THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
MISSISSAUGA'S ENVIRONMENTAL NEWSPAPER
V.4 N.1, Oct. - 2002 Price: Free or $10 Membership (circulate this newspaper to your friends)
Warning this newspaper deals with a mature subject, politics and its dirty details.
Special - all Cawthra Bush issue for the members of the
Cawthra Ratepayers and Residents Association (CRRA)
Highlights this issue;
- What you can do to help & upcoming important dates. Oct. 17, 23 & 24.
What you can do to help;
Oct. 17 - A rezoning meeting is to be held and people are needed to attend it and/or write letters. The letters are a very important. Going on record with your own words, is most effective.
Oct. 23 & 24 (6:30pm to 9:00) - Help getting petition signed. City staff have held a United Way fund raiser by "haunting" the Cawthra Estate house for the pass few years. Every year that it has been held, expect for 2001, members of the FCB have attended to get petitions signed and get our message out to the community. The vast majority have been happy to sign and hear about what has really been going on at the Cawthra Bush but City staff have been increasingly hostile. In 2000, we were wrongfully ordered away. In support of our legal right to use public land as we were, Clayton Ruby (the very prominent lawyer in Toronto), wrote a 3 page letter for the FCB. A letter from a lawyer of his renown would be very costly, but at no cost to us as he knows what we are up against and the value of our Canadian Charter & Human Rights. We should not waste his effort or let the City bully us. Please call saying you can help on one or two of these nights. Bring the kids and they can go through the haunted house while you help outside.
Donations & membership money - currently writing the history of our struggle to save the Cawthra Bush and posting it on the internet, as a part of our outreach program, is a priority. There is a wealth of information that should be shared and FCB pictures are unique as well as useful to researchers & educators. An effort was made early this year for proof readers and web-page editors, using students, but computer problems, cash flow or the lack of it, stalled the effort that should now be restarted.
People to contact the City for information & records - this is very, very important. I am cut off from getting City records, thanks to Mississauga's politicians, so unless others start finding out the facts, we will only know what the City tells us. Which in the past has only been what supports their plans.
Contact information; Don Barber - Financial donations are greatly appreciated.
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- web-site www.eol.ca/~ donbar
Mail to; Station B, Box 1504, Mississauga, Ontario. L4Y 4G2
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Development on Northmount;
Meeting - Oct. 17, 7:00pm at the Mississauga Senior's Centre 1389 Cawthra Rd.
If you can't make this meeting then you can write in letters opposing this plan and you don't have to live in the area to do so.
It is hoped that some people can come out to express concern about this development as not only will it have a negative affect on the Cawthra Bush but it will set precedence that will open the area surrounding the Cawthra Bush up to massive development. The kind of which has been referred to, in other areas, as block busting or over development, destroying a community. The City's own Urban Forest Ecologist can be quoted that development around the Cawthra Bush will "pound it into the ground".
The meeting is about changing Official City plan and a Rezoning Application for allowing the following - 30 condominium townhouses and 5 freehold detached dwellings on what are now 6 lots (Lots 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 R.P. 308), at the north end of Northmount, east side. If this comes to pass then a population explosion (with its traffic problems), will begin in the areas on both sides of the Cawthra Bush, wherever there are deep lots. There are no townhouses like the ones proposed any where near the area in question so it is totally out of character with the surrounding community and opens the door for higher population densities that could even see small apartment buildings in what is a quiet bedroom community. If you do the math for this one proposal with 4 member family's on 6 lots it would add just 24 people with the 30 townhouses it adds 116 persons to that number and the small area in question. Image if developers start to drop townhouse bombs throughout the area or worse? A dangerous precedence to those in the Cawthra community who have invested their time and money into creating a livable community for their families.
City staff are denying me access to records that I have been allowed in the past, about Official City plan Amendments and Rezoning Applications, so I can't fully address this matter. However, much can be said even without those details. First of all, there should be no changes and there should be no townhouses, one house per-lot in order to maintain the character of the community. Single homes on the existing lots will add in maintaining an important feature of this community, lots of trees on large lots. Over development with townhouse means fewer if any trees, which we need for our health. There should be no cash-in-leu of green space if townhouses are allowed. A more detailed list will be handed out at the meeting. This just another example of how the City goes through a public process to approve an Official Plan and then sets about changing it the first chance it gets.
From sign posted on the property; owner 1518554 Ont. Limited; agent: Patrick Sweet & Assoc 274-1047; File.# OZ/OPA02/23; City Planning & Development 896-5511 & the planner is at 896-5752
General UPDATE - in brief, some of what has happened since the last newsletter, Aug. 2000.
The Cawthra Bush is officially, in 2000, declared by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), as a Provincially Significant Wetlands Complex! All our hard work, petitions and lobbying of government has paid off. Then in Feb. 2002, the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada (COSEWIC), included the Jefferson Salamander (the last place it can be found in Mississauga is in the Cawthra Bush), in the federal Species at Rick Act, as a Threatened species! Both letters confirming these facts are posted on the FCB web-site.
But even with such a high level of environmental significance it will not protect the Cawthra Bush forever. The City is committed to seeing the forest slowly destroyed by neglect and active mismanagement.
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This year we started a water flow study of the ephemeral stream that flows in the spring at the Cawthra Bush. Also, large numbers of Fairy Shrimp were found this year during a tour being given to Bentley Christie who was doing a study of vernal or temporary ponds in Ontario. He found out about the Cawthra Bush by way of our web-site. Vernal ponds are very important to amphibian breeding as they dry up and no fish can live in them to eat amphibian (salamander) eggs. If you find Fairy Shrimp, an obligate species, then you truly can say you have found a vernal pond. It is also very rare to find Fairy Shrimp in flowing water as is the case in the Cawthra Bush. Is the City helping our efforts? The well that the City knew I was taking water table measurements from had the 6 inch hole sealed up so that could not be done any more.
On the FCB web-site some pages have been added about amphibian habitat creation or the urban amphibian bunkers. Homes for salamanders, frogs, toads etc. that little boys with buckets can't usually penetrate.
The Toronto Zoo puts out a newsletter called the Amphibian Voice, as a part of its Adopt-A-Pond programme & wetlands conservation and "Discovery at the Cawthra Bush" got the two page centre spread complete with 5 pictures. The picture on the front page was also taken at the Cawthra Bush. Not only were many of the successes of the FCB in protecting the Cawthra Bush noted, our web-site and a method for studying Fairy Shrimp were presented. The latter is a method that amateur naturalists or community groups can use to accurately record population counts. Only a few pages of this newsletter are enclosed, so if you want to order the rest, their contact information has been also enclosed. As they help educate students about wetlands and all that lives in them, a donation is a wise choice.
The Green Party and Freedom of Information (FOI). The City was and is stopping FOI requests made by me and other members of the community, to make sure no one can know ahead of time what the City was really planning and doing regarding the Cawthra Bush. How was this done? It was done by using false records about me, ignoring the facts (such as the proof I was acting on behalf of a community groups), as well as other improper means and with the help of the City FOI Co-Ordinator who has been documented filing a false affidavit (to keep FCB comments off the official record during the City's failed effort to rezone the Cawthra Bush) to get a ruling against me limiting my FOI requests. As I am too poor to take this matter to court and buy justice, so this government legalized censorship and cover-up goes on. Sadly, this precedence affects all Ontarians.
The major political parties of Ontario/Canada were contacted about this dictatorial state of affairs in Mississauga and only the Green Party stepped froward to help us by making an official Green Party FOI request, direct from their leader Frank de Jong. They recognized the absolute importance and necessity for Canadians to have access to their government's records in order to make informed decisions. To the Green Party and to us, this was not just an environmental issue, it was first and foremost an issue regarding the very nature of our democracy. Without a strong and free democracy with access to government records, important issues like Canadian taxpayers participating meaningfully in their government decision making and preserving the environment for future generations will be impossible. The City refused the Green Parties FOI request claiming he was in some way working for me.
This ruling was appealed to no effect, the Ontario government was unmoved to the many arguments put before it, such as why a political party must have special status in a community and making FOI requests for the community, to sever and act for the communities greater good, in a democracy. More will be posted about this on the web-site later.
City staff have informed me that City's so-called Freedom of Information Co-ordinator has sent out a memo that they are not to supply information to me and all requests must be FOI requests at $5 a crack, one at time and 30 days to supply. It is my experience that my FOI requests will be denied and trying to appeal will take months only to be denied as those who administer the FOI Act fears the City too much to rule against Mississauga's Mayor Hazel McCallion.
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No doubt the Information & Privacy Commission still remember how Hazel directed her FOI Co-ordinator to defy the FOI legislation and not process the FCB's FOI requests. This all serves the City of Mississauga anti-environmental, anti-democratic agenda very well, keeps us in the dark as our tax dollars are spent to destroy the Cawthra Bush and our democratic rights.
The City's Urban Forest Management Advisory Committee (UFMAC). Our greatest strength has been the commitment to discover the facts and inform the community so Mississauga taxpayers can make informed decisions regarding the Cawthra Bush and their community. So, in another effort by the City to eliminate our effectiveness, UFMAC is going into hiding.
For years I have used the UFMAC committee meetings to get advance notice of City plans then inform and organize the community to lobby for better plans or to defeat City plans. I also gained great insight into how the City's processes worked. Now the City has put an end to this by arranging it so UFMAC meetings will now be held in secret and the agendas will not be available expect to certain people, like the FCB. The minutes, if any, will be so vague as to be useless as to inform what really happened at a given meeting. The City will also be splitting up the UFMAC members so only one or two need meet with the City and the others will not know of certain issues or discussions. A greater chance for the City to get approval for its plans. If the City does wheel out UFMAC for a very carefully controlled public meeting you can bet most of the important decisions will already have been made and we will get very little advance warning of what the City is planning to do. Which will likely include restarting the logging and tree farming of the Cawthra Bush. The City has not said it would never consider ending its desire to carry on logging or thinning the Cawthra Bush and their time table states the City will be reviewing this matter very soon. It is no wonder the City would not want us to get advance notice of this. The City has just chosen new members for UFMAC and it looks like they found some very like minded to the City's political goals. The US supreme court recently ruled that "democracy dies behind closed doors", restating a universal truth.
What brought this on?
In years gone by I could appeal to UFMAC and got more results then trying to reason with City staff that took their directions from Mississauga's politicians. I reported to UFMAC how the City had gone against the Ministry of Natural Resources wishes in removing Jefferson Salamander habitat, at the Walled Garden. More about that in the next section but it needs to be noted Mississaugans were not given a reasonable chance to say if the only English style (kitchen) Walled Garden in Mississauga, one of only a few in Canada, would be saved or not. Again the City seeks to destroy everything of significance in the Cawthra Bush.
I got UFMAC to review what the City was and was not doing at the Cawthra Bush, one point that should be of great concern is that the City plan called for monitoring and staff told me that all they did was look at the breeding pond and made no notes, hardly scientifically credible monitoring.
I also reported to UFMAC that the City wrongfully did work around the only breeding pond for the Jefferson Salamanders and did it exactly contrary to the City's own management plan for the Cawthra Bush, that the City had told Mississaugans would protect the Cawthra Bush. City workers clear cutting understory saplings, at a time of year that the Cawthra management plan specifically states that kind of work should not be done. In an area the work should not be done, as it has been documented that the work was done along a known Jefferson Salamander migration route used by juvenile salamander who have never been on dry land before. No doubt City actions would endanger or kill many of them. I presented to UFMAC part study that details the migration route that the City actually paid for but had not been presented to UFMAC. City staff ignored the commitment in the management plan to keeping whatever was cut down, to remain in the Cawthra Bush and failed to follow the plans explicit directions to replace what was cut down with native species. When asked about why they did not follow the plan to the letter, as the public was lead to believe, and replant the area, the City's Urban Forest Ecologist simply they said didn't see a need to. This is proof the City can't be trusted to tell the truth or be honest with tax payers about what will or will not take place
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After, getting UFMAC to ask City staff to report about the Cawthra Management plan an effort was made to get UFMAC members to consider hearing an appeal from the Green Party about not being able to get City records, that ended with the City security assaulting me and the senior who came with me. Being the victim of a City staff attack means I was banned from City Hall for a couple months.
Not being allowed to attend the UFMAC meeting that reviewed the progress of the Cawthra Management plan didn't stop the community effort, other members of the FCB attended UFMAC meetings and made numerous notes. I may not have been there to point out the errors in City staff's comments and reports but we were not going to be kept in the dark. The City saw this sudden attendance by members of the public and knew just shutting me out was not going to give them the chance they needed to plan the fate of the Cawthra Bush in secret, so they had to generally ban the public from attending UFMAC meetings.
Finally & sadly, for all the work I have done to discover the Cawthra Bush's environmentally significant features and its rare & threatened species, I have not been invited to aid the City in any way in monitoring anything at the Cawthra Bush, including salamanders/amphibians. City staff know I have the largest data base and collection of photos regarding the Cawthra Bush. Clearly, they don't want to know the facts when making decisions about the Cawthra Bush's future.
How far will the City go in eliminating the FCB & those who disagree with Mississauga's politicians?
The Walled Garden - longer accounts are on the web-site (we really need proofreaders). Back in the winter of 2000/2001 the City set out to not only destroy Mississauga's only rare English style kitchen Walled Garden but also to remove the bricks on the ground which were known as Jefferson Salamander habitat. Especially in the winter (which is when the City did the work), as it would be most likely to kill exposed salamander and other wildlife wintering in the piles of bricks. The City calls destroying the Walled Garden making it safe, soon they will make the Cawthra Bush safe. As the City didn't care to take to heart my many efforts to reason with them, which included addressing City Council with other member of the community as well as City committees, I called upon the Ministry of Natural Resources, who (not under Hazel's control), did take action. The City was contacted by the MNR and told they should not remove certain bricks. Well, I get a call that the City is over there with a front-end loader and over I go, cameras in hand.
I caught a worker removing bricks from where they should not be removed. For this I was ordered out of the forest and banned from the Cawthra Bush for 30 days. This did not stop me from doing the right thing, not only did I get another member of the community to take more pictures of more workers carrying on with the work the City knew it should not be doing, but I got on the phone to the MNR. The MNR called the City a few times and the work suddenly stopped - victory! But at a cost to me. The City will now wave that banning order around like a prize when it makes its false claims about my character.
Feb. 2002 - As it is clear that City staff will come after me every chance they get, I make a point of trying to have someone with me when attending City meetings or otherwise dealing with the City. In this case it was a senior and a lady, as we went to a UFMAC meeting. When we got there, we were told the meeting was cancelled and that some UFMAC members were in the meeting room. This was a chance to address them in an informal setting about allowing the community and the Green Party to address UFMAC, about getting reviewing City records that the City was denying the community and not allowing us to get on the UFMAC agenda about this issue. I calmly addressed the Chair of UFMAC and it was witnessed I did nothing wrong or even raised my voice. The Chair and another member of UFMAC, who claim to be men of science, that refused to even consider that we could make a case for UFMAC being able to ask the City for records, for community review. A fundamental principle of science
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In the past, I have explained to these members that as a committee of Council they had the power, to direct City staff to under take certain actions, such as asking for a review of how staff was carrying out the Cawthra Management plan. When it comes to working with the community stewards and being fair and reasonable they just didn't have it in them. Then City security came up to me and falsely claimed I had been ordered to leave.
As we were leaving I was the focus of their efforts to provoke a conflict. I was repeatedly grabbed/assaulted, and pushed from behind, without warning into the elevator on to the senior. She cried out in pain but fortunately was not seriously hurt by this attack. A victim of City violence again, I am banned from City hall, this time for months.
Generally City staff file false reports about me and I have seen some of them but recently when I tried to discover what their notes were, FOI was no help. The City is trying to frame me and get the police to arrest me in order to discredit all the Friends of the Cawthra Bush and destroy our organization. Cut off the head and the body dies. What motivates City staff to act so? The Mayor of course. Hazel has been video taped in Council chambers saying there is a coup out to get her and that I am a part of it. I am reminded of the words of an English king, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest.", that resulted in his loyal knights murdering an Archbishop. Ward 1 Councillor Carmen Corbasson has even participated in sending the police to my door because they didn't like my "demeanour". In Canada politicians can send the police after you as they don't like your attitude, that is right. People have told me that I should heed the words of Mississauga's Mayor and "fad away" or de meaner they will get. Councillor Corbasson will not help us/me, just as she would not help when the City refused to recognize our ratepayers group, the CRRA, as the City stated we could disagree with the City.
It is no wonder my enthusiasm has waned, knowing the City will do whatever it can to get me arrested, knowing I am too poor to fight back. Use acts of violence against us to make us so fearful that we stop and go away. To do the right thing, to fight for community rights & the Cawthra Bush, I have had to live in poverty for years and health concerns are becoming an issue. Now it has become life threatening as the City moves to use the police against me. What do you think? Should I carry on? Before you answer, ask yourself this, if the City is willing to go this far (and there is more), to eliminate community opposition to it plans, that destroy the Cawthra Bush's only protection, its environmental significance, would it not be reasonable and logical that the City is hiding its big development plans for the Cawthra Bush?
FCB & CRRA MEMBERSHIP FORM
Please ask your friends and neighbours to join.
The membership fee is $10. Seniors in the CRRA area it is $5.
Any donation over and above that fee is very much needed and appreciated.
Send to; FCB & CRRA, Station B, Box 1504, Mississauga, Ontario. L4Y 4G2
Age - [ ] under 16, [ ] 16 to 20, [ ] 20 to 65, [ ] over 65 Sex - [ ] Male, [ ] Female
Check as many as you feel you can do.
Would you like to be; [ ] Member only [ ] General volunteer
ADDED COMMENTS BY Don B.
The math presented was done before the information meeting Oct. 17/02. At this meeting the David Matthews from Matthews Planning & Management LTD., noted that the townhouses would be one bedroom for "empty nesters" and not for families or at lest that is the plan at this point. The finial chapter has not been written as three plans have been presented so far. I am sorry for the large numbers presented but remember that the City of Mississauga is responsible for that. I went right into City hall, up the the 11th floor, tried to see the file and get the facts. James N. Riddell, the manager, Development Team South - Development and Design Division told me to my face I could not see any of the details/file and he would not talk to me about the development.
There will be more about this - to be sure, as the community is outraged by this development and the way the Ward 1 Councillor is handling it. It has been suggested there will be a Dec. 2, formal meeting next.
Your Financial Donations are Greatly Appreciated