P56    winter 2008 and Spring 2009  we submit a Part II bump up (request for reconsideration) to access road study and the MOE replies
This is a series of letters and their replies
return to the Park index
1 our letter for a bump up
2 minister MOE replies
3 we respond and point out numerous errors  - we point out the contradiction of the two reports  -our 2nd letter
4 staff MOE reply  they now agree beaver is a highly sensitive cold water lake, they still try to duck the responsibilities of the Operational plan --
5 we write again and list the agreed errors in the report.
6 we receive a letter from Minister MNR - the interim parking lot goes permanent??
7 we write again and ask 3 questions
notice of public meeting Peterborough examiner
link out to Lakeshore Capacity Assessment Handbook or held on this site
In conclusion what is the point of all this

Below is the txt of the document - - a full copy of the hyperlinked document as it was sent  is linked
a movie  taken fri may 15 at 6:15 pm  we count 23 cars.   On Sat. noon there were 42 cars .  Both sides of the road were in use for parking. Passage was difficult.

Ivan Battye,
100 Muir Cres.,
Whitby, On.,
L1P 1 B6

Nov. 19, 2008

The Honorable John Gerretsen,
Minister of the Environment,
135 St Clair Ave., West,
10th Floor,
Toronto On M4V1P5

Dear Sir

I am in receipt of a document signed by Dave Coulas, Park Superintendent, dated Oct 23 2008 entitled Decision Notice: Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park Management Plan.  On the reverse side it discusses “Access Road Study: Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park. Notice of completion
Please see:  http://www.osha.igs.net/~kiddbatt/DOCS/park/support_documents/noticeofcompletion.pdf

With regard to the above noted study, “Kawartha Highlands Signature Park:  Park Access Road Study Final Environmental Study Report”,
I am making a “Part II Order Request.”  I do so under the provisions outlined in Notice of completion and in accordance with your document,  “A Class Environmental Assessment”. (see page 40) http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/245471.pdf

There are two previous studies of the area that directly contradict the findings of this new study.  They are as follows:

1) The “Meteek” report (Kawartha Highlands Background Information Report) was prepared by author, Jack van der Meer, for the Local Stakeholder Committee (LSC), (Sissy Tanner:  Chair) in August 2000. This report along with comments may be viewed at:
The LSC was the forerunner of the existing park Management Advisory Board (MAB) for whom this Access Road Study was written.

The following are some quotes from Jack van der Meer’s original document:

" Bright (1980) estimate that over 60% of the region i---d consists of exposed (bare bedrock)" and again on the same page "Except for these pockets of till and organic soils, they are exposed bedrock, and have no capacity to hold water, so drainage is excessive." and on page 29 "Soils are shallow to non existent,...... bedrock is often near the surface" and on the same page Re 50's a 60's recreational zones and the Bottle - Sucker Park Reserve were intended to stop further disposition of cottage lots on the small undeveloped lakes and to provide for low intensity recreation, namely canoeing which required little in the way of facilities. The park reserve, in the area of "deeper soils" was set aside --- for more intense recreational facilities such as campgrounds, picnic areas, and swimming beaches --- and even there --- material over bedrock are shallow" and again in para. 7.2.1 Campgrounds, Swimming Beaches, and Picnic Areas.   The very nature of the Kawartha Highlands Featured Area is what makes it interesting as a protected area.  Its bedrock controlled topography and drainage, with very shallow soils, makes it generally unsuitable for the more intensive-use facilities found in many provincial parks, such as car campgrounds, 'picnic areas and swimming beaches.  Such development would require a lot of manipulation of the environment,' such as bringing in significant quantities of fill for parking lots, campsites, sewage disposal systems and maintenance areas.  Burying of water and power systems would be impractical inmost of the area.  There are deeper, (but still shallow) soils in the Sherborne land Type around Bottle and Sucker lakes, that would accommodate some such facilities, and this was the original intention for this provincial park when it was first proposed in 1959.  A fine sand beach at the north end of Bottle Lake has development potential for traditional swimming and day use activity and adequate areas for associated facilities could be developed."

Parking lots, at the South end of Bottle Lake in proximity to campsites, as proposed in this Access Road Study, are in direct contravention of the previous study.  They increase the environmental load.  The original promise was to be a “canoe in only” facility for very good reason.  The damage from overuse is already evident.

2) The The Official Plan of The Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey (GCH Twp) (See section Environmental Protection areas page 12): the second contradicted report.  From (Access Road Study) (See section “Fisheries and Aquatic Resources” page 10 and 11).

“---With the exception of major lakes and rivers that occur within the study area (i.e., Beaver Lake, Mississagua Lake, Anstruther Lake, Long Lake, etc., which all provide diverse habitat for sport fish, panfish, and baitfish), all fisheries waters found along the alternative access road alignments support warm water baitfish habitat.  No cool water or cold water resources exist, and no rare or sensitive species were recorded.  Details for each alternative access road alignment are summarized below.

    Route Alternative 2 – Beaver Lake Road
The Beaver Lake Road access road alignment is situated within the Mississagua River watershed.  The three Fisheries Act constraints that occur along this route are described below.
The two easternmost features are the narrows over which there are existing single span bridges (i.e., at Catchacoma Narrows, and between Beaver Lake and Gold Lake).  Both of these bridges are over fisheries waters, supporting warm water sport fish habitat.
The other feature is a large swamp with open water pockets.  The water temperature was warmer than the air temperature, at approximately 26C.  This feature supports warm water baitfish habitat, including:  brook stickleback fathead minnow northern redbelly dace creek chub finescale dace.
MNR fish stocking records also indicate that Sucker Lake (which is located adjacent to the “shaded area” at the eastern terminus of the route alignment) has been a part of the historical fish stocking program.  Brook trout were stocked in Sucker Lake in the 1950s and 1960s, and lake trout were stocked in the lake between the 1970s and 1990s
    (Government of Ontario, 2005).”

The highlighting is ours.

If I may, I now refer you to The Official Plan of The Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey (GCH Twp) (See section Environmental Protection areas page 12):

“    Coldwater Lake Trout Lakes
Highly sensitive lake trout lakes and moderately sensitive lake trout lakes are identified on Schedules “B1”, “B2” and “B3” of this Plan.  The following policies shall apply to these lakes:
i)    Highly Sensitive Lake Trout Lakes
Beaver Lake, Pencil Lake, Fortescue Lake, Crystal Lake and Cavendish Lake within the Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey have been designated as highly sensitive or “at capacity” Lake Trout Lakes.
The creation of new lots by consent or plan of subdivision/condominium shall be prohibited on highly sensitive “at-capacity” lakes.  This policy applies to all lands within 300 metres of the normal high water marks of such capacity reached lakes, whether or not the subject lands are in a land use designation that permits residential development or other forms of development.
Notwithstanding this policy, Council may consider the creation of new lots in unique or special circumstances where it can be demonstrated, in consultation with the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources that one or more of the following conditions exist:
∑ Drainage of the proposed lot flows to a separate, non-sensitive watershed as a result of the physical features of the property;
∑ Detailed site-specific hydrogeological studies show that the drainage of the sewage effluent will effectively result in a circuitous flow path that extends for at least 300 metres before reaching the lake;
∑ That new technologies in sewage disposal systems intended to serve any proposed development have been accepted by the Ministry of the Environment and will result in no adverse effects on lake water quality;
∑ That any conventional sewage disposal system designed to serve a new development will be set back a minimum of 300 metres from the high water mark;
∑ That a detailed site-specific hydrogeological and soil study which assesses phosphorous distribution, mitigation velocity and long-term soil retention capabilities.
Existing lot of record (existing at the date of approval of this Official Plan) may be issued a building permit for uses permitted by the Zoning By-law.  The greatest development setback achievable shall be provided for existing lots of record on highly sensitive lake trout lakes in order to minimize negative impacts on water quality.  At a minimum, a 30-metre development setback with maintenance of the natural vegetative cover should be provided.”

The Access Road Study is clearly in error.  This ‘Highly Sensitive” designation comes from MNR and MOE and is long-standing.

The area proposed for use in the Access Road Study is at the eastern end of Beaver Lake.  (See Google Maps and insert Beaver Lake RD On)  The existing interim parking lots (there are 2) straddle one of only 2 natural water inflows to Beaver Lake and the proposed road and parking lot are in the identical place to a road begun in 1968 and abandoned that same year.  In fact, Jack van deer Meer in his Meteek report discussed that road and site ever so eloquently when he said:

"A combination of factors, including lack of continuing Winter Works funding and a reconsideration of the appropriateness of the development plan to the area, resulted in the development for the proposed park being discontinued."

In fact, there are a number of cottage properties between these two parking lots that were, purchased and never built upon because of this “Highly Sensitive” designation.

Both of these above noted concerns were raised with Karen Wall, the project manager of the current report, at the Cavendish public meeting.  She stated that she was not familiar with the Meteek report although clearly she was (see Access Road Study third para. page 37) and had chosen to “cherry pick” it.  When asked, she clearly had no understanding of the sensitivity of Beaver Lake.

Below is a link to our original response to this Road draft as posted to the EBR.  It was based on our conversation with Ms Wall at the time. http://www.osha.igs.net/~kiddbatt/DOCS/park/page52.html - RESPONSE_TO.

Of significant concern is the low and narrow ridge of land that separates Bottle and Beaver Lakes and the 4 ft elevation difference between the two.  Any loss of separation between the two lakes could prove disastrous.  The existing parking lots and the ones proposed, concentrate the traffic across this ridge.  Any disturbance (construction project, footpath, “washroom” or otherwise) to the “Highly Sensitive” Beaver Lake drainage basin, would contradict the concerns raised in the GCH Twp. official plan and all of the past 40 years of environmental decisions made in that regard.

The minimum required outcome would be for the study to be revised to require the area to be fenced (along the road) and restricted for 5 years in order that the area regenerate itself from the damage that has occurred.  Further, the revision should designate a restricted use thereafter, based on the comments in the GCH twp. official plan.

A parking lot or any other such park project would require GCH Twp. approval.  As the Minister is aware, this township has a 90% cottage-based funding, whose voice is maintained through township proxy votes.  GCH. Twp. councilors are local folks who are responsive in a major way, to their cottage constituents.  The plan’s current proposition to install “washrooms” and to utilize a “Landscape Architect” will impact the cooperation of the GCH Twp. to the extent that future approvals might well be difficult considering the existing local opposition to the use of the Beaver Lake road.

The Plan misrepresents the nature of the Public’s intended experience.  It can hardly be counted as a “Backcountry canoeing” experience (see Access Road Study page 36), if one parks the car, hikes 300 feet, canoes 300 feet and camps.  Such close proximity parking increases waste, caters to party camping, and overloads the area.  As outlined in Meteek above, the area cannot support this level of use, most particularly at the south end of Bottle lake, the area most closely associated with the proposed parking lots.  Already, the parking lots are overloaded and campsites are denuded.  It is just a matter of time before Bottle Lake itself becomes polluted.  This kind of thinking is in sharp contrast to the increased setbacks now required by the Provincial Government for cottage properties. It is difficult to understand the lack of care and concern Parks Ontario show for their own properties.

The best possible outcome, based on the findings of the Meteek report, would be that this Access Road Study is revised to show parking lots are not to be built along the most eastern portion of the Beaver Lake road, a “No Parking” bylaw on GCH twp. roads as per North Kawartha (NK) twp. be enacted and enforced, and that all camping park traffic be channeled via the two marinas in the area as per the CCA letter to Minister MNR.

In making this submission, we are guided by the 8 points listed on Page 40 of A Class Environmental Assessment as stated above.  Thus far we have responded to points 1 through 3, that deal with concerns unresolved, the Part II request and appropriate alternatives.  Points 3 to 5 necessitate an assessment of the process engaged in by MNR.

I submit this document as a private citizen whose background (both current and past) includes:
-Catchacoma Cottagers Association (CCA)
-Member, Director and Vice President.
- Friends of Catchacoma (OMB successful submission)
-Founder and President.
-Cavendish Community Rate Payers Association Inc., (CCRAI)
-Stakeholder Groups of the Kawartha Highlands (SGKH)
-Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Association (FOCA)
I am owner of a part of a family group of properties bought from the crown 60 years ago at the end of the Beaver Lake road on Catchacoma Lake south of the Bottle Creek Dam.  I operate the Pookh’s web site and have done since the time of the Ontario Living Legacy Local Stakeholder Committee (OLL LSC) that Ms. Tanner chaired.

All of the above noted organizations have made representations to MNR and/or have commented on the EBR.   All local cottage and ratepayer associations, and SGKH and Municipal council have asked that this Beaver Lake road not be used for good and valid reasons.  There is a Charter of agreement between the then Minister MNR and the community that specifically precludes the use of this road.  Notwithstanding all this opposition, senior MNR staff, represented by Dave Coulas, undertook this road study.

A Class Environmental Assessment is a Public consultation process.  It is difficult to understand what exactly this means in real terms.  I have reviewed the subject on the Internet, the search of the On. Gov. web site provides no hits. I asked the Premier via email to clarify some 4 months ago.  There has been no reply.  I therefore take as our source of information the OECD and their Background Document on Public Consultation.  From that document there are 3 levels of governmental consultation suggested. They are:

a) To inform.
b) To inform, take response and (sometimes) reply.
c) To inform, take response and negotiate outcomes.

The report, the public comments raised, collected and edited, as well as the summaries provided, are all through the single lens of Ms. Wall.  Of the some 200+ comments provided, Ms. Wall chose to provide only 11 answers.  All but one, (of those submitted), concerned the Beaver Lake road.  In making her responses, Ms Wall repeatedly incorporated a number of errors and misleading statements.  The final report is substantively unchanged from draft with no alleviation of the concerns addressed by the report.  Ms Wall took no public input in fact; she “talked the talk” but literally and figuratively did not “walk the walk”.  It is believed by many of us that she produced as instructed and raises the question --- Has there been every attempt to hide and obfuscate information by a contract subservient to the funding source?

I suggest that the process as illustrated by this Road Study is not a “beacon of light” in an age served by democratic process and sourced by the Internet.  The report is seriously flawed and is at odds with two previous assessments. We have continuously been regaled with more “Dave Coulas-type” promises of future projects to improve present day environmental concerns that, are now acknowledged as never being funded (see notes of meeting MNR).

Upon receipt of the Decision Notice I emailed Dave Coulas with a preliminary response of concerns.  I received a “bounce” advising Dave was out of the office until Nov 15.  No reply has been received to date.  It is worth pointing out that a “negotiated outcome” as is clearly implied within the Environmental Assessment document requires a party at the negotiation who is a “decision maker”, capable of amending documents.  Through no fault of his own, Dave Coulas is not such a person.

Training and clear guidance as to the full and true meaning of “transparency” and “full public consultation” is required for MNR staff.  I believe the thinking that produced this Access Road Study is self-serving and egocentric.  It is in need of reconsideration by 2nd party assistance.  The oversights I have identified herein definitely question the authenticity of this report.  They also question the commitment and function of public consultation.  Any implementation without correction would be erroneous, insincere and misrepresent the integrity both MNR and MOE.

Ivan Battye, (BSc Ag)

Cc via email
Premier Dalton McGuinty
MPP Jeff Leal
MPP Laurie Scott
MPP John Gerretsen
MNR Staff- Bruce Bateman, Barton Feilders, Dave Coulas
NK&GCH Townships
Beaver lake Association

Minister Gerretsens reply  actually there are two letters one to myself and another to Dave Coulas
below is a copy over the  - - -PDF versions of both are linked

Office of the Minister
of the
135 St. Clair Ave. West 12th Floor
Toronto ON M4V 1 P5
Tel (416) 314-6790
Fax (416) 314-6748

APR 02 2009


Dear Mr. Battye:

Thank you for your interest in the Ministry of Natural Resources' (MNR) proposed Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park Road Access Study (Project), located in Peterborough County. I welcome your comments on this Project.

On November 19,2008 you requested that the MNR be required to prepare an individual Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Project. I am taking this opportunity to inform you that a decision has been made that an individual EA is not required.

In making this decision, I have given careful consideration to the Project documentation, the provisions of the MNR Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves (Class EA), the issues raised in your request, and relevant matters to be considered under section 16 of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA). The reasons for my decision are briefly discussed below.

The Class EA is a process by which proponents plan and develop projects of this type, including evaluating alternatives, assessing environmental effects, developing mitigative measures, and consulting with the public, without having to obtain approval from me and the Lieutenant Governor in Council for each individual project.

The Class EA has itself been subject to review and approval under the EAA, which determined, in part, that the application of the Class EA process would enable proponents to meet the intent and purpose of the EAA. The MNR has demonstrated that it has planned and developed the Project in accordance with the provisions of the Class EA. I am satisfied, therefore, that the purpose of the EAA, "the betterment of the people of the whole or any part of Ontario by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment", has been met for the Project.

Mr. Ivan Battye Page 2.

The issues and concerns that you raised were extensively reviewed. I am satisfied that the issues and concerns have been addressed by the work done to date by the MNR, or will be addressed in future work that is required to be carried out.

You expressed concerns relating to inadequate public consultation, also stating that the Township of Galway-Cavendish-Harvey (Township) and all cottager/ratepayer associations have asked that Beaver Lake Road not be used as the west access road into the Park. Project Notices (Commencement, Open Houses, and Completion) were sent to approximately 3,000 addresses and were published in five local newspapers, with provisions to provide comments on the Project throughout the process. Six Open Houses were held for the Project, from May 2005 to September 2007. The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) understands that you were involved in the consultation process, having been sent Project notices and having attended some of the Open Houses. The MNR has advised MOE staff that the Cavendish Community Ratepayers Association was the only association that expressed that they were not in support of Beaver Lake Road as the west access road; the Township expressed concerns related to costs, responsibilities and traffic issues but not that Beaver Lake Road not be used. I have reviewed the Project documentation and am satisfied that the MNR has met the requirements of the Class EA with respect to public consultation.

You raised concerns that the Project, in particular a new parking lot between Bottle Lake and Beaver Lake, contravenes the Township Official Plan (OP), the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Charter (Charter) and a previous study (referred to by the requester as the August 2000 "Meteek report"), and that the parking lot will adversely impact on the "highly sensitive" lakes in the Project area. Municipal OPs do not apply to Provincial Parks. The MNR has advised MOE staff that the Meteek report did speak to the unsuitability of more intensive-use facilities (e.g., developed car campgrounds, swimming areas). Decisions on these facilities have been made through the park management planning process and are detailed in the 2008 Kawartha Highlands Signature Site Park Management Plan (Park Management Plan), which replaces the Charter. The Park Management Plan indicates that campgrounds and day use areas will not be constructed within the Park. In addition, the Project relates only to road access to the Park; it does not involve the addition of any more campsites to the Park nor the alteration or addition of any parking lots or access points. Parking lot development will be considered in a future Class EA. The MOE is satisfied that issues relating to a new parking lot are not considered in this Project.

With this decision having been made, the MNR can now proceed with the Project, subject to any other permits or approvals required. The MNR must implement the Project in the manner in which it was developed and designed, as set out in the Environmental Study Report, and inclusive of all conditions and commitments made during the review of the

Mr. Ivan Battye
Page 3.

Part II Order request, mitigative measures, and environmental and other provisions therein.

Again, I would like to thank you for participating in the Class EA process and for bringing your concerns to my attention.


John Gerretsen
Minister of the Environment

C: Mr. David Coulas, MNR

Our second letter of April 20 ,2009

The Hon. John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment,
135 St Clair Ave., West, 10th Floor,
Toronto, On., M4V1P5, jgerretsen.mpp@liberal.ola.org

The Hon. Donna H. Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources
6630 - 99 Wellesley St W, 6th Flr, Whitney Block
Toronto, On., M7A 1W3, dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Dear Ministers:
I am in receipt of the letter from Minister Gerretsen replying to my “Part II Order Request” for the Kawartha Highlands Signature Park: Park Access Road Study Final Environmental Study Report” forwarded to you both Nov. 09, 2008. A copy of Minister Gerretsen’s responses are attached.

I regret that the Minister has not addressed the issues. MNR remains responsible for two studies of Beaver Lake that contradict one another. The Minister has a mandate to provide clear direction as to which one will drive the environmental considerations of the area. The township has been, and is required to enforce an Operational Plan, (both on this lake and environs), that substantiates the environmental protections afforded by a Highly Sensitive Coldwater Trout Lake designation. The Access Road Study now designates Beaver Lake as a Warm Water Lake. This ambiguity cannot stand.

Minister Gerretsen is misinformed when he says:  “The MNR has advised MOE staff that the Cavendish Community Ratepayers Association was the only association that expressed that they were not in support of Beaver Lake Road as the west access road; the Township expressed concerns related to costs, responsibilities and traffic issues but not that Beaver Lake Road not be used.” In fact, the Beaver Lake road has no local association support. I have copies of letters to MNR and others supporting that view. I remind you both there was an extensive public consultative process ultimately attended by the Minister of Natural Resources of the day that resulted in a Charter. That historic Charter was supported and signed onto by all local lake/resident associations and the townships, as members of the SGKH. That document specifically denied the use of the Beaver Lake road. If this is not the case, I would request the Ministers to ask their staff to provide them, and myself, copies of all local association letters supporting the Beaver Lake road.

MNR wished to designate this Township road as ‘access’ to the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site. Based on this Access Road study approval, MNR have gone forward with their required ‘Management Plan’.
- The Access Road study on which this ‘Management Plan’ hinges, states that Beaver Lake is a Warm Water Lake.
-The Operational Plan of the Township of Galway Cavendish and Harvey, in the County of Peterborough, wherein this road lies, designates Beaver Lake as a Highly Sensitive Coldwater Trout lake. MNR is the only jurisdiction that can make this classification. As of January 2009, the Township advises, that this long standing Peterborough County classification, is current. Could Minister Cansfield please provide a copy of the study that approved this classification.

Minister Gerretsen’s only response to this conundrum is “Municipal OP’s do not apply to Provincial Parks”. He is wrong on two counts:
1) The Access Road study is of the road and the road is outside the park. The OP does apply, significantly predates the Park, and is not addressed, in this study or his reply.
2) Regardless of the legalities of jurisdiction, protection of the environment is the overriding issue. The standardized setbacks required in the OP with regard to Highly Sensitive Coldwater Trout lakes are paramount. Many local residents have been held accountable to this OP and it’s controls over their properties.  I suggest Minister Gerretsen has been ill advised in his response to this issue.

Minister Gerretsen says “The MOE is satisfied that issues relating to a new parking lot are not considered in this Project.” The road study says (Page 66) “The Beaver Lake road alternative includes a “shaded area” where parking and other amenities could be provided just south of Sucker Lake and Bottle lake….” This is the area discussed in the Meteek report as unsuitable for “amenities”.

The comprehensive environmental concerns of the area addressed in the Meteek Report and the OP are not addressed in the Access Road Study. This is an imprudent omission in both the Minister’s response and the prior public discussion. His response recognizes these documents for the first time, but dismisses them without review and negates my request. By so doing, the Minister actually supports my point regarding the shortcomings of this Access Road Study. I again request a “Part II Order.

In conclusion I suggest the optics of multiple public consultations until arriving at an “acceptable” conclusion, ignoring previous reports, an environmental review process that is historically unsuccessful, and the flipping of lake designations for convenience, are counterproductive and undermine the public trust. I therefore request your assistance in arriving at a valid conclusion as to which lake classification shall prevail for Beaver Lake and the appropriate management directives that flow from that. Additionally; as these issues may take some time to resolve, I request Minister MNR Donna Cansfield that she not proceed with the park project at this time; understanding construction is planned for this spring.

Cc by e copy
M. André Marin Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario,
NK & GCH Townships, Premier Dalton McGuinty, MPP Jeff Leal,
Ivan R. S. Battye,

MOE then replied a second time on May 4th
the PDF version is linked
  the following is our answer

May 10, 2009
The Hon. John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment,
135 St Clair Ave., West, 10th Floor,
Toronto, On., M4V1P5, jgerretsen.mpp@liberal.ola.org
The Hon. Donna H. Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources
6630 - 99 Wellesley St W, 6th Flr, Whitney Block
Toronto, On., M7A 1W3, dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org
Dear Ministers: 

I am in receipt of a letter from Agatha Garcia-Wright dated May 4 2009 responding to mine of April 20 regarding a “Part II Order Request” for the Kawartha Highlands Signature Park: Park Access Road Study Final Environmental Study Report” forwarded to you both Nov. 09, 2008. A copy of her response is attached. I thank the MOE for the quick response.

I am pleased to note that the Ministries are now clear that:

1. Beaver Lake is a Highly Sensitive Coldwater Trout lake. The Minister must now acknowledge the Access Road study was in error (in all aspects of it’s evaluation of Beaver lake) in not delivering this clear understanding.

2. There is no local support for the use of the Beaver Lake road as the access road to the park. The Minister must now acknowledge that there is and has been clear and consistent opposition to the use of this road dating back to the original failures of the Local Stakeholder Committee (LSC) in 2000; the resulting formation of the Signature Group of the Kawartha highlands (SGKH) that includes all the local lake associations; and the resulting Charter in 2003 negotiated in the presence of the then Minister of Natural resources Chris Hodson.

3. “The reports referenced (Meteek and Operational plan) are not pertinent to the project” ---
--- Clearly you are in error.
Beaver lake is misidentified as evidenced by the Operational plan. (See above).
Re Meteek: You say “this project deals only with identifying the east west access roads”.
Please see Access Road study page 3 para. 1.6 “Statement of Purpose..”
“to provide access to the park that maximizes opportunities for recreational activities within the park.”

If you are correct when you say, “- are not pertinent to the project” then the implication is ---
--- you are “creating an access to nowhere”. Is this the case?

If not, then the access point is to the worst possible place as identified by the Meteek report.
Please note Bottle lake (last week) has been designated an "At Capacity Lake Trout Lake". MNR provide the study material and MOE make the designation. Of significance, Bottle Lake is changing negatively. The only variable in the last 10 years is the vastly increased use on that lake and surroundings by itinerant, uncontrolled campers as facilitated by the Signature Site's Beaver Lake road access. This failure was predictable from the Meteek report. Meteek is clearly pertinent.

4.  The access road is now, and was, subject to the Tsp. Operational Plan.

You appear to imply within that paragraph that Provincial Parks are not subject to the protections required by MOE and MNR for these Highly Sensitive Cold Water Lakes (including the 300 meter set back from the high water mark, hydrological studies, drainage pattern studies etc etc.). Surely you are in error. Again I refer you to page 66 Para 6.5 of the access road study wherein Ms Wall speaks of waste receptacles, public washrooms, and amenities etc. Would the Minister please confirm that these sensitive lake protections do apply, park or no park, and the washrooms etc. are not now reasonably possible within the area suggested?

Given the set back and study parameters of sensitive lakes, the designation of Beaver Lake, the new designation of nearby Bottle Lake and notwithstanding MNR “indications” to MOE, would the Ministers please advise that the Beaver Lake road is closed as access to the Park as per the request of the Catchacoma Cottagers Assoc. letter to the Minister MNR of July 7th, 2008 date?

I regret this laborious correspondence. Stakeholders were promised “transparency and full public consultation”. We did not get it. Pertinent information was not provided. This task fell to Ms. Wall and she abrogated it. We received form without function. This provides the clear impression that the access road study was a “slam dunk”.

Given the admissions in your letter as outlined above, I am further convinced that MNR has no moral authority and questionable legal grounds to proceed with this project. Fortunately, the Ministry has yet another chance to listen and respond appropriately to the facts. One small act with major positive effect on the environment would be to disallow the Beaver Lake road as an access point to the Park.


    Cc by e copy

M. André Marin Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario,
NK & GCH Townships, Premier Dalton McGuinty, MPP Jeff Leal,

the linked letter was received from D Cansfield dated May 25 09

we respond again

 re. file # ENV1283MC-2009-115 and 1790 MNR 3006MC-2009-1222

June 10, 2009

The Hon. John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment,
135 St Clair Ave., West, 10th Floor,
Toronto, On., M4V1P5, jgerretsen.mpp@liberal.ola.org
The Hon. Donna H. Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources
6630 - 99 Wellesley St W, 6th Flr, Whitney Block
Toronto, On., M7A 1W3, dcansfield.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Dear Ministers: 

I am in receipt of a letter from Minister MNR Donna Cansfield dated May 25 2009 responding to mine of May 10 2009 regarding a “Part II Order Request” for the Kawartha Highlands Signature Park: Park Access Road Study Final Environmental Study Report” forwarded to you both Nov. 09, 2008. I thank her for the quick response.

With respect, I suggest the Minister cannot proceed with the project as outlined in her letter, for two reasons.

As it is agreed Beaver Lake is a Highly Sensitive Coldwater Trout lake, any development in the environment around Beaver Lake to a distance of 1000’ (300 meters) is subject to a number of restrictions/limitations/studies and these limitations are promulgated by MOE and MNR. MNR and MOE have unfortunately due to their own mismanagement now had to designated Bottle Lake as “highly sensitive”. If the precedents established by MOE in their dealings with the public on such lands are applied, there is no area considered within the access road study that would allow such a parking lot project without extensive and costly review. We are so advised by the building commissioner GCH Tsp.

Are the Ministers MNR and MOE saying that Parks Ontario is not subject to the same environmental limitations that are applied to private lands?

Further: Minister MNR now abandons the “parking lot within the park” as discussed in the Access Road Study and says there is intent to use the interim parking lot as a “long term solution”.
A) This lot is, in part, subject to the Tsp. Operational Plan.
B) We understand the interim parking lot was constructed without environmental review or oversight.

Would the Ministers please confirm, if this lack of review is true and if so, what action they intends to take with regard to this “lapse in judgment”?

The interim parking lot does not meet the requirements of the Charter that was in effect when it was built as set out on Page 11 Para 9 and does not meet the Project Objectives of the Access road study as outlines on page 2 Para 1.3. Both documents state there will be no park facility “erected or constructed.” within 300” (100 meters) of private property.

Would the Minister MNR please state in clear terms if she intends to honor this commitment or not?

Ministers, in reading your letters, I am compelled to comment on the lack of factual background you have. It is resulting in much misinformation.  I regret that your advisors and writers of these letters (especially the last letter dated May 25 2009) indicate that you have not been placed in a position in which to comment effectively or represent the environment and its best interests. If Mr. Coulas has assisted you, then I suggest he may be biased in favor of an ill advised plan that lacks insight and good judgment.  It is my opinion that this bias should not be passed on to a Minister for widespread distribution.

With regard to my “participation in an interim solution”, I did not attend that November, 2006 meeting. Perhaps Minister MNR should be asking for the resulting email response Mr. Coulas received at that time, for her review.


    Cc by e copy

M. André Marin Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario,
NK & GCH Townships, Premier Dalton McGuinty,
MPP Jeff Leal, MPP Rick Johnson,

The following is a quote from the Meteek report of Jack van der Meer page 14. It tells you who he is ,what he is, and what he stood for. He reiterated these concerns in his report of 2001.
There is nothing  in all the MNR documentation above that addresses these concerns that have stood for the last 40 years.
That is the point.

3.2 Existing park developement
    3.2.1 Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

A portion of the Featured Area is an existing Provincial Park. The Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is a Natural Environment Class and its status is "non-operating". This area of 1875 hectares surrounding Bottle and Sucker lakes was put into regulation under the Provincial Parks Act in 1989, having been a Park Reserve since 1979. Its potential as a Provincial Park was first mentioned in a new release from Lands and Forests Minister, J. W. Spooner, in 1959, with the concept that it would accommodate camping, picnicking and bathing facilities.

A development plan was prepared in 1967 (note C), and construction of the park entry road began in the winter of 1968 through "Winter Works" funding. A combination of factors. Including lack of  continuing Winter Works funding and a reconsideratton of the appropriateness of the development plan to the area (note D) resulted in the park deveopment being discontinued.
noteC - At that time, park design was centralized in the Oueen's Park offices of the Department of Lands and Forests. The site plans for "Bottle and Sucker Lake Park" were developed there, and sent to the Lindsay Forest District for implementation.

noteD - During this period. the author was the District Naturalist and Assistant Parks Supervisor for the Lindsay Forest District, which included re Kawartha Highlands within its boundaries.