Some of my earliest memories involve me riding high on my Dad's shoulders, my tiny hands gripping tightly to his stubbled chin as we hiked the beautiful trails of GreenWater Provincial Park and I took it all in. I remember the group picnics at the Green Lake day use area with beach and sun, food and fellowship. I thought we were just doing the Church thing, but one thing that was Truly happening was that place was being lodged firmly into my Beating Heart.
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The provincial Liberal government's recent decision to cancel Ontario Northland rail services completely and suddenly without consultation has enraged Northern Ontario. As well there has been no direct response to an overwhelming outcry of concerns about road safety, health care, seniors, students, environment, tourism and political responsibility.
In a recent interview to discuss the proposed divestment of the ONTC Rick Bartolucci made two statements that in my opinion were totally erroneous.
Cochrane: On June 28th, representatives of the Cochrane & Area Ratepayers’ Co-op., Inc., Maggie Hermeston and Ben Lefebvre met with MPP’s Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), and Norm Miller, (Parry Sound-Muskoka), to address issues surrounding the proposed divestiture of the ONTC. Also in attendance were the president of FONOM and the mayor and two councillors from Cochrane. Fedeli indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to “hear the thoughts and concerns of affected communities and determine their needs going forward”, the Ratepayers’ Co-op was given 22 minutes in which to present their concerns.
The Federation of Northern Ontario Mayors (FONOM) has been in recent meetings with Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development & Mines (MND&M) regarding the proposed divestment of the ONTC and it appears the only progress made was by Bartolucci.
Ontario residents should consider themselves fortunate. Several decades ago Ontario law makers created a law ensuring big government plans, that radically affect communities and cultures, are not initiated without full transparency. This law guarantees all affected parties a chance to comment and help shape the plan before it is approved.
This law is called the Environmental Assessment Act.