Letter to the Editor: “Proposed Amendment No. 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017”
I am deeply concerned by the staff report DEV-2019-006 titled: “Proposed Amendment No. 1 to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017” found in today’s council meeting Agenda.
Of notable concern is an appeal to exercise the option of expanding boundary expansions by up to 40 hectares of Greenbelt lands outside of a municipal comprehensive review.
The report states in section 2.2.3 that “the Township has identified situations where minor expansions to the Port Perry settlement area are appropriate outside of a municipal comprehensive review,” yet provides no specifics. Where are these “situations” located?
The other area of concern is the province’s striking of language aimed at protecting prime employment lands and facilitating the conversion of these lands for housing following certain criteria, as described in section 2.1. The report affirms that “it is not expected that any conversions within the Township’s employment areas will be contemplated,” yet 91% of the Port Perry employment area is either vacant or underutilized. What assurances does the public have that employment lands will not be re-purposed for new housing development?
Finally, it is worth pointing out that urban sprawl is 'not the way forward for Scugog' which already suffers from a massive infrastructure deficit. The Council for Canadian Urbanism finds in its paper “Still Suburban? Growth in Canadian Suburbs, 2006-2016” that:
“There are substantial economic costs involved with suburban sprawl, which are borne by the local and provincial governments and, ultimately, the taxpayer. Greenfield development on a city’s periphery requires significant new infrastructure investments, which are difficult to accurately forecast and recover through development charges, because of the physical degradation of the infrastructure over many decades (CSCE 2016). The municipality is then burdened with the maintenance and capital repairs for the infrastructure providing service to the low-density development for its lifetime (Kiel 2018, ch. 7; Thompson 2013; Blais 2010).”
(http://www.canadiansuburbs.ca/files/Still_Suburban_Monograph_2016.pdf page 6)
Given the current provincial regime's coziness with the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the developer industry, it is imperative that this Council defend the Greenbelt and farmland against sprawl development. Residents are not interested in the Brooklinization of our fair town.
Please print this warning to your local readers like me. Ford's government has begun watering down the Endangered Species Act.
Already easy to ignore, one problem with the Act is, it has never been properly enforced. Successive governments ignored deadlines, made minimal efforts, and watered down the rules.
Industry enjoys massive exemptions from the ESA’s strict measures. This has to stop. The government must get rid of the sweeping changes. City folk may not have even noticed the sharp decline in bees, certain insects and the bats and birds that feed on them, turtles and the larger scarce wildlife.
Please make your readers aware and do something to halt the danger. Ford’s government is reviewing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Based on his government’s past record, this is a critical moment for endangered species.
Some of Ontario’s most beloved animals are at real risk of disappearing.
Have you ever made a commitment or a vow to yourself, and worked at it for years, yet progress seems very slow.
Maybe it was a work goal, a career aspiration, or even a community goal that hasn’t materialized. Then again, it could be something more foundational, like family relationships, or even the one with our-self.
We work, live and recreate alongside others, believing they are thinking much along common lines as we are, but we all have private images of ourselves we may struggle with.
I believe my neighbours, though unique, desire many of the same things as myself; security, smooth relationships, a nice home, maybe a little mutual respect from others. We say it doesn’t matter, but our problem often involves the assessment of others along our way, and that’s where the ‘rub’ is. Children and spouses hold a different place than others; closer, by blood and bone, by need and nurture, hope and help. In the home, similar things are treasured, but how do we go about finding them? Outbursts of control in the work place are tolerated because the paycheck wields extra motivation to go along. If we treated the ones we love with the same ‘work manner’, they would be left in dismay and may learn to give up.
Children are a crazy mix of astounding capability and raw resistance to their own constructive growth. Some find a passion very early for learning, this example challenges other children to see the potential within themselves, or stimulates a fear of limitations, by comparison in others. On the whole, the difference in response comes from the examples they see in their home lives, from parents and siblings.
It is incumbent on us, with children or not, to continue to grow in life, to continue to embrace constructive change, even if we have had a fair record of failures.
Theodore Roosevelt, once a Commissioner of Police for New York and President of the United States, said it nicely. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man (person) who points out how the strong man (character) stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit (or merit) belongs to the man (one) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself (or herself) in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he (or she) fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his (their) place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The arenas I’m addressing today are the inner ones of character, and the home. It’s in these arenas many of us struggle to navigate, they are intertwined, emotionally entangled, and one reveals the weaknesses left unaddressed in the other.
As parents, our failures, or more significantly our sense of failure, impacts our spouses and children. Life is a series of things being presented to us. Realistically, in the inner sense, there is no way most circumstances can continue to effect us directly. However, if we harbour what harmful moments or failures have tried to teach us, our inner thoughts will develop along the same manner, and we’ll carry this in our identity. When something happens to challenge us, we can let it into that same file, strengthening its voice.
However, we are free-will beings, and we have the choice to start a new narrative, a new story, and begin to steer our life in a new pattern or direction. If little eyes see this, Grace follows most easily, it’s the realistic understanding that “there is no effort without error or shortcoming.” So instead the pressure comes off, not the wheels; we try again and learn a little more with each attempt.
Obviously, Theodore Roosevelt realized, letting yourself off the hook for worthy failure is part of success in the future, for the same goal or a new one. Many of us get trapped in a cycle of investment in thinking or feeling a certain way, it may be hard to change, but not impossible. We can change our emotional response to failure and if we haven’t responded well in the past, we can choose to co-work with new ways and new streams of thought about what we can do and who we can be, about the very fact we can choose.
We have been given that innate gift from God; it means it is impossible to take it away.
Many, so called “Health Initiatives” try to remove the choice through drugs. Poor versions of psychotherapy, attempt to help, by convincing a person to deny there is a need, at all. This effort actually trains a person to use their free-will, not to grow, but run. Grace, on the other hand, teaches to forgive offenders, stand back up, retain or regain dignity and become determined to never become like what has hurt us. God enlists our design, so, instead of yielding to attempts to ravish our souls, we are given life through faith in Christ, to rise inside again, and give to our loved ones what we will allow God to give to us. Things like real forgiveness, acceptance in honest failure, an understanding of limitations and encouragement for growth. Here’s the catch, we must allow them to be given to us first or we won’t have them to give to our loved ones. Remember, our children are watching, and they need to see us become honest and transparent with ourselves, to give them the courage to live in life affirming manners. This is God’s goal, and with Grace accepted continually, maybe it can be ours, and we may aspire to ‘dare greatly’ so our children’s place won’t be with ‘cold and timid’ souls, or peers, and instead they may know “great enthusiasms, the great devotions” intended for their hearts. Sometimes a gentle honest word inwardly allows that outwardly, to our loved ones. Accompany that with the effort to move forward in a new manner in life, it can instill a lifetime of Hope, in a waiting watching heart.
God Bless you in your most honest life.
Farmers make a community not one Mega Corp taking advantage of a bylaw and Greenbelt Plan to fill its pockets. The township and region must inform the province again and again the damage it’s doing to diversity of our pristine area.
“It’s very bad planning and makes a joke out of our conservation authority “
We have lost almost 50 hobby farms in the last 5 years which can never be returned back to part time or young farmers. This is all going the wrong direction for diversity and keeping our land pure.
Please call your regional councillor or any other elected official to stop is carnage. Once it’s done there is no coming back. Life will change for all of us.
Our new Mayor Bobbie Drew keeps saying she loves the Greenbelt, and yet, just two months in office, she has done everything in her power to hand Scugog’s Greenbelt over to developers.
In January, she supported Bill 66 at Regional Council. This proposed legislation, now cancelled, would have exempted developers from all environmental regulation, opening the Greenbelt to development through secret deals with no public notice or opportunity for appeal. While other Greenbelt community Mayors, municipal councils, and planners expressed serious concerns about Bill 66, Mayor Drew posted a statement of support on the Township’s website–inaccurately claiming Scugog needed more employment land (it doesn’t–we have plenty, most of it vacant).
Undeterred by facts or researched opinion, the Mayor this week declared a need to build subdivisions in Scugog’s Greenbelt. The source of this inspiration is unknown as there was no public consultation or evidence provided to support the assertion. However, from her comments to Council, the Mayor apparently believes that just a little bit of sprawl (sensitively done of course) will somehow help pay for infrastructure (though that hasn’t been the case anywhere else) and can be done, amazingly, while protecting farmland (though I am pretty sure sprawl requires land).
As a result, at Council on Monday, she promoted a resolution asking the Ontario Government to permit Scugog to expand the development boundaries of any settlement in the Township, contrary to current Greenbelt legislation. This resolution passed with no financial, economic, environmental or demographic analysis and received little discussion and no opposition from the attending Councilors. In effect, Scugog Council advocated for a major policy change from the province, one that could have profound and long-term implications for residents, in the complete absence of any measure of evaluation. I am at a loss to explain the motivations of the Mayor–but I do know when a community discovers fake leaders, real ones will stand up.
David Le Roy, Scugog