Thursday, June 11, 2020


Today's front page of the Woolwich Observer carries the following story titled "Maryhill residents raise concerns about GRCA in gravel pit battle". One of those residents is Bonnie Bryant who served very well with an inexperienced and difficult Woolwich council setting that included Todd Cowan as Mayor. Bonnie also ran for mayor after Todd's implosion as a dyslexic, incompetent money manager. That portrayal of Todd, by the way, is the nicest one possible.

Bonnie has let the cat out of the bag with the disclosure that our very own Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) are in bed with the gravel industry. Of course the story is worded much more smoothly and diplomatically than that. It's suggested that there may be a "perceived" conflict of interest. Oh please! Conflict of interest rules are a joke to start with. Woolwich councillors and others (eg. committees of council) pretend that the only conceivable conflicts of interest are immediate and direct financial conflicts of interest. For example if your weekly pay comes from a company appearing before council then you as a councillor should declare the conflict and temporarily step aside. There are hundreds of other conflicts of interest including receiving expense paid trips across North America from the chemical industry lobby (CCPA/CIAC) while ostensibly chairing a committee of council representing the public interest in dealings with a member (Uniroyal/Chemtura) of the CCPA/CIAC. Woolwich Council turned a blind eye to that despite formal complaints to them from multiple citizens.

The Grand River Conservation Foundation (GRCF) is a fundraising charity for GRCA (Grand River Conservation Authority) projects and programs. Who the hell doesn't think that the GRCA are going to be excruciatingly careful with any decisions that impact their own fundraising and finances? Talk about a gross financial conflict of interest. Three of the directors of the GRCF are representatives of the aggregate industry. Oh what a bizarre COINCIDENCE (not) that they are "volunteering" on the fundraising foundation for the GRCA who comment publicly on ...wait for it....proposed new gravel pits! That is gross and more power to Bonnie and Susan Campbell for advising the public.

There folks are other huge problems with the GRCA in general. Years ago I began to refer to them as the Grand River Construction Authority rather than the Grand River Conservation Authority. This had to do with various commercial projects that they approved in the floodplain of local creeks and rivers including the Canagagigue Creek in Elmira. Even today I don't see them opposing the latest expansion for more industrial/commercial guessed it... on the east side of Elmira, immediately on the east side of likely the most contaminated site in Ontario and right up there with others across Canada. Next Tuesday 9-11 am. regional council will be discussing this proposed expansion of the Elmira Urban Area onto Uniroyal Chemical contaminated farmland. Of course the Canagagigue Creek runs right through this proposed development area. Add into this the fact that the GRCA board decision makers are simply local politicians long beholden to industrial interests, financial interests, and development interests. Politics is expensive and backers are required. Backers who expect value for their donations, not tree huggers protecting the natural environment.

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