Wednesday, May 5, 2021

PROPOSED CAPITOL PAVING PIT NEAR MARYHILL

I have many times written about the nasty problems for nearby residents and landowners when a gravel pit comes knocking. I have often heard the Aggregates Resource Act referred to as a "cudgel" in that it flat out allows gravel pit proponents a cakewalk towards the rezoning and other administrative hurdles they often require to proceed with their proposals. Essentially it simply allows the proponent to buy the reports and studies indicated by either the municipality involved, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) or sometimes the Region of Waterloo. From what I have seen it makes little difference if the property that they have bought is not zoned for extraction or even if that location is flat out meant to be a natural area, part of a groundwater recharge area or near environmentally sensitive areas. All "protections" are relevant and expert consultants are merely a nickel and a phone call away willing to prostitute their knowledge and expertise for a share of the economic pie (i.e. $$$$$$$). Make no mistake it's all about money and politics and both are usually overwhelmingly on the proponent's side. Hell you don't think that the Aggregate industry donates to the Liberals and Conservatives out of the goodness of their hearts do you? .................................................................................................................................... Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following article written by Leah Gerber and titled "Maryhill residents want $17M liability fund for gravel pit". There have been two notable exceptions to the rule that proponents always win, formerly courtesy of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). One was in Puslinch and the other that I know of was the proposed Hunder Pit located very close to the Golf Course subdivision in Conestogo. The replacement for the properly known as biased OMB is LPAT or Local Planning Area Tribunal. To date I have no knowledge that they are any better than the OMB which they replaced. In fact I believe that the Jigs Hollow gravel pit located just outside Winterbourne was sold out by that Tribunal. Firstly Woolwich Council sold out their residents several years back by permitting the zone change to an above water table pit and then LPAT gave the O.K. for a below water table amendment. It is my understanding that most attempts to stop new pits are really in effect thinly veiled attempts to simply tighten up the incredibly loose and unenforced (by the MNR) rules, regulations and laws that currently exist. In other words usually it's a lost cause but local residents have a right to be seriously offended and angry by outside parties lowering their property values and harming the local environment all for these outside parties greater financial gain.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

MORE INFO REGARDING LANXESS MARCH 2021 "PROGRESS REPORT"

Back on April 20/21 I posted here about the on and off-site pumping wells and how inadequate, especially the off-site pumping was. Today we will begin with Table A.4 and the concentrations in water of just a few Uniroyal Chemical industrial contaminants more than thirty-one years after the Elmira "Water Crisis" of 1989. In the Upper Aquifer at monitoring well UA 560I we currently have the following: Chlorobenzene at 622 parts per billion (ppb or ug/l) dissolved in the groundwater along with Toluene at 7,320 ppb. 0-Xylene is at 109 ppb and m/p xylenes at 162 ppb. Accompanying those toxins we have 2-Mercaptobenzothiazole (480 ppb), Aniline (400), Benzothiazole (1360) and 2-Chlorophenol (2.69). ...................................................................................................................................... Table B.1 lists the former MISA outlets that allegedly discharge storm water from the site into the Canagagigue Creek. Of course the entire site remains grossly contaminated such that both surface rainfall over bare ground picks up contaminants as well as the Storm Water Sewer (SWS) in the vicinity of storm water pond (RPW-8). Results from SWS include 2,4-D at 26 ppb, Aniline at 348 ppb, Carboxin at 317 ppb, Diphenylamine at 1.21 ppb and Toluene at 2.11 ppb. .................................................................................................... Table C.2 gives the results of surface water in the Canagagigue Creek, both upstream of Uniroyal/Lanxess as well as downstream. Somewhat unexpectedly the Arithmetic Mean for m/p cresol and o-cresol are both higher upstream at SS-110 than downstream at SS+925. Similarly Nitrosomorpholine has a slightly higher concentration (Arithmetic Mean) upstream (SS-110) than the downstream result. Chlorobenzene, Trichloroethylene, m,p xylenes and Benzene all follow suit. More expectedly the following chemicals have Arithmetic Means higher downstream than upstream namely NDMA and Toluene. Something is very wrong here. Either GHD have messed up and reversed the upstream and downstream positions or there is a source(s) upstream of some of these contaminants. One likely source is the Bolender Park Landfill. Perhaps there is yet another industrial source upstream that has been kept hidden from the public as well as TAG (Technical Advisory Group) in order for Uniroyal/Lanxess to be able to once again minimize the extent of their contamination by hiding behind other sources. ...................................................................................................... Non Aqueous Phase Liquid (NAPL) in Attachment F refers to the LNAPL or Light Non Aqueous Phase Liquid which is comprised mostly of Toluene which was discharged from Building 15 in Uniroyal/Lanxess's south-west corner. It was first made public around 1995 and was allegedly not mentioned earlier upon the advice of Uniroyal's lawyers. Nice. The thickness of the Toluene floating on top of the water Table (UA1) has been dramatically reduced since about 2018. Presumably this is a result of some sort of trench and skimmer as well as by the operation of the UACTS or Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System. Nevertheless you should ask yourselves why it took that long to get the LNAPL (Toluene) out of the natural environment. ....................................................................................................... All in all I suggest that decisions made in private in the early 1990s have negatively impacted both the health of the local environment as well as the health of local residents. Much shame belongs to both Woolwich Township and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE/MECP).

Monday, May 3, 2021

HYPOCRISY, REBRANDING & FORGETTING HISTORY

I have long felt that the changing of names of our local producer and seller of Agent Orange and DDT was all about forgetting what Uniroyal Chemical did both here in Elmira as well as half way around the world. Oh and just for further clarification they also sold Agent Orange to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Similar to its'use in Vietnam it was used to knock down brush and undesirable trees along power corridors, highway ditches and more. Hence Uniroyal Chemical has become Crompton, Chemtura then Lanxess Canada. ................................................................................................................ Leah Gerber of the Waterloo Region Record wrote an article titled "Elmira sets aside 67 acres for nature reserve" for last Saturday's paper. The article is very strongly a feel good, pro environment article which is mostly fine. It is also however a public relations step for Lanxess Canada who are continuing the long held tradition in Elmira of lots of talk about the cleanup that they are legally liable for, a minimum of actual money being spent, all the while hiding behind the cover of process, studies, reports, and decades of delay under the umbrella of so called supervision by the Ministry of Environment with Woolwich Township passive acceptance. .......................................................................................................................... I am sorely tempted to send Leah Gerber a recent New York Times article titled "America, Please Don't Forget the Victims of Agent Orange". It is heartbreaking and Uniroyal Chemical in Elmira contributed to the disaster and humanitaruion crisis there as well as here. How many of our Elmira and downstream citizens have passed away "from cancer" and other diseases with no determination as to whether DDT, NDMA, dioxins/furans or other Uniroyal products contributed? Not to mention also that MNR, Ontario Hydro and MOT employees have sufferred. .................................................................................................................... But hey not to worry, Ontario. Our politicians and leaders say it's all O.K. if in the pursuit of economic gain.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

LANXESS CANADA (UNIROYAL CHEMICAL) & WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP: DECADES OLD FRIENDLY DEALINGS OR A SCRATCH MY BACK & I'LL SCRATCH YOURS GROSS CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Back in very late 2014 and early 2015 when Uniroyal Chemical (Chemtura) ordered Woolwich Township to jump, the Township immediately stood their ground and asked "How high?". This was in regards to the pressure that CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee) whose members had been appointed by the previous Woolwich Council was exerting on Chemtura to investigate and clean up the Stroh and Martin farms to the east and south of the chemical company. The company knew that more millions of dollars, perhaps even dozens of millions of dollars would be required to properly remove PCBs, dioxins/furans, DDT, PAHs, and other Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) from the Stroh farm especially but also likely the Martin farm as well. The "How high?" was quickly answered by Chemtura. Get rid of the current CPAC members as well as one Alan Marshall. The company knew that in order for the thirty year coverup (east side/ DNAPLS/ hydraulic containment) to continue that they needed their partners in pollution (consultants, Ministry of Environment, Woolwich Township) to help get rid of the educated, intelligent and informed citizen activists on CPAC. Sandy Shantz and Mark Bauman lept to attention and began the "manufactured crisis" at CPAC which was simply the Ministry (Environment) and Chemtura refusing to attend CPAC meetings. Notice that this all started after the Todd Cowan scandal was in full swing and it was obvious that he was going to lose to Sandy Shantz in the October 2014 municpal election. (He came in last of four candidates). ........................................................................................................................ To my shock and consternation, after 2015 I began to discover the various business dealings and more between Woolwich Township and Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and eventually Lanxess Canada. It turned out that Woolwich had been sharing consulting companies namely Conestoga Rovers & Assoc. (CRA) with Uniroyal for decades. This included ongoing technical reports commissioned by the Township for advice regarding the Bolender Park Landfill. These reports have been completed by CRA and later GHD since the early 1980s up until the present. Furthermore various engineering studies for infrastructure (roads/subdivisions etc.) projects in the Township and or Elmira have been also given to CRA/GHD. To the uninitiated, CRAs reports and studies have long been criticized by citizens as well as governments (Region of Waterloo) for their somewhat optimistic conclusions which always appeared to save their client (Uniroyal etc.) millions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs. Uniroyal and successors have also donated funds around town for various charitable and good works including the Maple Syrup Festival. Most recently in last Thursday's Woolwich Observer we learn that Lanxess Canada have been giving money to Woolwich Community Services towards arts and culture initiatives for local youth. ........................................................................................................... Now while they say no good deed goes unpunished I think that we need to look a little more closely at Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess's good deeds in light of how much "good will" it has BOUGHT them. For example if for every $1,000 that our local, infamous polluter has donated to Woolwich Township say for example also to the new arena/recreation centre several years back, have they directly or indirectly saved $1,000,000 in cleanup costs of the Elmira Aquifers, the air and the Canagagigue Creek? There is absolutely no doubt that both the Ministry of Environment (MOE/MECP) and Woolwich Township have shielded the company from the righteous anger of local citizens who themselves and family members have paid the price for the damaged local environment courtesy of the manufacture and negligent disposal of toxic wastes. There is absolutely no doubt that the Township have abused their position of authority in order to give assistance to the company and plant which destroyed Elmira's drinking water source. This assistance includes removing and stifling citizens who have honestly and accurately attempted to bring transparency and accountabilty to the cleanup here in Elmira. These same citizens donated their time and efforts for years to uncover the truth and to improve the environment only to be maligned and defamed by Woolwich Township, both verbally and in writing. These misdeeds were done to protect the polluter from a fuller more appropriate cleanup of the mess that they either caused or knowingly purchased. ................................................................................................................... Woolwich Township have been in a blatant conflict of interest regarding our worst local chemical polluter for decades. They have never had any moral authority to step in and take control of local public consultation yet indeed they did so back in 2000 with the assistance of one local councillor (McLean) and her buddy. They still are in this conflict of interest position and need to be removed from the issue entirely. Control of public consultation needs to go back where it was from 1991 until 2000 and that was securely in the hands of citizens despite the Township's meddling even then. They must abandon this project even as they have long abandoned citizens' interests in favour of the polluter's interests. ........................................................................................................... Oh the rotten, dirty dogs. I've just seen the front page of today's Waterloo Region Record. It's a story written by Leah Gerber titled "Elmira sets aside 67 acres for nature reserve". You know that this sh.t was kept quiet for decades but now all the guilty parties are feeling confident enough that they are letting the public know how much money our internationally infamous polluter (Uniroyal - Agent Orange,NDMA, DDT, dioxins etc.) and their successor companies are giving out to Woolwich Township. It is blood money folks and it is a tiny fraction of the health, environmental and financial damages that they have done here and elsewhere. We are advised in today's Record that Lanxess Canada are committing to financial support ($) for this "nature reserve" for the next five years. BLOOD MONEY. They have NOT properly yet, 32 years after the fact, cleaned up their site, nearby contaminated by them sites, the Elmira aquifers nor the Canagagigue Creek. But they are putting some money ($) into tree planting etc. And how many of us are lapping up this self-serving sh.t by Lanxess and friends at the Township?

Friday, April 30, 2021

NURSING HOME STAFF SHORTAGES & A BRIEF FLIRTATION WITH A POLICE STATE

I am of two minds in regards to Premier Doug Ford's quick reversal on giving police more powers in Ontario however I am incensed by the hypocrisy, stupidity and deception of all players in Long Term Care and Retirement Homes. Why do these players all pretend that the staff shortages are surprising, unavoidable, or somehow inexplicable to them? Please! Let's see now: close to minimum wages, no benefits, no job security, no standard hours of work or even firm schedules, part time work at multiple homes requiring hours of commuting per day, no status and little or no appreciation for a job well done by management or ownership. And that's not even discussing some of the work itself. Good God changing adult diapers. Any parents of very young children can make jokes or otherwise about diaper duty for their own infants whom they love but seriously changing adult diapers! That takes either desperate or very special people willing to help those human beings who have become helpless due to infirmity. My hat goes off to all working in those settings and trying their hardest. ............................................................................................................. Regarding advanced powers to police to stop and interrogate citizens at random either walking or driving: We just appear to have gotten rid of bulls.it "carding" and "street checks" and our idiot Premier reinstated them under a different name. What kind of spineless, stupid advisors does he have around him? That's what terrifies me. That cabinet members, advisers or whoever are closest to him didn't stand up on their hind legs and say no, HELL NO! Also the fact that this abomination didn't even go the legislature. Majority government or not, this is a clear indication of how tenuous our "rights" really are. No debate, no vote, no opposition M.P.P.s had any say whatsoever in this attempt on a very bad, very slippery downhill slide away from democracy and citizens' rights. Shame on Ford and shame on his Cabinet and party. They have just made it clear that democracy is a sham that can be removed by fiat at any time. ............................................................................................................................ To my pleasant astonishment, even several police forces immediately, publicly said "No we will not do it.". Civil rights groups, prominent individuals and opposition members immediately condemned the proclamation. Ford and fellow idiots backed down. They realized that citizens are not yet ripe for removal of their rights. The time is coming but it's not quite time yet without major, costly battles. So on one hand I applaud Ford's immediate reversal. On the other I am appalled at how easy it was to make the initial announcement. To make an unconstitutional, illegal, immoral and undemocratic announcement and there are NO immediate and serious consequences. What the hell, our supposed leaders can go that far and NOT pay a legal price for their attempt to seize our rights by force (i.e. police). My God at the very least I hope that my fellow, white, priveleged citizens can at least begin to understand how many of our fellow non-white, non-priveleged citizens have felt for decades. "Rights" literally are at the mercy of the government of the day and those governments walk with impunity when they decide to reverse those rights. What a contemptible system wrapped in the robes of decency, fair play, democracy and honesty.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

POLITICS, COVID & DEBT

Recently two friends and I compared assessments of Doug Ford, Conservative Premier of Ontario. The one friend is a retired teacher. Ooh I didn't expect much praise from that quarter from a retired teacher and in fact he assessed Mr. Ford a two out of ten score. The other friend however is a retired accountant and a supporter of most things Conservative. He assessed Doug Ford with a six out of ten which surprised me as I expected higher. That left my assessment. I have never in my life even considered voting Conservative and in fact have voted Liberal (not recently), NDP and once or twice Green. Well there I was a known "left winger". I was seriously considering either a four or five out of ten assessment but whether sympathy for Ford or more likely sympathy for my Conservative friend who assessed a relatively lowly six score I announced my assessment to be a five. Now keep in mind that assessment was before yesterday's post here titled "An Eye Opening Article In Today's K-W Record". After reading that article regarding alleged intentional abandonment by our provincial government of low income earners in Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough etc. I would now definitely give at most a four to the Premier while actually suspecting that a three might be more accurate. ................................................................................................................ Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story titled "Nursing homes badly prepared for Covid-19, auditor general says". I really don't think that there are too many people out there who would be surprised at those conclusions from the auditor general's report. The first two waves (i.e. prior to any vaccinations) absolutely hammered long term care and retirement homes with especially devastating results in the "for profit" homes. Keep clearly in mind that while the Progressive Conservatives had shown little interest in protecting and assisting residents either in opposition or as the government; the Liberal Party of Ontario were no better even when in government for multiple terms, minority or majority government. The following quotes are shocking and almost beyond comprehension in a wealthy province like Ontario. " the culmination of years of neglect and failure to address known problems", "...overcrowding, poor ministry oversight and a severe staffing shortage that existed before the pandemic struck." Also "...concerns raised repeatedly for years went unaddressed...". ............................................................................................................. Concerning the first two waves of Covid it continues with "Neither the Ministry of Long-Term Care nor the long-term-care sector was sufficiently positioned, prepared or equipped to respond." NDP leader Andrea Horvath was quoted as saying "The Ford government knew the system was a disaster waiting to happen-and they chose to let it happen,". The reality is that she is correct in that the Ford government knew it was a disaster waiting to happen however so did the Liberals when in power and so did the industry itself and particularly the "for profit" homes. .......................................................................................................... I've used the word "debt" in the above title. There is also an interesting opinion piece written by two economists titled "The truth about Canada's debt". It appears to strongly suggest that government debt owed to the Bank of Canada isn't really a significant problem especially for our next generation. Whether or not I agree with that rosy outlook I have to ask this question. How much money did Canadians (and Ontarians) actually save by shortchanging nursing homes for decades? Did the lower than needed expenditures save us that much on our taxes and if they did was it worth the thousands of unnecessary deaths? Or did both our Liberal and Conservative governments actually value all those lives at zero?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

AN EYE OPENING COVID ARTICLE IN TODAY'S K-W RECORD

The title of the Opinion piece by Bruce Arthur is "Teen's COVID death a personal tragedy and a systemic failure". While the first part of the title is accurate and obvious I did not at first understand Mr. Arthur's suggestion that it was a "systemic failure". Well after reading it I am beginning to understand. I knew that the big population centres such as Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton etc. had sufferred more from the transmission of the virus and I simply had chalked it up to numbers i.e. more people in close proximity to each other. ....................................................................................................... Well it's more than that. It is about inequity and disparity. It's about living hand to mouth and paycheque to paycheque becaue of low wages in a high rent, high cost of living location. Four people (Mom, Dad two siblings in a two bedroom apartment while the Dad worked in a warehouse. Ironically he was the only one of the family of four who did not recently test positive for Covid. I'd been looking at overall statistics suggesting something like a 2.5% infection rate across the province. The reality however is that lower income families with available work being outside the home are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. .................................................................................................................... Mr. Arthur suggests very strongly that the Ontario government has knowingly not allocated adequate resources including vaccines to the hardest hit areas of the province. That perhaps the poor in high population areas have been intentionally allowed to bear the brunt of the disease. It is difficult to read however he makes a strong case. Peel Region is full of warehouses and factories along with citizens who need their full paycheques, week in and week out. Hence up to 25% of workers in a survey done by the Peel Public health had indicated that they went to work with possible symptoms of Covid. As there is NOT sick pay in this province, non-unionized (especially) workers are not only risking a days pay or more but even their jobs if they stay at home while sick. ................................................................................................................ My friends and family have been avoiding Covid but in hindsight it's because we have been able to work from home and or have an employer who is willing to behave like human beings ought to.