The Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield, released her decision today, Thurs. Aug. 27 2009, to not issue a stop work order on the proposed culvert/road crossing for the Hanlon Creek Business Park. The decision was released as the “Salamander Protection Plan”. It allows construction to continue under some limited protective measures, including:
- no working during rain,
- no construction at night,
- work site cleared of debris,
- only working 30 minutes after sunrise and 30 minutes before sunset,
- silt fencing installed around the entire work site every night.
It recognizes that the culvert work and road way construction could be destroying Jefferson Salamander habitat, but the limitation of the law and the endangered species act prevents them from issuing a stop work order until the Jefferson Salamanders’ habitat is established.
The Minister and the city has ignored the fact that the roadway which vehicles use to access the construction site fall within 40 meters of a potential Jefferson Salamander breeding pond (Environmental regulations protect 300 meters of habitat around a breeding pond), and we haven’t seen any efforts made to protect the salamanders and their habitat from traffic on the site. Furthermore, they have deemed one of the potential breeding ponds as having dried up, but there has not been 3 years of surveying to prove it could not sustain salamander breeding habits, as well, the culvert construction site falls within 300 meters of this pond.
This decision ignores every good reason there is to abandon this project, and even fails to satisfy both the MNR and Jefferson Salamander experts in it’s ruling. Minister Cansfeild has just given the go ahead for a project that never should have happened in the first place and has given the city permission to continue to pour money down the drain.
While the HCBP development is destroying a very important ecosystem, the implications it has on the City as a whole go beyond this. The City is relying on the excavation of the Paris-Galt Morraine, the destruction of the Hanlon Creek Watershed, Species habitat, the slow destruction of an Old Growth Forest and the potential contamination of the Downey Well for economic growth. They hope this development will save the city from the debt it has accumulated through lawsuits, developments that go way over budget and their sprawling economic development plan.
Their hope is to fund the city’s “green” reputation with money from this development. They want us to accept the destruction of this ecosystem, one more unnecessary industrial business park and this whole misguided notion of progress through sprawling outward. In exchange, the city hopes to be absolved from it’s financial debt and previous mistakes. We didn’t create this situation and we shouldn’t have to shoulder their burden. You can’t put a price on the land. The proposed business park is expected to accomodate two years of economic growth whereas a forest can provide medicine, food, and water for generations to come. This fight symbolizes the narrow way that the city has conceptualized their notion of progress; where are we headed by their misguided notions of “development”?
Minister Cansfield’s decision and the city’s ambitions to push this project through illustrates the way the city’s interests lies both in pushing through growth and accumulating money. Their desires are in direct conflict with the people of Guelph and the land. They are willing to risk further debt and force this road and culvert construction through even with the risk that it will go unused if found within the Jefferson Salamander’s breeding and foraging habitat. They are taking a big gamble and ignoring all off the public outcry against this business park.
Please come out This Saturday. Aug. 29 from 11-4 at Goldie Mill Park for a social to discuss opposition to developments within the Great Lakes Region and the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
Check out http://www.hcbpoccupation.wordpress.com for more info or contact us at email@example.com
Please contact these people to express your opinions of the business park and Guelph’s development strategies and ask them not to continue with this project and drop the contract.
Drexler Construction Limited
Drexler Construction Limited
5274 Wellington County Road 27, RR #1
The Mayor, City Council and Senior City Staff
Mayor Karen Farbridge
Chief Administrative Officer
General Manager of Economic Development and Tourism
The Minister of Natural Resources
Minister of Natural Resources
6630 Whitney Block, 6th Floor
99 Wellesley Street West.
Toronto, ON M7A 1W3