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Natalie Helferty  -   <>

Natalie Helferty is the biologist who found the Jefferson salamander in Jefferson forest, that the Bayview extension is to be put thorough.  She has helped our efforts in the Cawthra Bush and if you can help her with the below,  you should.

PLEASE -  can call  ELIZABETH WITMER, the Minister of  Environment,  to express your opinion that there is more then enough reason to stop the Bayview extension and do a proper Environmental Assessment, along with a study to see if the Bayview extension is even needed.

Writing a letter or e-mail is also a very good idea and if  you do, please send a copy to Natalie so she can see the support for this cause.

[ Oct. 30 - 2001 ]


Hi everyone,

    As the person who found the Jefferson salamander in Jefferson forest, quite appropriately, I am asking all of you to try to help save this  salamander from the bulldozers, which are out on the Bayview extension as  we speak, digging up the earth that these salamanders overwinter in underground!
I can't stand by as a biologist who knows and loves these critters and do nothing, especially in the name of science, whose purpose is to seek and speak the truth about life.

     If you don't know, Save the Rouge last week launched a judicial review in the Superior Court of Canada of the Environmental Assessment, based on the fact that the EA was so poorly done that they didn't find this nationally Threatened species, even though I found it the first time I went out and looked. As well, the EA did not examine the need for the Bayview extension thoroughly and the 'indirect' impacts of the road, including the development that will follow the road, including the development between existing Bayview north of the forest and the new extension, which the Town of Richmond Hill insists will be allowed under OPA 129 rules.   This land between existing deadend Bayview and the extension is in fact 'significant
 land' where a local resident, Rob Ens, has found Jefferson salamander and Yellow-spotted salamander (a TRCA listed 'Species of Conservation Concern') in his backyard.  Other residents along deadend Bayview north of the Jefferson forest have also found Jefferson salamanders and other amphibian species on their property so this whole area should be included as part of the ORM 'Core' or 'Corridor' area in the new legislation that the province will be coming forward with shortly.

    The judge was sympathetic and said our issues were important, but felt he could not overturn the decision of the Minister of Environment in 1998, an elected representative.  We don't agree that the court has no say in matters of this magnitude when an EA is this faulty and so we are looking into an appeal, but will need funding to cover disbursment expenses at least.  The lawyers are doing this case 'pro bono' since funding wasn't available for the first case.  The bumper-sticker money raised in 2000 was used for this case, so thanks to those who bought one.  We have 200 left.  Likewise we need to push our elected representative, the Minister of  Environment, now Elizabeth Witmer, to act in this matter.

    Also, we contend that the EA is outdated in that the circumstances around  the project have changed, including the upcoming legislation on the Oak Ridges Moraine.  The EA was finished in 1997, before the ORM was even on  the radar screen of most people.  Owing to this change, we feel the need for the road has not been demonstrated as no thorough studies of traffic on Bayview or Yonge have been done, development along Bayview to the north and south of  Major Mackenzie Drive in Richmond Hill has caused traffic gridlock every morning, and other alternatives that were not within the power of York Region in 1997, but are now (i.e. regional transit) have not been examined as alternative means to deal with traffic congestion in York Region.  York Region contends that the road is needed to service people now in Aurora and Newmarket as a "temporary" measure until transit is in place; this was given as a reason for the road in the EA in 1997, and is what the Region is still sticking to as 'justification' for destroying some of the most sensitive and biodiverse land on the moraine.  Any recent changes in road capacity have likewise not been taken into account to determine the need for the road at this time, including expansion of transit and GO train service and widening of existing roads including Hwy 404, and soon Bathurst St. I personally travelled Yonge Street every morning from 1999 to 2001 to get up to Bloomington and Yonge from Richmond Hill and never had any problem getting through Oak Ridges.  There is no real need for this road; filling in the road grid isn't justification.  This also isn't the way planning by our public agencies, who represent the  people, should be done.

    York Region has not listened to our arguments or our pleas to not award the contract for construction and they have not put forward any supporting data to show they have even studied this issue and demonstrated a need for  this road. If they won't listen, then the only person who has the power to
 stop this injustice is the provincial Minister of Environment, who approved the Environmental Assessment in the first place in 1998.

     Under Section 11.4 of the 1997 EA Act Reconsideration of decisions
11.4(1) If there is a change in circumstances or new information concerning an application and if the Minister considers it appropriate to do so, he or she may reconsider an approval given by the Minister or the Tribunal to proceed with an undertaking. 1996, c. 27, s. 3; 2000, c. 26, Sched. F, s. 11 (6).

    We can demonstrate that there is a "change in circumstances" (the ORM legislation, which will reduce the number of people on the moraine by the way so less need for the road) and "new information" (the presence of a nationally Threatened species, the Jefferson salamander, which studies show is the most sensitive species to development of all amphibian and reptiles species and requires 800 to 1000 acres of intact habitat for a population to survive).


1)      CALL ELIZABETH WITMER at (416) 314-6790, FAX at (416) 314-6748 and EMAIL at
Tell her to enact Section 11.4 of the Environmental Assessment Act. She  has the power to stop this road.  The bulldozers are on the Bayview  Extension right now, despite York Region saying they would do monitoring  for the salamander to provide culverts, which won't work if you don't know  the extent and location of crossings (monitoring is not being done in the  Jefferson forest nor to the north where the wetlands are--both the most  likely places for migration and dispersal--drift fence is in open fields  and buckets are set 250 feet apart and in the open, not in the hedgerows, which salamanders are most likely using to access Rob Ens' property).  And with this being the most sensitive species to development this road will surely cause long-term degradation to the surrounding wetlands and forest and hence the amphibian fauna that is so prolific and diverse in this area.  This is the 'source' area for amphibians for the GTA due to the density and abundance of wetlands close by to a large intact forest, the Jefferson Forest.  Let's keep the Jefferson Salamander in the Jefferson Forest for generations to come!!

    The three points to keep in mind;  There is no determined need for the road, circumstances have changed with the ORM freeze and new information has come forward (the Threatened Jefferson salamander).

2)      Donate to our court appeal to SAVE THE SALAMANDER.  We need about $6000 or so within the next few days in order to put in a court injunction to stop the bulldozers, which are stripping tree stumps and removing topsoil right now, potentially killing many hibernating salamanders.

    The Canadian Environmental Defence Fund (CEDF) is accepting donations and will issue tax receipts for any amount.  We are requesting that $50 to $100, as a one time donation, be given.  Less than half a days wage to save the most significant portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine from fragmentation and degradation.  It's not a lot in the grand scheme of things.  You only live once, and you only have one more chance to do something worthwhile to save this area.  Please think about what this land is worth to you and your children and all of creation, all "God's Creatures Great And Small"...including the salamander.

Thank you and call me at (416) 460-2460 for more information or
David Donnelly at CEDF to make a donation at (416) 323-9521.

  Please pass this message along to friends and family.  Numbers count!

  Thank you so very much for helping me to save the salamander and all its  brethren.  The world will only know your love for it through
action's you  take today.

Your Financial Donations are Greatly Appreciated
and Very Much Needed to Ensure the Survival of

Donald Barber Defense Fund
Needs help right now
Now Accepting Pay Pal.

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