Tag Archives: freshwater ecology

I’m Rich, so let me Out! (In Defence of the Peel Region)

Some times, the outer world impacts a lonely writer.  And the writer must leave her desk and gives her view on the debate. The Ontario Con governement is reviewing the Regions to slash some money. (I missed two meetings, but better late than never.)

Each governance level responds to specific needs that neither individuals themselves, or lower-tier municipalities can assume.

Thirsty?

A coda to the yesterday entry... and a new solution to a old riddle?

“Hey, I took the water from a pond and filtered it myself!  Would you drink it? “

I love my City: the cultural life is vibrant, the library services are stellar, the parks fabulous. There’s been a fantastic development of public transit system, and one express bus can get me to the Toronto subway in fifty-five minutes! Nothing to argue about my City’s work: at the moment, public transportation and affordable housing are very important priorities of the City of Mississauga.

I love my region for the incredible, and accessible services: the drinkable water filtration, the wastewater treatment, the recycling and composting and garbage pick up, the police, and other services you generally can’t do for yourself.

For instance; water treatment and waste water management services incur high cost that cannot be assumed by a lone municipality.

Then, this cry arises from Mississauga, the third most populated city of Ontario :

I’m rich! Let me outta here!

In every country on Earth, you will find this claim from richer provinces or states, declaring that they “pay more than their fair share” and “why should the others benefit from our labor?

It has been the case for Québec province in 1980 and 1995, it has been the case for Alberta, for the Penjab province in India, for the Congo it was the Katanga province (for a while in the 60s). But fortunes change with time.

I read the Mississauga City Q&A PDF documents about the independance, and it is clear they don’t have a clue about the real financial upheaval they will reap. They can’t even make previsions, and count on the Provincial, or the Federal level for help!

I’m richer than they are, so why shouda pay for’em?

Which is a bit of an arrogant stance.

Mississauga’s crusade to leave the Peel region aims to save a measly 85 million “lost” to the Regional budget. I wonder where is the real percentage of the Peel Region budget this 85 million represents. The fact that nowhere on the City website I can find this number is telling.

So I had to get to the Peel Region website to find their budget. Here it is for 2018: a whopping 3.1 BILLION! 

So 85 million divided by 3.1 billion (3100 millions) makes… a meager 0,027 – 2,7% !

(Projected costs of the options for Peel region from the Deloitte report, 2019)

As Mississauga is the largest population of the region with 721 000 residents, followed by Brampton, it is only a normal fluctuation.

The dissolution of the Region of Peel would have long-term consequences, and  I can guarantee that the cost will rise high over the meager 85 millions our city is rambling about.

Here is another rambling, for the road maintenance.

Oh, but Caledon has so many more roads than we do!

2004 Water Quality Summaries - Location Map

Have you looked at a map recently?

Caledon is a greater and less densely populated territory, with more kilometers of roads per resident. Those roads do require maintenance.

The consequences of leaving the road repairs costs to a smaller city will be a dramatic hike of the taxes on the farmers and remote residents of Caledon. Some farmers, hit with this hefty tax hike, might not be able to pursue their work, and sell their lands for developers, (more urban spread, loss of food autonomy).

Not two cities are exactly the same, in population or size, or economic activities. The region can moderate the needs.

Water, water !

(Image credits: Peel region)

I studied and consider myself knowledgeable in the field of water treatment and waste water management. The treatment processing facilities entail a cost that cannot be assumed by a lone municipality. Drinking water is among the essential services no one can skimp. Waste water treatment is a staple to preserve the fresh water bodies around.

Just building, and updating those utilities carry on a great financial charge. If Mississauga, being closer of the lake, takes full charge of its facility, at what price will it sell the service to the two other cities?

(A water treatment plant tour is organized on Saturday May 11th, between 10h and 18h.)

For those reasons, I would think twice before breaking something that is in working order.

Many services

The region of Peel is quite efficient to communicate the informations on new programs. Especially in the environmental protection of green areas, and for our sustainable gardens. They maintain a constant presence in farmers markets. The environmental services are stellar and I am counting on them.

Besides the clean water, the solid waste management is improving. The Peel police is a constant presence. Emergency srvices, shelters, waste collection, recycling centers…  Below is an overview of the areas of service.

(From, Region of Peel, 2018 budget)

In case of dissolution, many  services will be disturbed, or scattered. Just building, re-building, updating those utilities carry on a great financial charge. The solid waste treatment processing facility is located in Brampton… who will have to enter a service delivery agreement with Mississauga and Caledon.

As for the environmental protection, a region can be more difficult to subvert than a small, underfunded city. I fear the smaller cities alone won’t stand a chance against well-funded promoters and their bulldozers.

Decision making should be improved by more consultations with the Region and the public.

The Region functions can be recalibrated to satisfy its composing Cities, improving adequacy and eliminating redundancies, so that no city is left in the water.

Take the Regional government review survey

The Survey: Regional government review, closes on May 21, 2019.

Share your thoughts on governance, decision-making and service delivery functions in these regions.

Most questions are over-worded. Like this one:  Be prepared to elaborate on a simple yes, or no.

Are decisions in the upper-tier municipality made in a timely and efficient manner? Please explain.

“Please explain” : seriously?  Do you think that the average citizen has the free time to explain in details this “timely and efficient manner” ?

How exactly am I supposed to convey my satisfaction with my region (upper tier municipality) services without writing a PHD thesis?

 

 

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Ignorants No More! About the ELA closing

Advance euthophication of a lake - photo by ELA

When you feel a dull pain in the chest, you go see your doctor, then you heed his or her advice. You don’t protest, saying: Balance my diet? Exercise? Well my fortune-teller says I can do as I please, so don’t bother me with your “facts”!

But what if a whole government chooses to follow the fortune-teller’s advice?  And if it closed  all the medicine faculties of Canada, listening to  the singsong voice of the fortune-teller… or the fortune makers?

The federal government has decided without consulting any scientific authority, to close the ELA, among other government-supported research programs in Canada.

The Experimental Lakes Area (map here), is a unique  whole-ecosystem research facility in northern Ontario. It is the fruit of forty years of research, and capital and human investment.

Like a tree, it has grown into a world -renowned scientific facility on freshwater ecology. It has served diligently to protect the public and the environment, putting in  light the role of phosphorus in the eutrophication of lakes (to know more about the subject, read The Algal Bowl, by Vallentyne and Schindler, 2008, or my account, here). 

Lac 226 : the flagrant demonstration of the phosphorus effect on freshwaters!

A few of the subjects tackled by research teams:

nutrient pollution and noxious algae (the photo here)
impacts of “acid rain” on lakes
recovery of lakes from acidification
impacts of reservoir flooding
sources of toxic mercury in fish
impacts of “climate change” on lakes
removal of nearshore vegetation
impacts of hormonal mimics
impacts of cage aquaculture

As I explained in an older post, the work of scientifics faces a huge perception challenge by the “I want simple answers NOW crowd.  Scientists toil endlessly to collect data, to accept errors, pursuing the course regardless of the difficulties. They strive to understand the natural processes and the impact of humans activities on our freshwaters and their myriad of lifes. 

Our blue resource - endangered by ignorance and willful blindness

The ELA is a collective book that must stay open for all to consult.

To build this 58-bead necklace of knowledge took years. The Experimental Lakes Area, nurtured by students, teachers, citizens, embodies the strong human desire to learn. 

We should create a movement called  Ignorant no More.

*

— A few links

The Experimental Lakes Research Area website

A  sound reflection on government science, part one and part two

A witty article explaining some scientific expressions 

Fight to save Experimental Lakes Area runs its course (http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2013/01/02/fight-to-save-experimental-lakes-area-runs-its-course) Cet article suit les démarches de 

Attention Bryan Hayes: This water issue hasn’t gone away (https://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=51916)

List of federal MPS – find your own MP!

Save ELA: http://saveela.org/what-can-you-do-to-help/

Facebook group for ELA. https://www.facebook.com/groups/saveela/