoombs01@gmail.com> or check out the facebook event page 'ACC AGA Sept 6-8'. "

Have a great weekend,
Chris O.,

August 22, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Boyd Allen's letter in yesterday's Guardian questions their balance.

Plan B paving distorts balance

Published on August 21, 2013


As is the case with most Islanders, reading The Guardian is a daily ritual. I rely on it to keep me informed on the news on the Island. I expect what I read in this paper to report this news in a balanced manner.

Unfortunately three items published by the Guardian in the week ending August 17 have me questioning this balance. I presume these items were vetted by the editorial board before being published.

Campbell Webster’s editorial on the 17th (The New Coke Jumbo Shrimp Party) questions the intelligence of the provincial PC Party for attempting some party optics housekeeping.

He also seems horrified by what he sees as the party’s presenting “patronizing and manipulative falsehoods”.

The editorial of August 15 (Poster Produces Circus Sideshow) chastises the provincial NDP leader, Mike Redmond, for somehow breaching  photo-op etiquette by using satire to highlight the far-reaching issue radiating from our annual fish kills. He’s accused of trivializing this “serious issue” which has gotten less media attention than instigating a feud between two musicals in Charlottetown.

In stark contrast to these is the “Paving work starts on Plan B highway” article also published on the 15th.

This piece is downright celebratory. The minister responsible is given ample space to offer unsupported statements and site updates with no questions asked as the project grinds its way to the finish line. The sustained, widespread opposition to this project was tucked into a few lines which evidently didn’t warrant any comment from the minister.

It appears to me the only editorial problems grappled with on this article were if the file from the Shaw Building pasted properly and how to format the panoramic paving photo which accompanied it.

It seems that any sense of balance is getting skewed.

Boyd Allen,

It is sad that we have a one-sided conversation with our media (meaning, they will print critical letters but not respond to them), and that the Island professional media outlets seem to be the training ground for tomorrow's government media people.
Maureen Kerr, via the group the Pesticide Free PEI, and the Canadian Cancer Society, has organized the free screening of the movie A Chemical Reaction, tonight, 7PM, at the Stratford Town Hall, with a discussion afterwards including retired UPEI Dean of Science Roger Gordon. 

Especially if you live in the Stratford area, it should be an important film to see. 
Facebook event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/160500637472606/
Movie's website, with good short trailer:


Paul MacNeill writes about the fishkills in the Eastern Graphic
" Politicians like Janice Sherry are gutless, refusing to even comment on the impact of kills until testing is complete weeks later."

A little more on the petroleum spill from the late 1970s on the West River in Bonshaw:
Compass, 6:25 into the broadcast:

Guardian coverage:

Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,

August 21, 2013

Hi, all,

It is Wednesday and the Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 2PM; local food is obviously good for the environment, and your food choices are a bit like voting several times a day.

There are several Farmers' Markets around the island, and here is a partial list:
There is a lot of interesting information on their website.

The provincial Department of Agriculture has no listings that I could find for farmers' markets or for community sponsored agriculture (CSA) providers, either.  Here is a four year old article on the economic impact of farmers' markets:

and the department has a couple of "Agri-Food" programs where farmers can get some help buying their own signs to be a part of "PEI Flavours" and the Buy PEI initiative. http://www.gov.pe.ca/agriculture/buypei

Raymond Loo's beef will be at the market this Saturday, August 24th -- the family is able to manage every third week (hoping to make it every second week) while Raymond is getting treatment for cancer in Halifax.  Hope you can plan for that.
Saturdays in summer are completely chaotic at the Market, but can be doable if you don't mind a parking lot walk and are not in much of a hurry and don't mind saying, "Excuse me" too often.  Other options are to go at the beginning or end of the day, and certainly to attend one of the other markets.

Other news:
CBC is reporting what sounds like some oil goo found in the West River by Bonshaw (completely unrelated to Plan B!) from a spill in the 1970s.  Details on radio this morning and likely on Compass. 

Also, regarding replacing the Crapaud bridge that burned Monday, TIR engineer Darrell Evans mentioned that the department happens to have some "pre-cast arches" in their yard and will replace it with one of those structures.

TCH work is beginning in DeSable, apparently to the existing road, so watch out for that once you navigate the Plan B construction.

An event this Sunday:
A workshop at Rock Barra on edible and medicinal seaplants with marine botanist Irene Novaczek
Seaplant workshop / mini spa at Rock Barra Artists Retreat on Sunday, August 25th from 11 AM - 4 PM.  The cost is $60, includes shore walk and lecture about identification, harvesting and use of our local, edible and medicinal seaplants; a seaplant - veggie lunch (hands on cooking with seaweeds); preparation of several home spa options followed by testing them out!  Great fun in a lovely setting; most activities outdoors, weather permitting.  Contact Irene Novaczek <inovaczek@upei.ca> for more details

Have a great day, enjoying some local food!
Chris O.,

August 20, 2013

Hi, all,

Fish kills and the health of island waterways:
Concern about a lack of action, last week the NDP held a news conference and unveiled a poster of a fake musical festival entitled "FishKill 2013" featuring the Premier and a few Ministers:

NDP-sponsored poster released last week.

to which The Guardian primly wrote a small editorial Thursday about it being a cheap gimmick, and "The focus of the news conference reverted to some bogus poster and not on the continuing problem of fish kills..." and perhaps the media has something to do with the focus reverting??

A bonus concurrent YouTube of Big Mouth Billy Bass fish singing "I'm Worried, Not Happy" (which The Guardian did not comment on or maybe didn't hear about) ends with the petition link:
and the petition link itself (the idea of the petition, the action that the public can do once their attention has been caught, did get a little lost in the fun):

Did it get your attention?   Did a little satire and some folks with some computer skills bring some much needed attention to this issue without being offensive?  Perhaps only the numbers on that petition and how the issue is continued to be discussed once summer is over will tell.

I would assume there are paper copies of the petition available at some point, too.


Also regarding pesticides:
Film showing Thursday evening in Stratford
A Chemical Reaction
From the Facebook event listing:
Community and advocacy group, Pesticide Free PEI, along with The Canadian Cancer Society are hosting a free community film screening of the award winning documentary A Chemical Reaction on Thursday, August 22nd at 7 pm at the Stratford Town Hall. This event will be joined by guest speaker, Roger Gordon, retired dean of science from UPEI who will be answering questions about the health and environment consequences that occur from the cosmetic pesticides being sprayed in our province.
As many of you know, the cosmetic use of pesticides is a public health issue, particularly for children. A Chemical Reaction tells the story of a powerful community initiative that eventually resulted in Canada’s first by-law to ban the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides, in the town of Hudson, Quebec. To view the film’s trailer online, click here: http://pfzmedia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=29


And on the entertainment beat:
The PEI Jazz and Blues Festival starts tomorrow and goes until Sunday, with a wide variety of genres and venues.  Saturday features free concerts on Victoria Row from noon to 6PM.  Doug Millington is one of the organizers behind this grand feast of music.

Saturday will also be "Art in the Open" from 4PM to midnight.

A Free arts festival highlighting the Island's diverse visual art talent, as well as the beauty and history of downtown Charlottetown's public squares and parks.


And the ridiculously silly and entertaining Nunsense has only five shows left in Summerside:

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

August 19, 2013

Hi, all,

A tour of Plan B, August 18, 2013:

This is a very clumsy annotated map, but it gives some idea of location for the photos below.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
In Bonshaw, the bridge work is done, but the apparent work of connecting this:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Looking west into Bonshaw.Provincial Park entrance across TCH on right.  Note pink number in foreground.  August 18, 2013.

to this, has to happen.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Bonshaw cut just west of current TCH, August 18, 2013. Tractor trailer truck heading east along TCH in upper left.

This shows that they still have to dig 3.1 metres down at this point:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
(closeup from first photo on current TCH)


They have a "scratch coat" of asphalt on the section from around Crosby Road to near the CBC Tower.
The winds are strong there when they seem mild elsewhere (say, along the current TCH) -- these sawhorses were blown over.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Signs standing up as they were intended to keep vehicles off new pavement, near CBC tower, Churchill.

It's paved over the Crawford's Brook (the box culvert) and Hemlock Grove's Stream (not labeled on the map above but between Peter's Road and yellow-coloured new south Peter's Road).

A little further east, crushed recycled glass is being used to help somehow deal with the water from the springs in the area. 

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
Crushed glass spread over area with springs, looking west towards Hemlock Grove and towards Churchill, August 18, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Glass substrate, looking east towards current TCH, (former) Kingfisher cliff at upper right.  Connector to current TCH is likely to be around cut-out on left. August 18, 2013.


And then there is Fairyland -- very wide cut east of current TCH, and a narrow one just shown by the glass substrate.  Perhaps they will use a canal lock system to connect everything.
unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Fairyland, from on top of one of the filled-in ravines, looking east to TCH (Encounter Creek buildings up on right out of frame), August 2013.

And then there is the Fairyland spaghetti bowl of roads planned to access Route 9 north and south and run Plan B back into the existing TCH near Gass's General Store. 

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
At a crossroads, looking towards Gass's store, New Haven, August 2013.  Road to Route 9 north is cut and goes off on left.  Scat in foreground.

Even the mammals kicked out of Fairyland have an opinion of Plan B.

Chris O.,

August 16, 2013

Hi, all,

Too bad it's unlikely the inflatable Mike Duffy will be in the Gold Cup Parade, but with the theme the "Parade of Heroes", he just doesn't fit.
But this float was in the parade in Kinkora in July, apparently sponsored by a construction company that didn't get much largess from Plan B, and is NOT related to Mike Duffy.

A float in the Kinkora Parade, July 20, 2013.  Unknown photo source.

Odds and Ends:
Yesterday's Guardian had a page A3 update on Plan B.  While it is mildly mollifying to have The Guardian call it, simply, Plan B, (the name the opponents gave it), it is such a laudatory piece filled with more hot air than that Mike Duffy balloon.  (Safety, on-time, on-budget....)

Please consider writing a little note to The Guardian.   It is about time for the some clarifications from the people paying for this mess.


Paving work starts on Plan B

Guardian photo
          Paving work begins on the "Plan B" highway re-alignment in Bonshaw.
Published in the print edition on August 15, 2013 

by Ryan Ross

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said after all the excavation and grading work it's great to see the project coming together.
"We're ahead of schedule and on budget," he said.
The initial construction work on the $16-million project started in October to reduce the grade and straighten the highway.

Paving started Tuesday morning and long stretches of the roadbed were already covered in their first layer of asphalt by Wednesday afternoon.
The paving will be done in sections with the first portion finished between the Bonshaw Bridge and Crosby Road within the next two or three weeks.
From there construction crews will erect guardrails along elevated portions of the highway and get back to paving the section between Crosby Road and Riverdale Road in about four or five weeks.

In order to reduce the grade and make the hills less steep the roadbed was built up using fill from other sections of the project.
Vessey said putting the guardrail up will take several weeks.
"We can't put traffic up there without the guardrail," he said.

Throughout the project it was met with opposition from protesters and others who argued it was causing environmental problems.
The opponents also said it was too expensive and the government could have made improvements to the old highway for less money.

But as the project neared completion, Vessey said any time you remove entrances to the highway, reduce slopes and take out dangerous curves it makes for a safer road.
"That's what this project was all about," he said.

It's also likely that while I don't think the reporter left his office, a photographer (Heather Taweel) was sent out and she got the photo used in the print edition and the one on-line.  The one above (looking East towards the intersection of Riverdale Road and the TCH by the Strathgartney Lookout) shows the confusion and steep drop -- without a guardrail -- that traffic has to go up there every day *now*.

More unintended irony from Minister Vessey.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Curve west of Crawford's Brook above concrete box culvert, August 2013.

A few Saturday events:

In the west:
Birding on PEI is hosting a bird outing with Island Nature Trust -- shorebirds in Sherbrooke -- north of Summerside, meeting at 9AM at the end of Lock Shore Road:

or if you are not on Facebook and want to see a map:

In the east:
MacPhail Woods is hosting a workshop Saturday, August 17th, on improving riparian zones (areas near rivers) with Rob Sharkie.  Meet at the Nature Centre at 10AM.

In both events, wear appropriate footwear, bring binocs, water, notebook, bug repellant.  Both events are NOT meant only for experts! 

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

PS  Here is a screenshot of part of the construction schedule on TIR's website yesterday. 
While the bridge widening is done as of yesterday, a peek into the pit just west of the provincial park that's supposed to be connected to the bridge looks like it will take *lots* of machines and money to complete.

from http://www.gov.pe.ca/tir/tchimprovement  "Construction schedule" (pdf download)

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for table

August 15, 2013

Hi, everybody,

Remember the Task Force on Land Use Policy?

Here is a public service announcement about it, from the Citizens' Alliance.


As we are beholden to no government, department or political party, we can give information and encourage participation.

Credit to Doug Millington, with technical assistance from Perry Williams.

Please share as you see fit.

Chris O.,

PS  Remember the Lands Protection Act review?  Horace Carver submitted his report, but "it's in simultaneous translation" right now, and waiting for some government officials to read and review it with the Carver, before it is released -- likely to be in the Fall.

August 14, 2013

Hi, all,

Paving started on part of a section of Plan B this week between --and actually over - -Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove) and Brook.

Looking west towards Riverdale, near Hemlock Grove, Tuesday, August 13th, 2013. 

Unwanted, unnecessary, indefensible. 

Chris O.,

PS  A reminder about the public meeting today from 4-5PM at the Kelley Building at UPEI regarding the Institute of Island Studies, open to any Islanders wishing to show support for the institution.  I'll get contact addresses for those unable to make it who want to write something to the review panel.

August 13, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Today at 11AM at the Confederation Centre of the Arts foyer, Grafton Street entrance, Mike Redmond of the NDP is giving a press conference about the inaction on fish kills.  If you are going to be in town, you may want to pop in -- the more attention to this subject, the better. 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14th, 4-5PM, is the second open meeting at UPEI regarding the review of the Institute of Island Studies:
from the Facebook page "Friends of the Institute of Island Studies":

Just a reminder about Wednesday's second IIS review meeting: 4-5 p.m. in Kelley 211. Please come out and share with David MacDonald, Dr. Graham Whitelaw, and the UPEI administration your vision for the Institute of Island Studies.

and worth repeating from Saturday's Guardian:

Shrinking faculty Saddens professor

Published on August 10, 2013 in The Guardian


It is with deep sorrow that I learn of the shrinking of the faculty at UPEI, the result of needless expansion of the administration - really, four vice-presidents to do the work so ably done by the deans of the various faculties and school and by the registrar.

Moreover, the massive building program begun during the tenure of a former president must take its place among the dreadful errors engaged in so foolishly, with little regard for the future.

Perhaps the Institute of Island Studies (to mention merely one example) could relocate to Governor's Island, if the history of the recent past is repeated yet again.

Oh, for the days of Ron Baker and especially Willie Eliot, who guided UPEI so ably!

Dr. Colman O'Hare,
sometime professor of Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic Languages, UPEI

Have a good day,
Chris O.,

August 12, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A couple of notes:

If you weren't able to make it to the Upton Farmlands planning workshop a couple of weeks ago, the survey is still available:
they really would appreciate your input!
It takes about five minutes or less.

Another opportunity to pick currants tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13th, 1PM until about 3PM (or any amount of time you have), at Springwillow Farms, 22748 Route 2, Springfield, the farm of Raymond Loo.  Let me know if you need more information.

For those who have asked about Peter Rukavina's advice about accessing The Guardian on-line,
from a "tweet" of his:
Peter Rukavina ‏@ruk 15 May 2013
"To prevent the Guardian paywall from tracking you, simply prevent your browser from accepting cookies from 'http://ppjol.com '."

And watch for trucks on the road:

Articulated dump truck crossing the TCH at New Haven, late July, 2013.

Take care,
Chris O.,

August 11, 2013

Hello, all,

A year ago, Saturday, August 11, 2012, was the opening of the Art Exhibit, "Drawing on Nature", and a concert of the same name, at Bites Cafe in Hampton, PEI.

Here was the Facebook event listing:
and from it:

"These artists were invited to draw, paint, photograph, write, compose, or in any manner document or represent the plants, flowers, streams, birds, and other natural wonders in the Churchill area that could be destroyed or affected by construction of the 'Plan B' Highway between New Haven and Bonshaw."

Ron Arvidson and Jennifer Brown, with Ron's plate and Jennifer's mural behind, July 2012.

Jennifer created several works of art in the show, and has recently published her first children's book, Talullah, the Theatre Cat.  The exhibit was Ron's idea back in Spring of 2012.

Ron was one of a seemingly score of men with graying beards whose names I confused for the first months opposing Plan B in early 2012.   Ron later stood out by being a naturalist, a potter, an organizer, a birder, a photographer, and a steadfast Fisherman's Breakfast pancake flipper.  His quiet but fierce opposition to the project and tireless behind-the-scenes energy are why we kept fighting Plan B and continue with the Citizens' Alliance -- it was about the collective displeasure at government wasting land and other resources, including the positive involvement of the people.

The art exhibit was beautiful, achingly beautiful, thinking about it now.  Marion Copleston, Ron Arvidson, Shona Holzer, Sharon Sawyer, Donna Martin, Bruno Peripoli, Sarah Saunders, Jack Sorenson, Dr. David Stewart -- a partial and very incomplete list.  The artists donated a generous portion of the selling price to Stop Plan B.

The concert was fabulous -- so much emotion and positive energy! -- from the humour of Erksine Smith as emcee, to artists on the island (Teresa Doyle, Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, Peter Bevan-Baker, Tony Reddin, Yvette Doucette and many others), and off-Island (John Farrell, Will Brown, and others -- who have been through so many kinds of fights like Plan B and could only smile and look into our eyes with looks of rue and compassion, which were gratefully acknowledged).

Here is a small snippet of the concert, with Margie Carmicheal Scotto, Roy Johnstone, and Nancy Clement (listed as "Guest").
So many generous people came out to enjoy the art and music; if you were in that packed hall that night, you had a fun time!

Thanks to Peter and Ann for lending us their cafe and Hall for the entire time, the key to the whole project, really.

Have a lovely day,
Chris O.,

August 10, 2013

 Hi, all,

Messages from the (rain)boots on the ground:
"Hi, all is looking good
Proves one thing  -- they can do it
And should everywhere.
We only got 10ml overnight is why."

This morning the West River near Bonshaw is muddy-looking, presumably indicating sediment getting into the river from fields and unpaved roads.

Fortunately, Plan B is not making a huge contribution to this load today.  The Transportation crew was ready and pumped out the sediment pond that habitually overflowed downstream of Hemlock Grove, and the tenuous hold the hydroseeding has in some areas, along with the multiple sediment ponds everywhere, are helping. 

"Helping" is a funny word to use on a project that's so blatantly unnecessary in the first place.

Mitigations working to prevent sediment from entering wetland by Peter's Road, Churchill, August 10, 2013.

Best wishes,
Chris O.,

August 9, 2013

Hello, all,

Last night was a wonderful event in Charlottetown commemorating the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, the society formed for the year 1973, the Centennial year of PEI joining Confederation, to comment on issues around the interpretation of Island history, and of the culture and future of the Island itself.

George O'Connor, a Brother of Cornelius Howatt, hosted the event at the Irish Cultural Centre (formerly the Irish Benevolent Society). His son and historian Ryan O'Connor gave an illustrated talk on why the society formed and what it did that year.  We all smiled at the photos of members reading proclamations and rowing (or attempting to row) boats, displaying the fashions and facial hair of the day. Several people spoke about that year and what happened, and what's happening now, and about being *awake* to what's causing change, and how that change affects us all.  The room was filled with warmth though the new air conditioning kept it cool.

Founders David Weale and Harry Baglole and company made a mark in 1973, to be sure; it is the ripples from the BSCH that inspire all of us and our children as we sustain and nurture life on this little Island.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

August 8, 2013

Hello, all,

The retrospective on the "Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt" is tonight, 7:30PM, at the Irish Cultural Centre (Benevolent Irish Society).  Admission by donation, and a fun window on issues that are still around, 40 years later.
Even The Guardian commented on it in a small editorial yesterday, which isn't online but was very laudatory.
On-line is a commentary from yesterday's print edition, regarding the recent fish kills: the Chairperson of the Watershed Alliance pieces out the history of the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management and makes a strong call for the Ministers of Agriculture and Environment to get up and get moving on this.

Three recommendations of the 18 were highlighted (my interpretation):
1) get a fund set up to get the worst, reoffending lands out of agricultural production
2) modify buffer courses regulations -- it means well, but one-size-does-not-fit-all -- to match the actual properties
3) get "agricultural engineers" in there when there is a problem

The province trumpeted that they did get the agricultural engineers in there sooner with this fish kill.  (Presumably, they will tell us what they found?)

If you wish to tell the Ministers to get moving on the other two major ones, and the rest of the 18 recommendations of the "Action Committee":
Agriculture Minister George Webster

Environment Minister Janice Sherry
Have a great day,
Chris O.,


Solving the fish kill problem
Published on August 7, 2013  in The Guardian

Guest Opinion  By Angela Douglas

On July 23, 2012, after two major fish kills, the P.E.I. government issued a seemingly urgent press release touting the formation of an action committee to examine measures for future fish kill prevention.

The committee was composed of members of the potato industry, chemical companies, government officials and only two watershed representatives.

“The Action Committee is an opportunity to build new relationships between government, farmers and watershed groups at a community level to work together on solutions. This committee will focus its efforts on developing a land management template for individual watersheds to prevent fish kills and protect the Island’s natural resources,” said Minister George Webster.

This was such a timely issue that Minister Janice Sherry added, “We want to move forward quickly to reduce the chance of fish kills and, in order to act as soon as possible, we are asking the committee to come back with its recommendations by Sept. 14.”

Thus, a report by the inappropriately named Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management, was completed with 18 recommendations to prevent future fish kills in the Barclay Brook, a template for action in other watersheds (http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/elj_suslndmngt.pdf).

In November, the report was completed and quietly posted online without further publicity. One year later, on July 26, 2013, two more fish kills occurred in western P.E.I., one in the same river system as in 2012.

Of the 18 recommendations from the action committee, a few were considered key; one being the establishment of an environmental fund for the removal of land from agricultural production that is prone to soil erosion and surface runoff. At the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance AGM on April 13, 2013, Minister Sherry was asked if the government was going forward with this recommendation. She said no, as there were no funds available in this fiscal year.

Another of the key recommendations was the need to implement soil conservation practices in fields adjacent to watercourses. Erosion control is vital and a legislated 15-metre buffer alone is in no way sufficient to prevent fish kills.

This was noted in the action committee’s report: “In the four fish kills since 2000, fields adjacent to Barclay Brook had the prescribed buffer zone of either 10 or 15 m.

“It has been apparent for some time that current buffer zone legislation is insufficient for Barclay Brook, and perhaps other locations, at preventing pesticide run off and associated fish kills.

What is most frustrating is that solutions have been presented in many reports over the last two decades. For examples, review the many recommendations that have been made in the 1990 Boylen Report, the 1997 Round Table Report, the 2008 Nitrate Commission Report, and most recently, the Action Committee Report, to name a few examples. These recommendations need to be adopted, enforced and taken seriously by government, industry and the public if we want to stop our rivers from being poisoned.

There were some positive outcomes resulting from the action committee’s formation. The committee was extremely successful at building a collaborative relationship between watersheds groups, the agricultural sector and government. We are all interested in the same outcome and firmly believe that potato farming and pristine waterways can coexist.

The recommendations were solid and well thought out, but the report, like so many others, didn’t result in any tangible action by government. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again, how can we expect different results? It is unacceptable that we have come to expect fish kills to happen each year. Watershed groups and the public are frustrated and outraged.

Minister Sherry and Minister Webster, consider this your call to action for a sustainable future for Canada’s green province.

- Angela Douglas is chairperson of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance Inc.

August 7, 2013

Hello, everyone,

A few things of note for tomorrow, Thursday, August 8th:

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is coming to PEI and there will be a reception at Lobster on the Wharf in Charlottetown at 6PM.  Tickets are $50 with a $30 tax receipt, and the reception will have h'ordeuvres, speeches, and mingling.  It might be a good time to chat about pipelines, or drilling in the Gulf, or fracking, or proportional representation, or to ccontinue making all Question Period questions snappy and to the point like the ones about Mike Duffy's expenses.

Or just how he likes living at Stornoway.

Then you can make it to the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt retrospective, "Remembering Cornelius", which will start at 7:30PM at the Irish Cultural Centre/Benevolent Irish Society Hall on North River Road.  Coffee and tea and some snacks will be served, and a cash bar.

Yours truly,
Chris O.,

August 6, 2013

Hello, all,

Sunday afternoon's CBC Radio show, Maritime Connections (with Preston Mulligan, who was on PEI for a stint when he was a new reporter), featured the question:

What do we need to do to protect our rivers and streams?


His guests were Shawn Hill, Executive Director of the PEI Watershed Alliance, and Walter Regan of the Sackville River Association; there was an extended  call-in by PEI Potato Board chairman and potato farmer Gary Linkletter.

They discussed the health of rivers in the area, with the pressures common to all regions and specific to each area, with Shawn Hill clearly explaining what needs to happen to protect PEI rivers (about 5:45 minutes into it), and about 13:30 minutes he discusses the results of the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management (until 20 minutes).

At 29:30, Gary Linkletter comments until about 35 minutes, Management of development along waterways (an issue a Land Use Policy would address) is discussed at about 42 minutes. Interesting listening.


The 35-page Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management report, submitted to government in November 2012 and quietly posted on the department of environment's website in February 2013:


There is an executive summary at the beginning on page 5 (document page ii).

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

August 5, 2013

Hello, all,

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.....

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photos

The "Encounter Creek Campground" at the TCH in New Haven sign was removed at Fairyland last week, and replaced by this.  Yes, it's the happy, shiny useless map from the TIR website.

Meanwhile, another sign, on Peter's Road, now quite cleared and built up to meet Plan B, up by the entrance to Camp Vision...

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photos

Looking south towards the West River, Camp is off to the left.
The "B-Safe, B-Sure, or B-Gone" sticker is often found on Island Coastal heavy equipment, and wistfully applies to Plan B.

Take care,
Chris O.,

August 4, 2013

Hi, all,

“We change the world a little each day with our kindness.”
--Tom Giaquinto, teacher and author

 *this epigram is attributed to John Heywood, 16th century English writer

From good quotes to not-so-good:

In yesterday's Guardian:
an article on moving the Bonshaw Hall and costs of the property acquisitions for Plan B, with Minister Vessey makes about as much financial sense as Wes Sheridan with his A, B and C examples of HST.
Full article at bottom, selected excerpts below (bold mine):

All told there were 32 properties totaling 641.29 acres and bought for about $4.3 million.That’s more than the $4 million the province originally told the public it planned to spend on the properties, but Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said some of the land will go back to the community as public green space. The government also plans to sell some of the land it doesn’t plan to use and Vessey said it’s assessed at around $600,000.

“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under budget,” he said.

Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014 and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to determine exactly how to proceed.
Actually, Mr. Yeo's memory isn't so good -- community residents have been told *very* conflicting things regarding the possibility of moving the Hall.  And I suspect the entire community would like to be invited to discuss the plans.

and best quote: "Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” (Vessey) said.  It is a puzzle all right.


and an article also on the front page of Saturday's Guardian about award-winning architect Ole Hammarlund, and a sidebar mentioning his vocal opposition to Plan B (which hasn't made the on-line version):

Have a great Sunday,
Chris O.,

Guardian stories from Saturday:

Government to move Bonshaw hall

Google maps image

Bonshaw Hall will be moved as part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B.

Published on August 3, 2013

by Ryan Ross 

Plan B construction work means short relocation for 140-year-old former Prince Edward Island church

Topics :

When it comes time to moving the Bonshaw community hall, the group that runs it hopes it will be done without any lengthy delays.

Bill Glen is the Bonshaw Hall Co-op’s treasurer and said the hall is used six days a week, including as a post office, and if it stays on blocks for a long time, it will be a big problem.

“The biggest concern is to get it done quickly,” he said.

The move is part of the provincial government’s Trans-Canada Highway realignment project known as Plan B, and although the building isn’t in the construction path, its proximity to the highway raised safety concerns.

Instead of tearing it down or leaving it where it is, the government is choosing to move the building to a location nearby and away from the intersection of Green Road and the Trans-Canada. The move will take the parking lot and community mailboxes away from the intersection and highway.

Members of the community have also raised concerns about what they say was a lack of consultation about the move.

Steve Yeo, the province’s chief engineer, said the move was something the government always said would be done in 2014 and there are plans to meet with the hall owners at some point to determine exactly how to proceed. Yeo said the government will build a new foundation and possibly relocate the septic system, which is all part of moving a building.

“It’s not the first time that we’ve moved one and it won’t be the last,” he said.

Once the move is underway it likely won’t take long to get the building back in service, Yeo said.

“We’ll do it as quickly as possible.”

Although the former church is more than 140-years-old, Glen said it is in good shape and will be able to handle the move.

As for the highway construction, the Transportation Department recently released the full list of all the properties the government bought through negotiated deals or expropriation to make way for the road.



All told there were 32 properties totaling 641.29 acres and bought for about $4.3 million.

That’s more than the $4 million the province originally told the public it planned to spend on the properties, but Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said some of the land will go back to the community as public green space. The government also plans to sell some of the land it doesn’t plan to use and Vessey said it’s assessed at around $600,000.

“If you do the numbers on the land that we’re giving back to the community and the land that we’re going to sell, we’re under budget,” he said.

The land purchase process has been one of the lengthier parts of the highway development and the government released the first list of 25 properties in November.

Vessey said department staff worked hard on each property to be as compassionate and fair as possible with the landowners.

“Sometimes things take a while and this is one of those pieces of the puzzle that took a while,” he said.

Meanwhile work continues on the highway construction and the first pavement is expected to go down in the next two or three weeks.


Prince Edward Island architect has made large imprint on small province

Published on August 3, 2013

by Jim Day

Ole Hammarlund honoured as Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada

Ole Hammarlund’s lauded architectural handiwork is a regular part of daily life for many, many Islanders.

Politicians, high school and university students, researchers and home dwellers, among others, pour in and out of his designed structures.

Working in Prince Edward Island for the past four decades has allowed the 71-year-old architect the opportunity to do a diverse range of work as a founding partner with both Bergmark and Hammarlund Architects and with BGHJ Architects.

Hammarlund feels blessed to have been able to make such a large imprint on such a small province.

“In a big city, you do a job and then you get on to the next one and you don’t pay too much attention to what you’ve done, but here you’re constantly walking by the buildings (he designed) and you’re constantly running into people that work and live in them,’’ he says.

Larry Jones, who worked for years as a partner with Hammarlund at BGHJ Architects, says Hammarlund has “absorbed the esthetic here on P.E.I.’’

Jones says Hammarlund, a native of Denmark, has also been influential in bringing some European styles into structures built on Prince Edward Island over the past 40 years.

An architect on P.E.I., explains Jones, is sort of a generalist.

“You do touch a lot of different buildings and a lot of different styles,’’ he says.

Hammarlund’s body of work, which includes the Coles Building, The Guild, co-op housing projects, UPEI’s Duffy Science Centre and K.C. Irving Chemistry Centre, Charlottetown Rural High School, Greenwich Beach Facility and the P.E.I. Advanced House, certainly illustrates his great diversity of work.

Hammarlund, said Jones, has truly earned the nod as a Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the national organization, which took place formerly for Hammarlund at a ceremony June 6 in Halifax.

Jones points to his fellow Fellow’s impressive career work as well as long and influential involvement in furthering the architectural industry (Hammarlund is serving a third separate stint as president of the Architects’ Association of P.E.I. and has regularly attended national industry meetings for the past quarter century).

“He was a particularly good candidate for fellowship,’’ says Jones.

The acknowledgement is meaningful to Hammarlund.

“It feels very nice,’’ he says. “It’s kind of fun.’’

Hammarlund’s profession has been quite a treat as well, to be able to earn a good living through pursuing a passion.

Hammarlund, who grew up in a village just north of Copenhagen, always liked doing stuff with his hands. He started building tree houses as early as age eight.

His parents, who were both agronomists, would smell of chemicals when they arrived home from work. Hammarlund lived with his parents and his younger brother on the second floor of a two-story house formerly owned by the village’s black smith while his two cousins (that were like brothers) lived on the first floor.

After completing high school, Hammarlund became a carpenter’s apprentice working for “an old fashioned carpenter in the country that was able to do anything.’’

In 1964, he was admitted to the Architecture School of the Royal Academy of the Arts in Copenhagen where he studied for two years until transferring to the MIT School of Architecture in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and became licensed as an architect in Massachusetts in 1972.

In 1974, Hammarlund was commissioned with partner David Bergmark to design the P.E.I. Ark, a visionary bio-shelter funded by the Canadian government for the New Alchemy Institute.

The Ark, which was opened in August 1976 by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau, created a huge buzz. Tourists flocked to gawk at the unique structure.  TV crews came from as far away as Denmark and Japan.

The international exposure led to a whirlwind of work for Hammarlund and company that included designing solar green houses sprouting up everywhere from Sudbury, Ont., to Saudi Arabia.

“It just instantly caught the attention of everybody all over the world,’’ recalls Hammarlund. “They were knocking on our door.’’

Almost all of Hammarlund’s architecture work, though, has been on Prince Edward Island. He is particularly pleased with his work on the UPEI campus, including a major renovation of the Main Building — the oldest building on campus.

One of his favourite buildings that he had a large hand in designing is the Charlottetown Rural High School.

“That was a really interesting building to design,’’ he says.

“We tried to make the building very compact. Compact is not only good for energy efficiency but also it makes it easy to go around. At Colonel Gray (High School), you have to walk twice as far to get from here to there.’’

Hammarlund’s focus in recent years has been developing the former Charlottetown YMCA into loft-style living and work condos. He lives there with his wife, Karen Lips, in a beautiful condo with 20-foot high ceilings in a home filled with considerable natural light and colourful art that all has combined to do well in countering the claustrophobic feeling he had in his previous apartment.

He also practises architecture today with his wife under the name Hammarlund and Lips Architects. The couple has a son, Leif, who is a chef at Terre Rouge in Charlottetown. Hammarlund also has four children from his first marriage.

When not working from his home, Hammarlund loves to entertain there, inviting friends to join in a night of ballroom dancing on his hardwood floor.

“Ole is one of the finest characters around town,’’ says Jones. “He’s got a wonderful, infectious personality.’’

While he sees plenty of dancing in his future, Hammarlund is not ready to retire.

“I still have a few good designs in me,’’ he says.

August 3, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Today's event at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea at 2PM is a special showing of "Having Hope at Home", with proceeds going to a memorial scholarship in Erskine Smith's name for a student in the performing arts program at Holland College.

It's a wonderful, poignant play with fantastic acting, and for a fantastic reason, too.


Also, the Watershed Alliance has a very informative website of its news and news of interest.  They posted about the recent fish kill, with a easy links to  related articles. http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/?p=742

You can join the list and get e-mailed updates from them.

Environment Minister Janice Sherry speaks about the fishkill on Compass Friday evening:
14:20 into the broadcast.
(There isn't quite the right "emoticon" for that kind of interview, but you can always write compass@cbc.ca or Minister Sherry herself at jasherry@gov.pe.ca)

Let's hope for gentle rains this weekend, for all our waterways' sake, Chris O., Bonshaw

August 2, 2013

Hi, all,

Here are some August dates of items of interest:

(Tomorrow) Saturday, August 3rd, 2PM:
MacPhail Woods reforestation workshop:
Slideshow, followed by a walk led by Gary Schneider to look at and discuss actual examples of forest rejuvenation.  It sounds meant for anyone who is interested in Island forests, or is looking at caretaking a small lot to acres of lands.

An aside:
(Gary wrote a powerful letter this week about the most recent fishkill, more on this soon)

Thursday, August 8th, 7:30PM:
"Remembering Cornelius"-- an retrospective of the "Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt"

Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), 582 North River Road, Charlottetown
from the press release:
"Cornelius Howatt, that noted Island patriot who opposed Confederation in 1873, is about to make a comeback – at least in spirit. Forty years ago, a Society named in his honour flourished for a year, then self-destructed, as promised. That was in 1973, the Centennial of PEI joining Confederation; the Society was The Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt (BSCH). It was founded by then-young Island historians David Weale and Harry Baglole.
"As well as seeking to kindle pride in the Island’s history, the BSCH raised many concerns about contemporary trends – such as the decline of the family farm, issues of land use and ownership, and a growing economic and cultural dependence on Ottawa: issues which remain with us still."
The evening will feature historian Ryan O'Connor's lecture on the BSCH and other speakers. It's free and all are welcome.

Future dates to mark:
Wednesday, August 14th, 3-4PM, UPEI
The second open house regarding the Institute of Island Studies review
(more details to follow)

There will be a series of pow wows across the Island this month:
August 10-11 (Saturday and Sunday) -- Lennox Island First Nation's Pow Wow
August  13-14 (Tuesday and Wednesday) -- Mi'kmaq Confederacy Pow Wow, Charlottetown
August 17-18 (Saturday and Sunday) -- Panmure Island Pow Wow

And there are still some wonderful shows playing this month, with Plan B / Citizens' Alliance connections:
"Having Hope at Home" plays until this Sunday at the Victoria Playhouse, with Cathy Grant and a host of talented actors.

And I think there is a concert Saturday afternoon at the Playhouse for the scholarship fund in Erskine Smith's name (details tomorrow)

"Dear Johnny Deere" plays until the end of August at the Mack in Charlottetown (every day except Sunday):
Land Use Policy issues!  Hints of a Plan B-type highway going through a family farm!  Yes, yes, plus fantastic performances from extremely talented actors and musicians (including fiddler Roy Johnstone who shows new sides to his persona!). 

"Nunsense", which is just silly and not at all about Plan B, has opened at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, and is directed by Catherine O'Brien.  It plays Tuesdays and Thursdays (evenings) and Saturday (afternoon) until August 29th.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

August 1, 2013

Hello, all,

Last night's CBC TV Compass coverage of the Bonshaw Hall move, which would happen in 2014; it's a slow news week ;-)

It is about 20 minutes into the broadcast. 

Resident and Hall Co-op member Bill Glen explains the importance of the building.

The morning CBC radio interview with Sheldon MacNevin was "promo-ed" by descriptions of "residents' demands", and then in the interview Bonshaw elder Sheldon MacNevin said, "We'd appreciate it if the province helped with the foundation...."  (italics are mine).  He also gave some perspective on what Plan B has done to the community of Churchill; very heartfelt.

Island Morning did not archive Sheldon's interview.


But they did archive an interview with Watershed Alliance Executive Director Shawn Hill, regarding this week's fish kill and the lack of progress on the recommendations from the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management:

Here is the PEI government "backgrounder" on the Action Committee's formation. Just the banner of this webpage is worth a quick peek:

from that press release:

“This is a partnership of groups committed to a solution and to using Barclay Brook – where we have seen fish kills two years in a row – as a pilot for identifying problems and developing land use practices that will control the runoffs that lead to fish kills.”

-- Environment Minister Janice Sherry, July 23, 2012.


Here is a reminder for tonight -- hope you can pop if you appreciate that bit of green space:

Enjoy the day,
Chris O.,

July 31, 2013

Hello, all,

From the promo on CBC's Island Morning:

"Transportation officials say the Bonshaw Hall is being moved next year as part of the Plan B highway project. It will either stay on the same property....or next to it. But people in the community still have concerns...

Yes, no kidding, especially since this is the first I have heard that the Hall is back on the agenda to be moved.


Stay tuned, one way or another.

Enjoy the day,
Chris O.,

July 30, 2013

Hello, all,

An item in yesterday's news regarding cycling lanes on Island highways:
CBC had an interview with Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Steve Yeo on the amount of pavement being improved to add cycling lane/shoulders. 
http://www.cbc.ca/islandmorning/    (Audio interview with Yeo and Pat Martel and link to story and map)  
He included Plan B, of course, and while a decent bike lane doesn't justify the unjustifiable, it will give cyclists a little more room from the speeding traffic.  Nor does it address the deplorable condition and width of the bike lane/shoulder from New Haven east or Bonshaw west.  ("There is only so much money in the budget," he said. Indeed.)

Compass's ten seconds (which sounds like a press release)
followed by a break and then the fish kill story and interview with the indefatigable Rosie MacFarlane, fisheries biologist.

From last year, Ruth Richman's plea for  a smart alternative:

Common sense plan merits discussion -- The Guardian Letter to the Editor

published July 17, 2012

Re Plan B, why isn't Plan C being discussed - the Plan of Common Sense? We have kilometres of paved road on P.E.I. with little or no shoulder that is suitable for bicycles, walkers or even cars if a driver needed to pull off the road.

Sixteen-plus-million-dollars would go a long way to paving shoulders. Let's start with the roads and highways that intersect the Confederation Trail to create safe rides and walks to and from the trail.

This would be appreciated by Islanders who use their bikes for commuting and recreation. It would also be a plus to bike touring visitors and to bike tour companies. Straightening a road helps drunk drivers, speeders, and perhaps some truckers (we have heard from some that have no problem with the Churchill road as it is).

Which groups do we want to encourage?

Ruth Richman, De Gros Marsh

July 29, 2013

Hello, all,

OK, so this is very bad:
"A construction company in Belize has been scooping stone out of the major pyramid at the site of Nohmul (meaning Big Mound), one of only 15 ancient Maya sites important enough to be noted on the National Geographic World Atlas." Text and image taken from National Geographic site (link below).


Hope you have a good day,
Chris O.,

July 28, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Something to smile at from one year ago:

July 26, 2012

A New Tale of Robin Hood -- The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Recently in The Guardian newspaper our finance minister likened himself to Robin Hood. A real stretch of the bow string me thinks.

However, Minister Wes Sheridan’s recent comments have inspired another great Island story on a par with Anne of Green Gables. It goes like this:

Once upon a time there was this merry scary band of outlaws; they lived deep within the city. Their leader was the bad sheriff Ghiz of Nott(listen)ingham. Robber Hood Sheridan was his right-hand man. He was busy planning a new way to rob the poor and give to the rich.

Meanwhile, the resident camp faith giver, Friar Tuck McKinley, was attending another last supper. The merry scary band knew the locals were restless and may at any minute take to the streets waving dangerous banners and flags.

However, the merry scary band were not worried, Little John Vessey had a Plan B, he would build a fast escape route through Bonshaw to Borden where they could safely hide out in the hills until things cooled down.

The merry scary band were a merry lot, they had lots of money and credit cards, and if the locals cast them out, they had rich government pensions to see them through. The merry scary band had nothing to worry about; they would just live happily ever after.

Frederick (Ben) Rodgers, Ebenezer


And please mark your calendars for this Thursday to hear and give feedback on the Upton Farms Master Plan:

Upton Farmlands Master Plan Public Workshop
Thursday, August 1st, 2013
7PM to 9PM

West Royalty Communtity Centre, Upton Room
Lower Malpeque Road
For more info: 892-3839

All are welcome

An online survey about your priorities for the property is also available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7WVDPPG
Have a great Sunday,
Chris O.,

July 27, 2013

Hi, all,

Yesterday's rains resulted in some mitigation failures, but as the heaviest showers were right before regular work hours, workers from TIR and Environment could easily assess for themselves what's working and what's not.


Friday also brought the arrival of more gravel.  It seems if you had just about any vehicle with something larger than a bike basket, you could haul gravel from the wharf in Charlottetown to Plan B yesterday.

Please note that I am likely to have some facts wrong -- errors of calculation or description are entirely my own, but unintended.

The gravel is from Canso, NS,  and comes across on barges, and the gravel size for this aspect of TCH construction is 3/4 inch.

There was a large ship, the Atlantic Erie, unloading sand from a belt conveyor (likely for winter road application) and those loaded trucks were going across the Hillsborough Bridge east of Charlottetown in the afternoon.  There were two dark barges filled with gravel, being unloaded by an excavator and a loader, respectively, onto tractor-trailer dump trucks and tandem dump trucks, which then left the wharf, followed the bypass, and left the city for Plan B.  We passed 26 tandems and about 12 dump trucks going towards Plan B as we drove into town from Bonshaw late Friday afternoon.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

The sand ship pours sand in the hopper to waiting trucks underneath it; the barges are the flattish black structures, and the excavator was in the barge, July 26th, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Three "tandem" gravel trucks (for those of us who haven't paid attention to this stuff, the "tandem" refers to the two rear axles on the back of the truck so it can carry heavier loads).  Two tandem truck loads equals about one tractor-trailer dump truck.  Cornwall, July 26th, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

A tractor-trailer dump truck hauling gravel (this is actually from the first gravel load a couple of weeks ago), at TCH and Riverdale Road, July 2013.  The tractor-trailer dump trucks have different ways of dumping rock (from the end, from the "belly", etc.).

So, how much gravel is needed?  At one point, it was noted that TAC Guidelines suggested 18 inches of gravel for construction on the TCH (I can't find the reference now).  For the 6km of road, and the volume of the trucks, that would be:

6000 tractor-trailer truckloads of gravel or 12,000 tandem truckloads, or some amount of both.

That's a lot of trucks flying back and forth from downtown Charlottetown, on the bypass and many intersections that could have been upgraded with that Gateway money instead of Plan B.  There will be more gravel-hauling days.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Gravel trucks in a long line of traffic heading towards Plan B at end of bypass at Upton Road, Friday, July 26, 2013.  It made traffic on a Friday afternoon in tourist season all the more congested.

That's a lot of diesel.  In fact, back of envelope reckoning would indicate that the cost of the fuel to round-trip ship *just the gravel to Plan B from the wharf* will only have been recovered by the fuel savings of lowering the grade (and we aren't even talking about the fuel used to lower those hills) in about 40 - 50 years of truck travel to the island carrying Cheerios and such. 

Wise government decision-making?  When clearer, cheaper alternatives for upgrading the TCH with the Gateway money were presented to them by members of the public?  Not wise.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Gravel being unloaded, Plan B, looking west from the current TCH, over Hemlock Grove towards Crawford's Brook and hill, July 26, 2013.

Take care,
Chris O.,

July 25, 2013

Hello, all,

Conservation Officer Manager Wade MacKinnon wrote yesterday to say:
The Stop Work Directive issued in the area surrounding the Belted Kingfisher nest was lifted as of midnight July 24th, 2013.

The Fish and Wildlife Division biologist Rosemary Curley has determined the young have fledged and left the nest site. The nest has not been active since Saturday, July 20th; the adults have been spotted hunting in the area.
Cheers to the Plan B public environmental monitor Larry Cosgrave for spotting the nest site, the island naturalists who pointed to the right government officials, and to environment and fish and wildlife people who diligently put the nest under protection and communicated with us.
Open Meeting at UPEI today re: Institute of Island Studies
There has been a lot of concerns about people fired from their jobs at the University of Prince Edward Island, including the director of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS), and the lack of transparency in how UPEI got to this point financially and how and when they reacted.

All of it is dismaying -- these are people in the Island community whose work supported the great things being done at UPEI, affecting students and Islanders alike. 

The particular decision not to renew the position of the director of the IIS, which implies a total lack of support of the Institute, and to have a review after the fact, concerns and rankles many -- how will the IIS work without a director?

The formal review of the IIS has begun and there will be an open meeting to which members of the community are invited today, Thursday, July 25th, from 3-4PM, at the main floor lounge of the Kelley Memorial Building at UPEI.  They want to hear what the IIS means to the university and Island community.

If you cannot make the meeting Thursday, consider dropping a note about the IIS and why it is important to Islanders (I think this is the interim Vice-President of Academic Christian LaCroix):

The following information is from the Facebook group, "Friends of the Institute of Island Studies":

Here are the Terms of Reference for the Review:

The Review Panel will consider the following when reviewing the IIS:
1. Goals of the Institute: How well has the Institute fulfilled its four-point mandate? Are its objectives appropriate? Should the focus be narrowed or broadened? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the IIS, locally, nationally and internationally?
2. Governance of the Institute: What formal governance mechanisms are in place? Are these mechanisms adequate and well suited for the IIS – and, more broadly, for ‘island studies’ at UPEI – to best fulfil their mandate and strengthen their overall governance more broadly?
3. Role and Leadership of the Advisory Council: What role might the Advisory Council of the IIS play in relation to the proposed governance structure? What is the level of engagement of the Advisory Council in fulfilling the mandate of the IIS and in strategic planning?
4. Interconnectivity: What should be the link and relationship between the IIS and UPEI’s Minor and Master of Arts in Island Studies programs, and any other cognate academic programs at UPEI, such as Environmental Studies?
5. Potential for greater IIS engagement related to sustainability, public policy and environmental programs and initiatives: Are synergies possible with other units? Note: Possible collaborations and partnerships were identified in UPEI’s recent Future Directions visioning and Dare to Dream idea generation exercises.
6. Resources of the Institute: Are the facilities, space, personnel and other resources adequate to support the IIS? Are efficiencies and economies attainable in partnership with other units?
7. Operations and Accountability of the Institute: How should IIS operations be managed in future? How is oversight over IIS operations to be established? What steps can UPEI take to nurture and protect relationships with key IIS partners and stakeholders?
8. Provide recommendations and other comments as appropriate.


Recent fiscal challenges at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) resulted in the loss of funding for the position of Director of the Institute of Island Studies (IIS). In response to concerns raised by members of our community, the Vice-President Research and Vice-President Academic provided the following message:

... “Despite concerns to the contrary, this decision does not negate the University’s high level of commitment to the Institute of Island Studies, its programs and community outreach activities. Island Studies remains a vital component of the University’s identity. The University intends to enhance—not diminish—the role that the study of islands plays in curricula, research, and community engagement.

"To advance this intention, the University will undertake an independent assessment of programs and activities related to all aspects of Island Studies. This process will begin next month and will be conducted by two highly respected academics who will seek input from internal and external stakeholders who are or have been involved in Island Studies at UPEI. Of particular interest within the assessment will be interconnectivity between our Minor, Major, and Master of Arts in Island Studies programs, and enhanced community engagement related to sustainability and environmental programs and initiatives. These possible collaborations and synergies were identified in the University’s Strategic Research Plan as well as in our more recent Future Directions visioning and Dare to Dream idea generation exercises.” ...

Background Information
The Institute of Island Studies (IIS) at UPEI was founded in 1985. Its work is governed by a four-point mandate: (1) To encourage deep knowledge, understanding and expression of Prince Edward Island; (2) to serve as a bridge between the University and Island communities; (3) to contribute to the formation of public policy in PEI; and (4) to undertake comparative studies of PEI and other islands: http://www.upei.ca/iis/

IIS governing structure Advisory Council http://www.upei.ca/iis/board
o staff: Director (UPEI funding for this position terminated 30-06-13)

Island Studies Press is the publishing arm of the IIS at UPEI https://store.upei.ca/isp/
o staff: Publications Coordinator (funded by revenues to IIS)

The IIS is the institutional home of Island Studies Journal (ISSN: 1715-2593), now in Web of Science: http://www.islandstudies.ca/journal

UPEI programs related to Island Studies:
o Minor in Island Studies (Faculty of Arts)
Coordinator: Dr. James Randall, Professor of Island Studies

o Master of Arts in Island Studies (Faculty of Arts)
Coordinator: Dr. James Randall, Professor of Island Studies

o UPEI Canada Research Chair in Island Studies (2003-2013); and Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal(2006- )
Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino http://staff.um.edu.mt/gbal1/


Guardian article in Monday's paper:

Institute of Island Studies under review

Guardian photo by Ryan Ross


UPEI Island studies student Zach Preston, here outside the department's offices, says changes to the university's Institute of Island Studies because of budget cuts will hurt his program.

Published on July 22, 2013

Ryan Ross  RSS                   Feed

Future of Island Studies to be determined by review which begins Thursday

A review of the Institute of Island Studies is about to get underway as UPEI holds a public meeting Thursday.

Godfrey Baldacchino, the Canada research chair in island studies, said he hopes the review becomes an opportunity to look at the work the institute does.

“Look at it also in the context of the way the university wants to go,” he said.

Earlier this year UPEI decided not to renew the contract for the institute’s director as part of the university’s efforts to balance its budget. That decision led to many people who have an interest in island studies contacting the school to voice their concerns about the potential impact of changes to the institute.

On Thursday, review panelist Liette Vasseur of Brock University will visit UPEI to start the process and meet with stakeholders. Her visit will include an open meeting.

Graham Whitelaw of Queen’s University and former MP David MacDonald are the other two members of the review panel.

Under the review’s terms of reference, the panel will consider eight points, including the Island Studies Institute’s goals, the advisory council’s role and the institute’s resources.

Once the review is complete the panel will make recommendations to UPEI.

Baldacchino said he is optimistic because there hasn’t been a review of the institute’s mandate in a long time.

“At this point I think the university has everything to gain by this review,” he said.

The review comes after the university chose not to renew the institute director’s contract. Ann Greyborn, chair of the Institute of Island Studies advisory council, said sometimes that’s the way things happen in educational institutions.

Greyborn said the university had to give the former director Irene Novaczek sufficient notice that her contract was ending and that happened before people were found to conduct the review.

“It would have been the other way around but the way it worked out it wasn’t possible,” she said.

With the review underway, Greyborn said there are a lot of people who have been involved with the institute over the years who are interested in talking to the panel members.

“We’ve been collecting their names and inviting them to come in,” she said.

Greyborn said she has faith the review committee will do its best and since the institute is the home of Island studies worldwide, Islanders should be proud of it.

“We want to make it strong so it continues on,” she said.



July 24, 2013

Hi, all,

Yesterday late afternoon and evening the Plan B site got the heaviest rain in a few weeks, and yet again there were mitigation failures:

Crawford's Stream (Hemlock Grove arches) downstream:

Sediment from project overwhelms the sediment pond and gets into Stream:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Sediment running into stream. Crawford's Stream, 11PM, July 23, 2013. 

The hay bales, which replaced inadequate sediment fences, near the closed off Peter's Road (where Larry Cosgrave took such good video in June), were overwhelmed:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Mudslides from fill "hillside" overwhelming hay bales, near old South Peter's Road, Plan B, 11:30PM, July 23, 2013.

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Same.

The box culvert over Crawford's Brook has long been a concern for the public monitors about the leakiness of the box sections:

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Box culvert sections with sediment-laden water flowing into brook, near midnight July 23, 2013.

The TIR manager was called, who said to call Environment; the cell phone for the Dedicated Environmental Monitor was on voice-mail only.

Take care,
Chris O.,

What Plan B friends do after seeing a theatre production like Forever Plaid, but driving home in the rain saying, "Uh-oh."

unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo Public Environmental Monitor Cindy Richards, near Crawford's Stream, Plan B, 11PM, July 23, 2013.

(The performance was great and the last show is Thursday.)

July 23, 2013

Hello, everyone,

Little updates:

Regarding the Belted Kingfishers babies in the Plan B site, in a nest made in the road cut by the current TCH in New Haven:

From the Conversation Officer:
"The Fish and Wildlife Division has determined the birds are almost fledged. The Fish and Wildlife Division Biologist Rosemary Curley has set 50 meters from the nest for heavy equipment to work until the birds have fledged and left the nest."


The Guardian posted an article (presumably in today's printed paper) regarding the phone and electricity lines accidents at the Plan B site:

The on-line version is embellished by a picture of a tree harvester from last October (which may come through below):

Plan B accident knocks out phone service

Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

A machine hauls trees out of a clear cut for the highway realignment project known as Plan B in Bonshaw in this Guardian file photo.

·  Published on July 22, 2013

·  Ryan Ross  RSS                 Feed

No one was hurt when a boom truck working on the Trans-Canada Highway realignment tore down a Bell Aliant line in the Bonshaw area Thursday, but 24 customers were without phone and Internet service for about a day.

It was the third accident in less than a month along involving a utility line along the construction route.

Steve Yeo, the Transportation Department's chief engineer, said the department has been in contact with the contractor about the incidents and reports are written every time there is an accident.

"Certainly safety is most important to the contractor and the department but incidents like this happen and we have discussions but we keep moving forward," he said.

On Thursday, a Highfield Construction boom truck pulled into a church parking lot near the Bonshaw Bridge and hit the telephone line, ripping it down.

Several weeks ago a truck knocked over a utility pole and left about 2,500 customers without power for four hours.

Earlier this month a boom truck came in contact with a power line as it worked on the Bonshaw Bridge and knocked out electricity for 10 customers for more than three hours.

Occupational health and safety officials are investigating the accident involving the boom truck and the power line, but a spokesman for the Workers Compensation Board said the contractor hadn't contacted his organization about Thursday's incident.

Employers are only required to contact the Workers Compensation Board if an employee is hurt or in danger.


The July 15th update on the Plan B construction from The Department of Transportation: 


Have a good day,
Chris O.,

July 22, 2013

Hello, all,

Looking down the road:

The road down to Bonshaw, narrowed for bridge construction: Slightly confusing road markings, lots of power and phone lines, continual changes in access to the local buildings, and residents who had no say when Plan A (which did not include Bonshaw at all) became Plan B.  July 19, 2013.
(The road cut digging connecting Plan B is off to the right.)

Take care,
Chris O.,

July 20, 2013

Hi, all,

It took the better part of Friday, but Bell Aliant repaired the cables providing phone and internet to most residents who lost their phone and DSL internet service Thursday afternoon.
 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Repair of phone lines by Bonshaw Bridge construction incident.  Photo July 19, 2013.  (Erosion control of exposed bank could use a little tending to.)

And on the other end of the project, digging resumes but outside of the 100 metre exclusion zone around the kingfisher's nest...

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Plan B looking west from the TCH near the cut for Fairyland, looking west, down across Hemlock Grove, July 19, 2013.
(Nest is in bank of road cut on left outside of photo.)

Though hazy, you can just make out the digging in the Bonshaw end (near CBC tower, not in photo) in the upper left part of photo.

 I'll see if there is an update on the kingfishers. 

Have a good weekend -- stay cool today,
Chris O.,

PS  A reminder that Coro Dolce Choir performs tonight at the Bonshaw Hall, 7PM, admission by donation.

July 19,2013

Hi, all,

More inconveniences for residents in the Plan B area:

A couple of weeks ago there were two incidents involving equipment and power wires, and yesterday a boom truck snagged phone lines at the Bonshaw Bridge site and cut off phone and internet service for a good portion of Bonshaw.  (I am on the other side of the highway and somehow spared.)

Unfortunately, Bell Aliant ("Thank you for choosing Bell Aliant!") has chosen not to be able to send a crew to fix it until sometime today.

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
 Entrance to little Bonshaw church and parking area by Bonshaw River, with down phone lines, southside of TCH.  The road to the church and river is blocked off.  July 19, 2013.

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
 A blurry photo of explaining why phone service is out in parts of Bonshaw this morning, July 19, 2013.


Some video fun from a resident:
Bulldozer working hard:
YouTube link to bulldozer by CBC tower in Bonshaw

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo
 Where bulldozer is (but that's a scraper, I am told, in this photo.) From Green Road, looking east, where Plan B cuts deeply around CBC tower into Bonshaw, July 2013.

And a bit of Truck Dressage:
Four Trucks and Some Dust:
YouTube link to snippet of trucks on Plan B

Have a good weekend,
Chris O.,

July 18, 2013

Plan B, Bonshaw, July 2013

July 17, 2013

Hello, all,

It appears they are trying hard to stay on the Plan B construction schedule:

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Two excavators load one articulated dump truck while two bulldozer with "rippers" cut and move rock.  Bonshaw, from the western edge of Plan B, TCH at top of the photo. July 16, 2013.

The photo really doesn't do it justice, but the five machines frenetically working down there are *huge*, the largest ones on the whole site.  7AM to 6PM, six days a week, usually.  It's unusual on this project to have two excavators loading one truck.  (The fellows working know their equipment and I am glad they are employed -- too bad it's on such a stupid project, when so much other road work begs doing.)

"TCH Bonshaw Phase 1" will need to merge the high and the low road just east of the Bonshaw Bridge.  The bridge is down to two cramped lanes while the bridge crew works on the railing and deck on the downstream side.

 unable to upload :(  check facebook page for photo

Hope your day goes well,
Chris O.,


July 16, 2013

Hello, all,

A wonderful gentleman asked:
Do people still carry their "STOP PLAN B" bumper stickers?
We do, but is it reasonable?
We do it now, not to follow the words "to stop what they are doing" but to indicate, that it is the whole name of a movement against costly and destructive government decisions and false and deceiving reasoning behind it.

I responded: 
After the government started building the road in spades, some people removed their bumper stickers, and I have to admit I felt a little conspicuous with mine still on.  But now it doesn't seem embarrassing; it's as you wrote:  it symbolizes a reminder about the movement against costly and destructive government decisions.  Reasonable?  I am not sure.  Is any of this reasonable?  ;-)  
At least we recognize the value of people.

I actually have no idea whose car this is -- it was spotted outside the Murphy Community Centre during the breakfast for NDP MP Libby Davies a couple of weeks ago.  

Have another lovely sunny day,
Chris O.,

July 15, 2013

Hi, everyone,

The first "phase" of Plan B to be connected to the current TCH is in Bonshaw:

Snippet of Plan B Construction Schedule from TIR's website about Plan B - -with disclaimer it is subject to change.

"TCH Bonshaw Phase 1"  is from the part east of the bridge, the whole new cut west around the CBC tower (truck picture from yesterday's update) and hooking back up by Riverdale Road and Strathgartney (where the power pole got knocked down a couple of weeks ago).

The number "6" in "Station 6+200" refers to the section or Station of the TCH they use for those reliable accident statistics, and the "+200" is the number of metres into the station, I think, west to east.

Here is what the construction currently looks like in Bonshaw just east of the bridge.

Cut of Plan B next to TCH, looking east, bridge is very small and down in center right.  Bonshaw, July 14, 2013.

Truck on current TCH heading down hill into Bonshaw, July 14, 2013.

Snippet of the TIR map of Plan B, from their website. **The white line is an artifact (which with all their skills they didn't correct).  Sorry I didn't transfer the scale, but the width (edge to edge) of the Plan B cut is about 100 metres. The little green squiggle right of centre is a planned cul-de-sac of the current TCH.

This is the TIR map of Plan B, though it is wildly outdated in some parts.  Generally, red cross-hatched means the roadbed needed to be cut or dug. The connector road top right is the new Crosby Road.

It'll be interesting to see how they join this deep cut with the current TCH.  (It's Monday and "interesting" is the best word I can come up with.)

TIR website where I got the schedule and map:


Yours truly,

Chris O.,



July 12, 2013

Hi, all,

Our environment and our democracy are both fragile...why we have to Plan Beyond. **

Last night I was able to attend part of a packed town hall meeting in Stratford, organized by resident and contributor to the blog www.PEICancer.com Maureen Kerr.  Some observations, misinterpretations are my own:

  • There is confusion about a municipality's right to have legislation more stringent than provincial law.
    • This needs to get clarified asap, also taking into account the revisions to the Municipalities Act that may be forthcoming in the next 12 months.
    • If legally allowed, and Stratford passes something like a total cosmetic pesticide ban, it's great for Stratford, but not for people outside of municipalities or in ones which can't enact and enforce by-laws
  • The current Provincial legislation "cosmetic pesticide ban" -- sounds tough but only restricts one chemical from non-professionals --
    • not much of a ban in an Island with a lot of agriculture, lawn service companies, and golf courses.
  • Residents are frustrated by:
    • neighbours who care more about their lawn's look than their right to protect their family from drifting chemicals.
    • how speaking out about pesticide use leads to a reputation as being a "radical" and disrupting community harmony
    • having jumped through hoops for years to show politicians they want action, and to be at a meeting yet again saying this
  • Politicians (generally):
    • seem to walk a fine line, trying to please both residents (who elected them) and corporate interests (which give them more money to be elected).  Stratford's mayor David Dunphy appears to want to move ahead.
    • are saying we need more study
      • which means they may not be quite accurately interpreting the science that is out there -- more on this another day

Three pictures, zooming out and looking west, along Plan B at Crawford's Brook, near the buried box culverts. July 2013.

Guardian coverage:
(article printed below)

An easy way to do something right now -- buy locally grown food this weekend, even if it means more work or a bit more expense to get it.  That can only get more people thinking about how to sustain and be sustained by our little island.

Have a great weekend,
Chris O.,
** with thanks to special people Walter Wilkins and Kathleen Romans for their wordsmith skills.


Each June the government publishes on-line the list of donors of over $250 to PEI Political Parties.  This year they are dragging their feet and Paul MacNeill of the Eastern Graphic calls them on it.  Comments on "trends" of the donors' lists at a future date, too.

Interesting link:


Questions arise on municipal power over pesticides

Published on July 11, 2013 in The Guardian on-line

Approximately 80 individuals from across the province voiced their support for a pesticides ban during a panel at town hall Thursday night.

The four person panel was hosted by Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward and included Erin Taylor, manager of climate change and air management for the province, Roger Gordon, a former dean of science at UPEI, Sharon Labchuk and Stratford resident Maureen Kerr.

The overwhelming message from the crowd was for Stratford to become the first municipality on P.E.I. to enact a ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides, with hopes that other municipalities would follow suit.

However, Erin Taylor, manager of climate change and air management for the province, said Island municipalities currently don't have the authority to create their own pesticide bylaws.

Taylor noted that municipalities in other provinces do have that power.

"If this is something Stratford wants to consider or other residents want to consider, the course of action I would suggest is to talk to your members of legislation," she said. "If, within the Town of Stratford, they want their own bylaw… that requires a change to the municipalities legislation."

That was something that Roger Gordon, a former dean of science at UPEI, didn't agree with.

Gordon cited an article from the David Suzuki Foundation, which referred to a Supreme Court ruling made in 2001.

Gordon said the court ruled any town in Canada can bring in more restrictive regulations to prevent pesticide use in order to protect the interest of its citizens.

"If there is any doubt about this, I would suggest the town take legal advice," he said. "But my reading of this is we do have the ability to be able to do this."

During the meeting, Stratford mayor David Dunphy and Coun. Emile Gallant both said they had previously been told the town doesn't have the power to create its own pesticide bylaws.

However, both said they personally support banning pesticides and would continue to explore the issue.

"As far as I'm aware the province has jurisdiction over pesticides on Prince Edward Island," said Dunphy, adding that the town and Federation of Municipalities have both previously raised the issue to the province. "It is my hope the next municipalities act, which is being drawn up for this fall or next spring, will have something in it that will let municipalities have jurisdiction over cosmetic pesticides."

Many who attended the panel said they would be continuing to organize themselves in an effort to get a ban enacted.

July 11, 2013

Hi, all,

Today we'll wander away from the Plan B site for just a bit to remark on some events:

Tonight is the town hall meeting on cosmetic pesticides usage, at 7PM, at the Stratford Town Hall.
All are invited.
Here are some Island theatrical productions with connections to Plan B:

Tonight, the Green Party is hosting a presentation of The Shore Road at the Watermark (formerly the Montgomery Theatre) in North Rustico: from https://www.facebook.com/events/127838400748323/
"Tickets are $25 each for this special presentation. Duncan McIntosh writes and directs this world premiere. A famous, much loved actress, returns to PEI from Montreal to face the loss of her magnificent shore farm after a default on the mortgage. In denial, she has to decide between selling the most precious part of her legacy or losing it all. Inspired by Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (Russia, 1904) this play is as funny as it is tragic."
Doors open at 7, play starts at 7:30PM.  It also plays other dates this summer: http://www.watermarktheatre.com/#!the-plays/c3vo

Victoria Playhouse, Having Hope at Home until August 4th.  Cathy Grant plays the mother in this production, which is poignant and funny.  The issue of family dynamics, aging and homebirth are discussed with sensitivity and humour.

Mack Theatre, Dear Johnny Deere until August 31st. Some of us are going on the 17th, next week.  It is about a couple whose land is about to be bought... for a highway project!  Fiddler Roy Johnstone is in it.

Harbourfront Theatre, Summerside, Forever Plaid, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays until July 25th. 
Catherine O'Brien directs this, and it sounds like the singing is excellent.  A group is going on Tuesday, July 23rd.

Confed Centre, Evangeline, until the end of summer.
Beautiful.  Admire the sets, too, if you can think to do that while being awestruck by the music....

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

July 10, 2013

Hello, all,

This letter, from last year, is sobering.

July 4, 2012

To “B” or not to “B” - it’s still a question

printed in The Eastern Graphic

Plan B is a road, not something abstract and prone to invisibility like the PNP, bootleg tourism contracts, or even the flawed process that shackles most Islanders to the HST.  The road will be a constant physical reminder that democracy and truth can be paved over with deceit.  
Like many Islanders, I thought the “old” Liberal government that tried to kill Liberalism by breaking contracts and slashing wages 7.5 per cent had mended its ways.  I believed Mr. Ghiz when he apologized for that flawed process.  So, based on a trust that procedural fairness would be reinstated, I voted for a “Liberal” government.  Now, this moving forward with Plan B just proves my own naiveté.  
Is there any evidence that this government serves the majority of Islanders - that Islanders are truly included in the decision making process?  I hope some wit will christen this section of the Trans Canada Highway with a name that reflects how it came to be.  Then, each time we are forced to drive over the road, it will help Islanders remember what true representation doesn’t look like. 

Walter Wilkins,


from The Guardian's website yesterday:

Workers Compensation Board investigating Plan B accident

Guardian photo (an incredibly blurry photo -- they could ask for better ones from us)

Occupational health and safety officials are investigating an accident at the Trans-Canada Highway realignment construction site after a boom truck hit a power line. (File photo)

Published on July 9, 2013

by Ryan Ross  RSS                 Feed

Topics :

Highfield Construction , Trans-Canada Highway , Maritime Electric , Iceland , Charlottetown , Tignish

Occupational health and safety officials are investigating an accident at the Trans-Canada Highway realignment construction site after a boom truck hit a power line last week.

No one was seriously hurt, but the machine’s operator was taken to hospital and kept overnight for observation.

Bill Reid, director of occupational health and safety with the Workers Compensation Board, said any time there is an accident involving electricity the people involved are asked to go to the hospital.

“The potential is there any time you’re working with high voltage or low voltage in this situation so the fact they are released from the hospital is good news,” he said.

On Friday afternoon, a boom truck for contractor Highfield Construction was lifting barriers into place where construction is underway on the Bonshaw Bridge to widen it as part of the highway realignment known as Plan B.

The truck knocked out power for 10 Maritime Electric customers for more than three hours, although exactly what happened is still under investigation.

Reid said it’s standard practice for occupational health and safety to investigate any time there is an accident that has the potential for serious injury.

“Then we’ll look to see if there’s any violations of the Health and Safety Act or general regulations,” he said.

How long the investigation will take depends on what the investigators find and how complicated it becomes, Reid said.

“It’s hard to say right now where it is.”

Reid said the investigators will look to see if the company involved was complying with health and safety laws and regulations.

Darrel Evans, manager of design and bridge maintenance for the Transportation Department, said it was the second incident along the construction route after an Island Coastal truck backed into a utility pole about a week earlier.

No one was hurt in that incident, but it left about 2,500 customers without power for four hours and knocked the pole onto the road.

Evans said the contractors involved in the construction are responsible for their own on-site safety.

“We will certainly be in communication with them to try and beef that up, in some respects, on their end,” Evans said.

He also said the two incidents that knocked out power were the only accidents he was aware of at the construction site.

Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin said the utility has had to deal with two other incidents this year at different sites in what the company calls “public contacts” involving construction equipment.

“We’ve been lucky that no one was killed as a result of these,” she said.

The other incidents involved a truck tearing down a utility pole in Charlottetown that knocked out power for 4,500 customers, while 106 customers lost power after a piece of heavy equipment made contact with a power line in Tignish. Both of those incidents happened May 6.

Griffin said it’s important for people to take the safety issue seriously and be careful when working around power lines.

“We’ve been lucky with a number of these situations this year but we don’t want to see any,” she said.

Highfield Construction was contacted about the accident but the person who answered the phone said the company did not want to comment.

A couple of comments from Chris O.:
Why does The Guardian  tag the story with "Iceland" -- it's happened the whole 18 months of Plan B.
The worker injured, to my recent clarification, was not the boom truck operator but a worker standing next to the truck, which reminds one how electricity travels.

A slightly less fuzzy picture from Friday, July 5th, 2013.

Take care,
Chris O.,

July 9, 2013

Hello, all,

This is just a little goofing around....

Some Plan B numbers from last week:

number of kilometres of Plan B covered with about 8 inches (20cm) of gravel: 0.9

number of utility lines accidents, resulting in power outages: 2

number of workers injured on the site: 1

number of mainstream media stories on outages or accidents: 0

number of homes in the Plan B path moved off their original property: 1
number of homes in the Plan B path smashed: 3

number of Belted Kingfisher babies (reported, not confirmed): 4

number of pieces of equipment broken down:  5 (estimate)

number of days until the next listed provincial election date (October 5, 2015):   818

number of people who know when the actual provincial election date is going to be: 2 (estimate)

Cliff and apparently broken excavator, Bonshaw end of Plan B, July 2013.  Original TCH culvert in upper left of photo.

Have a great day,
Chris O.,

July 8, 2013

Hello, all,

Looking east from the now-top of the hill be Crawford's Brook towards New Haven, Sunday, July 7, 2013.

The Guardian
printed this short but delightfully punchy letter to the editor Saturday; it is not on their website, but I have copied it:
A Different View of Fall Leaves
printed on Saturday, July 7th in The Guardian
    Re Paul Acorn's letter in Friday's Guardian.  He is thinking that he will be able to "overlook the leaves of Fall" from the Plan B road when it is finished.  Mr. Acorn is overlooking the reality, that from the depths of the cuts, near New Haven and coming down the hill to Bonshaw, he will be underlooking any leaves he might see.
    Wait! The wind will pile the leaves from a wide area into those cuts, so he may overlook lots of leaves down there, after all, as he drives over them.  This is not the usual attitude for overlooking Fall leaves. 
    In another season, how deep will the snow drift down there?
Carl Mathis,

Carl is he director of the Coro Dolce classical choir, which is presenting four concerts in July, including one on Saturday, July 20th, at 7PM at the Bonshaw Hall, their "home base", so he sees enough of Plan B.


Yesterday was an anniversary, but as far as I know there wasn't a ceremony at Province House, no birthday cakes or nor license plates issued to commemorate it, but July 7th was the 240th anniversary of representative government on Prince Edward Island.

1773 was the first meeting of the first Legislature on PEI, with 18 representatives and a speaker.   This is the second-earliest organization of (Westminster system) representative government in what is now Canada (Nova Scotia) was earlier.**

The group that clarified the important historical event was the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt, which is holding a retrospective on who they were and what they did back in 1973, on Thursday evening, August 8th, In Charlottetown.  Looks like it will be an interesting and fun time.

This Thursday, July 11th, is a "town hall meeting" in Stratford to discuss the use of cosmetic pesticides, 7PM, Stratford Town Hall, free and open to the public.
From the Facebook event listing:
"The public is invited to a town hall meeting on cosmetic pesticides. Attendees confirmed include: Stratford Mayor David Dunphy, the PEI Canadian Cancer Society, www.PEICancer.com and many more concerned people."  James Aylward, local MLA, and concerned citizen Maureen Kerr are hosting it.

Have a good day,
Chris O.,

July 6, 2013

Hello, all,

A little bit more about the workplace accident at the Bonshaw Bridge yesterday:

Cranes at Bonshaw Bridge, Friday afternoon, July 5th, 2013.  View taken from across River on Green Road, looking east.

There are a variety of cranes being used at the Bonshaw Bridge part of Plan B, at the western end of the project, to expand it by one lane to make a right-hand turning lane onto Green Road.  This work is subcontracted to the Highfield company.  (The expansion was originally scheduled to be an additional lane going east until residents made it clear the *safety* hazard was the westbound land.)

The crane truck that hit the low-voltage wires presumably was this one:

...since the fellow in the green vest is from Occupational Health and Safety.
Crane truck, Bonshaw Bridge, Friday afternoon, July 5, 2013.

It was moving concrete barriers to create the lanes for traffic while they work on the deck and railing of the downstream side of the bridge.  The new upstream side railing is facing the viewer in this picture.  Note the new railing is solid as compared to a more open pipe design of original railing, which has created *another* safety issue of reduced visibility for traffic exiting the little church on the downstream side (church roof is centre left) and folks who use the drive to get to the river with kayaks and canoes and to the trails with mountain bikes.  The road to the church and river is now being rerouted! (pictures later)

I didn't get more information than this about the accident or how the worker is doing, and I am not sure if there was any coverage of CBC yesterday....


In yesterday's garden there was a letter from a person who wrote similar cheerleading letters last year:

A few words on roundabouts

Published on July 5, 2013


It's perfect to see the airport roundabout near completion. Mount Edward Road and Belvedere intersection is next, I hope. I believe they are a great advantage to travelling motorists.

I also had a drive up to Plan B. Wow, what progress is being made. It looks great to me. I am sure when the pavement is down and grass growing, it will be a treat to drive on and overlook the leaves of fall.

Congrats to Minister Vessey and all who are making this project become real.

Paul Acorn,

The Bonshaw end of Plan B near Churchill, July 5, 2013.

Anyone who wishes to respond to some of Mr. Acorn's statements or if you think it doesn't look great to you, consider writing:

The Guardian

The Eastern (and West Prince)Graphic

The Journal-Pioneer 


and consider cc'ing elected officials
Premier Robert Ghiz

Minister Valerie Docherty, MLA -- District 17

Minister Robert Vessey, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal

Have a great day, enjoy the heat, and be careful on the roads!
Chris O.,

July 5, 2013

Hello, all,

A sign informing the public about the kingfishers nesting in the Plan B area, July 4th, 2013. 

Kingfisher protection sign on TIR construction sign.  Just off TCH in New Haven, looking west at Plan B, July 4, 2013.  Hemlock Grove is the lowest area of the red strip.  The Kingfishers' nest is in the cliff facing west (not visible in photo).

My photography is barely adequate, and for anyone looking to improve their nature photography, there is a workshop at MacPhail Woods Sunday afternoon, 2PM: from:http://www.macphailwoods.org/event/nature-photography-workshop/

"Island photographer Beth Hoar will show slides on “Taking a Close Look at Nature – The Art of Macro Photography”.  She’ll then lead participants on a walk to discuss techniques and potential subjects.
You can see Beth’s breathtaking work at her website: http://greenthumbphoto.com/
Meet at the Nature Centre at 2pm and bring your camera along."

Her photos are fantastic.

Also, on Saturday, some Islanders are planning to go to New Brunswick, near the Elsipogtog First Nation, to show support for those who don't want fracking (hydraulic fracturing) for shale gas.

To an Islander, the following letter brings up what what happened with Plan B, what's going on in New Brunswick now, and what could possibly happen on PEI in the future.  It is reprinted on the website "The Harbinger: Green Politics and Culture in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia" and is by the New Brunswick Green Party leader. 

David Coon: No Consent to Frack

03 Jul 2013

To The Editor:

How many arrests will it take before Premier David Alward recognizes that he does not have the consent of New Brunswickers to allow the exploitation of shale gas? The people of this province have tried everything to communicate this to the premier. It started with meetings with MLAs, letter-writing to cabinet ministers and the presentation of the largest petition ever tabled in the Legislature. These fell on deaf ears, so there have been rallies, a massive march through Fredericton and weekly protests outside the premier’s office last fall. Associations representing family doctors and seniors have joined their voices with a number of municipal councils, environmental organizations and unions to call for a stop to shale gas exploration. All the political parties, except for the Conservatives, either want a moratorium or an outright ban on shale gas exploitation. Yet Premier Alward refuses to hit the pause button.

Now the thumper trucks have come to Kent County to carry out seismic testing. Everyone knows that if they get promising results the next step will be to drill and frack some wells to determine if they can extract commercial volumes of gas. Some people from Kent County, Elsipogtog First Nation and their allies have made the decision to engage in peaceful civil disobedience — standing in the road to prevent the thumper trucks from moving forward. But make no mistake, they may be standing in front of company trucks, it is their own government they are standing up to. And it is the government’s police force which is arresting them.

The Green Party of New Brunswick (GPNB) says the premier must call a halt to shale gas exploration now, just as premiers have in Nova Scotia and Québec. It’s time to pull the plug on those exploration licenses.

David Coon,
GPNB Leader

Enjoy the heat this weekend,
Chris O.,

July 4, 2013

Hello, everyone,

If there weren't such misguided incidents each day at Plan B, it'd be easier to discuss other issues on the Island!

From yesterday, word from the managers is that an operator of a giant dump truck snagged an electric wire and that caused the poll to snap Tuesday afternoon.  It is certain it was a tense time for the operator while he waited for the electricity in the wires to be shut off.  Power for the region was off for about five hours.  To my knowledge our local public broadcaster nor Island-wide newspaper did not report on this the next day, as they usually do with much smaller power outages, or construction-related incidents.
Giant dump truck, near Peter's Road, June 2013.

Late Thursday was the last day, apparently, public submissions were accepted regarding the draft report of recommendations from the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee.  The submissions were posted, each one an individual pdf file, on the website. 
Map of Plan B showing parcels listed in Minister Sherry's conditional approval of Plan B.  Used without permission from their website.

The main comments are that Islanders want land protected, would be happy to see the trail system improved in a low-impact method, want the Green Road/Crosby Mill footbridge replaced, and definitely want the public opportunity to comment on the management plan. 

I have opened up and pasted all the submissions here, without permission, and removed identifying information.
Have a great day!
Chris O.,

Final comments on Committee's draft recommendations posted on the BHPLC website:

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

June 24, 2013
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
I would love for the lands to be incorporated into the existing Bonshaw and Strathgartney Provincial Parks to create a larger park. Secondarily, I think one of the land conservation groups on the Island would be a good choice for managing the lands, whether through a lease or outright ownership.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:
Yes. Primarily hiking and bird watching. I think there would be some great opportunities for photography and plant identification as well.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
I liked that there is long term planning and acknowledgement of the financial difficulties associated with managing/conserving ''wild spaces''. I really like the recommendation for loop trails of several kilometres in length to be developed. I think having the various sized loops is a great way to make the trails accessible to a variety of people.
Other Comments: ---------------------------------
Great, well rounded recommendations.

June 26, 2013
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
With NAPA designation, give ownership to Island Nature Trust &/or Nature Conservancy of Canada, or add to the provincial park areas. Groups such as Central Queens Wildlife Fed, Cycling PEI, Island Trails and Macphail Woods Project could be involved in management, though there''s no harm in leaving that up to nature.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:
Yes, our family will continue to hike, bike, canoe and ski in Strathgartney Park, Bonshaw Park, the equestrian park, in between and beyond. And we bring many friends and guests along.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
1. protection of these under NAPA 2. no motorized vehicle access 3. promotion of environmental education 4. community and landowner involvement
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
No details of any investigation of the purchase or trade of adjoining property to join/expand Strathgartney Park to the MacKinnon''s Wharf property along the Tjigaoegatig [jeekow''kateek] River.
Other Comments:
Big thank you to the committee for all their work to promote the protection of what''s left of these special areas.
Designate Peter's Road and Bolger Park Road as heritage roads.
The footbridge should be rebuilt and higher- it was almost washed away this spring. The Bonshaw/Tjigaoegatig River Watershed group could help form a committee to organize this. Doesn't need to cost much- maybe get trusses donated with a plaque for recognition. Consider having a covered, open-sided bridge built by Bluefield High students.
Hold a public meeting and have time for comments on the Management Plan before it is finalized.

June 26, 2013 #2
Who should own/manage these lands?:
---------------------------------Public ownership, volunteer stewardship.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:
---------------------------------X-country skiing, camping, hiking, canoeing.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?:
---------------------------------Joining the land at bonshaw bridge to make a bigger park.
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?:
---------------------------------Hunting and trapping should not be allowed.Motorized vehicle even motor boats should be banned from this area.
Other Comments: ---------------------------------
This is a perfect time to make the area above St Catherines bridge a motor free river.This would encourage more canoe kayak traffic.This park could be expanded in the future through land grants from local land owners in the area.The cross country ungroomed winter trails will get alot of use on my part.

June 26-#3
-- Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
I am in agreement with the Committee''s Recommendations summarized in section 7 of the drat for public comment,the lands be transferred to non-profit land conservation trusts and/or incorporated into a larger provincial park. All provincial lands should be designated under NAPA. Preservation through committed funding and a long-term conservation management strategy is paramount to maintain the ecological integrity of these lands. Buffer zones should be reviewed and expanded to protect wildlife
and habitat. Any considerations for recreational use should require careful planning to avoid intrusions/disturbances to wildlife and habitat.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: --------------------------------- We would use the areas for walking, horseback riding,berry-picking and fishing. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
No motorized vehicle access. A long term commitment to land management and strategies to moniter the preservation of the ecolgically sensitive areas.
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
The financial resources and commitments from government are not guaranteed. Governments are notorious for cutting/reducing maintenance budgets.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments: ---------------------------------
The highway realignment through Bonshaw/Churchill is a colossal waste of public funds and the provincial government demonstrated its complete disregard of public opinion in order to pursue its own agenda.

June 27 -#1
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
I believe the lands should be held in trust by the province so they can be used by everyone for outdoor enjoyment.The land should be protected from development and not allowed to be sold.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:
---------------------------------We use this land now for hiking, dog walking, cross country skiing, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, birdwatching and just to have a quiet place to recharge and enjoy life.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?:
---------------------------------That the land would be protected and reforested where needed.Really like the idea of linking the parks but wouldn't want anyone made to give up their land unless they wanted to.
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- Do not like the idea of hunting and trapping. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments:
I believe motorized vehicles should not be allowed on this land unless for maintaining forests. I would love to see the West River protected more as well. No motorized boats should be allowed between St. Catherine''s Bridge and Bonshaw foot bridge as there are many nesting birds along
shores and they are scared away from their young but these. Also would like to see foot bridge crossing river in Bonshaw fixed before it breaks. The idea of getting public feedback on this issue is huge and if it is successful maybe government will do more of this to protect our island. Sure wish we could have only organic farming in the area as well but maybe that''s wishful thinking. Thanks for all your hard work committee.

June 27-#2
Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------Island Nature Trust should be the managers of the land in conjunction with other Non-government groups for land conservation, protection, and/or multi use where appropriate. U.P.E.I. should sub-lease the hardwood properties to the north of the highway for research and education. Island Trails and P.E.I. Cycling should sub-lease the trail system where they would be responsible for creation and maintenance over a long term (i.e. 10 to 25 years).
Who should not mange the lands: P.E.I. Parks should not be involved. They did not even send a representative to the Bonshaw-New Haven meeting to answer questions. If they cannot show any interest in the committee, then what will happen if the lands are under their management.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: --------------------------------- My family would use the lands for walking, cycling, canoe and possibly wilderness camping. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other Comments:
--------------------------------- The lands should be enjoyed by all Islanders and be accessible to all, especially handicapped
which at this point in time Strathgartney is not as the gate is never open.
There should be no hunting, trapping except for special circumstances. Motorized bikes and ATV should not be allowed with major fines associated with any violations. There should be a complete inventory of flora and fauna carried out before in activities or leases are started.

June 27-#3
The foot bridge at Green road needs to be replaced. It is important for local recreation and beyond. The replacement does not need to be exorbitantly expensive. It should be functional and built for the future. A second foot bridge off of Bolger Park would be beneficial.
No trapping or hunting at all. Not of any species. A possible exception would be aggressive coyotes. The wildlife populations are stressed enough. Also it is totally unreasonable to be promoting so small an area for both recreation and for hunting and trapping. It also seems many in those sports are rather careless regarding other users of the land.
No where at all should ever be off limits to the public. Hiking and trails should always be given first priority over research or conservation. There needs to be more trails everywhere. They should be run all over the place and made of different difficulties. Mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing could all use the same trail set. All motorized vehicles should be limited to the parking lots and their current trails.
I think buying more land would be a waste of money. There is plenty now owned by government in this area. As to who owns the land there have been no good options yet. Keep the current farm land in production. It is much more valuable in use than as yet more woods. No interpretive centers. They would be a waste of space and money and draw the wrong kind of use to the land. None of this "crown forest management" that happens else where of clear cut, plant monoculture, thin, clear cut.

June 27-#4
Who should own/manage these lands?: --------------------------------- Ownership should be transferred to a non profit organization such as the Island Nature Trust. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------
Protection of the ecologically sensitive areas. Swapping agricultural land for ecologically sensitive land that is currently privately owned. Linking properties with corridors that enhance wildlife habitat. Use for educational and research purposes. Protection under NAPA.
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------Extension of trails into areas such as the top portion of parcel D where the forest cover is mature tolerant hardwood. Many trees have already fallen to accommodate the new highway and every effort should be made to conserve the mature woodlands that remain.
Other Comments: ---------------------------------
Public access and recreation is important but should be done without causing further fragmentation of the forested lands in this area. I look forward to seeing the committee''''s thoughtful conservation and protection recommendations implemented.

June 27-#5
Dear BHPLC members,
Thanks for asking for input from the public on this first stage. Those who have glimpsed at the report and/or feel some connection to the Plan B area hope something of environmental and social value can be salvaged.
My suggestions:
* Except for the existing provincial parks, the land owned by government should be transferred to organizations like INT or NCC. (Too bad for TIR to have to write off the value of the land -- small, small change in relation to the actual costs of Plan B.)
* Acquisition of new lands, horse-trading with land owners who got land for Plan A or other land owners should be done with caution. That was not necessarily the objective of Minister Sherry's condition, obscure as it is. Many established private land owners have been doing an adequate job with their land management and the current trail system works cheaply and fairly well.
* The idea of a crescent-shaped park with a hub at Strathgartney and at Bonshaw Provincial Park is intriguing, but only if it is very hands-off and not trying to be an interactive tourist destination -- zip-lines, ropes course, pony rides, spas -- please, no.    Trails, trails, a decent footbridge or two, more trails, perhaps a composting toilet and a potable source of water would be great. Those old signs in the current trail from the Bonshaw Park are charming and informative -- a good model.
* Please consider recommending that lighting in public areas be kept to a minimum, be LEDs and with proper downward shielding to accentuate that the Bonshaw Hills are also a decent astronomical viewing area.
* Fix/replace the Green Road/Crosby Road footbridge ASAP so walkers, fishers, cyclists can confidently use it as it connects the Appin Road system with the St. Catherine's Road System. (The mountain bikers are the unsung heroes in maintaining the trails and monitoring them. When you walk the areas you *rarely* find a piece of little like a water bottle, as opposed to Tim's cups and styrofoam worm containers. They need to be able to get their bikes across the river here and at the TCH bridge.)
* Consider a second crossing on the West River from any trails to Bolger Park towards Riverdale. It would increase the active living potential.
* Recognize that decent people in the area ride ATVs and dirt bikes and will continue to do so in various places, despite their stink and noise. New trails should be off-limits for motorized (except obviously some kinds of wheelchairs in some limited places) vehicles and should overwhelming discourage ATVs/dirt bikes from their use of the trails by clever design.
* No hunting, period. Too easy for a kid or dog to put a paw or hand into a snare, and there are plenty of other places on other private lands that hunters seem to find. The only exception would
be a carnivore situation as in an aggressive coyote, when signage and public notice would warn hikers and those bringing their dogs. Let's make this a peaceful place for all living creatures (well, I think fishing is likely integral to the area), so let's say most peaceful birds and mammals.
* The parcels ear-marked for UPEI and Holland College should be available for all educational groups -- school-aged kids, folks from MacPhail Woods, seniors' college, etc. Any specific areas used for surveys and needing not to be disturbed could be labeled as such.
* This report did not mention subdivisions or other intense land use such as shale pits in the area near these parcels. Communication with government officials about filed plans for adjacent lands with regard to these activities could be requested by the committee as it plans the management of the parcels.
* The current committee should participate in the next stage, or at least be kept on the minutes-loop if certain members beg leave of attending. However, some of the members who appeared rather curious appointments and who weren't seen at the public meetings anyway should be excused from continuing.
* The need for public consultation on the actual management plan should most certainly be in this draft recommendations report and guaranteed by government for the next step.

June 27 - #6
------- Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
lands should be managed & owned by an NGO such as the Island Nature Trust but they should receive gov''t funding to offset costs especially the initial ones of clean up and establishment a near "wilderness" concept would be good but the public should be encouraged to use the land responsibly and not have access be overly restricted
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: --------------------------------- hiking snowshoeing skiing canoeing (not on the land but on the adjacent water of course!) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------loop trails but minimal further development -- a "wilderness" park is a good concept for PEI at this time
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- I don't want to see the government retain ownership because I do not want the gov''t of the day to
change its mind about the use of this land --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments: --------------------------------- all attempts should be made to connect the various parcels by acquiring additional land. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 27 -#7
--------- Who should own/manage these lands?: --------------------------------- The lands should be in the hands of non-profit organizations. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: ---------------------------------More likely to use the land if minimal trail development (use existing trails for things like nature education and activities such as walking, hiking, birding, skiing, snowshoeing) is done and there are no motorized vehicles permitted.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?:---------------------------------Take the agricultural land and trade it for other private lands of high ecological value. Protection of the land under NAPA after the land is transferred to a non-profit organization.
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- Development of more trails that further fragment the forest
Linking of Parks for recreational use. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments: ---------------------------------
Protecting wildlife should be the first priority as the land there has been so disturbed that they have already lost a significant amount of habitat. Priority should also be given to protecting the ecologically sensitive areas. Ensure that the increase in recreational use in the area does not have an environmentally negative impact.

June 27-#8
------- Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------Island Nature Trust should own/manage the lands. But they need to be given financial help with the cost of establishing hiking trails and educational/interpretive panels (or something like the information system at Trout River Nature Trail in Coleman).
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?:
---------------------------------I would, my family and friends would and the many hiker''s which I lead on hikes would. It could become one of the longer ''destination hiking trails'' in the province.
I think some of the land could be used for mountain biking but it would need to be carefully planned and built to a high standard to take a lot of use.
Also, some of the property should be left alone, let nature take its course. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- That the land be left in perpetuity to Islanders. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other Comments: ---------------------------------
Please establish two or three canoe/kayaking launching areas, which would be easy to use even at low tide. One for sure at the Bonshaw Bridge. Another one on the MacKinnon property and maybe one up by the footbridge.
Also, the footbridge should be replaced. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 27-#9
------ Who should own/manage these lands?: ---------------------------------
Island nature Trust or other land preservation group with legislation to provide protection from development in perpetuity. Partner with watershed and cycling and hiking groups as well as consult the public on management plans.
Would you or your family members use these lands? If so, how?: --------------------------------- Definitely. Hiking, cross country skiing, canoeing.
What did you like best about the committee's recommendations?: --------------------------------- No motorized vehicles. Join the lands as much as possible. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What did you like least about the committee's recommendations?: ---------------------------------Please add the need to have ongoing public input.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other Comments: ---------------------------------
The footbridge from the trail to the Green Road should be replaced. Consider making part of the trail along the river from the Bonshaw provincial park wheelchair accessible. Enhance educational components. Add pit toilets or portapotties in appropriate locations. Have a good balance between public access and environmental protection in sensitive areas. Allow adequate resources for infrastructure. Keep most of the trails as natural as possible. This is a very important aspect of the beauty of the Bonshaw and Strathgartney trails. Make sure trail markings are clear and do not damage the trees (like the current blue markers on the Bonshaw trail). Provide signboards at trailheads that show maps of the trails including distances and difficulty levels. This is an excellent opportunity do do something meaningful and long lasting. Don't compromise it. Make sure to get public comment on the final report before implementation.


July 3, 2013

Hello, all,

In the large area of Crapaud to North River, power was off from about 4PM to 9PM last night, as you may have heard.

Here's why:

Broken power pole, going west on TCH, Churchill, Tuesday afternoon, after 4PM.  Thanks to an eagle-eyed traveler who posted this on Facebook first.

Yes, in the very same area we were talking about safety concerns with the digging, little "arrow signs", etc., a few days ago.
Something (presumably large and heavy and having to do with moving dirt for Plan B) broke a power pole, and the broken half was leaning over the highway for a while.  Well, that DID keep people from driving in the lane closest to the ditch.

The CBC "live news feed" said traffic was moving normally by about 5:40PM, which gives traffic a lot of credit, since there was very little warning besides plastic pylons closing a lane.  No flagmen, no signs that the lane was closed ahead or there was utility work, didn't move a flashing programmable sign (though the lane was closed for hours).

Drilling hole for new power pole, next to broken one, looking across from eastbound lane, about 7PM.

Traffic was definitely migrating beyond the double yellow line.  It wasn't rainy at that point, but drivers were driving into the setting sun.

Digging continued during the power pole replacement.  About 7PM, Tuesday.

One wonders what the bill for the five hours work is and who pays it.


They are *purposely* replacing power poles on the other side, the Strathgartney, side of the road, to be ready for the expansion of the road.

New power pole for lines to be shifted for Plan B, in Strathgartney lookout.  There is no signage or reflective warning on the pole. 
Looking northwest, Churchill, a little east of broken power pole.

Close up of new pole, with surveyor's stake.  Strathgartney overlook parking area.  July 2nd, 2013.

The "cut 0.8" means they will need to dig down 0.8 of a meter (2 feet, 7 inches) at that point. 

Take care,
Chris O.,

July 2, 2013

Hello, all,

Framed: The next home to be gotten rid of -- this one is newish enough it's likely to be moved rather than smashed -- in Plan B's inexorable dig from New Haven to Bonshaw:

Plan B, across from little old church in Churchill, between Peter's Road and towards Riverdale Road, June 30, 2013

Hope you had a good holiday,
Chris O.,

PS  Our MLA missed the Bonshaw Canada Day celebration, so didn't have a chance to talk about things with residents.  Granted, her executive assistant called and left a message at suppertime on Sunday night to ask when it was (the time hasn't changed since the WI started it several years ago, and the date, um, doesn't change), but we didn't get the message until late.

July 1, 2013

Hello, all,

Happy Canada Day! 
Perhaps on Canada Day we reflect on our responsibilities as citizens, especially in relation to the very finite Island where we live. 
Getting involved -- so many of you were with the Plan B opposition, in many, many ways -- is a way we exercise our rights; and at some point, we will exercise the right to vote in a provincial election (something to think about as MLAs appear at Canada Day functions and other summer events).

This is a 7-minute long "TED" (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk, "The Antidote to Apathy", with Dave Meslin from Toronto, and you may have already seen it.  But if you could possibly afford the time, please watch it, and consider what he is saying in terms of Plan B, the Citizens' Alliance, and a positive future for PEI. 

Have a fun day,
Chris O.,
(with thanks to some wonderful people for raising the flag at Camp Vision)