In Richmond, August 4th, 2004...                                            (View: Meeting Notice)

The LLA addresses serious problems with the city's "Jock River Subwatershed Reach 2 Study"

The Lanark Landowners Association (LLA) met with close to a hundred irritated local landowners in the Richmond Arena Hall on Wednesday night, (August 4th). The property owners were there to get the straight goods on what the city's agenda really is, with regard to its "Jock River Subwatershed Reach2 Study" plans. What they heard, did not paint a pretty picture.

Randy Hillier, President of the LLA, said, "They want to inventory your land". He explained that city planners, and representatives from several provincial ministries, were seeking permission from landowners, to catalogue all of the features of owners' properties within the study area. Once inside, they would study the physical attributes of the property: the vegetation (tree

 

species, varieties of plant growth, etc.), soil types, groundwater charactistics, aquatic features (if any), the wildlife and natural habitats, etc.  
  Randy Hillier addressed Jock River area landowners in Richmond on Wednesday, August 4th.
 
     
 
 
"If you don't protect the individual in society, you're not protecting society."

          -Randy Hillier, President of the Lanark Landowners Association (LLA)

 

 
 

After citing several cases where such property invasions went horribly wrong, Mr. Hillier stated, "There can be no benefit for the landowner, with such an exercise." He described how everything the city would be doing would be to their own advantage ...and at the disadvantage of the property owner. He portrayed their motives as completely self-serving, and while they may claim to be acting in the "public interest", Randy has yet to see how making individual property owners suffer, can be seen as "acting in the public interest". 

"If you don't protect the individual in society, you're not protecting society.", he emphasized.

Hillier went on to explain how owners in past situations, like this, have suddenly discovered their land was re-designated, such that they couldn't sever a lot, or use it for many of its former uses, causing the property to be drastically devalued. In some cases new mortgaging has become unavailable, or the existing mortgages have become un-renewable.

"Everyone else seems to think they have rights to our land, to the exclusion of the people who have title to it, pay the taxes, and carry the mortgages!", he said.

Jack MacLaren, a director of the Ottawa-Carleton Soil and Crop Improvement Association, (OCSCIA), is also a member of the LLA as well as of the Rural Council. His comments on behalf of large property owners, most of which are farmers, was impassioned and very much to the point.

 
"As land owners you have everything to lose and nothing to gain."
        -Jack MacLaren, director, OCSCIA

 

"Urban politicians are governing rural areas and they're doing a lousy job of it", he said.

 

Jack MacLaren holds up the "NO" flyer, he sent to landowners in the Jock River subwatershed area. Attendees at the Richmond meeting appreciated the 'heads-up' given by the flyer, and the LLA-sponsored meeting.

Mr. MacLaren held up the "NO" flyer, he said that the OCSCIA had distributed some weeks earlier, and reiterated that the purpose and message of the flyer was the warn all property owners in the subwatershed study area that they could let the city's investigation team on their property, if they so-wished, but they would be doing so at their own peril.

He pointed to the flyers message: "It is our considered recommendation that you do not give these people permission to enter your property because the results of the study could potentially result in land use designations that could restrict or interfere with your ability to use your property for work, pleasure or profit. As land owners you have everything to lose and nothing to gain."  (To view flyer, and related information: CLICK HERE)

Mike Campbell, from the Willola Beach Homeowners Association, briefly outlined how the city is misusing our municipal tax dollars on an unnecessary boat by-pass in the Fitzroy Harbour area. The bypass is unnecessary, because the infrastructure and facilities on the Quebec side of the river would be all that is needed to provide upstream access for boats.

Mike drew attention to the clear hypocrisy of the city ---when it professes to be doing the Jock River subwatershed study in the name of preserving and protecting the environment ---while simultaneously using our tax dollars to support the destruction of fish habitat with a 500-ft burm off the pristine Willola Beach shoreline, and to allow the construction of a bypass-road through a park and natural wetlands area.

All of this work is proposed to be done under the guise of an Environmental Assessment approval. However, that EA no longer reflects the current project design changes, and, even worse, it appears that no one at the city, (nor MOE for that matter), has examined the EA documentation in detail or paid any attention to its gross errors.

Mr. Campbell argues that, "In light of the city's support for the environmental destruction that would be associated with an un-needed boat bypass, at Willola Beach, the city does not have any credibility behind its stated aims and objectives for its planned Jock River watershed study".

Bruce Webster, representing the Richmond Village Association, thanked the Lanark Landowners Association for taking the time to share their experiences with local land owners.

He stated that, "The City of Ottawa, under the misguidance of Bob Chiarelli, and ...many equally inept councillors, has demonstrated a lack of stewardship never seen before in the history of Bytown."
Referring to the hypocrisy and apparent disingenuineness of the city's stated subwatershed study goals (i.e.: to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of the subwatershed and its significant natural resources”, and “to restore and enhance the natural system and promote compatible uses”), Mr. Webster asserted, "We in Richmond can understand (the need for ecological sustainability), since our source of water is being put at risk by THE CITY.  What the city is doing here, is a first in all of Ontario: No other area in Ontario has a high pressure sewer running through their aquifer. The city is setting Richmond residents up for a potential disaster that could be multiples WORSE than Walkerton!"
 

Bruce Webster, of the Richmond Village Association, sees a strong contradiction between the city's stated "subwatershed study" goals, "to ensure long-term ecological sustainability of the subwatershed", and what the city is doing with its installation of an unsustainable ---and high risk--- pressurized sewage forcemain through the shallow-well aquifer of over 5,000 residents.

"Now the same city wants to tell you what you can do with your property, if you live within the Jock River area. Tell them, 'NO WAY!'."


"Now this same city wants to tell you what you can do with your property, if you live within the Jock River area." He ended with, "Tell them, 'No way!'".

When the meeting adjourned, around 9:00 pm, many conversations continued for some time later, in small groups in the hall, and afterwards, in the parking lot. One of the discussions described the current Subwatershed "Study", as a "sneakier version of the earlier land-grab-attempt by the previous regional government: "the 'Greenspace-2000'-sham".

  Former Nepean Reeve raises good point

At the Richmond meeting, well respected former Nepean Reeve, Aubrey Moody questioned why  the city was meddling with landowners' private property, when it is not even looking after its own property ---by not complying with the Noxious Weed Act. This prompted RVA director, Bruce Webster, to write to the city and the relevant provincial departments, to follow-up.

To view Webster's letter to the city: CLICK HERE

By the end of the evening, it appeared that there would be very few, if any, land owners willing to play the city planners' proposed ...'one-sided game of Russian roulette'.



RuralCouncil.ca - Editor's Note:

While the focus of the Rural Council has been mainly on governance issues, (i.e.: fighting for the restoration of fundamental democratic rights ---by tackling the problem of marginalized rural representation caused by the ill-conceived amalgamation of Ottawa-Carleton), the Rural Council would like to give a resounding "Hats off, to the Lanark Landowner's Association!", for its public-service/information-session, in Richmond, on August 4th.

The LLA is becoming increasingly known across the province, (and even in some far-reaching areas of North America such as Colorado), for its defense of basic "quiet enjoyment rights" of property owners, as well as of their "land use rights".

The LLA has always, rightfully, maintained that farmers and other rural landowners are for the most part, law-abiding citizens who have the best knowledge and expertise in protecting the environment, from a balanced eco-system approach, and are far more capable than city politicians and bureaucrats at managing their own rural affairs. Yet, the politicians and bureaucrats, who are the very worst offenders at breaking the law and polluting the environment, continue to invade the rural domain ...of which they know so little.

The Rural Council shares and supports the LLA's interest in advising rural landowners of the threats to their property rights and land values, posed by the City of Ottawa's odious initiative: the "Jock River Subwatershed Reach2 Study".


 

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