Kawartha Lakes' Finest Magazine

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Wetlands need our protection, says reader, not MPP’s tabled bill

in Letters to the Editor by

Wetlands enrich our lives. They are places where we can observe and learn about a diversity of plants and animals while enjoying a quiet, natural environment.

But wetlands accomplish much, much more. They are crucial in preventing climate change through carbon storage which takes place in vegetation, sediment and dead plants. Complementing our efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels, removal of carbon from the atmosphere is essential to avoid a climate crisis.

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Controversial bill to change conservation authorities in pro-development move by province

in Environment by
The lookout at Ken Reid Conservation Area. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Conservation Ontario has asked its members, environmental groups, and citizens to petition for changes to the Conservative government’s new developer-friendly bill — but a motion from Mayor Andy Letham led to a 6-3 vote not to pursue the matter.

Under the new bill, known as Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act, members will be required to act in the best interests of their municipalities, not the best interests of the watershed. Further, every member of the authority board would need to be an elected municipal councillor, eliminating appointed citizen representatives.

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Ford undermining environmental protections, says reader

in Letters to the Editor by
Ford government undermines environmental protections, says reader

The Ford government is taking steps to undemocratically undermine Ontario’s environmental protections.

Ministerial Zoning Orders, a little used tool allowing the government to override protective legislation in times of emergency, has been used excessively in the last two years.

One example is the case of the Lower Duffins Creek, a provincially significant wetland which, if the Ford government gets its way, will be destroyed to accommodate a warehouse and parking lot. There has been prohibition on development in this unique wetland since 1991.

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Reader says Ford’s pro-development bills are hurting environment, seniors

in Letters to the Editor by

There is an old adage that goes way back in time and that has been used by political leaders of all stripes. That adage is, ‘never waste a good crisis.’

The basic premise is that in times of crisis the public’s attention is almost totally focused on the crisis at hand, and a government in power can often push through legislation that would normally get much more scrutiny and public attention/outcry, were it not for the singular focus on the given crisis. War is a good example of this.

Our current crisis is, of course, COVID-19. Our provincial government under Premier Doug Ford has made good use of this technique in 2020, largely through omnibus bills where legislation is hidden, often under the guise of dealing with the pandemic.

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Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority pushes for less winter salting

in Environment/Municipal by
“The problem that commercial users face is the fear of litigation if there is a slip and fall.”

Mike Walters, the chief executive officer of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, has said that in 60 years Lake Simcoe could become toxic from over-salting if something isn’t done soon.

Walters was addressing council at their committee of whole meeting about the work being done by the conservation authority to reduce the damaging use of salt during the winter months across Ontario.

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Water restrictions now in effect for Lindsay

in Municipal by

Kawartha Lakes would like to inform all residents and businesses in Lindsay who are on municipal water services to begin water conservation practices immediately.

The area is experiencing significant increases in water demand due to extended hot and dry weather, and necessary repairs to equipment at the Lindsay Water Treatment Plant.

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Ken Reid’s chickadees a mystery – or are they?

in Community by
Advocate Podcast host Denis Grignon looks on at the chickadees of KRCA, eating out of Nancy Payne's hand. Photo: Pierre Chartier.

Even if you roll your eyes at anything Disney, you can’t help but feel like you’ve walked into a scene from one of its bazillion family animated films where humans gleefully consort with wildlife.

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Happy Canada Day, my imperfect country

in Opinion by
Life and death of Munroe Scott

My father was a drifter before he met my mother. From the age of 15 when he left home, he spent the next 14 years exploring Canada as few do – by riding freight trains and hitchhiking. He was a great storyteller and he was a Canadian patriot. He could have been a great dad but his problems with alcohol precluded this.

Dad had a particular love for Canada’s west. A few years ago, over the course of more than one full month, we drove all the way to Whitehorse, Yukon, to spend a week in the land of the midnight sun. It was an epic road journey and along the way, I hope, an appreciation for our country was passed on to my kids, just as my father once did for me through his storytelling.

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Contaminated brownfields: Time to clean up our ugly past

in Environment by
Contaminated brownfields: Time to clean up our ugly past
Photo: Sienna Frost.

We have all driven or walked past them — the empty lots, both big and small, that have sat undeveloped and seemingly abandoned or forgotten, in some cases for decades. Whether it’s a former gas station on the city’s busiest street, the site of a former brake pad factory or a long empty First World War munitions plant cum rubber processor, these sites — referred to commonly as ‘brownfields’ — lie dormant; they are victims of an earlier time.

We used to do things a lot differently in the past. Be it from a leaky gas station tank or the unsafe handling and disposal of chemicals used in manufacturing, we have been left with a sobering, expensive – and ugly – brownfields legacy.

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On the Owl Prowl at Ken Reid Conservation

in Community/Environment by
The Northern Saw Whet loves dense forests.

The first rule of Owl Prowl is: You do not talk — about Owl Prowl or anything else — when you enter the owl’s world. Listen, listen, listen, is the advice offered by Rob Stavinga, the avid birder leading the prowl.

We — the lucky few who snapped up the spots for Kawartha Conservation’s first prowl –are gathered in the Ken Reid administration centre on a Saturday evening to learn about owls and hear some pre-prowl tips.

Rob wants us to become a bit owl-like ourselves, though from his introduction, it’s clear we’ll never come up to owl standards. There are 22 of us, including an excited and excitable three-and-a-half year old named Ian, and we have none of the sound-dampening adaptations of owls, so we’re just not going to be completely soundless.

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