Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
Opening comments: More at the end.
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The fact that Councillor Culham circulated their names and home phone numbers to the general community while suggesting people call them reveals he is prone to indiscretions. Interestingly, the newsletter does not mention the FCB.
Putting UFMAC members in a position of judging their colleagues in a neighbouring conservation body and City input regarding an area the CVC has jurisdiction over at night while trying to work with them by day, a reasonable person would see as a Conflict of Interest(s). Councillor Culham did not question this and he should have in order to maintain the public's confidence in government, especially given some of their actions on the UFMAC.
* The draining of the Cawthra wetlands as well as the surrounding community towards the C.N. tracks.
Mr. Culham played a significant role in the City's draining of the Cawthra Bush/Wetlands surreptitiously towards the C.N. rail track which is a busy rail corridor often used by GO trains through a residential area. Councillor Culham, who has an environmental background, was in a position both as a City Councillor and as a member of UFMAC to make sure the hydrology of the Cawthra Bush was fully investigated. This would have involved determining how great a volume of water was being channelled south towards 3 C.N. tracks and what its effect would be or could be. Initially, Councillor Culham was on the record in UFMAC minutes calling for an appropriate hydrological considerations and investigation but as his political fortunes waned so did his support for doing the right thing outside his Ward.
At the Nov. 6/95 UFMAC meeting the video showing the draining by the watermain was first presented to both the City of Mississauga and UFMAC. Senior City staff were there, who report to the Mayor, John Rydzewski, Director of Administration and Planning and John Lohuis, Director of Recreation & Parks. Both of the Council members were absent and a quorum was not achieved but the presentations went ahead. It is interesting that the minutes note "Mr. Barber had previously requested to make a presentation on the hydrology of the Cawthra Woodlot", so the City knew what I wanted to deal with and then both Councillors, including the one for that Ward, did not show up. Also, the City's hydrological presentation was at the start of the meeting. Right afterwards the hydrogeologist left and my presentation was at the end of the meeting. So the hydrogeologist was not asked by the City to stay or otherwise become aware of what the community had in the way of evidence that the hydrology in the area was changed because of the watermain. Interesting that the hydrogeologist's report was only a verbal report, which gave the City the opportunity to write the minutes as they wished, omitting whatever they cared to or putting words in his mouth.
1 - Other Enclosure A
2 - Doc. 8.2, item A
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The minutes say very little about the FCB presentation. It notes a video but not its contents and "Mr. Barber's presentation provided conflicting information from that of the hydrogeology experts." As far as I can tell there was only one expert and he was saying in regards to the watermain "is it going to have an effect, I don't know". This expert said he has only had about a day of total time to study the situation, which was the result of concerns I raised (Jul. 25/95). He repeatedly noted that he could not give specific answers to the questions he was being asked. The City made up for that by writing the minutes as if he had. He also noted that in the north end of the forest, lower water levels have been found from those taken in 1990. "Don't know what I am seeing here, so I really can't qualify." He did make the point to UFMAC that a person of his background is limited in what he can inform the committee on.
The concerns about the water flow in the watermain trench were presented to the Ontario Clean Water Agency and in their Oct. 23/95 letter it was stated "Because of concerns about water movement along the trench, the Agency and our consultant, KMK Consultants Limited, met with C.N. and they agreed that a concrete waterstop would be installed just north of the C.N. track to stop water flow." The City was made aware of this letter but appeared not to care.
It is interesting to read the comments by Ms. Vincent and Ms. Lewis in the UFMAC minutes for the Nov. 20/95 meeting. They were poop, pooping the idea of a proper study, largely based on the lack of knowledge and proper studies regarding the Cawthra Bush. Ms. Vincent "noted that there is an absence of amphibian species in this area". The efforts of the FCB turned up toads and two salamander species, one being declared threatened Federally, plus its hybrids. Ms. Lewis noted "that the ground water conditions occurring in the pipeline could not draw the water out of the woodlands." She appears to suggest that the City hired hydrogeologist, Mr. Petrie, was saying that. In the end, they were moving ahead and making decisions about the Cawthra Bush's management based on false assumptions and a lack of scientific facts.
In 1999, the Cawthra Woods Management Plan was approved states that "a hydrological study be undertaken, to identify any changes to the watertable that may impact on existing vegetation", not to study possible drainage of water towards C.N. tracks. In any case I have seen no evidence of any City called for study. In fact, the University of Toronto wrote to the City in May 2000 noting that "the Cawthra Forest exhibits a fascinating and unique local-scale hydrology that is worthy of scientific study." The author of the letter was interested in doing a hydrological study, conducted by the University of Toronto for the City, which would likely be very low cost or even free. How odd the City did not accept the offer. I even presented the letter direct to City Council. Why would the Mayor, who is always so keen on getting things for free or low cost, turn down this offer for a study the City's own Forest Management Plans called for, by highly qualified people? Maybe the City wants to pretend it does not know the watertable is being drained, being focused or concentrated into a underground stream, flowing south.
1 - Doc. 12
2 - Doc. 49
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Councillor Culham could have requested that I present the video when the two Councillors and the hydrogeologist were present (if it really mattered to him) as the details in my 13 page Nov. 23/95 letter very clearly detailed the many causes for concern. It included a number of enclosures, such as the stop work order issued by the Ontario Ministry of Labour because the walls of the trench were collapsing due to the high volume of water flowing out of the forest. The Nov. 23/95 letter (and the letters before hand) reported events regarding the Nov. 6/95 UFMAC meeting, presenting a strong case for those who cared about the public safety to make sure this issue was fully investigated. This was backed up by later events the Cawthra Bush named a Wetlands with the Federally declared THREATENED Jefferson Salamander, this would have more than justified the effort. Instead Councillor Culham just moved to receive the letter without comment in the Jan. 15/96 UFMAC minutes.
Add into this how UFMAC did not support the CVC's and the community's call for Wetlands Evaluation in Nov 24/97 and that Councillor Culham was present for that. It is not hard for a reasonable person to see these events (and more) spell neglect by the City and avoiding the issue with its legal liabilities, while draining off the very life blood of the Cawthra Bush so the City can claim they knew nothing, nothing! The continuous efforts by the City to avoid the issue or to study its effect should be considered significant. Politically speaking - cover-up and kill (or discredit) the messenger (me).
At the Jan. 27/94 public meeting that the City held just to inform us of the logging and tree farming to take place in the Cawthra Bush, Grant Walton, the City forester, noted the "French drain" effect and watermains. Mr. Walton noted that there were already 2 watermains down the east side of the Cawthra Bush sitting on beds of gravel which should act like French drains to drain water from the Cawthra Bush. This City staffer noted it as if drying out the Cawthra Bush was something desirable by the City. The City has never expressed a desire for another Wetlands but seems keen on dry forests for recreation and play etc. I recall he went on to note the third and next to be built watermain could accomplish the task of draining the forest. And we all know the water has to go somewhere.
A French drain is simply the creation of an underground path of least resistance, such as a bed of gravel, along which water can move. The third and by far the largest watermain, some 8 feet in diameter, not only sits on a bed of gravel but is in a trench some 10 feet by 10 feet (or more) wide, cut in the shale bedrock. One of Councillor Culham's first acts on UFMAC was to express concerns about the "Iroquois Flats", the local bedrock. About 6 to 10 feet below the surface this layer shale is like a flat table top, which the ground water flows over the top of, as it is impermeable to water. The average slope of the area is 10 meters per-Kilometre. The east side of the Cawthra Bush is about a Kilometre long. The watermain trench is cut into the shale and acts like a ditch. The City's own map showing water flow in the Cawthra Bush notes the drainage in the forest is towards the watermain trench.
1 - Doc. 17.1-6
2 - Doc. 7 & Other Enclosure B
3 - Doc. 33
4 - Doc. 8.2, item A
5 - Other Enclosure A
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To put some facts behind the draining of Cawthra Bush/Wetlands into the watermain trench forming an underground stream, it was video taped, in a dry spell, in early 1995. Because of dangerously high water levels in a section of the trench left open in between 2 high schools, (while the rest of the watermain installation had been completed to the north (along side the Cawthra Bush)) an Order was issued that the pit be pumped dry. To keep it dry it had to be pumped dry 24 hours a day. So armed with a 5 gal. pail, over I went to measure the volume of water flowing into the pit, which was lower then the rest of the trench. The pail was easily filled in less than 10 seconds. It should be noted that I have seen much higher volumes of water pumped off that site. The math to show the likely range of flow is:
5 gals. in 7 seconds = .71 gal. per second. 60 X .71 = 42.82 gal. per minute.
60 X 42.82 = 2571.43 per hour. 2571.43 X 24 = 61,714.29 gal. per 24 hours.
61,714.29 gal. = 280,800 litres, a day.
5 gals. in 10 seconds = .5 gal. per second. 60 X .5 = 30 gal. per minute
60 X 30 = 1,800 gal per hour & 1,800 X 24 = 43,200 gal. per 24 hours.
43,200 gal. = 196,560 lites, a day.
This math and the draining going on at Cawthra has been noted to UFMAC members and the City on many occasions other than at the Nov. 6/95 UFMAC meeting. It has also been posted on the FCB & CRRA display boards, used at public meetings & gatherings. The City has not disputed these numbers or that water does flow in the watermain trench. The City considers silence to be agreement.
The same pumping had to be done in the pit that was right up against the C.N. tracks however, the water there was pumped directly into a storm water sewer, so it could not be measured. The flow of water was clearly seen/heard to be at least the same. The contractors who installed the watermains have noted features were putundermined by water flow from the Credit River. The second page of this letter was done twice to note a typical City move, ignore bad news and circumstances that could be a legal liability to the City. What makes it all the more interesting and relevant to the Cawthra watermains, is that the "Culham Trail" started life as just a maintenance road running along side the large sewer mains in the Credit River valley. The result of our efforts was that the "Culham Trail" was moved to another location (the cost of which, certain people likely blame me) and the City never admitted any wrong doing. I have been correct in the past regarding hydrology effects.
1 - Doc. 28.1
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What are or could be the short and long term affects of this draining of water from the Cawthra Wetlands? How endangered are the C.N./Go train tracks? As the City has gone to great lengths to avoid dealing with this issue, only reasonable opinions can be offered. In the short term the Cawthra Bush will be dryer then usual and this will endanger not only Cawthra Bush's Wetlands features but the amphibians and the habitat that they depend on which will be put in serious jeopardy. The City, by its actions & inactions wants them gone as they interfere with its plans and if that can be done surreptitiously with little public/media attention and the facts covered up, along with liabilities to the City, so much the better. Can the water flow undermine the C.N. tracks or weaken the support of the track embankment, as was the case with the "Culham Trail"? Only time will tell or a full hydrological study and the City by its deeds has made it clear that will not happen (unless it can be controlled in such a way as to ensure a certain outcome.) How much of a threat is there to the new subdivision just before the C.N. track or houses on the other side of the tracks? Again, only time will tell. But there is cause for concern and went I noted the concerns to CVC dealing with geology, he verified that my concerns were legitimate
B). Four pictures (A-D) showing the draining of Cawthra Bush by the watermain trench:
The color pictures did not copy well to black & white copies. The color pictures that show
the details much clearer can be seen on my web-site www.cawthra-bush.org
On my web-site are more related pictures as well.
Photo A). The section of the watermain trench that collapsed due to the large volume of water
flowing from the Cawthra Bush. The stop work order was issued because of this.
The public was promised a trench box to narrow the width of the trench, in writing, but
it was not used until after the Ontario Ministry of Labour ordered them to do so.
Photo B). After a trench box was put in, the work paused and a hole in the side of trench made by
ground water flowing from the Cawthra Bush grows and grows.
Photo C). Same location. The large volume of water is collapsing more and more of the surrounding
Photo D). To the south of the Cawthra Wetlands a section was left open after the rest of the trench
was filled in. This section was cut deeper as a valve was to be installed. The large volume
of water flowing from the Cawthra Bush area can be clearly seen, an underground creek
has been formed.
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