Friday, May 31, 2013

Monkey Determination and Pedal Power

Mayorgate first rolled out on the path of journalistic endeavour in 2010, publishing articles that traditional media shied away from. Each article has always stood on fact and clear verifiable evidence. Today we celebrate our third anniversary and the irreverent monkeys of Mayorgate are keeping the balance of thought provoking articles and the need to simply stop and have fun.

Our articles of the past year have dealt with the environment, politics and society. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us as to how we safeguard the future for our children and grandchildren through our actions of today. Issues brought to the readers of Mayorgate are not localized in relevance, they are equally relevant to readers from any of the 16 countries that are regularly visiting us, and that list of countries is growing constantly.

Rio's Environmental Carnivale was a piece that looked at the attempts made worldwide to find a path to a sustainable future of our planet. As so many representatives gathered together from across the globe, sadly little was achieved. We still rely on fossil fuels, and we still do not find the courage to end our addiction to oil. Canada's oil sands will continue to be developed and shipped out regardless of the damage that their development creates. No one in reality, whether it is President Obama of the US or the Europeans will take the first decisive step. Canada regardless of which political party sits on the throne will continue to satisfy world demand, and the cycle towards destruction also continues.

As we elect representatives in government, at any level whether municipal through federal, there is still an expectation of honesty and integrity. Liar, Liar Pants on Fire, and Grabbing 'Integrity in Politics' by the Horns, painted an alarming scenario.

In Ontario a long serving minister of Provincial Parliament Jim Bradley, as Minister of the Environment, decided to alter official documents of record. Mayorgate examined the original reports presented at the legislature and to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, and the written confirmation of Minister Jim Bradley's request to two individual directors of the ministry. Although the evidence was conclusive Minister Jim Bradley survived without consequence.

Canada presents an image of a nation that is fair and equal to all. Our democratic government is elected by the people, our laws equally applicable to all, and as citizens we have the right to challenge unjust or biased actions. At least that is what we are led to believe. True we live in a democracy, but the thought that we are all equal is only a fantasy.

Guardians are set up in many various forms, some with catchy slogans, each with a mandate to police and protect the truth. Well, maybe in theory at least. The Ombudsman of Ontario likes to call himself, “Ontario's Watchdog,” but the current Ombudsman Andre Marin is nothing more than a peacock. A Toothless Watchdog looked at the realities of what the Office of the Ombudsman really is and the result was less than pleasant. As Mayorgate delved deeper into the roles of these various 'guardians' of the fabric of our society an alarming trend became apparent.

Each of these 'guardians' appeared to be formed to protect its elite membership. The College of Physicians and Surgeons were there for the medical profession, the Law Society of Upper Canada protecting lawyers, the Press Council of Ontario taking care of business for those responsible to present the truth. Mayorgate's Societal Watchdogs tip-toed through this booby-trapped minefield only to reach a simple conclusion. It was a farce, a smokescreen.

This past year also brought about the question How far can freedom of the press go?, and Is news media obligated to present the truth? Nothing showed greater examples of dollar chasing headlines that the horrific farce that First Nations' Chief Theresa Spence played out on the world stage. Chief Theresa Spence found centre stage in Chief Theresa Spence Feasts on Misconceptions and in part two of this national insult Chief Theresa Spence – Canada's Martyr or Something Else?

Both of these articles received great attention and the material presented was alarming. The whole farce of the Chief Spence hunger strike took another less than appetizing turn with the involvement of the Federal Liberal Interim Leader at the time, Bob Rae. Has Opposition politics sunk to a new low in Canada not only looked at the self-serving actions of Bob Rae, but other opposition politicians and ex-political stars. Finally Chief Spence's spokesman Danny Metatawabin raised his voice, and the crowning jewel of this sad part of Canada's history was published. Chief Theresa Spence & Danny Metatawabin Contact Mayorgate raised more questions, only to find the sounds of silence in reply.

Mayorgate never forgot that as human beings we need to celebrate life, even in the harshest of times. Birthdays, New Year and Christmas are never taken lightly or forgotten amongst all the serious and important issues. Mouse vs. Man – a children's novel was a look at a charming children's story that also had the courage to look at the real meaning of life, and still remain entertaining and fun.

The year finished with Dr. Valerie Jaeger & Political Compadres Continue On. Our infamous
Dr. Valerie Jaeger decided to continue with her deceit, now joined by two political associates. It has become apparent that taking an oath to look after and administer the well-being of man does not transpose itself into public life as a public servant. This may be a sad conclusion yet difficult to argue as one examines the evidence.

Our final article was a departure from the usual on Mayorgate. Silent Splendour – A Garden's Journey is the first of a planned six part series looking back at the evolution of a garden. Many photographs had been posted on Facebook from this garden for over a year with a great deal of comment in response. This series of articles will take the journey from the early days of the proverbial 'blank canvas' to what has become, a quiet oasis. Many of us, in fact across this planet, have found a certain serenity in our gardens, or even through visits to public ones. The goal here is not only to proudly trace the growing steps of a small suburban garden, but that of the gardeners themselves. It is also an open invitation for comment to all who have put their hands into any soil, anywhere in the world, to start something to grow. And “anywhere in the world” is an appropriate statement, as our readership now encompasses over 16 countries outside of Canada and the US, and our numbers have grown 100,000 plus since January 1st 2013.

Thank you to all who find value in the issues raised, the words spoken, and sentiments expressed. Mayorgate will continue in the same vein as we have from our first day. Those cheeky and irreverent monkeys will oil those wheels and travel up and down all kinds of roads, even some that may be tumultuous. We are preparing the final research on the issue of GMO's and Monsanto, their efforts and in the end the motivation behind them. So much of mainstream media appears to shy from touching this issue, it's time to see why.

There will be much more to come, and as always the celebrations never passed by without notice. Thank you all again and we need to believe as people united hand in hand across the globe, that the more people question the status quo, the greater our freedom.

Send comments to: 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Silent Splendour – A Garden's Journey

Gardening is both art and simple pleasure, and as gardeners we can choose to be inspired by others, or remain free spirited, willing to experiment and make mistakes. Regardless of the path we choose for ourselves, no garden can become a garden without a plan of some sort. Now the real fun, as Martha Stewart might say, really begins, making choices.

As children we are introduced to a method of dealing with questions with multiple choice answers. Unlike the examiner in school, our gardens are far more forgiving. If a plant was chosen and planted in a location where the sun's smiling face is too strong for the poor thing to handle, then simply bring out the shovel or pitchfork and move it. The wrong choice does not represent itself as a failing grade, it simply requires another choice to be made.

In 1997 my wife Olivera, our two children and I came to this modest home in St. Catharines, Ontario. Its yard not large though barren of any colour, simply grass stretching from front to back. Two large maple trees flanked left and right in the front of the house, and nothing more. Olivera had spent most of her life growing up as an apartment dweller and had not got her hands into 'dirt' before. Her father had spent many years as a custodian of an apartment complex, looking after the grounds, though young Olivera had not joined in at that time. Now she was eager to try anything, and without gardening gloves.

This was the original blank canvas we had landed upon. The only question was what to do next?

My background was somewhat different, as a child of eight or nine my parents had installed me as their apprentice gardening hand. Colour always filled our front yard with a variety of plantings, and the back was a veritable supermarket vegetable section with tomatoes, dill cucumbers, zucchini and so much more. Nothing was considered out of place and style did not exist, only the splendour of life. So I was introduced to soil under my fingernails and brown patches on my jean's knees early, and have remained so inclined ever since.

Here and now we were forced with the cliched 'blank canvas'. We knew that it could not remain so, the rest was going to be a journey of making choices, changing them, and then refining our space to suit our dreams and ground them in reality. Our 'blank canvas' measured only 33 feet in width and a little over 100 feet in depth, reality could not be ignored.

Average suburbia gardens represented a small amount of lawn cut away next to the house. Here rudimentary shrubs, such as evergreen balls, may be planted with a little occasional colour splashed in between. Plastic hanging baskets with geraniums left swinging through mid-Spring and Summer. The remaining space is left green and exposed to either a weekly or bi-weekly ballet to the accompaniment of a two-stroke mower engine.

Backyards are generally kept as green carpets exposed to the same musical fate as the front. Some install pools, either in-ground or dropped atop, though in the Niagara area of Ontario pools do not represent the same oasis quality as their counter parts in California or Florida. Our climate in Niagara becomes a serious spoiler for optimum usefulness of these receptacles of chlorinated water.

So a pool was definitely out of the question for us. Our backyard was after all only 33 feet wide and 100 feet deep not allowing for great expression, at least those were our thoughts at the beginning. The decision process was somewhat difficult, knowing more of what we didn't want rather than what we did want to replace it. Seeing inspiration from those who had travelled the path of such decision making is not simply copying someone's success. It is more like a pinch of bone meal in the soil to encourage and stimulate germination of growth and the illumination of colour.

One of England's greats, Gertrude Jekyll, born in London in 1843, is an example of both formality and picturesque playfulness of a traditional English garden. Gertrude Jekyll had authored 15 books about gardening, her most famous being Colour in the Flower Garden, and had collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens, another famous English garden designer. Many gardens, regardless of their chosen style, display a Lutyens Bench as an accessory of privilege, even if it is a copy.

Gertrude Jekyll, not only a prolific author of gardening books, had worked on famous gardens such as Greywalls, Hestercombe and Upton Grey. Hestercombe Gardens stand as an example of regal formality. Hedges trimmed perfectly, lawns manicured, and not a hair out of place. At Upton Grey, Gertrude Jekyll allowed herself to play with colour and a brash informality. It is a planned and organized 'mess', yet when in bloom bringing forth a smile on all who visit.

Europe's gardens of the Baroque or Renaissance period with their geometric designs, coupled with topiaries standing as sentries, still find themselves copied in part today. Though without giving consideration to the actual surroundings of a garden one could take on a task of the ridiculous. Our front yard is in polite terminology modest, in reality small. Topiaries, whether in animal shapes or geometric in design, would appear mildly insane. Two mature maple trees flanked left and right, their roots made the surface uneven, more conducive to grazing a sheep for the purpose of lawn care rather than a man made device.

Olivera took to books, gardening magazines, and gardening programs on HGTV. My inclination was more on the side of a wonderful English gardener and his famous call to all gardeners. Christopher Lloyd dared all gardeners to “do something outlandish, to splash out, and be freer than ever.”

Christopher Lloyd was born in 1921 and passed away in 2006. He was the twentieth century's most influential gardener, author of numerous books, and 'steward' at Great Dixter. The rose garden at Great Dixter was designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1912, it had ten geometric beds, each planted with the Hybrid Teas. This rose garden had yew hedges on three sides and an ancient cow house on the last, providing shelter from winter's harsh conditions. Christopher Lloyd decided to replace the Lutyen designed rose garden with something more daring, even shocking.

English gardeners are not to be expected to fall into neat categories for labelling, and Christopher Lloyd proved that more than once. In 1994 the old roses were ripped out and Christopher Lloyd recorded, “The rending noise of huge old roots reminded me of a hyena devouring a plank of wood” (from the Preface by Frank Ronan of Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners). Lloyd had decided to be daring even shocking to a degree.

Frank Ronan said of Christopher Lloyd, “...I know that shock was not his intention. He might have enjoyed the overreaction of others, but that was never what he set out to achieve. Who would go to the enormous trouble of making an exotic garden only to see dismay on the faces of people you thought little of anyway? No, he made that garden out of an absolute love of the plants and the desire to grow them. If there had been no one else to look at it, or be shocked, he would have done it all the same.”

If inspiration was to be sort out then this would be mine. It is the sheer beauty and serenity of a garden that provides the motivation. As far as shock value went, we did indeed achieve that later, though in the beginning we started slowly. Our garden's major constraint was its size, or lack of size, at least it appeared so in the early stages. Till finally we picked up our pruners and released ourselves from the set perceptions of a suburban front yard, or that of a 'small' space.

Looking at our space, both my wife and I knew that it could not remain as it was. Yet this did not mean we could simply take a shovel and begin to dig, not without some plan or idea to follow, to guide us. Neither of us had any formal training in horticulture or garden design. It was to become the beginning of a journey learning through experience, and most of all the willingness to try almost anything. In time it has led us to the garden we have today, and a question that has never found an answer with finality. What's next?

The blank canvas has changed dramatically, and we did truly 'splash out'.

This is the first instalment of a six part series which will follow the journey of a garden as it evolved and changed to become an oasis of silent splendour. Both my wife and I changed gradually with our garden, becoming more daring, slowly cutting loose the bounds of convention. Come and enjoy the ride, and bring with you your comments and experiences, after all as gardeners we love to share, and not only our seeds. 
Send comments to: 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dr. Valerie Jaeger & Political Compadres Continue On

In today's democratic societies we elect our governments with far less expectation. It is generally accepted that those elected are aware of what we want collectively, and since many promises were made in their respective election campaigns, we hope that some will be honoured. The United States Senate recently proved what a farce government really is by proudly announcing that collectively they withstood the temptation to vote as the people actually wanted. Instead they equally proudly said they voted against the wishes of the American public. One would only hope this was an act of political suicide but then the voting public's retention span is shorter than a two year old's.

Once elected our government members need to appoint people into positions who really know what they are doing. After all who expects any minister to really have any first hand working knowledge of his or her portfolio. A case in point can be Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent, who has much knowledge about environmental issues as he has about definitions of such mundane things as 'ozone' or 'honouring agreements', etc. All levels of government appoint these 'middle managers' to run their departments, make government look good, and get the job done. These individuals are provided with good salaries, paid naturally with public's money, and given all kinds of titles. There are Assistant Deputy Ministers, Chief Administration Officers, Chief Executive Officers, and many more. One may think of these as modern society's new 'titled' gentry rather than Sir or Dame.

In the Niagara Region of Ontario, the Chief Medical Officer Valerie Jaeger is indeed a medical officer. Dr. Valerie Jaeger is a licensed, practising family physician. Dr. Valerie Jaeger carries with her all the mythology of the Hippocratic Oath and the caring for her fellow man, oh and woman and child, one has to remain politically correct. As a family physician she has to be trusted by those who are not only her personal patients, but by the general public as well. No one expects anything other than honesty and the truth from a doctor. How would it be if a doctor told a patient only what they want to hear rather than the facts about their health.

Doctors are respected and trusted in our community even today. But Dr. Valerie Jaeger is also one of the new 'titled' gentry in our community. Dr. Valerie Jaeger is the Chief Medical Officer for the Regional Municipality of Niagara and its government. As the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Valerie Jaeger was appointed by the Regional Chairman and blessed by the Provincial Minister of Health. Now Dr. Jaeger is not just a mere doctor, she is a government official, a public servant. She is no longer responsible for just her list of patients, but for the health of tens of thousands of Niagara residents. Here is when the mythology surrounding doctors, and maybe Hippocrates himself, gets turned on its butt.

A very serious issue arose in 2012 relating to public health. This related to potential contaminates reaching Lake Ontario and the freshwater supply of not only Niagara residents, but hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents. Dr. Valerie Jaeger's Office of Public Health is responsible for the implementation of the Sewer Use By-Laws. Dr. Jaeger lied in written responses to Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs, an elected Regional Councillor Andrew Petrowski, and to a member of the public. It was difficult to understand what motivated Dr. Jaeger to lie, but all the evidence was undeniable, and presented in an article titled, Dr. Valerie Jaeger MD, PhD., LIED!

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario reviewed a complaint submitted to them. On November 16th 2012 in their final report the College decided that the “complaints against Dr. Jaeger relate to her role as a public official and are outside the practice of medicine.” In simple language, the College did not clear Dr. Valerie Jaeger of any lies, they only said that the lies came from a public official not a doctor. Dr. Jaeger was still referred to in all the communications by the College as a 'doctor', and Dr. Jaeger is still a member of the College and Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Jaeger managed to survive through all of this without consequence. In fact as a loyal 'titled' appointee and public official, she found the government willing to protect her further. The Regional Municipality of Niagara provided the College a copy of a memorandum dated June 20th 2012 where they state, “there was no basis for further investigation and no basis or grounds for what it termed were “defamatory comments” made by the complainant about Dr. Jaeger.”

Clear and undeniable evidence was labelled as “defamatory comments.” Dr. Jaeger was safe, and one would think that was enough. Alas that was not so. A local St. Catharines resident and community activist Preston Haskell came across evidence presented in a blog titled NO AD LIB relating to potential contaminates pumped into a run-off sewer. This related to a former brownfield property which was being developed for a new fast food restaurant and other retail. NO AD LIB presented an article which provided photographs of pumplines extending from an excavation into a parking lot run-off sewer. Independent laboratory tests results were also published of samples taken from the site of both water and soil. Those tests were conducted by an accredited environmental testing facility, and the results were alarming.

Mr. Haskell represents a local community group called The Winners Circle, publishes a quarterly newsletter under that title, and a blog titled News Alert Niagara. The information published in the NO AD LIB article concerned him and he decided to raise the issue with the regional government of Niagara and his regional councillor. It was the response from Dr. Valerie Jaeger and her 'titled' political compadres that was alarming. (Mr. Haskell provided copies of all emails to Mayorgate).

As the original article on NO AD LIB presented photographs of pumplines extending from inside the excavation pit and into the storm run-off sewer, Mr. Haskell raised questions of the regional government as to what tests were conducted prior to discharge. He raised a total of eight questions relating to the contaminated water that was discharged into the storm sewer and to the contaminated soil taken to landfill.

A pump and pump line secured into a parking lot run-off sewer at a Brownfield excavation site 344 Glendale Ave. St. Catharines 

Pump line secured into the parking lot run-off sewer pumping contaminated water from a Brownfield excavation site. The run-off sewers eventually empty into Lake Ontario. 

The black soil visible of the wall of the excavation, pump line extending down into the pit. 

Dr. Valerie Jaeger in her email to Mr. Haskell dated October 30th 2012 states,In your request sent through the Clerk's Office in August, you pose eight questions. The answer to all of these eight questions is that these are all the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment and not that of The Regional Municipality of Niagara, whether councilors or staff.” Mr. Ken Brothers, Commissioner of Public Works stated that, Drainage and surface storm water are not a Regional responsibility. Separate storm water is not treated at our wwtp facilities.” Mr. Bjorn Christensen, Director of Environmental Health at Regional Municipality of Niagara said, “the MOE is the government agency responsible to ensure that storm water outfalls meet provincial legislation and to that end works closely with municipalities who are responsible for local storm water management.”

By all intent and purpose Dr. Valerie Jaeger, Chief Medical Officer, Mr. Ken Brothers Commissioner of Public Works, and Mr. Bjorn Chirstensen, Director Environmental Health at the Regional Municipality of Niagara washed their hands of these issues. Responsibility was shifted to the Ministry of the Environment for the pumping of contaminated water into the storm sewers, and for that matter everything else.

The Commissioner of Public Works, Ken Brothers said that drainage and storm water are not a Regional responsibility, yet he ignored the Sewer Use By-Law 47-2008. It is a document prepared by the Niagara Region Public Works. Page seven of the twenty two page document sets out provisions for Administration and Enforcement. Point 3.1 clearly states, “Regional Council may enact a by-law appointing enforcement officers for the purpose of the enforcement of this by-law as required.” Further in point 3.2 it states that the Commissioner authorizes the enforcement officers to determine compliance of this by-law and or even the laying of charges under this by-law.

Niagara Region's own official By-Law 47-2008 clearly states that the Commissioner of Public Works appoints the enforcement officers. He provides them the authority to determine compliance with the by-law, and to lay charges for non-compliance. Yet Ken Brothers, who is the Commissioner of Public Works said that “drainage and surface storm water are not a Regional responsibility.” Why did Ken Brothers lie? Why did Ken Brothers ignore the very same Regional by-law that his enforcement officers are authorized to enforce?

Bjorn Christensen, Director Environmental Health, seemed to hedge his bets on the issue. In his response he too shifts the responsibility to the provincial ministry, but he adds that “municipalities who are responsible for local storm water management.” What does “local storm water management” really mean in Bjorn Christensen's interpretation?

Dr. Valerie Jaeger in her email of October 30th 2012 to Preston Haskell stated that detectable levels of a contaminate do not necessarily equate to toxic levels of a contaminate. Dr. Jaeger's own words were: “It is possible for something to be present at a concentration thousands of times above detectable level but still not at a toxic level.” In this point Dr. Jeager did not lie, but one could ask the good doctor if she would drink a glass of water where arsenic had been detected even if she was assured it was not at a toxic level?

The official Sewer Use By-Law 47-2008 on page 9 of 22 presents Table 1 – Limits for Sanitary and Combined Sewers. Point 4.12 above it, “Sewage containing any of the following matter in excess of the concentrations indicated in Table 1.” The opening words to point 4 are, “No person shall discharge or deposit or cause or permit the discharge or the deposit into any sanitary or combined sewer or into any sewer or sewer system connected directly or indirectly with any Regional sanitary sewer...” This table sets the limit (mg/L) for Arsenic as 1. Test Results conducted by the independent environmental testing laboratory showed arsenic at a level of 3.11 in the water sample. Now to ask Dr. Valerie Jaeger the same question and then offer a glass of water.

Dr. Jaeger also states “I believe you also raised concerns in your August emails that the Niagara Winners Circle had conducted testing on samples...” Here a serious error has occurred, either through miscommunication or presumption. Neither Mr. Preston Haskell nor anyone associated with the Niagara Winners Circle conducted or collected any samples from this site. All photographic documentation, sample gathering and testing were conducted by Alexander Davidoff and first published in Mr. Haskell's concerns for the community and desire to raise these issues with the Niagara regional government resulted from viewing this information and formulating his questions.

Out of the eight questions that Mr. Haskell raised, he questioned where the contaminated soil was dumped, and the testing results on the soil. All three of these 'titled' public employees shifted the responsibility onto the provincial ministry. Yet all landfills in the Niagara area are operated by the Regional Municipality of Niagara (all except one which is operated by Walker Bros.). Any soil from a former brownfield would have to be tested and full documentation provided. Relating to this same property in 2007 a Regional spokesperson Denise Papaiz had told a local reporter, Matthew Van Dongen of The Standard, “Niagara landfills can't take any soil with level of mercury at 0.1 milligrams per litre or higher.” Independent test results on soil samples taken from this excavation showed mercury at 0.120 ug/g. This measure, ug/g represents micrograms per gram or parts per million.

Regional spokesperson Denise Papaiz used a measure for levels of mercury as milligrams per litre, a liquid measure used in relation to solid hazardous waste. To ascertain these levels water is passed through a handful of mercury contaminated soil in a laboratory. As the water passes through the sample it is then tested for contaminate levels. Many would be familiar with a cleaning agent called CLR. It is a tough chemical cleaner that removes even rust stains. Pour some CLR on a stain and wipe it with a rag, some of the stain will be removed. Now pour the CLR on the stain and leave it to sit for a period then use the rag and all of the stain will be removed. Pouring a litre of water over contaminated soil and then testing the drained water is simply ludicrous.

All landfills, except as stated already, in the Niagara region are operated by the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Responsibility for the landfills falls under the jurisdiction of Regional Public Works. Nothing can be dumped without clear and precise documentation, at least that is the theory. How does the Commissioner of Public Works then claim not to have any responsibility in the matter? Did Commissioner for the Regional Municipality of Niagara,
Mr. Ken Brothers intentionally attempt to deceive?

Commissioner Ken Brothers also claimed in an email that this matter was investigated by Ministry of Environment and the file is now closed. Once again this is not true or correct, even though all three of these 'titled' public servants lay claim to a close working relationship with the Ministry of Environment.

An investigation was launched on this property in 2007 after the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario had approved an application made through his office. A second investigation, once again after the ECO approved and requested the MOE to review an issue of contaminated soil being removed to landfill, was conducted in 2009. The owner of the property at the time, Nino Donatelli, had made public statements on CBC television and in the local newspaper, that the soil was heavily contaminated with mercury, arsenic, lead and copper.

The excavation in April of 2011, during which the contaminated water was pumped into the storm run-off sewer, and when the black contaminated soil was unearthed, was never brought to an investigation. All the details, photographs and test results were published in NO AD LIB. Questions were raised of the Minister of the Environment publicly, but no investigation was conducted. During the excavation large steel drums were unearthed, they were placed at the side of the pit and then disappeared several days later. As the black soil was dug up the excavation was halted for some seven days. Later that soil was removed to landfill. Water was pumped directly into the storm run-off sewer, and photographs show the pump and pumplines.

Large drums with severe rust, seals broken appear to be unearthed during the excavation. What was in the drums or where they came from unknown. Where were they dumped, again unknown. 

Shale soaking mixing with the black water and soil, the rainbow seen across all surfaces. 

Continuation of the excavation at 344 Glendale Ave. The soil black, highly contaminated, the water black with rainbow over it, shale dumped to soak and cover the contamination.

This property has faced several investigations approved by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, the first was in 2007. After some years of 'investigating' and testing, the Director of the Western Region of the Ministry of Environment Mr. Bill Bardswick sent out a notice. Director Bardswick stated that the test results should be disregarded as the tests were interfered with at the laboratory. Under investigation was an issue of approximately half a million gallons of mercury contaminated water pumped from an excavation into a storm water run-off sewer illegally. The developer and owner of the property admitted in the press that he did indeed pump the water into the sewer but only because he did not know he needed to get permission. Nino Donatelli had been given an award by the Regional Municipality of Niagara as the best brownfield redevelopment prior to the pumping.

Two years later the same developer, Nino Donatelli excavated some 5000 tonnes of contaminated soil from the property. Its cocktail of contaminates consisted of mercury, arsenic, lead and copper. Niagara's regional municipality gave Donatelli permission to dump this heavily contaminated soil at a landfill in Wainfleet, Ontario. Station Road Landfill in Wainfleet is physically only minutes from public beaches and Lake Erie. Leaching from this massive dumping of contaminated soil could go into one direction only. In an interview with the head of the Ministry of the Environment in St. Catharines, Mr. Rich Vickers admitted that the MOE did not do the testing prior to approval of the deposit at landfill. In fact Rick Vickers of the MOE admitted that MOE did not even know what the contaminates were. He also questioned the decision by the Regional Municipality of Niagara to permit this contaminated soil to be dumped at such a sensitive landfill site. This interview was recorded and is available for verification.

In 2011 the excavation at issue was only some 40 feet away from where this soil was removed and dumped at Wainfleet. There were no investigations, it is a lie by Mr. Ken Brothers. This property has faced several environmental investigations that only left greater and more alarming questions in the end. Its history as a rubber factory in the 1800's and then as a paper mill operated by Domtar Paper Mills, guaranteed serious contamination of the soil.

All three: Dr. Valerie Jaeger, Mr. Ken Brothers Commissioner of Public Works, and Mr. Bjorn Christensen Director of Environmental Services had claimed that they had a close working relationship with the local office of the Ministry of Environment. Dr. Valerie Jaeger had made this claim in the past. Here all three have intentionally misled Mr. Preston Haskell and a Regional Councillor. Still the motivation behind this deceit is not difficult to identify.

Governments, at all levels from federal to municipal, find environmental issues an obstacle. We hear all the rhetoric of protecting the future from them but the reality is far removed from their combined rhetoric. Business and development survives on increasing profit margins, at the same time governments need the tax revenue and generation of potential jobs. Adherence to environmental legislation is an added cost, and in the case of developing a brownfield, always a hidden one. These 'titled' public employees are paid well to ensure the smooth operation of all government machinery, and they simply protect their own positions.

Here three individuals have in fact lied about facts surrounding questions of contaminates and potential access of these contaminates into the open environment. Copies of their responses were forwarded to the Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs, chair for the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Chairman Burroughs cannot claim ignorance on these matters, after all he is a highly paid public official with years of experience. For Gary Burroughs to claim he simply accepts the statements by those who are employed by the Regional Government, then it is time Chairman Gary Burroughs be removed from office.

Chairman Gary Burroughs cannot claim ignorance of the Regional Sewer Use By-Law, as it was signed by his predecessors. 

Once again Dr. Valerie Jaeger, Niagara's chief medical officer is part of intentional deceit. Dr. Jaeger, Mr. Bjorn Christensen Director of Environmental Services, and Mr. Ken Brothers Commissioner of Public Works, intentionally misled Mr. Preston Haskell. Together they provided the web of misconception over an issue that in the end affects all of the people of Niagara, and they are paid well from the public purse provided by these same people.

Send comments to: