Hanlon Creek Business Park

This is a letter I have provided in response to concerns about the Hanlon Creek Business Park development:

Hanlon Creek Business Park

Guelph City Council and the Grand River Conservation Authority have given final approval for the Hanlon Creek Business Park to proceed based on the following key considerations:

  • Protection of the old growth forest grove, including all heritage trees except two that couldn’t be saved
  • Protection of the Provincially Significant Wetlands, its fisheries and terrestrial habitat
  • Restoration of 10 hectares of meadowland
  • 20 hectares of tree plantings to increase the existing tree canopy coverage from approximately 26% to 35%
  • Protection of ground water quantity and quality
  • Recognizing the potential of these lands to serve as a location for future municipal water supply.

Now that the development plans have received approval, grading and servicing work will proceed in compliance with several conditions imposed by the approval agencies.

Through the implementation of new planning principles, the Hanlon Creek Business Park will be home to 10,000 to 12,000 new jobs, helping Guelph accommodate 32,400 new jobs by 2031 under Provincial Places to Grow legislation without sprawling beyond our city boundaries.  In addition, the City will be working with the private owners of brownfields elsewhere in the City to encourage redevelopment, but it is not feasible to expect that these sites alone can accommodate all our job needs over the next 25 years.

The Hanlon Creek Business Park project strikes a balance between meeting our community’s economic needs, the need to protect our natural heritage and ground water, and delivers on the SmartGuelph principles adopted in 2003.

Additionally, through partnerships with business and the community, the development of the Hanlon Creek Business Park will visibly contribute to achieving Guelph’s water reduction targets established by the Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy, a 40% tree canopy coverage, increased pollinator habitat, and energy and green house gas reductions established by the Community Energy Plan.

A marketing strategy will be developed to identify the “preferred business profile” for the Hanlon Creek Business Park so the project can play a strategic role in Guelph’s transition to a green economy, building on Guelph’s reputation as a green city, our leadership in energy, waste and water management, and our commitment to triple bottom line thinking as competitive advantages in attracting knowledge-based and green jobs.

Here is an aerial photograph of the Hanlon Creek lands as they are today:

Aerial photo of HCBP lands

Here is a map showing the business park, with protected areas marked in green:

Hanlon Creek map1

Also, here is an article I contributed to the Guelph Chamber of Commerce newsletter on the subject.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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59 Comments on “Hanlon Creek Business Park”

  1. Kim Says:

    Karen,

    I am extremely concerned about the construction of the HCBP and must say, as a former supporter in your last election, I am shocked at what you are saying about this.

    I have a couple questions I would like you to answer:

    You say there is “Protection of the Provincially Significant Wetlands, its fisheries and terrestrial habitat.” How is a 15-30 buffer – which itself contains infrastructure like an access road and stormwater management trench – protecting the ecological function of the PSW? What about all the scientific studies cited by LIMITS people and others that say a buffer of at least 200 meters is necessary? How do the amphibians and others deal with a buffer 1/10 that size?

    You say that the HCBP has “Protection of ground water quantity and quality.” Why did you and MPP Liz Sandals write to the Province asking for protection of the Paris moraine within city limits, due to it’s importance to the future of our drinking water – and now with the HCBP you want to excavate that very same moraine, and flatten it, and build factories and warehouses on top of it?

    How does killing hundreds of acres of meadows and hedgerows and replacing it with hundreds of acres of parking lots, buildings, and toxic stormwater management ponds “increase pollinator habitat”?

  2. Bill Dunlop Says:

    Thank you Mayor Farbridge. This map really tells the whole story for me. It looks like a significant portion is currently farm fields and that the protected areas are more than is currently naturalized. I fear that the larger and more imminent danger to the moraine in and around Guelph is the gravel operations. If the city can get some green-minded businesses to locate in this business park, this will bode well for the city and for the health of the protected land within the development.

  3. Paul Gellatly Says:

    Hi Karen, as a resident of Guelph, I find it atrocious that the city is considering a building development on land that houses a large variety of plant and animal life. Some of those being endangered species. Although you say the city has taken precautions and necessary action to protect these species, there really is no way of determining the ultimate effect of such a development. I pride myself in living in a city with a grass roots population.

    The lack of interest in protecting an area so diverse has lead me to move out of the city effective August 1. I can not live in a city that does not take environmental concerns seriously. The fact is that you are looking to destroy an ecosystem, in order to provide an “economically necessary project” as your justification baffles my mind.

    There are trees there that have been there much longer than you and I combined have been on this planet. There are animals (many of them) that consider the Hanlon Creek area home. There are MANY other locations around the Guelph area where you could provide a home for the city’s “economically necessary project” without jeopardizing a crucial habitat and ecosystem.

    Sometimes there are more important things in life, and in a city…. than money.

    Disappointed!

    Paul Gellatly

  4. Lauren Says:

    I appreciate the efforts to make this development sustainable, but the science is flawed. The map provided is very obscure. It does not show the features of the land, and so does not really provide a clear picture.
    I know all too well the science involved with development, and industry is flawed. For example the organic turkey industry is being driven down by rules stating that they shall not be allowed outdoors to “prevent” bird flu. What seems obvious to the ecological community – cooping up tens of thousands of animals in tight quarters is a breeding ground for disease – somehow is not recognized by the few people who make the rules regarding the food we can eat.
    Why are we developing on land that is home to precious creatures, and a source of lively hood for many people – providing drinking water (this area is a wetland and part of it is a part of the Paris-Galt Moraine), fresh air, food, and a place to learn from nature, and be still.
    There are many vacant industrial areas and offices space in this time of recession. Not only that, but times are changing, and we need to recognize that the industrial age is just that-an age, a phase. Why don’t we work together to create the world we want to see. Where are the development companies that are passionate about sustainability? Why aren’t we teaching our children how to grow food? Why are we building roads, when we don’t even have sustainable vehicles to drive on them? Don’t tell us it’s not urgent because we are the ones who have to bear the brunt of all of this. We are your children and your grand children, and we are crying because we can’t breathe, and our brothers and sisters don’t have enough to eat. So as I sit in a cafe, crying and writing this I beg you please, please heed these words.

  5. Jenn McCready Says:

    I find these maps very frustrating. It is an apples to oranges comparison that doesn’t give us a feel of what is happening to this environment at all.

    Considering the ongoing, noisy outcry- and the lack of real information that the city and its consultants provided to the citizens on March 26th- wouldn’t it AT LEAST benefit you to STOP and discuss with us?

    Are these protesters all mad? Are your plans the best ever? Are they better than previous ones? Are you feeling no remorse whatsoever about the two trees that being lost? Then show us by discussing this project further with us- the voters and citizens.

    And please don’t dismiss two trees from an old growth forest… even one is too many. At what point do you start to be concerned? At ten? At 100? More?

    Why don’t we develop those brownfields FIRST. Then we can take a look at what else we need to do. Who buys a fresh loaf of bread when there’s still a 3/4 of a loaf on the counter?

  6. ksulliva Says:

    Here is an update on the Hanlon Creek business park occupation on the City’s website.

  7. Brian Says:

    Mayor Farbridge (Karen),

    As calls go out for people to flood your phone and e-mails by protesters of Hanlon Creek, allow me the opportunity to say that I agree with your decision with this land and the compromises already made over the years.

    Over the years I have lived in Guelph I have often protested developments because I had believed them to be improper, untimely or irresponsible. Hanlon Creek does not fit the criteria of those other past and imperfect ventures. Were you paving the entire area of the business park; were you ripping out old growth or native flora; were you doing this for no plausible reason and were you doing this without having planned, consulted or adjusted the blueprint then I would be there protesting. But you are not, and I am not.

    Please stay the course – this project is needed in the city.

  8. Robyn Says:

    I’d like to know exactly what kind of jobs will be created by the proposed business park. Aren’t your desired tenants research firms in biotechnology/agroscience/etc.? How will these firms provide jobs for those in Guelph who are out of work in the manufacturing sector?

    It’s pure, empty rhetoric!

  9. Nikolas Trutiak Says:

    Dear Mayor Farbridge,

    the 15-30m “buffer” is hardly that.
    The employees of the businesses that plan on moving in can throw their empty juice bottles farther than that when they go for lunch. I really think that it needs to be rethought and the buffer needs to increase. I don’t think YOU would like it if a business park set up shop 15-30m from your house.

    Increase the buffer please.


    Nikolas Trutiak
    V.P. External
    Graduate Students’ Association
    Local 62- Canadian Federation of Students

  10. James D. Lauckner Says:

    I hope this all goes well.

  11. Brian Says:

    Guelph, with its university and College of Agriculture, will not have people to qualify for jobs in the “biotechnology/agroscience/etc. ” ?

    Hmmm . . . I wonder why such companies would be so silly as to locate here?

  12. ksulliva Says:

    Here is the City’s latest community update on the Hanlon Creek Business Park occupation.

    Community Update – Hanlon Creek Business Park occupation
    31-Jul-09

    The City of Guelph has notified protesters at the Hanlon Creek Business Park that the City has filed for an injunction to end the illegal occupation of the site.

    The City issued a Notice of Trespass on Wednesday, July 29, allowing the individuals 24 hours to vacate the construction site. Another area on the property was offered as an alternate location to continue the protest in a safe and lawful way.

    The protesters have not left the site or dismantled their encampment. There is evidence of damage at the environmentally sensitive site, including large trenches being dug, structures being put up, logs being cut and moved, and debris and waste being left at the site, in addition to the destruction of a silt fence barrier that was put in place to protect the stream bed. The injunction is being sought to secure the construction site, protect against environmental damage and ensure public safety.

    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

  13. Janet Ragan Says:

    Dear Mayor Farbridges,

    I have looked at the map and I have been to the site and there appears to be a road running through the wetlands and over a creek. Perhaps it is the way I am looking at the map? Since I have been on the site and have seen the road that will destroy the natural flow of the creek and have already seen the disastrous effects of the development, I think you and the rest of counsel are misleading people about what is actually happening there. I am afraid you will be visited by 3 ghosts: a Jefferson Salamander, A Blue Heron and a small child. Each will attempt to enlighten you to a better way to develop in the future. Sadly, you will have to live with the mistakes you have made with the Hanlon Creek Business development, and so will the rest of us. Janet Ragan

  14. Nicole Says:

    Not good enough. People don’t necessarily want their government to create jobs more than anything else. People now are concerned about land conservation and solutions to sprawl. On the streets, no one I talk to thinks that developing anywhere even remotely near an old growth forest is an acceptable idea. Clearly, you don’t understand the danger posed to an old growth ecosystem when you cut down one tree – let alone two! Other people do, mayor! You won’t understand, and no one scientist you employ will be around to measure how it will slowly die in ways that while practically imperceptible to human observation are affecting our very lives. The balance is so extremely delicate. . . which two trees? How many species reside in the trees, how much ancient fungus will perish, etc? Science couldn’t even explain all the different purposes those trees serve. You could devastate the entire area by cutting down whichever two trees and anyone who tells you that’s not a risk is being covert or naive or both. I repeat, people are not going to thank you for things they don’t need or want. They don’t want any old trees cut down. None. Certainly no one needs that to happen. If you want to create jobs there are other ways. Do no cut down one single old tree. It doesn’t matter how many “new” trees you plant. It does NOT even begin to replace or replenish old growth. It is even potentially harmful if you’re not extremely careful. NOT ONE TREE.
    Thanks,
    Nicole

  15. Nicole Says:

    And Brian – cutting down 2 trees in an old growth forest can be compared to removing a wall of an Egyptian pyramid. It IS “ripping out old growth”.

    Please think about the science here. Do some research about old growth. The science here is not sound.

    As I said previously – no one scientifically minded thinks that developing even a small building anywhere even remotely near an old growth forest is an acceptable idea.

  16. Izzy Says:

    Dear Karen,

    How can you justify this and act like nothing is wrong? Your last paragraph is an extreme contradiction – we can’t have a green economy if there is no ‘green’ left!
    In other words, you say Guelph has been a leader in energy, water and waste management and that is all fine and well. We are good at managing ourselves once we’ve destroyed natural spaces, in an effort to minimize our footprint – but the very destruction of those spaces creates an unshrinkable footprint.
    How can you call a job green if it has basically led to the destruction of an ecologically important, environmentally sensitive landscape containing an old growth forest?

    It is all greenwash to me – no matter what you protect, developing the area so close to the natural space will put pressure on the ecology due to roads being built, waste and runoff from the buildings, digging into the earth, people’s waste in these areas, etc. Any time development occurs we see this pattern over time – even when the best of efforts have been taken to preserve land, the development itself and the careless people who will eventually work there will lead to more pressure and more environmental degradation.

    A much, much larger buffer zone is needed, although the best alternative would be not even to develop the land when as you say, we have many more brownfields to consider. Shouldn’t this be done before paving over virgin land? How can developing land lead to increased pollination and water protection? Really? Unless you show some real evidence it is very hard to believe this propaganda.

    Hope the council comes to its senses soon and sees the intrinsic and beautiful value of preserving something we are so blessed to have, something so special and unique to Guelph. By changing the way we look at development, by changing the way we approach the idea of developing this land, Guelph can become a leader for cities around the world – but only if this situation is handled correctly. So I beg of you to reconsider your actions.

    Sincerely and hopefully,

    Izzy

  17. Ian McNaught Says:

    The protesters thus far are successful in protecting the rare and beautiful lands from ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE. I know good people who are leaving or have left the Guelph area because of the environmental situation caused by industrial land infringing against nature.

    Even outside of the cities our forests are less and less. We all need to breath and we need jobs in recycling and restoring land not consume and abuse. Who are these environmentally businesses to be moving in there?

    Karen Farbridge, thi s doen’t look good on you right now, may you find clarity

  18. harold t. Says:

    Thank you for posting that, Kate.
    So the injunction is being sought to secure the construction site AND to protect against environmental damage? The injunction, then, is self-contradictory.
    I have recently had the opportunity to visit the site.
    You are referring to the large trenches that were specifically dug on the roadways through the site and on the large new causeway that had just been created for the development? The structures being put up among the waste that the machinery had already created? The logs that had been felled during construction just days before the occupation? The debris and waste that is sorted, removed and composted, unlike the city’s green garbage? The silt fencing that is entirely unnecessary should the site not be graded?
    I wonder which scenario involves environmental destruction.
    Finally, you offer public safety as a reason for the injunction. Between concerns for the ecosystem and the drinking water, I would feel much safer without this injunction, and without this development.

  19. Harold t. Says:

    How truly odd.. last night I made a post, and it worked and was the 13th post, but now it is gone. I will try to re-post what I’d written, and see if it lasts this time. Surely the mayors blog wouldn’t stoop to deleting unfavourable comments.
    What I said was:
    Thanks for posting that, Kate Sullivan.
    It says that the injunction is being sought to secure the construction site AND to protect against environmental damage. It would seem, then, that the injunction is self-contradictory.
    Are the large trenches that it speaks of the ones that are specifically on roads through the site and the large new causeway that had just been leveled before the occupation? Are the structures the ones that are sitting in the wasteland that the construction vehicles had already caused? Are the logs the ones that had recently been trees until they were felled by workers? Is the debris and the waste the stuff that’s being sorted, bagged, removed from site and composted, unlike the city’s garbage? Is the silt barrier fence the one that is completely unnecessary if the site doesn’t get developed?
    I wonder which brings about environmental damage, occupation or development.
    As far as public safety goes, I think I’ll feel plenty safer with a working ecosystem, without an extra threat to the drinking water, without the injunction and without a development.

  20. Harold t. Says:

    (oh, now my old post is back. please go ahead and delete one of them, just not both, thanks)

  21. Luke Weiler Says:

    I’ve considered the arguments advanced by the Farbridge administration up to this point, but the remarks made by the Mayor’s Office evince a total lack of intellectual honesty.

    “There is evidence of damage at the environmentally sensitive site, including large trenches being dug, structures being put up, logs being cut and moved, and debris and waste being left at the site”

    This is insulting. I have visited the HCBP site and the small trenches and other earthworks made by the protesters absolutely pale in comparison to the 15-metre wide swatch of devastation that Drexler Construction considers a “road”.

    For those who have not yet been out to the Hanlon Creek site, I encourage you to take a look at the blasted dirtscape that cuts for nearly a kilometre from Hanlon Drive to the heart of the area. If this is what Mayor Farbridge’s office considers inconsequential environmental damage, I have zero faith in their arguments concerning the proposed “buffer zones”.

  22. Louisette Lanteigne Says:

    Check the following:

    -the depths of the bore holes and the test times. Must be at least 20 m in depth to refect a reasonable test. If there is an aquifer system check deeper to quantify long term risk assessment. Do bore hole and surface water tests reflect spring thaw water levels? Spring is the time of the most infiltration.

    -Has this undergone a salt risk assessment to quantify the potential impacts to the municipal wells and area surface and groundwater resources? (Including water quality and quantity heading into vernal ponds?)

    -Is this area an outwash moraine system? Bore holes are an inadequate way of assessing risk in such areas because bore hole often gives the impression that the area is clay covered when in fact, if it’s an outwash system, there may be many gaps of recharge in the area. A more accurate reading would come with the use of GPR stratisgraphy readings.

    -the 12 month creek analysis to determine flow rates and volumes to creeks, surface water features is beneficial to protect water resources and fish communities otherwise one quick spring of salty runoff can kill fish in the area.

    -Are your conservation authorities sponsored by the agencies conducting the EIS reports? If so, issues of bias must be considered. Does the municipality have a hydrogeologist on staff who can adequately scrutinize reports?

    If the EIS reports are flawed, the end result is increased externalized costs. Quantify the value of the recharge in this area before the damage is done.

    Louisette Lanteigne

  23. James D. Lauckner Says:

    WHY is this land being “developed?”

    Purchase previously developed land that is now abandoned. That project will create work in itself, to further develop the site for this business park.

    Seriously. We all need to be enlightened by a deep reverence for plant/water life and its ecosystems.

    This isn’t Rome. Our trees are older than the statues of Caesar, the Colleseum and the Vattican itself!
    Why are stone structures revered instead?

    You see?

  24. Andrew Serafin Says:

    I opposed to the eviction of people who are defending the land and water that we all need. I definitely disagree with any arrests that will be made. It is ludicrous when you declare Guelph as a leader in Green Sustainability and the same time destroying natural habitat for endanger and protected species. Have you moral rights to criticize destructors of rein forests or some others in environmental ruin abroad? Are you a going to use local legalization for cancelling national requirements regarding buffer zone? Is it not a circus?
    What wrong with using Guelph’s brownfields?
    Andrew Serafin

  25. Lindsay G Says:

    I hardly understand the reasons of posting this:
    “The protesters have not left the site or dismantled their encampment. There is evidence of damage at the environmentally sensitive site, including large trenches being dug, structures being put up, logs being cut and moved, and debris and waste being left at the site, in addition to the destruction of a silt fence barrier that was put in place to protect the stream bed. The injunction is being sought to secure the construction site, protect against environmental damage and ensure public safety.”

    What was going to happen to this “environmentally sensitive site”? Were the construction workers going to be educated on what plants to leave be and which ones to put equipment, tools and walk on? What about the buildings, roads and driveways?
    I hardly believe that the folks in action currently on the land have the intention to harm it further. Is that not the reason why they have occupied this location?

    Mayor Farbridge, I would suggest spending your holiday weekend camped out with these folks to listen to their stories of passion for this planet we call home. Listen to Earth at this site, hear the stories of the birds, plants and other wildlife.

    We are in changing times, does this Business Park fit into the Egocentric-“Industrial Growth Society” that we have been following the model of for years, or is it truly a Ecocentric solution where “Life-Sustaining Society” can flourish? Last time I checked, being sustainable was about preserving what we already have, not taking it away to build something “eco-friendly” over it.

    I would like to leave this poem for both reflection and inspiration:

    Drew Dellinger “Hieroglyphic Stairway”

    It’s 3:23 in the morning
    and I’m awake
    because my great great grandchildren
    won’t let me sleep
    my great great grandchildren
    ask me in dreams
    what did you do while the planet was plundered?
    what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

    surely you did something
    when the seasons started failing?

    as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

    did you fill the streets with protest
    when democracy was stolen?

    what did you do
    once
    you
    knew?…

  26. Amelia Meister Says:

    I am a future resident of Guelph, moving there on September 1st. Our family chose to move to Guelph because of its beauty and citizen participation in the politics and goings-on in Guelph. It is a strong community.
    Any place, and especially Guelph, with its vibrant population, has the ability for economic growth outside of the structures of “industrial parks”. These are a species of city planning bred for extinction, as the structure of our society must change in order to work with broader, non-local challenges such as climate change. The City of Guelph, I feel, could use their creative juices (which I am sure they have) to invest in projects of job creation that do not involve the destruction of green space. Whether or not there are environmental guidelines being followed, the fact remains that green space, in any city, must be stewarded and protected.
    It would be wonderful to see more effort being put into creating jobs on the front of sustainability, working with local groups like Transition Guelph, to bring Guelph to the forefront, not only of economic growth, but environmental stewardship and creative leadership.

    I have a child and I pray that her grandchildren’s grandchildren have the luscious and beautiful, abundant earth to appreciate. Decisions like this one will affect far into the future. Jobs may be created now, but the long term (ie: 200 years) effects of these decisions are hardly considered.
    As a leader, and Mayor of this town, you are blessed with the responsibility to be able to achieve long-term, holistic success for future generations I bless you Mayor, in the job that you have, and trust that you will work with a view of not just 20 years from now, but 200 years from now.

    Thank You

  27. Johnny Camara Says:

    The post about the protesters damaging an environmentally-sensitive site is a little confusing to me because I went out to the site last Thursday to see what it was all about.

    I noticed the trenches that they built seemed to be located only on the service road that the construction company built in order to get their heavy machinery into the area. The wood they seemed to be using was cut down by the construction crew before they got there. The “large structures” that they have put up seem to consist of a small wooden tower made from the pre-cut wood and a bunch of straw bales that they used to build more of a small room with tarps for rain coverage. They placed these structures on a field just outside of the forest where I think the city is planing to build a four lane highway. I don’t know about about the silt fence; I didn’t ask. You can argue with me on this, but I am not sure how they can be accused of leaving waste at the site when they are still there trying to protect 500 year old trees.

    I overlayed the proposal map over a Google satellite photo (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=582993&l=d68cb3a455&id=1033410329). I think it helps visualize the area better.

    I can’t help but feel like this is urban sprawl. 675 acres of business park that seems like one has to drive to in order to get to on of the 10 000 jobs that it’s promising doesn’t really seem like something that would be good to have surrounding a heritage forest that apparently is so delicate that 30 protesters camping on a field right by it are apparently endangering because it’s a at an “environmentally sensitive site”. That is just opinion. Though what I saw is not. I didn’t see their impact comparing to the impact of just the construction crews roads that were already built. Go down to the site and judge for yourself.

  28. Mark MacDonald Says:

    Webs of concrete, giving off waste dust that marks the search of an age of a thousand vast empires, sweeping away legends untold to human ears. While shafts of steel clutch the stars, natural supplies …once numerous.. now lapse into an eerie silence. Recycled energy becomes the only form of life, as it was, and now new forms are moulded from patterns already used in a struggle to survive.

    You live in stainless forts with glass walls around,
    Fight against resources with your head in the ground,
    A nation’s urgent need fulfils anothers greed,
    Going down down down down down down down

    excerpt Automaton Horrorscope and Flight to Reality from Recycled by Nektar 1975

    Life in Guelph does imitate art or so it seems

    Mark

  29. Mike Reid Says:

    OPPOSED TO THIS DEVELOPMENT. Why not focus on improving abandoned and run-down infrastructure that already exists and keep this land as it is?

  30. Chris Grant Says:

    Two trees that couldn’t be saved? Why couldn’t these heritage trees be saved? This is a slippery-slope fallacy if I ever heard one. When do the concessions and compromises that cost animals’ habitat stop? AFTER the building has been completed? These minimal “buffer” zones to protect old growth forests are a joke. You cannot seriously expect an old growth forest to survive within 15-30 feet of of a sprawling and polluting urban centre!

    I agree with some of the sentiments already shared here. There are enough brown fields and abandoned areas that this is a completely unnecessary atrocity. Why not build elsewhere?

  31. Alma Estable Says:

    I am writing in support of the actions being taken by the young people who are trying to protect the old growth forest at Hanlon Creek from being used as a site for industrial development.

    Over the past four years, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Guelph area six or seven times, for business and pleasure. I have experienced, first hand, a friendly and welcoming city, with charming shops and interesting restaurants, as well as a fabulous university. During these visits, I also had the chance to enjoy several outings to the surrounding countryside. I was delighted when I first saw that there was a beautiful swathe of what seemed to be wild land at Hanlon Creek. This type of area provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance the attractiveness of Guelph for people who, like myself, enjoy walking in woods, observing plants, watching wildlife, and experiencing a bit of natural history when we travel, as a break from conferences, meetings, and shopping.

    I was even more amazed to discover, after reading about the actions of the young protesters, that this is actually an old growth forest, and one of the very few in Ontario. It is because of its significance to all Ontarians, in fact, to all Canadians, that I am writing this letter of support.

    Although I can understand the importance of encouraging development (I myself own a small business), I also know that sometimes it is necessary to keep in mind the longer-term picture, and this includes having a sense of what is really important in an ever more fragile and threatened earth. A forest that has taken over a century to grow will not be replaced in today’s world; it can only be protected. Once it is gone, it will not come back.

    I am encouraged to know that young people care deeply enough about our environment to act on issues like this one. I also am hopeful that the peaceful and gentle protest that has been going on will have the effect of convincing Guelph City Council to act to protect this forest.

  32. S Hertz Says:

    Not one client for the business park yet? Is this true? If so, feels like the 1960’s all over again….
    Opera House lost to Sears
    Quebec Street lost to Eatons
    Wyndham lost to Big Box Library
    Everyone loses to Wal Mart & now
    Forest lost to non existent clients…
    might as well cancel next years Jane’s Walk

  33. Mike Says:

    Dear Mayor Farbridge,

    Why is the buffer a fraction of the size reccomended by environmental experts?

    Have you seen all the fallen trees in the Dairy Bush just along the new student development next to the woods? Most of those trees were still standing before the construction.

    And why is part of a creek going to be paved over in such an ecolgically rich and senstive area full of endangered species?

    Please take a stand and call this whole mess off.

    Amputating some of the last precious green space in Guelph is short-sided and wrong.

    Mike

  34. Marie Says:

    regarding the action of charging those activists who are protesting this activity.

    A reminder:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

    Citizens can change the world. In a democracy they are the government. Those in office are the leaders of that government. The citizens of this world who are doing the work to save this planet have to do it a project at a time, because each situation is unique, and we haven’t yet put in place real controls to protect the earth from individual greed and selfishness. In this way these citizens organize themselves to activate their role as government. These people often work for free with a dedication that allows each project to entirely dominate their purpose. We call this commitment and collectively we believe this is admirable behavior and deserves respect. These people are making the changes we need to make.

    I must ask the group that works for the city and those that have a vested interest in the destruction of Hanlon Creek, what they think government is. Democracy has very specific notions about the people’s place and importance and the limitations of office. In office you can be a leader or a looter, if you are a looter you can’t be the government. The government is the people. You are asked to represent their interests and not your interests. Our interest is a thoughtful, sustainable progression of events, under any circumstance, choices for the most sustainable outcome. The recklessness of the past cannot be sustained. It’s not an option. Heroic appetites for power are passé; ugly and ill fitting in our wised up world. Get hip and realize there are many ways to be important and some of them are attractive.

    Be attractive. Cross over. Give up your unattractive ways and care about something greater than yourself. Be beautiful, let beauty be reflected by you and for you, because you’ve opened yourself up to a positive alternative. It’s never to late but there’s no time like the present. Don’t be grubbing greedy fools, be dignified human beings. It’s so much more attractive. Come join the lifeblood of a people’s government and help to make changes that are for the benefit of all; plants, animal, air, sky, earth.

    Every choice we make leaves a mark and some are indelible. Our attitudes and values will be reflected in the world we leave our children and our children’s children. We all contribute to their inheritance.

    Smile, you’re making history.

  35. the cloudwalking owl Says:

    I suppose I shouldn’t wade into this, but I suppose I’m too foolish not to.

    I’ve been an activist and a politician, and I am not surprised, but am still disappointed by the tone of most of these comments.

    There is a profound difference between being an activist and being a politician. The former has no obligation towards the community in general or competing interests. They do not have to deal with things that are ultimately mutually incompatible—like jobs and the environment. How can we create new jobs if we do not create new industrial areas?

    And for those that suggest we use old brownfields sites, are you willing to “go to the wall” to try and get the limited liability laws changed so businesses cannot declare bankruptcy and leave their real-estate liabilities for future owners? I doubt it, because the issue is too complex to settle by camping out on a construction site. Yet until it is, it is simply too expensive for most businesses to develop most brownfields.

    As well, how many of these people at the site are willing to “go to the wall” to fight against the Places to Grow Legislation that Guelph has been settled with? The Mayor and Council only have some control over this massive growth if they play along with the province. If they don’t, the province and the OMB will simply give developers free reign—then see how much old growth forest will be protected!

    And again, how many of your campers would be willing to fight against the perverse government policy that supports the idea that Southern Ontario’s population should grow dramatically into the future? That is why the Province has developed Places to Grow, because the infrastructure in Toronto is maxxed out and the new people need to be moved somewhere else—like Guelph.

    I doubt if most of the people camping out would fight that fight, though. Because the birth rate in Canada is less than that needed to replace the population. That means that most of those new people are immigrants. And anyone in the “groovy” community who talks about reducing immigration rates immediately gets labeled as a “racist” and shouted down.

    Another issue that needs to be considered. I suspect the reason why this particular site is being developed instead of another is because the process of developing new land has become so onerous and complex that the City is loath to find another site and start all over again. And again, how many people in the activist community are willing to “go to the wall” over stream-lining the zoning process so the city can become more flexible? Indeed, I would suggest that every time one of these protests takes place the system becomes even more armour plated.

    I don’t really know the whys and wherefores about this particular site, but ultimately I strongly suspect that the vast majority of people who are fighting against the site have not developed any level of environmental politics beyond that of thinking it is bad to cut down pretty trees.

    There is a real discipline in politics—you have to get enough people on-board to actually get elected. And there has to be enough discipline (i.e. willingness to “suck it up” and do it even if you don’t like it) to form an electoral machine. And then you have to decide what you really want to do, and what you are willing to bargain away in order to get the power to do those things.

    Karen and the others are not perfect. But they are in the midst of a complex machine that requires a great deal more than simply camping out on a work site. You may disagree with the choices they have made, but do not think that you have any moral superiority over them until you have made the effort to actually end up in the driver’s seat instead of merely kibittzing from the back seat!

  36. Chris Grant Says:

    “the cloudwalking owl”

    For someone who is has self-proclaimed experience being a politician it is no wonder most of your ‘argument’ consists of strawman fallacies. You only assume and speculate about everyone’s motives. You don’t even provide anything constructive. How does that balance ANYONE’s interests?

    You don’t even propose any legitimate reason as to why we shouldn’t use brownfields. Of course any impeding legislation should be changed in order to do so!

    In case you didn’t read my comment, since it’s not known whether trees are sentient – and therefore have an ‘interest’ in living as a sentient being – it’s actually the ANIMALS that occupy the land that concerns me most. Although one of the few remaining old growth forests lost would be deeply saddening as well! And from an economic view, old-growth forests are huge carbon sinks, so when they no longer exist and all industries suffer as a result of climate change, we’ll have people who “compromised” like you to blame!

  37. Virg Says:

    (I posted this on the Mercury site, but felt it should be here too)

    The City needs to build for employment, but why are they ruining a very old forest (the last in Guelph) and clean green land when so much old industrial space sits empty? They could easily meet their growth targets by using places that are already serviced, which would be cheaper for taxpayers, closer to where we live, and better for the environment. I don’t think the protesters are against all development, just stupid development.

    The scraped desert across the road, Southgate, is still untenanted after 2 years. In a recession, it is unlikely they will even fill this space for many years, so we will have to pay more taxes to develop something that will be empty for years. There are as yet no interested tenants for this project.

    In spite of the City’s greenwashing comments, the proposed project has in fact no buffers between industrial land and our source of drinking water other than a road. This means that one truck full of chemicals tips over and our water system is poisoned. Despite 8 months of complaints from the public about this, the City has not shown any inclination to alter the plan so as to protect our water source.

    I’m with the protestors all the way. I’ve spoken to very few people who think this is a good idea when we have so much old industrial space to use instead.

  38. Stephen Grant Says:

    So the strawman arguments themselves don’t get deleted but shedding light on them does?

    the cloudwalking owl’s entire argument consisted of nothing but speculation at people’s beliefs and – most likely – erroneous assumptions about them!

  39. mark macdonald Says:

    To those who have posted statements of opposition to the Hanlon development, I applaud your efforts, intellect and beautiful choice of words. I give you credit for speaking your opinions and signing your names not pseudonyms to your words of passion. To sign your name gives you credibility. You have taken a dive into the murky political waters and not waded about like some others. Please reflect on these lyrics from a beautiful song…

    You used to think a lot,
    Of all the things we’ve got,
    The open spaces all around us,
    But now I see a lot,
    Of how they take too much,
    And turns to bite the hand that feeds us,

    NEZ PERCE,
    Where are you today?
    Are you gone?

    We didn’t ask a lot,
    We lived a simple life,
    And like the wind my people drifted,
    And everything we learned related to the earth,
    The seasons ruled our way of living,

    NEZ PERCE,
    Where are you today?
    Are you gone?
    Are you gone?
    NEZ PERCE,
    Time to change your ways,
    Or move on.

    Nez Perce by Wally 1975

    Peace,
    Mark MacDonald

  40. ksulliva Says:

    A note to Stephen and others: comments are not getting deleted. Comments are moderated on this blog, as it says in the “About the Blog” section. We try to post comments immediately, but this is not always possible, especially outside office hours. The only comments that get deleted are those that contain personal attacks or are disrespectful (again these parameters are explained in “About the Blog.”)

    Kate Sullivan
    Mayor’s Office

  41. Chris Grant Says:

    For some reason comments weren’t showing up. I apologise it seems either it was a server error or a personal computer error opening an older page.

  42. Scott R. Says:

    I have been a resident of guelph all my life. The HCBP site development is another example of the city being putty in the hands of developers. The city is not listening to citizens, who will pay for this development when its all over in the form of higher taxes, shame, guilt and simply not being able to take thier children to a real forest to see real animals. I can think of several sites that are already cleared and waiting for development. One is the stone and victoria site. It is clear to citizens that there is plenty of space that isn’t an old growth forest. It is absolutely clear to me here and to many others that the city is listening to developers over its own citizens. Shame on you!!

    It is now up to the courts to decide the fate of the site. May justice be served. If this development does happen – shame on the city forever. Farbridge will loose votes and the earth will be vengeful upon council.

    Of all the homes that are put on the heritage registry – citiznes can apply for it – what about land heritage? This land is part of our heritage and should be protected!

    HALT THE SPRAWL!

  43. the cloudwalking owl Says:

    Dear Chris Grant:

    For someone who is has self-proclaimed experience being a politician it is no wonder most of your ‘argument’ consists of strawman fallacies. You only assume and speculate about everyone’s motives. You don’t even provide anything constructive. How does that balance ANYONE’s interests?

    Actually, I don’t believe I was using a straw man argument, I believe I was trying to suggest that there are a lot of very complex issues involved when someone does public planning—issues that have a great deal to do with the decisions made by council and which I believe that the protesters seem to be ignoring.

    You don’t even propose any legitimate reason as to why we shouldn’t use brownfields. Of course any impeding legislation should be changed in order to do so!

    I suggested that the extreme cost of cleaning up the brownfields because of the implications of our current limited liability and other laws mean that most businesses will not locate in a brownfields site because of the expense. I would also suggest to you that since those laws are federal in nature, the municipal government has zero influence on changing them. Instead, I did suggest that most of the people who are up in arms about the development would not lift a finger to try and change those laws because it would require very boring, very long term effort in a large group of people.

    In case you didn’t read my comment, since it’s not known whether trees are sentient – and therefore have an ‘interest’ in living as a sentient being – it’s actually the ANIMALS that occupy the land that concerns me most. Although one of the few remaining old growth forests lost would be deeply saddening as well! And from an economic view, old-growth forests are huge carbon sinks, so when they no longer exist and all industries suffer as a result of climate change, we’ll have people who “compromised” like you to blame!

    My understanding is that old growth forests are stable from a carbon perspective. If it was just about fixing carbon, the thing to do would be to bulldoze the old growth and bury it. Then plant new trees to get lots of secondary growth involved—which does suck up the carbon. (This is sort of like what bio-char farming does.) My understanding is that this isn’t a case of destroying the forest or not destroying it, but rather one of having the city try to save as much as it can from the developers and the OMB as possible, given the current system in place. If the city tried to stop development, the business people and the OMB would then take over and pretty much destroy the place.

    Henry David Thoreau once wrote that for every thousand people cutting at the leaf and branch of evil there is only one hacking at the roots. I would suggest that you folks would do a lot more good if you attacked the OMB directly instead of trying to attack people who are trying their best in a profoundly flawed system—.

  44. Berchmans C. Keaney Says:

    *I believe I was trying to suggest that there are a lot of very complex issues involved when someone does public planning*

    Absolutely, in this there is no question, but may I ask what you believe are the *not* so complex issues being discussed currently about the environment and the future of this planet? Or more clearly what is so simple about ignoring the scientific suggestions behind eco-sustainability in lieu of the economic?

    *I suggested that the extreme cost of cleaning up the brownfields because of the implications of our current limited liability and other laws mean that most businesses will not locate in a brownfields site because of the expense.*

    I appreciate limiting costs to functioning business, but if I may ask, don’t you think that avoiding these types of incurring costs now may be short sighted in the growing shadow of greater potential costs to not only business but to the public down the road? The practical example of a chemical accident near the fresh drinking water. The cost of *that* clean up along with the dangers that will have forever leached themselves in the indelible natural water supply may outweigh the cost to benefit ratio.

    *I would also suggest to you that since those laws are federal in nature, the municipal government has zero influence on changing them*

    I thank you for this insight, it brings to light the need for more local control for local issues, as is very apparent in this case itself. As an experienced politician perhaps you could shed some light as to where these laws are found and what we could do to change them. It is apparent in your comments that you are not opposed to eco-sustainability you just have more insight into economic sustainability both of which are arguably necessary.

    *would require very boring, very long term effort in a large group of people*

    We are here and up in arms about the environment and are not planning trips to the next solar system any time soon, the movement is growing and there would be no better place to start then in a quiet and comfortable place like the beautiful Guelph area. From history we know that it is actions of the few concerned citizens that make a difference, those citizens still need guidance which I would be very pleased to see you provide.

    *given the current system in place. If the city tried to stop development, the business people and the OMB would then take over and pretty much destroy the place.*

    Once again I thank you for this invaluable insight, if it is the system that is in place that should be the focus of our objection, please bring it to light. If it is these “roots” that must be discarded so that we can stop hacking at branches and leaves this is something we need to know and again it seems that you here have the most insight. I ask heartfuly that the owl come down from the clouds and use his wisdom to help guide the animals of the earth in a direction mutually beneficial.

    -Thank you

    P.S. If I may add one critique, I don’t believe that Thoreau was suggesting that we give up, but instead focus the energy, for only when “evil” is within the public view can anyone know where to look for the roots. (thank you for pointing out the roots and again ask you for your help)

  45. Berchmans C. Keaney Says:

    Problems Vs. Suggestions

    We have outlined that we have a problem, it is time that we make suggestions.

    Guelph is planning on growing, this is inevitable and there is no use arguing that.

    Jobs will be necessary

    What do we do?

    I would like to see Canada become the center of ecological research, I would like to see science centers near every University, I would like to see protected wildlife preserves near every science center. Local sustainability projects, we have the technology and resources. We have the opportunity to become world leaders in earth preservation instead of trying to ride the coat tails of an aging and dying industry which did not have the knowledge that we have now. Let us not ever have to say “if we knew then what we know now” because we do know all that is left is to put it into action. I am sure the Mayor is tired of feeling on the outside of a decision that many are part of, lets give her usable suggestions with as much knowledge as we can and the support to put them into action. It might not have been till now that the real issues have been brought to light and being thankful to those willing to stand in protest at risk of their own sustainability we have been given time to do so. Let us act now and in unison; perhaps first changing the laws which would impede economically viable usage of brownfields (and ironically appropriate name). Change the name to greenfields for the idea of money and environment.

    Any reasonable suggestion will help.

  46. Kent MacMillan Says:

    I moved to Guelph from Mississauga in 1994 and I have been appalled by the rush by the province and the city to turn the outer edges of Guelph into something that resembles the corporate urban wastelands of Mississauga. The development of the HCBP is just another social and environmental step backwards for a great city. The abandoned commercial lots and buildings all over the city should serve as a lesson to future generations of leaders how concreting over green space is a big mistake. Our countries greatest asset is its natural resources and green space. To destroy this for “projected” economic growth is a foolish and outdated thought process. For those who continue to put short term financial gains over the environment…. you should be ashamed.

  47. the cloudwalking owl Says:

    If people want to see places where they can focus their attention so they are chopping roots instead of slashing leaves, here’s a website that identifies one of the key problems facing Southern Ontario—population growth: http://www.sustreport.org/signals/canpop_ttl.html

    If you look at the website two items should pop out at you:

    Although Canada’s population is growing slowly, our growth rate is higher than that in most industrialized countries. Our population growth is concentrated in areas with considerable environmental stresses, particularly around Toronto

    and

    Although population in Canada has increased steadily since Confederation in 1867, this has largely been due to immigration, and not natural increase

    One of the drivers for a need to dramatically expand the population in Guelph, therefore, are the current high immigration quotas that the government has set. To a large extent, these high quotas are driven by a desire to ensure that there are enough taxpayers to fund the pension system for retiring baby-boomers. (Our exponential growth economy is, in effect, a Ponzi scheme.)

    A good “root” cutting approach to problems like the Hanlon Creek Business Park would be to start a public awareness campaign about Canadian population growth and try to get people to lobby the government to cut our immigration quotas to a sustainable level.

    In addition, there is the problem of how people live their lives, which involves a huge amount of wastage of the earth’s natural resources. Until we get people to cut their ecological footprint, we are going to have to keep eating up the earth’s resources. That is, cutting the population isn’t sufficient, we also need to cut the amount used per person. Since societies are driven by ideas (or “memes”), one part of the solution might be to start a popular movement where people volunteer to cut their footprint through public vows and thereby shame the others who have not made a similar commitment.

    The people who really care about the environment could take public vows to 1: Never own an automobile, 2: fly in an airplane, and, 3: have any children—as long as they live. They could call this a “vow of sustainbility”.

    The first two suggestions are long-term answers. But in the short term a useful strategy would be to try and pull the power of developers from planning. Planner dominate local politics for two reasons.

    First, the environmental community has traditionally not gotten organized in order to have influence in municipal government, which has left the development community in control by default. The current Mayor and Council are examples of environmental activists who have organised and taken over Council. The previous one was an example of one dominated by developers. (They would have simply bulldozed the site, sent in the police to attack the protesters and were planning on giving up on the moraine as a water supply–they wanted a pipeline to Lake Erie for water and sewage.)

    But taking over Council isn’t enough. We also need to either eliminate the Ontario Municipal Board or have it restocked with people who have a bias towards good planning instead of mindless sprawl. There is an enormous pool of ill-will towards the OMB in Ontario.

    If as small a group of 6 people made a long-term commitment to fix the OMB, it probably could be done by building a province-wide organization devoted to the issue. Their first job would be to do a LOT of research in order to identify all the community groups in the province that have been jerked around by the OMB and develop a database of these groups and their members. With this in hand, they could use it to build a second database of Municipal Politicians who have also been jerked around by the OMB. With these two groups in hand, these six dedicated individuals could then do the work necessary to lobby the government. (Some good street theatre protests at Queen’s Park might do some good.) Eventually, the pressure would force the Ontario Government of the day to change things substantially. This would give city council’s the power to control sprawl instead of forcing them into doing nothing more than attempt to work within the margins that the development community (and the OMB) allow them.

  48. Jennifer Evans Says:

    Dear “owl”
    I am sorry to say I find all of your postsrather destructive as they are distracting from the real issue at hand here. Yes, seeking the roots of these issues and policy change around the OMB is very important, but right now the city of Guelph has the opportunity to set a precedent in political responsability.

    I do not believe the emphasis should be on population control, more so it should be on how growth is managed. There are many great earth technolgies out there that can support a larger population in terms of food and sustainable living. Industry of yesterday is not the answer.

    Also the emphasis should not be put on the individual responsability, when the destructive powers of corporations and developers run unchecked. Corporate responsability has to come first. individual choices have an impact and when we are provided with the truth about the impacts of them on future generations, most people will make responsable choices.

    Corporate and political acountablility!

  49. Berchmans C. Keaney Says:

    As much as I tote long term answers by way of forward thinking, In the short term, abating developers power seems most necessary. I still do not know enough about the OMB and if it is as problematic as you say it is what are the analogues in other provinces? Do the same issues exist? Where do I go to inform myself

    As little experience I have in politics as far as I know command and conquer has never resulted favourably for anyone, however ‘memes’ are incredibly powerful and science is full of them. Perhaps all it may take is some good lessons on practical outcomes? And if there is a large enough pool who would prefer to see major reform to the OMB perhaps that is all we need.

    Mrs. Farbridge, Karen,
    Do you see this as something that can be accomplished? I think your input at this time would be of inestimable value.

    Who else sees this as viable? We have the youth standing in front of bulldozers, is there anyone willing to sit in front of a computer?

    Cloudwalking owl, I can be reached at Berchmans@me.com

  50. the cloudwalking owl Says:

    You guys just refuse to accept that this is a case of accepting a half loaf instead of no loaf at all.

    You also seem to think that it accomplishes something to yell at the bank teller when the big boss decides to up your service charges.

  51. bc Says:

    “The protesters have not left the site or dismantled their encampment. There is evidence of damage at the environmentally sensitive site, including large trenches being dug, structures being put up, logs being cut and moved, and debris and waste being left at the site, in addition to the destruction of a silt fence barrier that was put in place to protect the stream bed. The injunction is being sought to secure the construction site, protect against environmental damage and ensure public safety.”

    The city thinks IT is going to “protect” the environment against damage? What a load of I-won’t-even-say-what. Nice job PR people! Turn this around against the environmental activists! Because we all know construction saves frogs, salamanders and environmental space.

  52. Berchmans C. Keaney Says:

    Dear owl,

    If we own the loaf why are we willing to accept half or none at all when it should be ours to dispense to begin with?

    I am not interested in yelling at the teller and neither are you, those that want to yell at the teller let people know there is a problem, you seem to have some knowledge to help those that want to take action take it in the right place. I have already received emails from people who are willing to do the research. Where do we begin?

    It makes it much easier to start hacking at the root if we know where to dig. Where do we begin to dig?

    Is it elected or who appoints it? Who has say and who has sway? Who do we want to talk to? Who will stone wall us for self concern? Where do we begin?

    Everyone else that has seen the bad press for the protesters, get out there! show your support, they have done the difficult part of bringing awareness to the public’s eye, do the easy part and say that you agree if you do.

    My email is berchmans@me.com

  53. Jack Says:

    Bc siad “we all know construction saves frogs, salamanders and environmental space.”

    We all know RESPONSIBLE, CONTROLLED construction CAN save frogs, salamanders and environmental space. After the years of planning, adjusting and compromising, we now have a plan for a controlled, responsible growth.

    Jennifer Evans said ‘the destructive powers of corporations and developers run unchecked’

    Then do your bit to check it: divide your group and send some to stand in front of Carson Reid’s chainsaws. It shouldn’t be a problem for those who have travelled so far to come to Guelph to move a little further to another site.

  54. Angel Says:

    In looking at this situation thoroughly it is plain to see that City of Guelph and related industry is going to unlawfully take this land away from the people and against informed and educated people’s wishes while many sites are already open to such bastardized construction. There is lots of room on non-arable land or in other cities for such businesses. Such an Aquifer requires at least 300 meters of a buffer zone from nearest old growth or waterway. The people are holding the City of Guelph, industry and anyone who should not reclaim the land and related waters as Natural Preserve in contempt and in breach of people’s wishes.

    Office of Major, City of Guelph and related offices are obligated according to it’s mandate to provide enjoyment, well being, health and safety for people wishing to do so at this site. People are holding said parties responsible for any damages up to and past this point, as this includes the judiciary it is also included in these judgments.

    In short: Ms Karen Farbridge and related parties, you are in a lot of trouble no matter which way you try to spin it.

  55. Chris Grant Says:

    the cloudwalking owl,

    Sorry for the long delay in replying. I was on vacation and then working pretty much constantly upon my return.

    So you propose that nobody (least of all the industries responsible for environmental degradation) should have to front the bill for brown fields? I just recently read an article that simply because something can be done more cheaply doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for the environment, sustainability or human health. In your situation, it’s essentially guaranteed it’s a DETRIMENT to all of those things! Eventually businesses will be forced to use brown fields anyway when all the “virgin” land is paved over around cities anyway.

    As for your carbon sink theory. It seems essentially flawed. If you simply bury the trees via bulldozer as you suggest, to begin with will be using vast amounts of carbon emissions in the process. Secondly, you ignore the fact that dead trees release the carbon they had sequestered their whole lives. Larger tree carcasses (from the old growth forest) means more carbon being put back into the air. You also fail to note that old growth forests continue to sequester carbon. You only put them only as a “stable” CO2 collected source. If this were the case, why do many Intergovernmental panels (most notably the IPCC) and many NGO environmental groups place rain forest and other old growth forest as critical to combatting climate change?

    You seem to be ignoring a lot of scientific evidence and never really cleared up your strawman comments…

  56. Bill Hulet Says:

    A response to Chris:

    So you propose that nobody (least of all the industries responsible for environmental degradation) should have to front the bill for brown fields?

    Well, no that’s not true. The problem is that the city cannot force the company that polluted the brownfield to clean up the mess if it has declared bankruptcy (which is usually the case.) The law stinks, but it is a federal law, not a municipal one. As for potential new owners, the city cannot force anyone to buy land and build on it. And given an expensive brownfield site in Guelph or a cheaper Greenfield site somewhere else, where do you think the investor is going to site his plant? And even if the investor wanted to “do the right thing”, how long until his company goes out of business because some other company can sell its products cheaper?

    As for the buried trees—. It stands to reason that a mature forest is carbon neutral, simply because it is completely recycling its biomass. It has relatively more carbon than secondary growth, but it is no longer fixing carbon and removing it from the atsmosphere (i.e. acting as a “sink”.) In contrast, a secondary growth area (i.e. young trees) has less carbon than an old growth area, but is pulling more out of the atsmosphere. If you bury the old growth then it ceases to interact with the atmosphere (that is how our coal beds were created—hence the term “fossil fuels”.) Either way, I wasn’t seriously proposing this as a solution, just to point out that when people say “old growth areas are carbon sinks” they don’t know what they are talking about.

    As for the carbon being released in the process of buldozing the forest, not knowing how you spent your vacation, I might speculate that if you were travelling and didn’t do so by walking or bicycling, you probably released far more carbon doing that. (Heavey machinery diesel engines are very efficient compared to automobile, bus or jet engines.)

  57. Chris Grant Says:

    Thank you for just repeating the same thing you said over again. Clearly you didn’t listen to anything I said. I mean I would listen to more of what you said if it was scientifically grounded.

    I’ve worked with heavy industrial machines. To call them “efficient” is laughable at best. The power needed to level an old growth forest is no comparison to the amount of driving I did. Nice assumption though. Still see they continue to compromise the majority of your arguments…

  58. Chris Grant Says:

    Edit: Excuse the malapropism. Should have been ‘comprise’ not ‘compromise’. Although I guess the assumptions in essense do/are both.

  59. Berchmans C. Keaney Says:

    I would like to put out a hoorah to all the active protesters who has given all those that care or who just simply need more information the time to research and act as they deem appropriate. It is a great world when the thoughts of many and the actions of a few can make real difference. May I suggest the council find a way of reducing the taxes for business’s who make the effort to restore brown fields while prohibiting or at least increasing costs to an exorbitantly undesirable level for those that wish to use green fields. Business’s are not naturally evil it is simply the matter of the dollar and the bottom line that persuades them to act in questionable ways. They do not *want* to destroy land it is simply cost effective. Be an example for the world to follow which will become worth much more than any bottom line you can think of.

    Sincerely,

    Berchmans Keaney

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