Regarding: Growing the Simcoe County Forest in BWG
Letter to the Bradford Times from Cindy Mercer, Springwater – December 19 2016
I was interested to read that the County has now acquired another property to add to the Simcoe County Forests; however, I am concerned about misrepresentations that have been made to the Kirkup family that are reflected in this statement, “The Kirkup family is most happy to know that the conservation legacy of our parents will continue… we cherish these woods and are extremely pleased that this habitat will be preserved for future generations.” Simcoe County Forester Graeme Davis said, “it was important for the [Kirkup] family to see that property preserved and to have it open for public use…… and to name it ‘Kirkup”
The Kirkup family obviously is not aware that only a few weeks ago, the County of Simcoe submitted a rezoning application to allow for the construction of a Garbage Depot, Organics Processing Facility and a Truck Servicing Facility within a County Forest. Forester Graeme Davis and the County have demonstrated that they see nothing wrong with turning over our agriculturally zoned County Forests for industrial purposes.
The siting process for this industrial facility favoured County owned lands which resulted in almost 50% of the sites selected being County forests throughout Simcoe County. Not surprisingly, five of the seven sites on the short list turned out to be County owned Forests. The final preferred site of choice selected in March of 2016 was indeed a County owned Forest in Springwater known as the Freele Tract.
It appears as though the timing of this acquisition allowed the Kirkup woods to elude the County’s siting process for this particular project. The Kirkup family should be made aware that another forest property was placed in the top 5 of the short list of selected sites for this Waste Management Infrastructure Project shortly after an acquisition where the family approached Simcoe County to have it placed in the forestry program.
I feel that the Friel family likely felt the same confidence of a conservation legacy as the Kirkups when Mr. Friel sold his 200 acre property to the County of Simcoe in 1948.
I am very happy to see a new addition to our County Forests, but none of us should allow ourselves the false sense of security that our precious County owned Forests are protected from being used as cheap land to convert for non-forest uses.
I encourage all residents in the County of Simcoe to speak up for our forests if you feel our County owned forest lands should not be converted for non-forest uses. The Rainforest Alliance current audit point of contact is David Brunelle firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 1-514-793-8212.