Minesing Wetlands: What are we thinking?
My View – As I observe the jockeying of all the parties that will prosper from the Mega Development plans for Midhurst, it appears that the final decisions are being based on greed not need. The open house by the Midhurst Landowners Group at the County Museum recently was quite impressive, if you like large urban development in a small village.
We all probably know that the Minesing Wetlands is a world renowned extremely sensitive ecosystem. I checked the information posted on the subject. This is what they say:
“Minesing Wetlands, previously known as Minesing Swamp, is a Ramsar boreal wetland in central Ontario, Canada stretching from the western periphery of Barrie to Georgian Bay. It was identified and classified through the International Biological Program. It is “the largest and best example of fen bog in southern Ontario”, one of the “most diverse undisturbed wetland tracts in Canada” and is a provincially-significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. The term minesing is of Ojibwe origin and means “island”, referring to an island located within Lake Edenvale, which encompassed the present-day wetlands and surrounding areas.
The swamp’s hydrology “provides for an interconnected network of swamps, fens, bogs and marshes“. It acts as a reservoir that absorbs floodwater during spring thaw, from which a slow and steady flow is released throughout the summer into the Nottawasaga River system. This also prevents spring flooding of Wasaga Beach.
Approximately 39 square kilometres (15 sq mi) of the 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) is owned or managed by the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. The remainder is owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Simcoe County, and private landowners. It straddles the three townships of Clearview, Essa and Springwater.
It provides habitat to over 400 plant species, of which 11 are provincially rare. Minesing Wetlands is an important staging area for thousands of migratory waterfowl, and is the largest wintering ground for white-tailed deer. It supports numerous plant species which are at the extremities of their natural range, including those indigenous to the arctic tundra in the north and the Carolinian forests to the south, and is home to the “largest pure stand of silver maple in the province”. Provincially-rare birds indigenous to the swamp include the Blue-winged Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler and the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Simple question. How can any Environmental Assessment Study (EA) not include the impact on this sensitive system? Currently the Midhurst EA 3 and 4 study is to look only at the effluent discharge impact on Willow Creek. Hello! The Willow Creek drains into the Minesing Wetlands which connects to the Nottawasaga River which discharges at Wasaga Beach and into Georgian Bay. Why do these new EA studies not include everything that ultimately will be negatively affected by the discharge of two million litres a day?
Ask your council why they are not taking a more proactive role in protecting an entire ecosystem. This council could take a lesson from Southgate Township who recently passed a motion to tell the large Greed Energy developers of the unsightly Wind Farms that they are unwelcome.
We need a council that listens to the people and responds to our definition of self-determination. On October 27th this year, you will be able to make a choice on who you want representing your local needs. It is your chance to select a council that will push back the approval of the development of a new city in Midhurst that has a very good chance of destroying a sensitive ecosystem.
The township is at a pivot point. Get involved and protect the natural habitat of the many species found in the Minesing Wetlands. Once it is gone, there will be no turning back. Find out who is running for the various positions on council and ask them the challenging questions. It is not too late to reverse the dangerous course that this and the last council have initiated.
Bill French is a candidate for mayor of Springwater Township. Link to his blog.