Archive for 2009 February 05

Dewatering for The Big Pipe


Stouffville, Ontario. Dewatering
Approximately 43°56’57.22″N   79°15’7.87″W, facing East, circa October 2, 2005

From my series: Elegy for a Stolen Land

As part of the extension of York Region’s $350 million mega-project known as the “Big Pipe”,  a large sewer trunk passes through land along the 9th Line in front of this 19th century farm house. The land is dewatered so that workers can get deep into the ground, at or below the water table, to install the pipe.

This trunk of the pipe, to accommodate growth in Stouffville’s secondary plan, is to move sewage to the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant near Lake Ontario. Rates of dewatering range from 5,000 – 30,000 litres per minute, and the project stretches well up into the Oak Ridge’s Moraine, the natural aquatic battery for all lands southward to Lake Ontario.

On January 3, 2004 The Toronto Star’s Leslie Ferenc reported in an article entitled Close -up: The Big Pipe, that opponents, from the province’s environment commissioner right on down to farmers and individual farm owners, argue—and officials readily admit—that dewatering process has proven to empty aquifers, parch resident’s wells, bleed streams and fields dry, destroy fish and wildlife habitats, and draw effluent away from failing septic tanks into the wider water table. Proponents argue that they will be able to set things right later by implementing mitigating measures.

Such mitigating measures are planned on the assumption that such measures may yet be invented and successfully implemented.

This and other of The Star’s stories about the Big Pipe are no longer freely available on the internet, but you can find a copy of this one here. Environmental Defence and Lake Ontario WaterKeeper have archived some of that coverage. Otherwise they can be sourced through The Star’s paid archive service.

… Comin up next, “Following the money…”

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Sensational Singles

 

 


Markham, Ontario. Real Estate Billboards.
Approx.  43°54’7.53″N  79°14’27.90″W, Facing south, circa May 5, 2005

From my series: Elegy for a Stolen Land

Before Europeans arrived, these lands were rich in freshwater and wildlife, and home to successive waves of first peoples who saw themselves and the land as one.

Later, due to a combination of soil quality, water availability and growing season—determined by latitude and proximity to the moderating influence of Lake Ontario—settlers turned these lands into productive class 1 farmland that would feed the city it surrounded for more than a century.

On the former pioneer family farm of John Raymer, real estate billboards promote the sale of roughly 2,500 homes on the lands of such former pioneer farmer neighbours as James and Adam Clendenen, and John Reesor. According to official documents filed in 2005: “the GTA/905 Regions of York, Halton, Peel and Durham have been and will continue to be the fastest growing regions in Ontario, collectively growing at twice the provincial rate of growth by adding more than 90,000 new residents each year.”

In a time of increasing global economic uncertainty and wildly unstable fuel prices, those and the other new residents of the past half century inhabit a new land crop of bricks and mortar, and are meanwhile ever more dependent on food imports from the USA, Latin America and Asia.

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What We Are and What We Did

In his 2008 essay, Going Home (Anansi), in reference to our changing relationship to land, Governor General’s Literary Award-winning poet and essayist Tim Lilburn writes:

What we are: detached long ago, while still in Europe, from that part of the Western intellectual tradition that would have taught us the suitability of living undivided from one’s earth,” we cannot value what we most need, indeed cannot name it. What we did: we met the new land as conquerors and subjugated it. We moved too quickly over the ground, omnivorous, self-uprooting on principle, marked by the inevitably anarchic character of capitalism… Finally we just filled it with our will, so that the land came to look tired in its heart: almost empty but crammed with human intention, sick with a sameness that came from us.

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Hoder Update as 2009/02/05… Worrisome: not much to report

  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Despite Iran’s official statement over a month ago that they are holding, Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan, there has still been no official comment from Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This raises questions about the sincerity of the Ministry’s earlier rationale that the lack of such an official statement from Iran was Canada’s reason for not commenting. http://geo.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/geo/iran-en.aspx
  • The Canadian Press has not yet investigated this international story about the disappearance of a Canadian citizen, or at least if they have, they have not yet found it newsworthy enough to report on.
  • The Guardian (UK) has published seven stories concerning Hossein Derakhshan’s disappearance and arrest. Derakhshan is a Guardian contributor.
  • January 15/09: PEN International has expressed their alarm
  • December 30, 2008 Reuters reported that Iran has admitted to holding Hoder: “”His case is in a preliminary investigative stage at a revolutionary court and he is currently in incarceration in a jail in Tehran,” judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told a news conference when asked about Derakhshan’s case.”
  • December 22/0, Iranian.com, the online magazine, has published a well-researched plea by former Miss World Canada, who despite having been a victim of written attacks by Hoder, is calling for his release chapter and verse under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Articles 9 and 10 of the UDHD state that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” and “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
  • December 15,/08 Reuters reported Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has called for the liberation of Hoder: All I can say is that I very much hope that he will be released soon, because prison is not the place for journalists and for bloggers 
  • There is a large and growing Facebook group here: Free Hossein Derakhshan but even there, there has been new news since December
  • There is dedicated Free Hoder blog here
  • Globe & Mail December 8: Hoder Really arrested in Iran
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), November 25, 2008, expresses concern
  • Amnesty International Report: Blogger Hossein Derakhshan was arrested at his family home in Tehran on 1 November 2008. Denied access to his family and to legal representation, no one knows where Hossein Derakhshan is held…
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