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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Barrie earns conservation award

he Kidd’s Creek channel improvements at the foot of Toronto Street are more than just pretty: they’re award-winning.

At least that’s the case in the eyes of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, which honoured the City of Barrie Oct. 17 with two awards.

The Water Conservation Award recognizes those who have completed a project that improves the water quality of the lake, and the downtown project does that by opening up the creek, once covered by a culvert, and the naturalized banks, which further filter water.

The Conservation Award of Merit recognizes those who have implemented or financed the most significant conservation project in the watershed – and the Kidd’s Creek project, which spanned two construction years, rang in at $600,000.

“The city is incredibly honoured that this important project (which) extends the life of our parkland, and adjacent to the shoreline, improves the fish habitat and provides flood protection has been recognized as the most significant project of the year by the LSRCA,” said Richard Forward, Barrie’s community services commissioner.

“These awards acknowledge the efforts of the community that have made this project a success and that will position Barrie at the forefront of environmental issues.”

A part of Barrie’s downtown revitalization efforts, the Kidd’s Creek project was reviewed by the conservation authority a couple of years ago. Not only did the authority recognize the immediate benefit to fish habitat and flood projection, but it worked with the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation to join in funding the project.

The finishing touches – the landscaping with trees and native plants – was finished Oct. 13, with donations from Landscape Ontario and volunteers from a variety of community groups, including the Barrie Colts, Rotary clubs and local schools.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oct 15 -Canada's New Government taking action to clean up Lake Simcoe

Canada's New Government taking action to clean up Lake Simcoe

JACKSON'S POINT, ON, Oct. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable John Baird,
Minister of the Environment, and the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the
Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform
announced today that the Government of Canada is investing $12 million to
support the clean up of Lake Simcoe.
"Our Government believes that clean, safe and secure water is something
all Canadians should have the right to enjoy," said Minister Baird. "Today's
announcement will clean up Lake Simcoe, improve water quality, and ultimately
protect our precious ecosystems."
This investment to clean up Lake Simcoe is part of Canada's $93 million
National Water Strategy, a comprehensive initiative to improve water quality
and to protect our precious lakes, rivers and oceans. By investing $12 million
over the next two years to support the clean up of Lake Simcoe the Government
is taking real action to stem the effects of excessive algae and weed growth
that reduce oxygen supply and harm fish and wildlife.
"After years of hard work, action is being taken by Canada's New
Government to protect and clean up Lake Simcoe's environment. This is
important, not just to the thousands of visitors Lake Simcoe welcomes each
year, but also to the communities that live on its shores," added Minister Van
Loan, who is also the local MP for York-Simcoe. "Lake Simcoe provides clean
and safe drinking water for tens of thousands of families around the lake."

Lake Simcoe is one of Ontario's major recreational areas, located north
of Toronto. The lake is known for its recreational fishery and picturesque
landscapes and generates approximately $200 million annually through tourism
and recreation. The region also supports agricultural activities and has
recently undergone increased urban development.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mayor of Georgina has denounced recent attacks on Asian Canadian fishermen

The mayor of Georgina has denounced recent attacks on Asian Canadian fishermen, as well as anti-Semitic and homophobic vandalism, and has apologized on behalf of his community.

"The people that I have the privilege of representing are shamed and embarrassed that this would have happened in our community," Robert Grossi said yesterday after meeting with leaders of B'nai Brith Canada and the Chinese Canadian National Council.

Grossi's comments came after swastikas and anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs were painted on nine vehicles in Keswick, while York Region police investigate a series of attacks on Asian Canadian anglers at Lake Simcoe.

"From what we've heard so far, they're isolated incidents," said the mayor of the lakeshore community of 40,000 north of Toronto.

Grossi was praised for meeting with local faith groups and educators about the attacks.

"We see leadership from the mayor on this," said Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council. "We're quite appreciative of it."

Grossi noted that police are investigating the attacks, and have stepped up patrols around the lake.

"York Regional Police have been very responsive, very respectful."

Immediately after reports of the incidents last week, Grossi's office issued a public statement saying that "broad-stroke painting of our community as a place that is unwelcoming to some groups or nationalities is unjustified."

Yesterday, he said he still considers his community to be tolerant.

"We are a very welcoming community," Grossi said.

In one of the recent incidents, a man was left in a coma after a violent confrontation between anglers and community members.

In other recent incidents, a man and a boy were pushed into the water while fishing.

Two related cases are before the courts, including one involving a high-speed chase that began when youths approached anglers fishing off a pier, and demanded to see their fishing licences.

The youths began shouting racial slurs and then chased the anglers as they fled, ramming their car from behind with a pickup truck.

Meanwhile, in the town of Westport on Big Rideau Lake, police are investigating at least two incidents in which locals have allegedly attacked Asian-Canadian anglers in the past two months.

In one incident, a man who was fishing with his 73-year-old father-in-law on a bridge at midnight was beaten up and thrown off the bridge by a group of young men.

In another incident, men wielding baseball bats and an axe forced some Asian-Canadians to give up their fishing spot on a local bridge.

In both cases, the victims were said to be from Toronto.

Residents of this hamlet say while they are fed up with people poaching fish from local reservoirs, they deny the incidents have anything to do with racism.

"People are really angry and I'm afraid sooner or later someone is going to get seriously hurt," said Charlie Jones, who heads a local group of conservationists.