Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
comments: More at the end.
If you would like to add your voice to opposing the City's wrong
minded, current effort at Rezoning the Cawthra Bush & the decommissioning
of Cawthra's wells - then please send an E-mail
a City Planner, Catherine Ferguson, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
& the Ward 1 Counciollor, Carmen Corbasson <email@example.com>
say that oppose the City's current plans to Rezone the Cawthra Bush and
the City should work with the CRRA & FCB to create the most appropriate
Rezoning for the Cawthra Bush. You can cut and paste part of this
web-page to your E-mail as well. Sending me a copy is a good idea
as well <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC);
ATTN: Robert Morris, CVC Biologist.
ATTN: Mary Bracken, CVC Planner.
Region of Peel;
Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR);
City of Mississauga;
RE: URGENT! - in regards to the Cawthra Bush Rezoning Application - OZ 00/024 W1.
Dear Sirs or Madam: Mar. 24, 2004
Please comment on the following items of environmental significance. It has been noted that the City could approve this Rezoning Application at its Mar. 31/04, Council meeting.
The Jefferson Salamander, Eastern Milk snake and other rare & threatened species living in the Cawthra Bush are of the greatest concern but there are also hydrological features at risk as well. Of great concern is that relevant documents and facts were NOT presented to commenting agencies, such as the Credit Valley Conservation and the Region of Peel.
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Jefferson Salamanders - Lives and breeds in close proximity to the Cawthra Estate house. In Dr. J.P. Bogart's Aug. 1999, study regarding the salamander juveniles that were born in the pond *****************, he notes "There seemed to be a difference in the movement patterns of the salamanders. ... A. jeffersonianum were found in the ***** traps and would be assumed to move towards *******." It is of the greatest importance to note that, as this pond is the only one in the Cawthra Bush that the Jefferson Salamanders are able to successful breed in and the proposed zoning directly affects the Estate grounds.
There has not been proper monitoring of the Jefferson
Salamander population. Enclosed
is the result of a Freedom of Information request asking for what the
City has been doing in the way of
So there is no reasonable understanding of what the "existing uses within the Cawthra-Elliott Estate House and related outdoor amenity" are having on the Jefferson Salamanders or other near-by environmentally significant species/features. Therefore it is inappropriate to "recognize existing uses", at the Cawthra Bush with this Rezoning.
At the Mar. 22/04, public meeting it was for the first time noted by City staff that a study of the Jefferson Salamanders and other wetland species/elements (such as Cawthra's Vernal ponds), was to take place this year. How odd it is that the City, after about 3 years of no real monitoring or study, suddenly wishes to again try rezoning the Cawthra Bush with potentially environmentally harmful uses. To approve and "recognize existing uses", at the Cawthra Bush with this Rezoning just before a study is to be done regarding the Jefferson Salamanders and other wetland species, is inappropriate timing.
The City's Mar. 2/04, report does not note that the Jefferson Salamander has Canadian or national significance as the Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife In Canada (COSEWIC), has declared the Jefferson Salamander, has THREATENED species status. This omission is conspicuous by its absence and should be corrected. A greater efforts needs to be made in protecting its habitat, even if that means less public access to key areas of the Cawthra Bush. Without knowing the current status of the Jefferson Salamander (and other rare, threatened or species of concern), it is inappropriate to proceed with any zoning as to what kinds of uses should be allowed at the Cawthra Bush.
Eastern milk snake - Noted for the first time in the City's Natural Areas Survey (2002). It is considered rare within the province by the NHIC and nationally as a species of concern by COSEWIC. Its range within the Cawthra Bush or which parts of the Estate it prefers is not known to me and the City is not including mention of it in this Rezoning Application.
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Wells - The City's Mar. 2/04, report notes the wells on the Cawthra site are to be "decommissioned" - destroyed. This would mean the lose of a very valuable monitoring tool and is a wrong minded move. These wells can be put to use (as I have), to measure the watertable levels near the Vernal Ponds in the Cawthra Bush and the more well drained areas to compare readings. These wells are about 3 feet across with concrete sides and caps so they are not a safety hazard. The habitat of the Jefferson Salamanders do require such monitoring in an urban area. The fact that the City is attaching the approval for destroying these useful Estate features to a Rezoning shows the City is trying to avoid proper consideration to this issue.
The most disturbing element of this is that the relevant documents were NOT presented to commenting agencies, the Credit Valley Conservation and the Region of Peel. Enclosed is a copy of two pages (on one sheet), from the City's Mar. 2/04, Supplementary Report, regarding this Rezoning Application. It can be clearly seen that the City's Transportation and Works Dept.'s comments are dated Oct. 3/03, which note the decommissioning of the wells, in the "Environmental Site Screening Questionnaire and Declaration form". The comments by the Credit Valley Conservation and the Region of Peel, both pre-date this report and make no mention of the wells.
The Credit Valley Conservation and the Region of Peel should ask for full disclosure from the City and should not support the filling in of the wells. I understand that Provincial approval is needed to fill in a well, it should be denied.
Vernal Ponds - Evidence regarding the Cawthra Bush's Vernal ponds and Fairy Shrimp has been published in the Toronto Zoo's Amphibian Voice, Summer 2002 and on my web-site, further documentation is coming. The City needs to pay special attention to all matter related to hydrology or Cawthra's watertable and all species that use wetlands or Vernal Ponds for habitat. Jefferson Salamanders are also noted as needing Vernal Ponds to breed in or like Fairy Shrimp are obligate species to show the existence of a Vernal Pond. The City does not give reference to Vernal Ponds at all, so how can its zoning be considered to be compatible with them?
Two other important amphibian breeding grounds - Left out of the Green Belt zoning last time and maybe this time. The area just north and west of the Cawthra community Centre, which the City dug up destroying that habitat (but which has in part regenerated), and the marsh area by the school tracks. It is common to protect amphibians as they show a healthy environment, now is the time to specifically protect their breeding habitat by noting it. I have noted that two kinds of tadpole are in the marsh area, the smaller ones could be tree frogs or spring peepers, to date the City has not made any effort, that I know of, to discover what amphibians are breeding. The area by the track is on Peel District School Board land but as it is the breeding ground for Cawthra Bush amphibians the City should step in to help protect it. One way would to work with the school board, is to post signs to try and stop the little boys with buckets who remove the tadpoles. The boundary for the Green Belt area should be redrawn to include this area and show it more clearly.
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Old-Growth Ecosystem in an Urban setting - The City's Mar. 2/04, report does not note that the Cawthra Bush is an Old-Growth Ecosystem. This is noted in both of Prof. Paul F. Maycock's letters, one is enclosed. An Old-Growth Ecosystem in an Urban setting is something very special and very delicate. The special care needed to protect and preserve this natural heritage jewel is not noted in this rezoning, therefore a zoning to recognize "existing uses within the Cawthra-Elliott Estate House and related outdoor amenity" is likely inappropriate.
Paths - The City has noted that the rezoning would keep the existing path system. It should be noted that some paths have come into existence were wrongfully created by the logging (the logging trails), and they are damaging to the forest. This rezoning should not be used to establish the legitimacy of paths that are damaging to the ecosystem. Some paths should be remove or scaled back, such as the one right by the salamander breeding pond. People are walking by and throwing bags of dog crap or God knows what else, into it!
Lack of meaningful environmental review in the City of Mississauga - The City's Urban Forest Management Advisory Committee (UFMAC), or any general environmental committee, appears to no longer exist in Mississauga. How can the City say it is acting environmentally responsible without such a committee? It can not! This means that there should be a greater onus on the Credit Valley Conservation, the Region of Peel and the Ministry of Natural Resources to deal with this inadequacy. Or this matter should be held over till UFMAC is restarted and this matter fully reviewed by it, including full disclosure and public participation.
Lack of a Master Plan for the Cawthra Bush - Mississaugans' have called for the Master Plan first, with the Forest Management Plan flowing from the Master Plan . The zoning should be last. The Master Plan, with its Forest Management plan is what will protect the Cawthra Bush and zoning to recognize uses before a Master & Management Plan is totally wrong because if those uses have a negative affect on Cawthra's rare and threatened species then clearly they should not be allowed! That is the present case. The City is not studying the effects of its own Forest Management plan and shutting the public out of the information loop to end taxpayers meaningful participation in government decision making, such as this rezoning.
The City has not presented a report regarding how existing uses or the City's Forest Management plan has affected the Cawthra Bush over the past few years. It would be inappropriate to zone these uses if their damaging effects are not known. Many are known and many are unseen to the casual eye. We also don't know if these uses would be a benefit more to people using the forest for recreation or to the forest's ecosystem. We still don't have any idea what the Cawthra Bush's carrying capacity is and the City is making plans to zone for levels of human use that the City can not say if they are damaging! The City has already said human use and the growing number of paths in the Cawthra Bush are a long term threat. Or as the City likes to say "loving it to death"! If the City can't show it has been recording data about how its uses of the Cawthra Bush have affected Cawthra's ecosystem then surely the City doesn't care. The City needs to do a report (maybe an Environmental impact Study), to state how this zoning would affect the forest in the long term.
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The Cawthra Bush as a "conservation area" - The City's Mar. 2/04, report does not explain how the City can turn the Cawthra Bush into a "conservation area" without the direct involvement of the Credit Valley Conservation or note under who's authority it would be. The CVC does not comment on this, has the City even informed the CVC of its plans?
Also for the record - On Mar. 17. Wed., 2004, I spoke with the City Planner, Cathie Ferguson, at the 11th floor Planning & Development counter at City hall. At which time I read directly from the notice, the list of documents that were clearly stated in the City's own public notice as being available for viewing and was refused! "The public may view planning documents and background material at the 11th floor, Planning and Building Department, Mississauga Civic Centre between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, contact Cathie Ferguson at 905-896-5542." Cathie Ferguson clearly noted there were none of the noted documents to show me, in fact there were no documents at all to show me! The City's "environmental audit of the site" - the "Environmental Site Screening Questionnaire and Declaration form submitted pursuant to the City's protocol for any rezoning application." was not presented.
In Closing - The City or other
commenting agencies will try to claim that they are not required by law
to do much of which I suggest. However, only doing as the law requires
is what has lead to significant environmental loses and a general environmental
crisis. To be environmentally responsible
I am willing to discuss my letter with you, in case the wording seems a little ambiguous or you want something explained. My phone number is ...
Please find enclosed;
Paul F. Maycock's June 17, 1998 letter.
Sincerely yours, Donald Barber, President, FCB & Chair, CRRA
PLEEASSE SIGN OUR PETITION
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