Letters – Our readers write: Autumn 2016

Letters published in the Autumn 2016 edition of In The Hills magazine.

September 16, 2016 | | Departments

Where Rivers Rise

I am president of the Alton Grange Association and chair of the Credit River Alliance. Our organizations are concerned about the pace of development and level of oversight in the upper portion of the Credit River and the environmental impact this is having. Research from the CVC and Source Water Protection process suggests that the pressures are real and are expected to have significant negative impacts unless steps are taken to manage them in a sustainable way. Please see the document we recently sent to local federal, provincial and municipal officials articulating our concerns and priorities: creditriveralliance.ca, “What’s New.”

Your recent editorial and the “Where Rivers Rise” article by Tony Reynolds [summer ’16] were disappointing, especially given your publication’s track record tackling aggregate extraction and urban sprawl in the Greenbelt. The former suggests that the good old, ever resilient environment, is still able to accommodate the next round of negative impacts.

Scenes of storm water overflow in Alton from letter writer Paul Newall.

Scenes of storm water overflow in Alton from letter writer Paul Newall.

The heavy rainfall we experienced in mid-August exemplifies what we are worried about. The photos above show what happens when the planned storm water infrastructure for a local subdivision does not reflect current conditions, and lax development oversight.

Sustaining our Headwaters area supports passive and active tourism, but more importantly it is critical for helping ensure we have potable water for millions of people who rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking needs. The challenges are real and will not go away unless we collectively address them.
Paul Newall, Alton

 

Thank you for the article “Where Rivers Rise.” New acts and regulations passed by the Ontario government are always of interest to a farmer, as they invariably restrict farmers.

I own a small former hay farm – now a managed forest – with a brook that feeds the Credit River. Credit Valley Conservation has helped immensely – good advice, planted trees and a Farm Conservation Plan.

The provincial government’s keenness to pass ever more restrictive laws affecting my land, however, worries me. I gather the aim is to improve water quantity and quality, protect “endangered” species, etc. Those are my aims as well, and the chief reason why I bought this farm and planted over 21,000 tree seedlings. After 20 years of experience, I now begin to understand the art and science of forestry.

I doubt the city-based people in Queen’s Park – elected and appointed – know as much about the needs of my trees, my brook and my land as I do. Their attempts at ordering me to do what I am already doing are often misguided as well as redundant.

The Endangered Species Act and its attendant regulations are classic examples. There are also problems with Ontario Municipal Board decisions that override local councils’ decisions, and the tendency of the government to determine land usage from satellite photos, instead of walking the land, has resulted in some peculiar rezonings.

There is a reason why we elect and pay local councils. They are closer to the land and know local needs better than Toronto citizens. The authority delegated to conservation authorities and the OMB should be carefully limited.
Charles Hooker, East Garafraxa
This is a tremendously informative survey of local rivers! [“Where Rivers Rise” summer ’16] I’m sure I’ll be referring back to it often in the future. One small quibble: In the list of locales where Nottawasaga tributaries originate, I would include Mulmur Township as I believe from topographical maps that Sheldon Creek arises there in a wetland just up from Hwy 89 on the east side of 2nd Line East Mulmur.

Thanks to writer Tony Reynolds for the great article!
Charles Owen, Mulmur

Tony Reynolds replies: Yes, you’re right. There are several tributaries that I did not list, although Sheldon Creek is larger than White’s Creek and Mono Centre Creek. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for your comments. These headwaters are extraordinary – so valuable in so many ways.

 

After the reminder of the beauty of the area in Melancthon, I took a trip up there this past week for another look around. Things have changed. The removal of the threat of the mega quarry has seen vitality return to the area with empty farms now lived in and the hustle of busy farmers on their fields everywhere. If you can overlook the onslaught of wind turbines in the area, all seems to be doing well and it’s just as beautiful as it was.

Incidentally, I have enjoyed reading through the summer issue, but I should mention that the photograph on page 36 is wrongly identified as the Credit River “winding along a Caledon roadway,” when it is indeed the smaller East Credit flowing alongside the Caledon Rail Trail [Trailway] between Kennedy Road and Highway 10, as I am sure other readers just as familiar with the area will let you know. Just a minor thing, but as a photographer knowing most of the locations around here, I do like to see things correctly identified.
John Church, Orangeville

Editor’s Note: The location of the river photo was misidentified and is indeed of the stretch of the East Credit as Mr. Church describes. We’re grateful for the correction.

For many years as a child, I spent summers at the Forks of the Credit (at my girlfriend’s summer cottage). Each evening we walked to the Forks train station to see the Toronto train come in.

I know there is a painting of the station and the large train bridge. Any chance of some photos/history of the above? We would drive to the cottage from Long Branch, and Brampton (Hwy 10) was the halfway point – for a stretch and ice cream on the main street.

We “swam” in the Credit River – walked for miles to a farm for a pail of milk – and kept our food cold in a wooden box placed in the stream. Max was the name of the storekeeper (also garage/gas dealer) and he was also the station master when the train came in. Talk about changing one’s hats!

Excellent memories. Thank you for a lovely magazine.
Frances Laphen, Etobicoke

Back to the Future at Heatherlea

Pioneer farmers in Caledon faced many adversities in the process of clearing the land for farms. There were large stumps, wolves and bears to deal with. Today Caledon farmers appear to face new adversities and these challenges are in the form of government bureaucracy.

The McArthurs should be congratulated for their pioneer-type perseverance. My guess is that farmers like the McArthurs try to break down their challenges and simplify them. Consultants and bureaucrats do the opposite. Other parts of Ontario (like the Kitchener-Waterloo area) seem to welcome these types of agricultural endeavours (like Heatherlea) and support them accordingly.

It has been my experience that as the GTA grows bigger, there will be a continual increase in day-tripper traffic. The clear air and water of Headwaters is best enjoyed with some local food or drink. I wish the McArthurs the best of luck.
Dave Dorman, Erin

 

Thank you so much for the article about our farm. The article is really well written!

We had a record Thursday here. Lots of new people in that saw the article. The response has been incredible. Hoping for more traffic today.
Pat and Melinda McArthur, Heatherlea Farm Shoppe, Caledon

Grow Your Own Mushrooms

Thank you for this most informative article (“Planting a Forest Fungi Garden” summer 16). Great details and advice. I want to share another local business here in the north Dufferin/Mulmur region for those looking for assistance up in this area. We have just seeded our first logs with shiitake and oyster spores thanks to Ivan Chan from Eden in Season in Thornbury.

We will be hosting our annual Wild Mushroom Culinary Weekend on September 23-25, and will hopefully educate more people on the dangers of overharvest when foraging for wild edibles.

Take what you need and leave the rest.
Patricia Cleary, Mountain Ash Farm, Creemore

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