Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Plea To The Community

A Facebook community page has been opened titled Plea to the Community. Articles published in Mayorgate, When Is Orange Water Not KOOL AID? and in no ad LIB, Should I Drink This, Minister Bradley?  provide the backdrop and details to an urgency behind the need for independent laboratory tests of an orange discharge in a Merritton community, in the City of St. Catharines. No orange water is normal especially appearing in a drainage ditch that carries the water to a storm water run-off sewer and to Lake Ontario. This orange water is potentially leaching into an established neighbourhood. Details presented in the article When Is Orange Water Not KOOL AID? are alarming. Serious questions that have been raised have had no volunteers to provide answers.

I have worked environmental issues since 2006 at what would be considered ground level, with 14 consecutive applications for investigations approved by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and 3 petitions approved by the Federal Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development. I have done this without any government grants or funding of any kind. Focus of the work has been on proper re-development of brownfields, protection of our lakes from illegal pumping of contaminated water or the run-off and leaching affecting our ground water, the dumping of highly contaminated materials in landfills and the burial of hazardous waste material such as asphalt and tires in contravention of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). At issue has been the lack of commitment by our government to enforce the very legislation put in place to protect our environment, our communities and our future.

The urgency with this discharge has made it necessary for the first time to ask for community help. There are no big environmental groups here with their funding. No Ontario Waterkeeper, no Environmental Defence.

Several very serious questions now arise. Minister for Environment Jim Bradley has totally ignored these questions, both as the Minister with the responsibility in hand and as the elected representative for the St. Catharines riding. Ministry of the Environment has proven to be extremely questionable in their negligence here. Orange discharge first appeared only a few hundred metres away from the drainage ditch in June 2010. Ministry of Environment field investigator Phil Hull from the local ministry office did not take any samples. Instead MOE handed it over to the City of St. Catharines who have no facility to test, nor would they. Look at the details in the article 'When is Orange Water Not KOOL AID' and the way the City of St. Catharines had acted in the whole matter. Read how Mayor Brian McMullan defended Sun Collision. The facts and evidence undeniable and public.

This discharge is directly behind Sun Collision in a drainage ditch dug after the Ministry of Environment investigation during which Sun Collision was found in contravention of the EPA Ontario Regulation #347. Conditions of that MOE investigation completed in June 2010, the first surge of orange water was seen in late June 2010 and ignored by MOE. Now the discharge is directly behind the Sun Collision building! No coincidence! How long has the orange water been present under the ground? What contaminates are present in this orange water? The drainage ditch empties into a storm water run-off sewer, how much has reached Lake Ontario and what potential adverse effect to the lake's natural environment? City of St. Catharines did no tests in June 2010 only claiming it was rust, what has the City of St. Catharines got to say now? Orange water discharged within a few hundred metres cannot be considered a coincidence nor rust. The current discharge is in the open environment!

Independent laboratory tests are imperative and this is agreed upon by the NDP Environment Critic Jonah Schein. Minister Jim Bradley will not answer the questions voluntarily. His Ministry of the Environment did not test the orange discharge in June 2010, why? How was it possible that such an unusual occurrence be discounted by Ministry of Environment field investigator Phil Hull? Why has Minister Jim Bradley ignored all the questions?

This Facebook plea is simple and clear. No Santa's or a Lorax in sight for effect. A “Plea to the Community” is an open plea for help to ensure that no one at the Ministry of Environment discounts this again and leaves a community in potential harms way, or our water supply under threat. City of St. Catharines clearly has questions to answer. Minister Jim Bradley will do the usual and run from the truth, he will only care for his riding at election time.

Environment has issues that become the realm of the publicity machine on a larger scale taking away the attention from the real battles such as these. It is here on every day terms that we as ordinary people can benefit the future for our children and grandchildren. Here and now we have a discharge of orange water that under no circumstances is normal, nor is it beneficial in any way. This orange water may be potentially spreading into a neighbourhood and is also draining through the run-off system into Lake Ontario. We cannot rely on either the Ministry of Environment and definitely not on the City of St. Catharines. Independent laboratory tests are an absolute necessity. I have asked for help from you in the community, whether an ordinary individual or business, to contribute what you may be able to so that it can be achieved.

I can be contacted on for contributions to be arranged.

Thank you all. 

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