So, we recently found out that the city’s monitoring of the Jefferson did not find any confirmation that the Jefferson Salamander lives at the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex. (Other than the hybrid found about a year ago). But we also know that, had the Jefferson been found, the City was attempting to apply for an exemption to the Endangered Species Act anyway, to be allowed to kill some in order to continue development. So it seems that we have come to the end of the road in terms of how the Jefferson Salamander can stop this development. But, there is one thing I want to make clear: This does not, in anyway, mean that this is a ‘green’ and ecologically sound development. All of the major environmental issues remain the same: causing destruction to the Paris-Galt Moraine, harming tributary A of the Hanlon Creek, (here-forth known as ‘Freedom Tributary’), killing thousands of animals, destroying their habitat, completely disregarding international treaties with Six Nations, and causing great harm to this beautiful old diverse forest, one of the last of its kind in Southern Ontario.
Why would I Oppose the HCBP?
There are many reasons to oppose the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP), including:
• Risks to two Federally protected amphibians: the Jefferson Salamander and Western Chorus Frog, and one Provincially protected amphibian (Jefferson Salamander – we still are not certain that it does not live on the lands).
• Destruction of Provincially Significant Wetlands
• Destruction of the Paris-Galt Moraine, previously recognized by MPP Liz Sandals and Mayor Karen Farbidge as extremely important to Guelph’s drinking water.
• Risk of contamination to the Grand River watershed and the Downey Well due to proximity of industrial uses and the presence of Tributary A of the Hanlon Creek on the site.
• Decreasing ecological diversity and eradicating the habitat for 112 species of birds, 16 species of mammals, and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians
• Killing a minimum of 1,700 mature trees and over 50 hedgerows.
• The allocation of nearly all of the next decade’s capital funding to the HCBP.
• Hundreds of potential employment sites sit vacant around Guelph, including 1.3 million square feet of empty, fully serviced industrial buildings, and 175 brownfields.
• Mayor Farbridge believes it is “too expensive” clean up brownfields, yet the City has sunk $20 million of taxpayers money into the HCBP.
• The HCBP has no confirmed tenants.
• The City wants to invite high-tech and biotechnology firms to the first phase of the HCBP, which would be white collar jobs – these would be of no help to the thousands of families out of work in Guelph.
• A lack of respect for this beautiful land that provides for us and sustains us.
• As climate change becomes an increasing reality, realizing that we must change the direction that society is going in and stop polluting the earth; an industrial business park paved over wetlands and forests would merely increase the impact that climate change will have on us.
The Jefferson Salamander is important as an threatened species just as all species’ diversity is important. To keep paving over diverse forests in the name of ‘economic progress’ will inevitably eradicate this diversity. To only care about a species once it becomes ‘threatened’ is senseless as we continue on this path of destroying more and more habitat, thus placing more and more species at risk. In some sense, only caring about species officially titled ‘endangered’ can be equated to quitting smoking once we have cancer and are on our death bed. The Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex is the home to 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, 270 species of plants and trees, 16 species of mammals, and 112 species of birds. To destroy this beautiful land is to increase the risk to all of these animals as we eradicate their habitats and kill those animals who are unable to relocate elsewhere, such as all of the reptiles and amphibians.
Then there is the issue of drinking water. The Paris-Galt moraine is not only beautiful and the home to many species of life, but is essential to our drinking water as it provides a unique function in ground water recharging. The Paris-Galt Moraine is a deposit of soil, sand, and gravel left over from glacial times. Although the Mayor has lately been arguing that the moraine is not on HCBP land, this is in fact false. Section 3.2 of The City’s own Environmental Impact Study on the HCBP discusses the presence of the moraine on the site. While in the past the City of Guelph has declared its dedication to the preservation of Moraines, development of the HCBP will result in the leveling and grading of a northern section of the moraine, that lies on the South end of the site.
Development of the HCBP would also result in seriously harming Freedom Tributary of the Hanlon Creek, which feeds into the Downey Well. This well gives the City of Guelph 10 – 20% of its drinking water; any development around this area poses a grave threat to our water supply. Freedom Tributary also feeds into the Speed River that then feeds into the Grand River. Many communities that are part of the Grand River watershed oppose the HCBP because of the contamination of their own water supply. One of these communities is Six Nations of the Grand River, and there are international laws and treaties that hold the people who have settled on this land accountable to Six Nations for their actions.
Three major treaties with Six Nations that include the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex are Two Row Wampum of 1613, the Nanfan treaty of 1701, and the Haldimand Tract Treaty of 1784. The Two Row Wampum is a treaty of non-disturbance and co-existance, demonstrated by a wampum belt that is mostly white with two purple lines down the middle, running parallel and never touching. This symbolizes two boats, one of Six Nations, and the other of settlers. Each is to drive their own boat and keep to their own path, and is NOT to drive the other’s boat, or drive their boat all over the other’s path. However, here we have a colonial situation where the settlers on this land have attempted to steer the other’s boat again and again. Development on the Hanlon Creek would further this for three reasons: one, we are not sure that it is not covered by the Haldimand Tract treaty, two, even if it is not covered by this treaty, it would surely have harmful consequences to land that is, and three, it is surely covered by the Nanfan treaty.
The Nanfan treaty of 1701 is named after by John Nanfan, the colonial governor of New York, and covers Southern Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. It declares “free hunting…. for ever” and “free of all disturbances”. This includes the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex, and the destruction of this land through the development of the proposed HCBP would directly be a ‘disturbance’ to this land that is legally bound to be disturbance free. As Southern Ontario is increasingly become a ‘pavement paradise’, this ‘free hunting forever’ has already been seriously compromised, further destruction to the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex would greatly add to this.
The Haldimand Tract treaty of 1784 is land given to Six Nations as compensation for land they lost as a result of the American Revolution, where they allied with the British. The Haldimand Tract is six miles on either side of the Grand River. This either includes the land proposed for the HCBP, or is very very close. The exact boundaries of the Haldimand Tract are hard to determine for a number of reasons: uncertainty regarding if it measured in nautical miles or land miles, the river is constantly changing, there are new dams and concrete embankments that change the topography of the river, and there are tributaries that feed directly into the Grand River. However, one thing is certain: even if the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex is not part of the Haldimand Tract, any destruction of this land would surely cause great harm to land that is. Thus, any destruction to the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex would be illegal, as it would be breaking international treaties.
Hoskanigetah Of The Grand River
August 10, 2009
Re: Hanlon Creek business Park
To Whom It May Concern:
The hoskanigetah of the Grand River have received information about the development of your city. This information is cause of much concern to us.
When we have people who come to us for help the most important issue for us is the environment. The environmental concerns should be first and foremost on everyone’s minds, especially with the development of a wet land, that the city is willing to risk.
The endangered species and animals that will be affected, cutting down of precious trees that we as humans need to survive can not be tolerated any longer. We as oikweonwe men will not support any development that destroys wetlands as this affects everyone downstream more so that the corporate world realizes. Ground water that is naturally filtered through a wetland is much more beneficial than water that is run off of cement, asphalt, houses and other structure. Ask Brantford, they have been responsible for killing the cold streams, fish and plant life when all the run off was diverted into natural habitat.
The Hanlon Creek is a tributary of the Grand River which will affect everyone and everything downstream of your development. The people of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory have had enough bad water and pollution which is making its way into our territory.
Therefore, the hoskanigetah orders the Corporation of the City of Guelph to CEASE AND DESIST the development of the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
hy yoh noh ganh
Climate change – Perhaps it is time for us to change
There is no question that we are only beginning to experience the consequences of a couple centuries of industrial growth. I do not want to go into extensive detail about climate change here, but I trust you are starting to notice the odd warm days in November, are reading and hearing about climate change in the media. It is happening, we cannot take back the past and so will have to deal with climate change in the future.
But we can decide to stop going in this direction and cease to contribute to climate change. We can shift our values, and begin to realize just how much we need this earth. While I’m sure that not many would argue that we don’t need this earth (where else would we live), we have been completely disrespecting this home. Polluting our water, tearing apart our forests. Killing and driving animals to extinction, when we are also a part of the web that all species weave. This is not just a question of ‘what do you value more: the earth or humans’, it is a question of whether we are able to stop creating a world that will surely lead to our extinction.
Continuing to pave over beautiful land in the name of ‘economic growth’ is furthering the delusion that nothing needs to change. That we can continue going in this direction, and pollute our home more and more. Lifeless pavement that heats up the air (ever lie down on asphalt in the summer?), over a forest that cools it and keeps our water clean. In our days to come there is no question to me which we need more.
I know that we are able to be better than this, live in ways that are not destructive to the earth. While it may seem that industrial capitalism is inevitable, it hasn’t actually been around that long: two, three hundred years. Compare that to how long humans have been around. Thousands of other societies show us that there are other ways to live, and live well. It is time for us to learn.
I work with children, and I fear the world I will hand over to them. We need to start taking responsibility for our actions, and think about how future generations will be able to live. We need to realize that the climate changing is telling us something – we need to change. This needless destruction and pollution must stop. We must find new ways to live. And I have faith that we can. That we can work to take care of one another and feed each other, grow food close by, build sustainable homes, and value how forests and wetlands sustain us.
What others are saying:
The Wellington Water Watchers argue that the HCBP,
“would dramatically effect a water catchment area crucial to the Downey Well and the groundwater recharge of the Paris-Galt Moraine. The Moraine is a critical source of municipal water supply for Guelph and surrounding area. The Guelph-Puslinch Groundwater Protection Study from 2005 states that increased industrial activity in this sensitive area raises the potential for toxic materials to seep into our drinking water.”
The Sierra Club of Canada has raised concerns that while in the past the City has declared its dedication to the preservation of Moraines, development of the HCBP will result in the destruction of this very same Moraine. They have also repeatedly expressed concerns about the loss of 1700 trees, 11 wetlands that would be filled in, and tiny buffers between the Old Growth forest and industry.
Professor Emeritus James Bogart – J. Salamander expert and author of the species’ Recovery Strategy – once said that the City needs to conduct 3 years of surveying to determine its breeding habitat, which would lead the City to put at least a 3-year hold on the HCBP in order to protect the Jefferson Salamander. THIS IS FAR FROM THE SURVEYING THAT HAS OCCURRED.