Grand Agenda for Groundwater Action Survey

Here are my responses to the Wellington Water Watchers Survey about the Grand Agenda for Ground Water Action

 

  • Nestlé is permitted to take 3.6 million litres of water per day in Aberfoyle.

    The Staff Report to the Committee of the Whole on November 7, 2016 was explicit that a new municipal well  “when it is developed, has the potential to conflict with Nestlé's water taking" (p. 7)  (see report here). As had been previously noted by staff and confirmed in the City's Tier 3 Risk Assessment, the report went on to note that "there are limits to the available groundwater to satisfy Guelph’s future water supply needs," and that "As such, future renewals of industrial water takings in the area should be weighed against the broader needs of the community" (p. 7). 

    If elected will you “Support a Council resolution to oppose the renewal of Nestle's permit to take water in Aberfoyle”?

 

ANSWER: Yes. It is my hope that every council in Canada (the world) unite to oppose the permit renewals of water bottling companies. It seems archaic to me that water is bottle in multitudes of countries and shipped to far reaches of the world for commercial sale.  If elected, I will support this resolution.  I will also advocate for continuing to return water fountains with, bottle re-fills stations, in all City of Guelph run buildings, and parks. I will motion that these be included in all new institutional buildings as well.

I will also champion, (if the City Council has not already done this) for a second resolution to parliament, one which requests an update of the water letting permit system.

I believe that the protection of water is a three tier responsibility, and at no time should we make water a commodity.

 

  • Clean drinking water and breathable fresh air are necessary to sustain life.

    The Clair-Maltby area, for which development planning is currently underway, is the last large greenfield area within the city and thus requires very careful planning. Furthermore, because clean water and fresh air are vital to everyone, the protection of the Paris-Galt Moraine is of vital importance to all the citizens of Guelph and surrounding communities. Thus, because Guelph is a groundwater-dependent community, we must protect the groundwater recharge function and quality as well as the unique natural and cultural heritage features of the Clair-Maltby area.   Guelph City Council must ensure the sensitive development of Clair-Maltby.

    If elected will you “Set population density at a maximum of 12,050 for Clair-Maltby”?

ANSWER: If elected to Council, I will continue to advocate for effective development - that protects our Natural Assets, encourages good built form, utilize urban node design, and best practices for our local needs.   I will have to research the reasons why this specific number is being presented as the set population density for this area before I can commit to it.

 

  • If elected will you “Protect the natural water recharge functions of moraine in Clair-Maltby development”?

ANSWER: If elected to council, I will protect these to the best of my ability. To start, I will stand up for keeping separate the designated Natural Heritage lands from parkland. I will also vote to have a Parkland Dedication By-law, that supports the community, passed before moving forward with these developments. I will advocate for sticking to our Official Plan, including OP48.

 

  • If elected will you “Provide a full-range and size of parks as mandated by the Official Plan -– urban squares, neighbourhood, community and regional parks for Clair-Maltby development"?

ANSWER: I participated in the Parkland Dedication By-law input session, and two Clair-Maltby charettes, I am frustrated by the delay in passing a new Parkland Dedication By-law, and being left with the impression that designated Natural Heritage Green space was being included in the parkland totals for Clair-Maltby. As a Councillor, I would be one of 13 votes. I can tell you that I will stand up to keep these areas separate because Natural Heritage areas are designated as such to protect the Natural Assets associated with them. I will also champion the mandates of the Official Plan for the full range of parks. We have an Official Plan - let's use it.

 

  • If elected will you “Focus on low-carbon transportation infrastructure to all amenities and residences in Clair-Maltby development”?

ANSWER: I agree this is an important target to focus on, and an outcome that people, including me want. Guelph has a great green reputation. In order to fulfill it, we must to move to a sustainable way of living. Residents have said we must maximize the opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, encourage the use of innovation and participate in the green economy.

If elected, I would advocate for a City of Guelph built form standard to help meet this goal of low-carbon infrastructure and developments.

 

  • If elected will you “Restore, protect and maintain the integrity of the Natural Heritage System in the Clair-Maltby area including the tree canopy and the moraine topography”?

ANSWER: If I am elected as one of the 12 Councillors, I will support protecting the integrity of the Natural Heritage System of the City of Guelph. I will advocate that:

- the City revisit the riparian buffer width with the intention of increasing it

- that the City stop using our official plan riparian buffer by-law as a bonusing tool in development

- that the City revisit the infill of the Mill Pond. If legally possible, include the original footprint of the pond in the Natural Heritage Inventory. Thus, enabling the dredging of the pond to restore it's important role as a wetland

- the City start utilizing other forms of accessible trail surface than asphalt to ensure better storm water management and riparian health

- that the City is pro-active in it's responses to illegal tree removal, or deliberate sabotaging of the health of a tree - rather than working on a compliance based response

- that City staff work equally on planting trees, and maintaining our urban forest, as it does in evaluating the health and removal of trees

- that the City is utilizes a joint water resource management systems to provide collaboration and cooperation between province, source protection authority, and municipalities

- use the Tier 3 model for making informed decisions

 

  • If elected will you “Protect the heritage buildings and landscapes identified in the Clair-Maltby area”?

ANSWER: It has been proven time and time again, in Guelph and other communities, that the adaptive re-use of buildings has many positive results. We have seen it with the citizen lead initiatives to restore the Boathouse, Loretto Convent, purchase the John Mc Crea house and Heritage Hall for public use, and the building of the Guelph Youth Music Centre and River Run Centre. Most recently, we will see the exciting results of 1990’s citizen lead in  zoning of the Woods site that ensured the retention of the heritage building on site. This building will soon be revealed to the public as a stunning new distillery. Therefore, if elected, I will vote in support of protecting heritage buildings, and landscapes identified in the Clair-Maltby study area.   The restoration, use, and upkeep of these buildings that us will need a sound financial plan that does not put the financial burden on local residents.

 

  • If elected will you “Consult on Clair-Maltby development with all groups, organizations and individuals who have an interest in city-building"?

ANSWER: Yes, I believe that many of the best solutions come from the sharing of ideas of all stakeholders.  If I am elected, please help me to bring out those varied voices, in droves, at the beginning of the development process, rather than at the end.

 

  • If elected will you "Obtain free, prior and informed consentfrom the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, as per the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before initiating Phase 3 development activities for Clair-Maltby"?

ANSWER: I know that I am not alone in my belief in the importance of taking only what one needs, and ensuring that there are sufficient resources for future generations. I make my decisions based upon a set of civic values which include a balanced economic, environmental, social and cultural bottom line. Values that have been expressed to me by the majority of others I have engaged with throughout the city.  If elected, I would motion, that the City of Guelph create a Family City Circle including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations to ensure everyone's voice in included in development processes.

 

  • The City, the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Province of Ontario have, over five decades, invested millions of dollars to acquire the land needed to form the largest and most complete urban stream corridor nature conservancy in Ontario. Now with land acquisition one property away from being complete, and with a Masterplan for the nature reserve adopted in principle, the City and the GRCA propose the Hanlon Creek Land Acquisition Project be abandoned and portions of the conservation-zoned land already purchased be declared surplus and sold to developers.

    If elected will you “Fulfill the commitment to establish the Hanlon Creek Conservancy and Nature Reserve and not consider any sale of possible surplus land until the nature reserve is fully established and functioning"?

ANSWER: I support, as I know many residents do, the past generations commitment to create this critical legacy. It saddens me, that in such a time of abundance for some, that the City and GRCA feel pressure to leave it incomplete.  If elected, I would seek to understand the reasoning behind such a decision because it appears to 1) lack protection of important Natural Assets for current and future generations 2) seems contrary to the Province's aspiration to create a Blue Belt and, 3) the knowledge of the importance of wetland maintenance, restoration and protection.   The latter contributes to the protection of ground water sources, and storm water management - especially critical in reducing flooding during this time of climate change. I would utilize these reasons to support the fulfillment of the commitment to establish the Hanlon Creek Conservancy and Nature Reserve.

 

  • The Dolime Quarry in Guelph-Eramosa has been extracting aggregate for over 150 years, pumping out groundwater by the millions of litres per day and blasting deep into the layers of rock that the protect aquifer -- and therefore much of Guelph's drinking water -- from surface water contamination. In 2008, the Ontario Geological Society discovered that excavation at the Dolime quarry had breached the protective layer of the aquifer

    The City of Guelph "has long maintained that excavation and water-taking at the Dolime quarry has the potential to impact the quality and quantity of Guelph’s municipal water supply system," and is now in a formal mediation process on this issue with the quarry owner, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Natural Resources.

    If elected, will you work to "bring an end to aggregate extraction at the Dolime quarry, and to ensure the highest quality mitigation of the breach and of other damage already done, with expenses covered by the quarry’s owner rather than Guelph ratepayers"?

ANSWER: I am proud, as I know many residents are, of the City of Guelph, in our efforts at mediation with River Valley Developments. As a citizen or elected councillor I wish to bring continue to bring those voices to council and end aggregate extraction at the Dolime quarry. Tom Dick aggregates was working within the depth of extraction they were permitted for, when they broke through the aquitard. However, it is my understanding that the compromise of the aquifer was an unexpected to them as well. At this point, I feel it was the social responsibility of River Valley Developments to halt further extraction of aggregates on their site. Thus, if elected, I will continue to support bringing an end to aggregate extraction at the Dolime quarry.

Following is a personal vision for the area. Dolime is in the prime location to be a world class money-making garden. Revenue that could outlast the monies to be made by finite sources of aggregate on the site, and the planned estate homes for the site.  Imagine if the owners of River Valley Developments were to take their parents, children and grandchildren on a business vacation to Victoria, Singapore, Cornwall and Northumberland, England. Their visits to these places focused on visiting the Butchart Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, Eden Project, Heligan and Alnwick Gardens. I am confident that Tim Smit, the visionary and businessman behind Eden and Heligan, and Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, would provide a personal tour of their money-gardens. My dream outcome of the trip would be a family that wants to leave a legacy of protecting ground water for future generations and, contributes positively to the environment in so many other ways. A family that creates a healthy destination, money-generating garden - a profitable garden that would also invigorate our local economy and create new employment. Notes: Butchart garden does not use municipal water; does use integrated pest management, and is herbicide free!

Notes: This is all written with the understanding that the damaged aquifer would be "replaced" to ensure a garden of this type would not jeopardize our ground water source.

 

  • This region’s growth and urban development is a potential threat to some water resources. Urbanization and human activities are impacting the region’s rivers, wetlands and underground reservoirs (called aquifers), and can impact both the quality and quantity of water available to local communities, industry, and plants and animals.

    If elected, will you “Support a Council resolution to include public lands of Guelph’s urban river corridor in an expanded Bluebelt”?

ANSWER: I attended the Province’s presentation about the inclusion of the Guelph in the expanded Bluebelt. I did not hear one voice in opposition to this idea. So, yes, if elected, I would support such a Council resolution. However, I would only be comfortable doing so, with one important amendment: Although, I said earlier that protection of water is a Tier 3 responsibility, I would demand that all decisions about activity in Guelph's urban river corridor (in or not in an expanded Bluebelt), be under jurisdiction of the municipality of Guelph, not that of the Province of Ontario. Therefore, the associated declarations, regulations, and by-law must be written in a way to conform to our relationship with the province so as to protect our legal rights to enforce the establishment, protection and maintenance of the Bluebelt in our jurisdiction. Imagine if the province decided to allow aggregate extraction along urban river corridors .... what recourse would we have?

 

YOUR VOICE – OUR COMMUNITY

If these are your values, vote with your values, Barbara Mann for Ward 1 on October 22nd, 2018

 


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