The Honourable Doug Ford – Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Ontario PLEASE HELP!

The Honourable Doug Ford

Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Ontario

Legislative Building

Queens Park

Toronto ON

M7A 1A1                                                                        October 8, 2018-10-05

 

 

Dear Premier,

 

I would like to address the issue of waste created by a resident of the Curve Lake  Reserve, namely Mr. James Whetung’s rice fields in Pidgeon Lake, as well as in several other Kawartha Lakes.   We have been living, not just cottaging, on the South East shore of Pigeon Lake since June of 1994.

 

The waste issue has been overlooked within the greater issues with Mr. Whetung revolving around the Williams treaty of 1923.  (I refer you to the attached letter by Mr Larry Wood to The Hon Justin Trudeau Prime Minister).

Since I was a kid growing up in Germany, I’ve always had empathy for the plight of the North American Indigenous People.  So I can state right here that I support him in his endeavour to pass on the tradition of harvesting the wild rice in their traditional way, to his people and others who are interested.

 

However, I take great issue with the manner in which he’s going about it.

 

Williams Treaty No. 20

 

He has voiced his intentions to seed most of the lakes within the boundaries of the Williams Treaty.

 

In 1994 there was no evidence of any rice any where near us.  We understand that in 2011 there were approx. 200 acres, today there are in excess of 1500 acres, and there seems to be no end in sight.   This begs the question: how much rice does he need to traditionally harvest it by canoe?  He has thrown tradition out the window.  He is harvesting using an airboat, typically used in the Florida everglades.  A most noisy piece of equipment.

 

At the end of harvest sason a lot of his dying crop disintegrates and washes up on our shores.   These mats of waste consist of strands of thick and very strong rice grass which has been uprooted by wave action as well as by adjasent boat trafic.   Most of these strands are 8ft. long, knitted and woven together into a mass thick enough to touch bottom, which is 3 to 4 ft. deep at our shore.  They can reach out to 50ft. from shore.

Once the heavy job of forking it out of the water is donewe have to get rid of it.  Fortunately we have a place on our property where we can dump it.  If we did not have this space we would have to truck it to the dump and pay for doing so.

I am 75 years old, my wife is 71.  I have Parkinson’s Disease. To get rid of this mess is a big job, as witnessed by the attached photos.  This is not a onetime thing, but rather has to be repeated several times throughout the season.

I remember one member of our Initiative telling me that once he confronted Mr. Whetung about the clean up, he was told that he should just hire some of

Mr. Whetung’s neighbours to do it!  In effect he is running a commercial enterprise, and as such, he should abide by some rules that I’m sure his mother must have taught him, namely one being: clean up after yourself!

The option of just leaving them in the water is not tenable.  It doesn’t take long for the whole thing to turn into stinking, rotting mess right into winter.  In the spring once the ice is gone, we find the lake bottom in front of us all covered in the remains of last years mess.

 

He is running a commercial business, Black Duck Wild Rice, and by all indications not very well.  He is a one man show, concentrating on playing in the mess he’s creating on the waters, making it very unpleasant for the rest of us.

Pat and I are not by a long shot the only ones affected by this man’s behaviour.

May I referr you to the “Save Pidgeon Lake” web site www.savepigeonlake.com

 

Mr. Larry Wood, Spokesperson for the “Save Pigeon lake Initiative” has been in touch with all levels of Government since 2011, without any success in gaining help regarding this problem.  When contacted, Hon. Maryam Monsef, our MP has shown little interest.  I’m afraid Mr. Whetung’s attitude does not bode well for the Reconcilliation Process underway in Canada at this very moment.

 

It is for this reason I am writing you now, to respectfully appeal to you to put some weight of your office onto this matter.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Richard Lange

Member – Save Pigeon Lake Initiative

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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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PLEASE PAY ATTENTION….NO MATTER WHAT LAKE YOU ARE ON….THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

Dear Residents surrounding the Kawartha Lakes:

 

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION….NO MATTER WHAT LAKE YOU ARE ON….THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

 

On Monday, September 17th our rice problem reached a new level! Two individuals in an airboat were seen and videoed SEEDING the Eastern Shore of Pigeon Lake just feet off of our docks! This went on for about 4 hours and they continued to SEED all of the open water areas. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH….This is horrifying and totally unacceptable!

 

As you are aware, we have been trying to find a solution to the rice growth in the Kawartha Lakes. We have been in contact over the last 7 years with our Governments in the hope they would do something about the seeding and commercial harvesting. To date no solution has been found.

 

I have sent the attached letter to the Director of Ontario Waterways, Parks Canada with cc.’s To The Prime Minster of Canada, The Ministry of the Environment, The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, The Federal MPP of Peterborough County, The Ontario MP Of Peterborough and Selwyn Council.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO END THIS ATROCITY!

  1. The only way we can make a difference is if we all SPEAK UP! You can help by writing your thoughts to all of the above or anyone else that will listen. Have your kids, grandkids and friends write a letter too.

 

  1.  We need to reach out and find some professionals or volunteers who can help us with this mess. Surely someone in this great country of ours would step up to help stop this injustice.

 

  1.  Please forward this email to others you know who are enjoying the pristine Kawartha Lakes. Seeding has taken place in all three tri-lakes plus Stoney Lake. Your lake could be next!

 

  1.  Do you know anyone who would have an interest in reviewing this Issue and advising us how to approach our Government for assistance?

 

  1.  You can also help by asking your friends to send a note to savepigeonlake@gmail.comrequesting to be put on our mailing list.

For those of you who have not been affected by this….Try to imagine how it would feel after working long and hard to acquire your lakefront dream home and having someone just feet off the end of your dock dropping seed into the water.  How would you feel?  PLEASE HELP!

Larry Wood

Spokesperson – Save Pigeon Lake Initiative

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Volunteers

Our numbers are growing. We currently have 120 respondents and still have more volunteers who are knocking on doors that we have not yet heard from. We could use some volunteers to go door to door around Egan Marine and on the west side of Pigeon lake. If you would like to contribute some of your time, send me an email and I will arrange to get flyers and petition sheets to you.

Contact savepigeonlake@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer to help.

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