Mayoralty Candidates Position Regarding Farming Of Rice In The Kawartha Lakes

Dear Concerned Residents of Selwyn

 

As you are aware, an election is coming up. The person who gets elected as Mayor will have an opportunity to fight on our behalf in finding solutions to our continuing battle, re the issues pertaining to the farming of rice in the Kawartha Lakes.

 

I asked each candidate what they would do if elected. Below are their responses. The quality of these candidates speak for itself,  as each one enthusiastically agreed to respond and in writing.

 

Our thanks for putting your names forward.

 

Sincerely

 

Larry Wood

 

 

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Linda Marlene Eales

 

Dear Larry,

 

I sincerely apologize for my delay on my response. The reason for my response is that it is very important for me to review all background information I could obtain in order to most thoroughly and fairly respond to your request.

 

I have been in contact with Selwyn Township about this and support all of Selwyn Council’s Resolutions to work with our MP Monsef to continue to strongly urge the Federal Government through Parks Canada to Finalize a Wild Rice Management Plan, including:

 

Establish a method for harvesting the wild rice that considers the needs of adjacent waterfront property owners as the current mechanical method of using an air boat generates excessive noise that is disturbing to waterfront property owners and is affecting the enjoyment of their property.

Establish time limits on mechanical harvesting by limiting the hours per day for harvesting and establishing no harvesting on Sundays.

Additionally, in reviewing the response letter January 11th, 2018, from Jewel Cunningham, Director of Ontario Waterways Parks Canada: I will directly contact her in relation to her response, that “…further work on a wild rice management plan progresses…” and that  “Parks Canada will establish a forum in which cottagers and residents will be able to liaise and discuss concerns directly with the Trent Severn Waterway… Through education and collaboration, everyone’s interests can be heard and understood and possibly accommodated. On the specific concern raised related to the use of mechanical harvesting and the issuance of aquatic vegetation removal permits, Parks Canada and the Steering Committee will advance discussions pertaining to these topics. We appreciate your useful suggestions and will consider them at the table. ” [underlining is my addition]

 

I also think it may be wise for Selwyn Council to request a meeting with our Curve Lake Nation Chief and Council to discuss the wild rice on behalf of both of our community members, as we are all affected by this use of the shared lakes and shared land. At my requests for information, I have not received any confirmation that this has happened yet.

 

I have read about, and listened to your story of your family history on Pigeon Lake and understand that this is very upsetting for you and your family. I have received a number of other requests for my position on the wild rice seeding and harvesting on Pigeon Lake and will respond to those emails now. As you and yours well know, this is a challenging issue as it involves our Federal Government and our Williams Treaty First Nations, and there is a long history that is being considered at the Federal level prior to decisions being made now.

 

Please let me know when and where the candidates responses will be posted on your website so that I can direct other inquiries to your site. This may also help to garner more support for you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Linda Marlene Eales

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Ron Black

 

 

Good morning Larry, as per our conversation, I am providing you with my comments regarding the seeding of wild rice on Pigeon Lake.  This seeding practice started almost ten years ago and it appears that our Federal government, their local representatives and the Trent Severn Waterway have done little to support the Selwyn residents who have been negatively impacted.  As the Trent Severn Waterway is a Federal jurisdiction, it is their responsibility to mitigate this issue to ensure fair and equal treatment of all residents.

Selwyn Township has a long history of cooperation and partnerships with its neighbouring townships and Curve Lake First Nations Council.  Our partnership with Curve Lake includes bi-annual Tri-council meetings with Trent Lakes Township, economic development and tourism initiatives, public transportation planning, provision of fire services to the reserve etc…  Selwyn Township values our relationships with our neighbours and wants to enhance future partnerships that will directly benefit residents in all of our communities.  Successful partnerships depend on all parties actively working together to find solutions to local issues that impact residents.

If elected Mayor of Selwyn Township, I will request an urgent meeting with Curve Lake Council to work on a compromise solution that is agreeable to both communities.   Partnerships are dependent on both parties having empathy and understanding of the needs of everyone involved.  Future partnerships with the Township of Selwyn may be negatively impacted based on support for these basic principles of negotiation and cooperation. I am prepared to urgently and actively work towards a solution for the residents of Selwyn Township.

 

Regards

Ron

 

 

Mayoralty Candidate Andy Mitchell

Larry

 

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

 

As always I appreciated hearing your perspective and I understand the frustration you are experiencing.

 

I believe one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Township is to take measures that work to facilitate residents having the opportunity to enjoy their property. As Mayor I would work hard to ensure this takes place.

 

As you point out in your letter indigenous harvesting rights is not the issue. You and your neighbours recognize this activity is consistent with the Williams Treaty.

 

What you are seeking are answers to a number of questions about the exercise of this right and the need to receive answers in a timely and clear manner.

 

More specifically you have asked:

 

  1. Is it legal to seed rice on Federal waterways
  2. Is it legal to harvest rice for commercial purposes
  3. Is it legal to harvest rice using mechanical devices

 

As Mayor of Selwyn I will champion your efforts to be provided answers. As you know I have extensive experience dealing with senior levels of government in general and indigenous issues more specifically. I have a long track record of getting things done.

 

In moving forward I would propose the following:

 

  1. Engage the Federal and Provincial government at both a political and bureaucratic level. As Municipal representatives our perspective needs to be heard and considered. I am prepared to go to Ottawa and Toronto to make our case
  2. As a Township we should engage FCM, AMO and ROMA to garner municipal allies in approaching the Federal and Provincial governments to outline approaches to assist municipalities in accommodating the exercise of Treaty rights
  3. Reach out to other municipalities to identify best practices in addressing similar situations
  4. Engage with the First Nations covered by the Williams Treaty to identify concerns and to develop an appropriate and respectful dialogue
  5. In the context of the Williams Treaty and subsequent affirmations, use the joint council meetings with Curve Lake to discuss perspectives and seek common understandings
  6. Advocate that the Township have a meaningful role on any working group developed to address the issue of wild rice
  7. In order to ensure property owners are kept up to date and have a venue to express their concerns, as Mayor I would strike a working group of property owners and the ward councillor to keep residents informed on progress and to receive input. This process could begin with a town hall meeting to allow a fulsome exchange of perspectives

 

In closing I believe that the resolution of the situation requires the respectful engagement of all parties. As challenging as the past relationship has been, the path forward requires the Township to make an aggressive effort to find common ground and to continue to engage all parties.

 

I would be pleased to discuss this further with you and your neighbours.

 

Andy

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Kawartha Lakes receives plan to regulate rice harvest

Pigeon Lake residents among those frustrated with noisy harvesting practice

NEWS Oct 11, 2017 by Bill Hodgins Kawartha Lakes This Week

KAWARTHA LAKES – Waterfront homeowners on Pigeon, Chemong and Buckhorn Lakes say struggles with navigation, along with the noise coming from airboat rice harvesters, have led to “an ongoing nightmare” for too long now.

They’ve convinced the Township of Selwyn to act. Now Kawartha Lakes is getting in on that too.
Mayor Andy Letham has asked council to support a resolution from Selwyn Township calling for time limits on harvesting, quieter methods to do so, and a ban on carrying out rice harvesting on Sundays. As well, it asks Parks Canada to continue to consider applications on aquatic vegetation removal “to allow waterfront property owners to make use of the waterway.”

This issue isn’t a new one for Pigeon Lake waterfront owners. James Whetung, a First Nations member and owner of Black Duck Wild Rice, has harvested wild rice for more than a quarter century. He harvests and collects the rice, and provides an educational opportunity for those looking to learn more about the process. According to his website, the rice is sold through a small-scale commercial operation.

But some say it affects their time on the water. Pigeon Lake resident Joanna Augustyniak wrote Selwyn Township stating the harvesting is happening seven days a week, six hours a day.
“The situation has been terrible this year and Mr. Whetung is showing no respect for our rights.”

Coun. Heather Stauble spoke in favour of backing the resolutions put forward by Selwyn. Speaking at council on Oct. 10, she said it’s not an issue this council can solve. It needs to be dealt with between the “First Nations” and Parks Canada. But the City’s resolution to back Selwyn Township will help make it clear this is something that they need to address, she said.
by Bill Hodgins

Follow Bill Hodgins on Twitter @bhwrites
Email: bhodgins@mykawartha.com Twitter

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Parks Canada Cancelling Permit

Dear Save Pigeon Lake supporters

As you are aware, Parks Canada and First Nations met on Friday August 28th to discuss the First Nation’s objection that Parks Canada issued a permit without consideration of the First Nation’s rights to be consulted prior to issuing of a permit to cut wild rice. This is a legal obligation and Parks Canada acknowledged they (First Nations) should have been consulted before issuing the permit.

Parks Canada has cancelled the permit. Although you, like myself are disappointed with this result I believe it would be in our best interest to respect the cancellation and cease to do any further cutting this year.

Last week’s meeting resulted in a positive step towards finding solutions to the rice proliferation in the Trent Severn Waterways. I am encouraged that Parks Canada and the First Nations have agreed to further talks. Hopefully, these talks which are to commence as soon as possible will take into consideration the needs of the First Nations and all of the people who have enjoyed the Trent Severn waterways for over a century. Solutions can be found if we all work together.

Thank you for your support and your respectful consideration in honouring the cancellation of the rice cutting permit. You may be assured we will continue to express your concerns to all levels of Government impressing on them their responsibility to find a solution to the deliberate seeding and commercial harvesting in Federal Waterways which is causing irreparable harm to us all. If you have any questions please contact me at savepigeonlake@gmail.com

Sincerely
Larry Wood

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Kawartha Conservation – Lake Management Planning and the Wild Rice

From: “Brett Tregunno”
Date: January 12, 2015 at 12:12:15 PM EST
To: “‘Save Pigeon Lake'”
Subject: RE: Brief summary
Reply-To:
Hi Larry,

Here is a brief summary of our current actions in relation to Lake Management Planning and the Wild Rice issue on southern Pigeon Lake.

We are aware of your community’s concern regarding the proliferation of aquatic plants, particularly wild rice in southern Pigeon Lake, and are currently attempting to find management solutions that address these concerns. After consulting with many agencies, stakeholder organizations, academics, First Nations representatives, and shoreline association representatives, we are more aware than ever that there are no simple solutions.

Kawartha Conservation is partnering with City of Kawartha Lakes to develop a Pigeon Lake Management Plan. A significant component of this plan will detail science-based actions to address specific issues relevant to local shoreline communities. Providing responsible aquatic plant control options in southern Pigeon Lake, reducing blue-green algae blooms in northern Pigeon Lake, and maintaining important natural habitats within the lake basin have all been identified as top priority issues. The actions developed through this plan will not be legally binding, but will recommend a common approach to maintaining healthy lake conditions for shoreline communities and the natural environment. We expect to complete this Plan in early 2016 and are already undertaking certain early implementation actions.

To specifically address the issue of wild rice proliferation and potential management options, we will be forming a Wild Rice Working Group within the next month. It is our intention that this group will be represented by all key stakeholders that are related to the wild rice issue, including but not limited to: Park Canada, First Nations, Shoreline Communities, and scientists with background in aquatic vegetation. This group will be formed on a short-term basis, with a sole purpose to develop wild rice management recommendations that will inform the Pigeon Lake Management Plan and existing aquatic plant control policies. We will be extending an invitation to your community for a representative to participate on this Working Group.

At this time, we feel that the Wild Rice Working Group and the Pigeon Lake Management Plan is our best approach towards finding common understanding, agreement on and any possible solutions to the wild rice issue on southern Pigeon Lake.

Brett Tregunno
Aquatic Biologist
KAWARTHA CONSERVATION
277 Kenrei Road
Lindsay, ON K9V 4R1

Tel: 705.328.2271 ext. 222
Fax: 705.328.2286

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Selwyn Township – Resolution No. 2014 – 200 – Rice Harvesting in Pigeon Lake

Selwyn Township Resolution Wild Rice Harvesting

Selwyn Township Resolution No 200 Rice Harvesting in Pigeon Lake

Resolution No. 2014 – 200 – Rice Harvesting in Pigeon Lake
Councillor Donna Ballantyne – Councillor Anita Locke –
That the correspondence and information provided by Larry Wood related to mechanical wild rice harvesting be received for information; and

That the Township of Selwyn send correspondence to the Federal Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq strongly urging that as noted in the 2012 correspondence sent to Mr. Wood from previous Minister, Peter Kent, a wild rice policy be developed and further that in developing the policy, due regard be given to how mechanical wild rice harvesting and seeding is significantly impacting how residents are able to enjoy our waterways and the quality of these waterways; and

Further that the correspondence also note the need for the Federal and Provincial governments to clearly define their roles and jurisdiction related to harvesting and seeding wild rice as there are disparities in who has jurisdiction over regulating the practice; who is able to issue permits; what types of rice harvesting are permitted (mechanical or by canoe); and for what purpose (cultural, commercial etc…); who is responsible to determine and regulate whether Ergot, reported to be dangerous if eaten, is present in the wild rice which is being sold commercially; who is responsible for laying charges if necessary, related to the current mechanical wild rice harvesting taking place on Pigeon Lake; and

Further that clarification be provided on whether wild rice can be defined as ‘wild’ when it is being mechanically harvested and seeded; and that the Township of Selwyn and Peterborough County O.P.P. Detachment Commander Tim Tatchell be copied on the responses made by the Federal and Provincial governments for information; and that the Federal and Provincial governments be asked to respond by the Spring of 2015 well in advance of the next harvesting season; and

That a copy of this Resolution be sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne, M.P. Dean Del Mastro, M.P.P. Jeff Leal, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment, the presidents of AMO and ROMA, the local Trent Severn Waterway offices, the Warden for the Trent Severn Waterway Enforcement Division and Larry Wood.

Mayor Mary Smith – yes
Councillor Donna Ballantyne – yes
Councillor Anita Locke – yes
Deputy Mayor Andy Mitchell – yes
Councillor Sherry Senis – yes
Carried.

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Selwyn Council Meeting Oct 2014 – Presentation

The following is the transcript from the presentation to The Selwyn Council Meeting on Oct 14, 2014. We had great support at the meeting and the resolution from the council will be posted on the website shortly.

 

Save Pigeon Lake

Good evening Mayor Smith and council members.

Thank you for the opportunity to express our concerns regarding the substantial increase of wild rice, and the method of harvesting in the areas of Pigeon Lake from Grenadier Island, south towards Omemee.

Our objective tonight, is to gain your support, and request your assistance in finding solutions to our concerns. These issues do not apply only to the residents surrounding Pigeon Lake, ultimately, if solutions are not found, they will end up involving all tax payers and businesses in the township.

It is important to note. We are NOT against the Harvesting of Wild Rice. We sincerely, appreciate the desire to honor traditions and encourage the education of heritage.

We are, however, against the intentional SEEDING of the Lakes and the COMMERCIAL harvesting of the rice, by an individual who is the catalyst for the expansion of the rice fields which are taking over the lake. IN ESSENCE, THIS IS A FINANCIAL GAIN FOR ONE, AT THE COST OF MANY.

1

The following will help you understand our concerns.

SLIDES

These pictures clearly show the condition of the Lake 10 years ago and what has happened since the planting and harvesting began. (see pictures on website)

TAPED INTERVIEW

The following tape is from an Interview with Mr. James Whetung on the radio show Terra Informa aired on January 22nd 2012.  Please listen carefully, as it clearly states, that he planted thousands of lbs. of seeds in order to replenish the rice beds he has harvested.

Mr. Whetung states that in the waters controlled by the Federal Government, they do not issue permits and have requested that he not plant nor gather rice in these waters. Mr. Whetung states, HE DID NOT LET IT STOP HIM

Unfortunately, the seeding of the rice beds referred to in the interview did not stop there.  On Sept. 26, 2014 I witnessed him, going slowly along the outside of the rice beds, and dropping something in the water. Directly behind him, flocks of seagulls were feeding on the water. I suspect the substance they were feeding on, was wild rice seeds. This planting of rice seeds explains the substantial increase of rice fields and how they matured so quickly.

 

2

Airboat Audio

NEXT we have an audio recording of the noise created by the airboat  while harvesting the rice fields…….Play recording

We’re forced to listen to this for hours on end, day after day, for weeks, until he is finished. This not only affects people around the lake, but also those living as far away as ½ mile inland.

Surely you agree that residents should not be subjected to this noise within our Township.

 

 3

The following is a recap of YOUR constituents concerns. These are the reasons we are here tonight, asking for your help in finding solutions to these issues.

 

  1. WILD RICE CONCERNS
  2. NAVIGATION OF THE WATERWAY IS DRASTICALLY REDUCED.
  3. THE LAKE IS NO LONGER A VENUE FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES ONCE ENJOYED BY ALL WALKS OF LIFE. SWIMMING, BOATING, WATER SKIING, FISHING TO NAME A FEW.
  4. THE CONSTANT CLEAN UP REQUIRED DUE TO BOAT PROPS CUTTING THE RICE PLANTS WHICH FLOAT INTO SHORE.
  5. THE HARVESTING BY AIRBOAT RESULTING IN AN UNACCEPTABLE NOISE LEVEL. DOORS AND WINDOWS HAVE TO BE SHUT IN ORDER TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION.  SHIFT WORKERS ARE NOT ABLE TO GET THEIR PROPER REST.
  6. PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT – Property Values are being affected. I have been told by Real Estate Associates, that they are reluctant to show property in this area during the rice growing season. The value of properties in the lower areas of Pigeon Lake, are NOT increasing at the same rate, as properties which DO NOT have the problems we are facing.

 

4

OVER TIME THIS WILL MEAN A REDUCTION IN THE TOWNSHIP TAX BASE.

THE END RESULT WOULD MEAN THE TOWNSHIP WOULD HAVE TO PASS ON THE REVENUE SHORTFALLS TO ALL TAX PAYERS.

The Issues presented tonight are not only affecting property owners residing on the shores of Pigeon Lake. They are affecting businesses, resort operators and tourism, all of which provide TAX dollars to help sustain the quality of life we all enjoy.

In our efforts to draw attention to this matter, we met with The Trent Severn Waterways Enforcement Division, who will be reviewing our complaint. They have stated the areas of Pigeon Lake in question are part of the Trent Severn Water System and fall within Federal jurisdiction. They are gathering information to develop a process that will hopefully put an end to the ILLEGAL harvesting of rice. We have also met with M.P.P. Jeff Leal, M.P. Dean Del Mastro and a representative from Kawartha Conservation. During each of these meetings we were encouraged to write to government agencies or individuals of influence requesting their assistance in finding solutions.

 

5

WE NEED YOUR HELP AND ARE REQUESTING THAT, SELWYN COUNCIL SEND LETTERS TO THOSE GOVERNMENT BODIES THAT CAN ASSIST IN FINDING A SOLUTION TO OUR CONCERNS.

A SOLUTION MUST BE FOUND. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • IS IT RIGHT to seed the lake, and create rice fields that impede the use of the waterway in areas where rice NEVER EXISTED?
  • IS IT RIGHT to harvest the rice in such a manner, that the seed spillage, spreads to other parts of the lakes?
  • IS IT RIGHT to harvest rice in a manner, that disturbs all residents surrounding the lake.
  • IS IT RIGHT to harvest rice and sell commercially, which could be INFECTED with ERGOT, which is FATAL to humans if consumed?
  • IS IT RIGHT, that one individual can intentionally seed lakes and harvest the cultivated crop from the rice fields that have been planted by him, for his own personal financial gain, at the expense of many? This is NOT wild rice he is harvesting. It is a PLANTED crop. He is FARMING in the Trent Severn Waterways.
  • IS IT RIGHT that one person can ignore the guidelines set forth by an Agency of the Federal Government, and continue to seed the lake for his own purposes.

WE DO NOT BELIEVE HE HAS THESE RIGHTS, AND HOPEFULLY NEITHER DO YOU.

 

6

Support for THE SAVE PIGEON LAKE initiative has grown quickly with over 250 people registered and continues to gain momentum every day as the word spreads. Again, our objective is to find solutions which will be acceptable to all and we are willingly to meet with any parties that share the same interest.

I think it is obvious that this issue is not only the concern of Property Owners on lower Pigeon Lake. Unless solutions are found in the very near future, it will eventually affect taxpayers of Selwyn Township, as well as, other Townships that surround the Trent Severn Waterways.

 

IN CLOSING 

PLEASE HELP US FIND SOLUTIONS THAT WILL SATISFY THE NEEDS OF ALL PARTIES!   YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED! 

THANKS FOR LISTENING!  IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS I WOULD BE HAPPY TO RESPOND.

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Selwyn Council meeting Oct 14th

Selwyn Council meeting has been changed to October 14th. At this meeting I will make a presentation requesting the support of Selwyn council. We will ask that a letter be written to Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and any others they feel is appropriate. I will emphasize the potential loss of tax revenues due to declining property valuations, loss of tourism revenues and the declining quality of life, all due to the admitted seeding of the lakes resulting in rapid growth of rice, as well as, commercial harvesting using an airboat.

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