Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Struggle to Protect The South March Highlands Simplified

What is the Most Important Thing to Know About the South March Highlands

The key things to know about the South March Highlands are:

• it is a popular all year recreation destination for people from all over Ottawa and an international mountain biking destination

• while, within the City of Ottawa, it feels like wilderness when you are in it

• it is a candidate Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI)

• it is the most biodiverse area within Ottawa

• it is the home to a huge number of species of flora and fauna, including many endangered and threatened species

• it contains old growth forests and provincially significant wetlands

• it includes Canadian Shield geology and other significant geological features

• it is the site of numerous pre-contact (pre-European) archaeological sites and may be eligible for UN World Heritage Site status

• it has been declared sacred by Algonquin First Nations chiefs and elders

• the area considered the most environmentally significant, Trillium Woods, is under great ecological threat because KNL's development plans will cut it off from the rest of the city-owned Conservation Forest

• while the privately owned land north of the city-owned Conservation Forest is zoned Environmental Protection, that has been proven not to be enough to protect the land from the threat of development
But the most important thing that you need to know about the South March Highlands is that it is one ecosystem and harm to one part of it harms all of it and if you want to protect part of it you must protect all of it.

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Next Generation of The First Peoples Looks at The South March Highlands

'Sacred Dollars' (Documentary by Aurora Finkle)


Since the tender age of 9 yrs old, Aurora Finkle has had an incredible and impressive musical career. Having won the 2000 dollar grand prize at 08's National Aboriginal Day 'We Got Talent' competition in Ottawa, Aurora has performed at numerous events. She has performed in front of the Senate, Grand Hall in the Museum of Civilization, Pow-wows, Music festivals, Gala's, Conferences as well as having appeared on numerous Television, Radio shows and Newspapers. To top it off...last year she released her debut album entitled after her middle name 'Jade'. Coming from a musical family, Aurora is amazingly comfortable on stage and can quickly command the attention of the entire audience singing everything from Jazz, Folk, Blues, Celtic. Aurora also acknowledges her aboriginal ancestory through Traditional Native songs and is a member of a local women's handdrum group. Aurora is now 11 (12 now) yrs old and continues to perform regularly. (source)


Friday, 4 February 2011

Stand Up and Be Counted for the South March Highlands

Do you support saving the South March Highlands from destruction.

If so, you are probably aware of the fact that Internet trolls, the media and even Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson seem to be doing all they can to foster a myth that this is a NIMBY issue, supported only be people who live near the Beaver Pond Forest.

However the truth is that much more than just the Beaver Pond Forest is at stake. Indeed a whole ecosystem, that has been identified as an Area of Natural & Scientific Interest (ANSI), that includes provincially significant wetlands, many endangered or threatened species and the greatest amount of biodiversity in the Ottawa region - the South March Highlands, is threatened.

And the truth is that support for saving this ecosystem, comes from thousands of people in all parts of Ottawa, and throughout Canada and even internationally.

If you want to show your support for saving the South March Highlands to the world, and the media, please send your photos to savesmhphotos@gmail.com along with your name and where you live. Photos should preferably be a height of 800 pixels, but I can easily resize them (better larger than smaller).

We would like to show the broad range of support across Ottawa and nationally and internationally so please indicate your neighbourhood if within Ottawa, eg. Bridlewood, Katimavik, The Glebe, Centretown, etc. (unless you feel uncomfortable doing so). If you live outside Ottawa please indicate your city or town and province or country. And if you do live near the South March Highlands, please send your photo in. We want to reflect reality, not distort it.

You can view the photos of people who support saving the South March Highlands at South March Highlands Supporters Photos (Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands).

You can stand up and be counted along with them.

click on map to see larger image

Other Coalition to Protect The South March Highlands Sites

Save Ottawa's South March Highlands

Ottawa's Great Forest

I want to save the land North of Beaver Pond Park in Kanata Ontario Facebook Page

SMH (SouthMarch) on Twitter

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mayor Jimmy and Mayor Larry: So Similar, Yet Different

Mayor Jimmy came into office an a platform of accepting Mayor Larry's position on the two big issues of the day Lansdowne Park and Light Rail, as well as having the Mayor's Office draw up the draft budget. Only his style was apparently different.

Ironically, neither one of them understands what leadership is. Mayor Larry seemed to think it was bossership, acting as a CEO and giving orders. Mayor Jimmy seems to think it is avoiding confrontation and issues - that running the city is about good administration, not politics, although, ironically, it was Mayor Larry who ran on the "vote for me because I'm not a politician" platform in his first campaign.

Mayor Larry was a big idea man, he wanted to turn the City into a Corporation, something Mayor Jimmy has done a better job of with behind the scenes executive decision making only rubber stamped in public with none of the annoying public debate and confrontation that democracy entails.

One thing, however, that no one could accuse Mayor Larry of was cowardice. The man had guts. He tried to break the OC Transpo workers union - a stupid but gutsy thing to do.

Mayor Jimmy, on the other hand, likes to run away from controversial issues and the public that elected him. When it comes to the battle to protect the South March Highlands he wants to pretend it doesn't exist claiming the previous Council dealt with the issue, when the last thing the previous Council did was defer a motion forward to the new Council.

Mayor Jimmy refuses to meet with the proponents of saving the forest ecosystem, even when they are right at his doorstep (on several occasions), does not answer emails and reportedly diverts emails to SPAM without even having anyone read them. We can only surmise that he does not want to know what the public thinks. But of course he knows very well what the public thinks.

He simply wants to pretend there is nothing he can do so that he can avoid having to choose between the public that votes for him and the developers who fund his election campaigns.

It is time for Mayor Jimmy to show some leadership and try to find a solution for the people of Ottawa rather than running away from the public and the issue.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Bearing Witness at the Beaver Pond Forest

Sometimes, as a social responsibility, people have to bear witness to unbearable things, such as the killing of people in state-sanctioned executions. Thankfully in Canada we have progressed to a state where we are more civilized than that.

However, in Kanata this week citizens take up the responsibility for witnessing just as uncivilized an act as they bear witness to the state-sanctioned execution of the Beaver Pond Forest, except that this execution is neither, quick, painless, nor humane.

They have my gratitude for taking on this responsibility which I believe would be too painful for me to bear.