Letters – Our readers write: Spring 2009

Letters published in the Spring 2009 edition of In The Hills magazine.

March 21, 2009 | | Back Issues | Departments | Letters, Our Readers Write | Spring 2009

Heroes of East Garafraxa

Thank you for your recent edition featuring “Local Heroes” within our area, by Jeff Rollings. I found the editorial most interesting and was so pleased to see two members of our township, Nancy Frater and Brad Bowden, on your list. It was also nice to see recognition of someone I work with from time to time, Amaranth mayor Don MacIver.

Your magazine is a wonderful addition to the many publications within our area, as you always see it on coffee tables not only in restaurants and waiting rooms, but more often in people’s homes.

Keep up the great work and thank you again for recognizing members of our township.

Councillor Allan Boynton, East Garafraxa Township

A soldier remembered

Thank you for sending me a copy of your winter issue. Your “Local Hero” Valerie McGrady is my sister and Matthew McCully is my nephew. I tried to talk Matthew out of going back to Afghanistan the second time, but the soldiers – his friends – they stick together.

The people in Canada have been great to our family and all the other soldiers’ families who have lost a loved one. The ride in the limo along the Highway of Heroes from Trenton to Toronto is something I will remember forever. The Governor General Michaëlle Jean gave my niece a shawl in Trenton which she will treasure always.

Richard Perozick, Toronto

Warrior women

What a thrill. My sisters and I have received rave reviews from friends about our inclusion as “Local Heroes.” One woman friend in particular is proud of us as women warriors (which is very cool). Jeff Rollings wrote beautifully – he is a master to have taken all our ramblings and turned them into something as coherent as he did – linear thinkers we’re not!

Good grief though we look like battle-worn warrior chicks. Did Pete Paterson lose the softening filter on his camera lens?

It was so neat to read about the others also. The hills are alive with amazing people!

Debbe Crandall, Executive Director, STORM Coalition, Caledon

Their own voices

Jeff Rollings’ writing in In the Hills continues to be a pleasure to read. Please thank him for his thoughtful work. He has made such an effort to allow each of the “Local Heroes’” own voice come through.

Lynda McDougall, Vice-Principal, Hyland Heights Elementary School, Orangeville

Love is not enough

I have always enjoyed your magazine. Every issue of In The Hills is filled with interesting articles and has showcased the best in our lovely part of the province, as well as the character of those living here.

So, I was surprised and saddened by Debbe Crandall’s profanity at the end of the article on her family. Was it really necessary or reasonable to profane the name of God to express her joy and “love”? It seems inappropriate to say the least. Even if you aren’t a Christian (and many of your readers are), I do not expect that kind of language from a magazine of your calibre. If yours was a low-brow rag, I wouldn’t be surprised. But then again, I wouldn’t be reading it.

Mr. VanSlyke, Caledon

Many comments

Thank you so much for the wonderful article about “Local Heroes” in the hills! It was so meaningful to be part of the ten. Many, many, many comments from community and congregation.

Barb Imrie, Palgrave United Church

Inspired to give

The last magazine was awesome – great job. This Christmas, the “Local Heroes” stories inspired me and my staff to skip the baskets and flowers for clients and instead give money to one of the worthy causes in the communities where we reside and work.

Robert Nimmo, Caledon

Christmas in Kenya

What was in your Christmas stocking? For Dr. Miriam Were it was a copy of the winter issue of In the Hills.

Christmas came at the end of an extraordinary year for her – a year of many achievements and several prestigious awards: the Naguchi Award from Japan and the Legion of Honour from France among them. She had travelled all over the world and was very thankful to have the time to go home to her small village in the western province of Kenya and have time with her family. To my delight Miriam was able to come to Canada in October and spend a little time in Dufferin County where she met old friends and many of her supporters.

I had sent two copies of In the Hills to my goddaughter in Kenya, and she very thoughtfully filled a Christmas stocking for Miriam. One of the items in it was a copy of the magazine. So can you imagine her joy when she opened it in a distant part of the world and discovered the wonderful article about “African Connections” and a picture of her. Has In the Hills ever travelled so far?

Many thanks to all the staff for a very special issue depicting the wide interests and talents that exist in our community and particular thanks to Signe Ball for her heartfelt editorial and to Michele Green for writing so sensitively about the African connections – a truly splendid issue.

Bridget Lawson, Mono

William Perkins Bull

Hats off to Ken Weber on his excellent article profiling William Perkins Bull. Ken is a gifted writer and did a wonderful job balancing the facts and fiction surrounding Bull.

One tiny point of clarification – although Bull was born in Chinguacousy Township, it was the southern part of the township which is now the City of Brampton, not the part which became the Town of Caledon. Bull was no stranger, however, to northern Peel and ventured many times into Caledon and Albion on his research trips. One can only imagine the stir created in communities such as Palgrave when the big touring automobiles containing Bull and his staff arrived. His legacy to us is a wealth of local history information, including more than 1,900 files on Peel families.

The Region of Peel Archives at the Peel Heritage Complex holds most of Bull’s research material and we welcome your readers to visit and explore. In 2006 our reading room was renamed in his honour, with ribbon cutting performed by his grandson, Prof. Emeritus Thomas H. B. Symons, founding president, Trent University.

Diane Allengame, Acting Manager, Peel Heritage Complex, Brampton

Editor’s note: The error was not the writer’s, but the editor’s, who had been attempting an ill-advised clarification – and who apologizes to Ken Weber!

All white countryside

Even a cursory examination of the winter edition of In The Hills would suggest that the Caledon, Mono and Mulmur countryside is still the exclusive preserve of the descendants of the original white, English, and Scottish/Irish settlers. Interestingly none of your “Local Heroes” are of native descent or people whose names would challenge the limited pronunciation abilities of most WASPS.

I found the article on “African Connections” patronizing and reflective of the colonial attitudes of past centuries.

As a “60-something” immigrant who came to Canada at the age of four, I am distressed that none of us has made any inroads into the fabric of the In the Hills’ vision of country life. While we or our ancestors may not have been here a hundred years ago, the cultural and financial infusion we have made has allowed many a rural community to continue its existence and prosper. Perhaps a future article dealing with aboriginal and/or immigrants in the hills might be appropriate.

Walter Sickinger, Mulmur

So much to read

Congratulations on the splendid winter issue. The articles on our local heroes, homegrown authors, musicians, African connections and of      it one of your best issues ever. There is so much to see, read and digest that I’m having to go back for another read through, especially when someone points something out that I missed.

Kudos on a wonderful issue and many more to come.

Rosemary Molesworth, Amaranth

First novelist

Congratulations on a superb winter edition of In the Hills. Your magazine has always been a strong promoter of local talents, businesses, political issues and community events/interests. It is great to meet and learn about many of the people who are so actively involved and making so many valuable contributions to our rural region.

I was pleased to see recognition given to Bridget Lawson (“African Connections”) and I have always enjoyed Iain Richmond’s articles on local issues. Both are fellow members of our local writing group under the valued guidance of Edith Van Beek.

As a newly published author of young adult historical fiction, I am truly grateful for the promotion and support In the Hills gave to my first novel.

David McRae, Caledon

Geothermal concerns draw action, reaction and lack of action

I wrote the following motion, passed at Caledon council meeting on December 9, partially in response to the letter in your winter issue from Colin Lewis expressing concerns about MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) raising the tax assessment of homes that have been upgraded with energy-efficient systems:

Whereas the Town of Caledon strives to be an environmentally green municipality; and

Whereas the Caledon Council encourages all Caledon resident to embrace technologies that will reduce their consumption of fossil fuels and thereby reduce greenhouse gases; and

Whereas the Town of Caledon has recently provided incentives for the inclusion of energy reduction technologies to commercial/industrial developers employing components of LEEDs certification; and

Whereas the upper levels of government are also encouraging Canadians to install geothermal technology, solar thermal, solar electric, and domestic wind for domestic use through grants; and

Whereas the world is uniting in the belief that we must reduce our dependence on technologies that contribute to Climate Change; and

Whereas all residents of Ontario should not be discouraged from installing technologies that lower emissions from their homes and businesses, but in fact should be encouraged to do so; and

Whereas there is a fear these societal improvements will result in the placement of a permanent tax on such technologies through property assessment;

Therefore be it resolved that the Town of Caledon Council request the Province of Ontario to initiate changes to the standard assessment formula employed MPAC, for the purposes of municipal and education assessment of homes and businesses, that will prohibit any premiums or assessment increases that could be attributed to the addition of any technology including but not restricted to geothermal heating, solar thermal, solar electric, and domestic wind generation; and

Be it further resolved that MPAC employ factors that will discount assessment on homes and businesses with such technologies when the sale of such properties occurs and the current record of sale is noted; and

That this resolution be forwarded to the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Energy, the Provincial Treasurer and to AMO along with a letter requesting immediate action on this matter by the responsible Provincial bodies.

Councillor Richard Paterak, Town of Caledon

Editor’s note: The town received a written response to its motion from MPAC, but the response did not address the residential assessment issues the motion raised. According to Councillor Paterak, the town intends to pursue the matter further with provincial authorities. Colin Lewis reports he has heard no further word from the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure to whom the Premier had directed his letter.

Splitting hairs

I have enjoyed your excellent magazine since its inception, and have not pestered you until today.

I do have one complaint with the latest issue. In Linda McLaren’s “Headwaters Sketchbook” in the winter issue, featuring wild minks, I read, “each so unique that a scientist can identify a species from a single hair.”

Unique is an absolute, it cannot be quantified. There are no degrees of uniqueness, nothing is “so” unique, nothing is “very” unique, in the same way that you cannot be very dead or very pregnant.

Further, if the scientist can identify a species but not a single animal, by definition it’s not unique.

Ross Phillips, Mulmur

Linda McLaren responds: Mr. Phillips is correct, of course. Did I know better? I did, so the admonishment is warranted. Just for fun though, Google word usage unique and read all the entries on both sides of this heated usage debate.

Geothermal worth it, but beware the hidden costs

Our household converted from oil and electric heat/AC to geothermal almost two years ago. The benefits, beyond reducing our carbon imprint, are the air quality, which is great for allergy sufferers, as well as the constant indoor temperature, summer and winter.

There are, however, hidden costs and delays in changing over to geothermal that the public should be aware of:

– If your house is over 3,500 square feet (as ours is), you may need two geothermal systems. That doubled the costs and doubled the area that had to be excavated to accommodate the pipe; in our case, approximately one acre of land.

– While all municipalities have different policies, the Town of Caledon requires a building permit when retrofitting heating and air conditioning systems in your home. To qualify for a permit you have to get a HVAC heat loss/heat gain calculation done by an HVAC designer, which should be provided by the geothermal furnace installer. Detailed measurements and surveys are required for a site plan.

– Installing horizontal loops can create a landscaping nightmare, especially if you undertake it in the rainy seasons, April and November. In our case, because three 300-foot-long trenches had to be dug up to accommodate 4,800 linear feet of pipe at the end of November 2006 (the rainiest winter on record), and because the water furnaces ended up being on back-order, the trenches filled up with water, the excavating equipment sank and needed to be towed out. When the project was finally completed just after New Year’s 2007, the former pasture looked like a World War I war zone – a moonscape of craters and two-foot deep ruts of mud. We had to wait until spring to clean up the mess.

– Spring 2007 arrived and we assessed how the land had settled in our pasture. We would require several truckloads of fill to fix the problems. We really didn’t know how many truckloads we would need because we also wanted to fill in some irregularities on the terrain. They don’t call this the Caledon Hills for nothing – we have hills within hills. The project necessitated over 100 truckloads of fill – which required a “fill permit.” This entailed getting soil sample analysis from the fill provider and survey measurements for a site plan.

–          If you live in or around the Oakridges Moraine, as we do, you also have to apply to the Oakridges Moraine Authority and the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority to get their blessings that you are not negatively impacting the conservation area by disturbing the earth. This requires more surveying and measurements for an even more detailed site plan.

It can take several months and considerable frustration as the various conservation authorities and the Town of Caledon departments don’t seem to share application procedures or data requirements. The added costs of the permits, in our case, were over $1,200.

It’s interesting that when you attend the green seminars and trade shows none of the geothermal/solar manufacturers’ sales agents ever mention the requirement for permits, nor is it written in any of the promotional material. It is buyer beware.

Diane Tolstoy, Caledon


We regret that we were remiss in noting two photo credits in the winter issue.

All the photos of “Local Heroes” were taken by Pete Paterson, with the exception of Brad Bowden. His photo was supplied courtesy of Hockey Canada (www.hockeycanada.ca).

The photos of Creemore’s 100 Mile Store in “Homegrown in the Hills” were by MK Lynde

Online In The Hills

We welcome your comments! For more commentary from our readers, or to add your own thoughts on any of the stories, please add a comment at the bottom of any article. You can also send your letters by e-mail to [email protected] or use our handy submission form. Please include your name, address and contact information. In the Hills reserves the right to edit letters for publication.



About the Author More by Signe Ball

Signe Ball is publisher/editor of In The Hills.

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