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Councillors' ForumTaking the message to Queen's Park

Taking the message to Queen’s Park

by Mayor-elect Shaun McLaughlin
first published at Shaun on Council

On Monday, December 1, Councillors Duncan Abbott and Alex Gillis, CAO Diane Smithson and I trained to Toronto for an afternoon meeting with Resources Minister Bill Mauro. The minister had his office manager and one senior policy advisor with him. Mauro is a congenial man and easy to talk to.We discussed the scientific study produced by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), which shows the maples in the Appleton wetland are dying due to continuously high water levels.At the start of our 35-minute chat, Minister Mauro had no idea where Mississippi Mills was and seemed to know nothing about the MVFN report other than we were there to talk about it. So, with pictures and verbal explanations, we outlined the problem with the wetland.

We asked the minister to open the water management plan for the wetland and to drop the water level in the summer until the plan can be reworked. He is not convinced water levels are killing the trees (the standard denial). He respects the science behind the MVFN report and says he will have his ministry look at it and respond with their own science.

We also showed the minister plans from Enerdu (below) to excavate the shelf of rock by the weir that provides one of our scenic waterfalls. We asked that MNR not allow that excavation, since the property is likely Crown land.

We showed Mr. Mauro this image of what is at risk:

He said it reminded him of a similar waterfall in his hometown, Thunder Bay.

Discussion of the weir led to a general discussion about the Enerdu expansion project. Mr. Mauro had no idea that the powerplant expansion involved putting a two-story building in the river.

We pointed out that we felt it was unfair and unwise to exclude the Town from any authority over the project. He suggested a compromise might be the best route between what Enerdu wants and the town wants.

Overall he did seem receptive to our message and asked many direct questions. One thing he said to his advisors near the end of our meeting was “this will be coming across my desk, let’s make sure we know all the details.”

That is an improvement. We will follow up.




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