Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hasting's County Tourism

This blog was last edited: Jan. 24, 2015

I'm starting this blog because of the combination of courses and experiences that I have and because I'm a fifth and sixth generation Hasting's County resident.   

It is a known fact that a lot of prime water front and special places in Canada were sold off as private property by the Crown many decades ago and that our ancestors did not have the hind-sight to leave significant landmarks and special places aside for the enjoyment of all of the people 

Many lakes and rivers are all private property and some have tiny little park lands available for the rest of the public. 

I'm not talking about our Provincial and National Park system, which by the way has some amazing places in their care, but I'm mostly talking about the Grand Trunk Corridor of Southern Quebec, and Southern Ontario where sixty percent of Canada's population lives on about four percent of the land mass.  (or something like that). 

Let's use Trenton, Ontario as an example.  This small city had a small lake to the north that they got their drinking water from. When the city decided to get their water from the Bay of Quinte, the small lake was partly sold off as private property.  This could have been a wonderful swimming hole/green space for all of the people but instead a handful of private residents get to enjoy it.  It should be noted that this happened at a time when Trenton municipal employees had elected to give themselves extremely high salaries. So in essence, the land was sold off to pay these high salaries and is just one more example of how we're loosing our green spaces to pay high government salaries.   

This story is not unique to Canada by any means, it is actually happening all over the globe. 

In order for an area to capitalize off of the outdoor-recreational-tourism-gamut, certain variables need to be in place:

First the area needs to have the natural resource base and landmark attractions to begin with, second they need the capital and political-will to develop it into park land for all  of the people. 

Significant park lands and recreational programs help to curb deviancy in any community because it distracts from delinquent behavior and it increase the quality of life for all people.  They're greenery is badly needed 'carbon credits' that soak up pollution. 

Even some in the Roman Empire, as far back as 44 BC, acknowledged the need for 'open spaces and gardens for the enjoyment of all of the people.'  

It's the opinion of the author that if Hasting's County wants to capitalize off of the outdoor recreational tourism gamut into future decades that they should invest in more designated green spaces for future generations.  

Also Hasting's County is the second largest county in Ontario and is a major carbon sink hole for all of the pollution coming from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and beyond on both sides of the border. That means that WE absorb all that crap before it gets to Ottawa and Montreal. 

Combine the Alberta tar sands emissions, the industrial belt in the GTA.. and prevailing west winds, with the Houston oil refineries emissions coming up in the southern jet's a big toxic soup flowing into Southern Ontario that just keeps getting worst every year.   

Park land acquisition can happen in a variety of ways:   

The following Park Land Acquisition is from #8 in this blog:

(there is a lot of information on this blog regarding park lands and loss of green spaces). 


   One of the biggest challenges facing Municipal Recreational Leaders in this century is that of park land acquisition as more and more of our farms and green spaces are turned into urban areas.   It is the urban areas that need park land.  

   This challenge requires cooperation from all levels of government. 

   Park lands greatly improve the quality of life of it's residents by offering opportunities for physical fitness. They are also designated 'green spaces' which are also badly needed in this decade for carbon credits. 

   There are a variety of ways for municipalities to obtain park land that include:  plea to land owners to donate their land or municipalities can purchase lands that are available and not available (if they want someone's land that has unique land mark appeal, they will give the families 100 years on their property.

 Meaning that if the land stays in the family for 100 years, that's okay, if not, then the municipality has the right to purchase it at fair market value. After 100 years in the family, they are forced to sell).  This program has been successful and non successful.  Toronto Island for example: the houses are still there.           

   Every good long range municipal plan should include adequate green space for humans and wildlife.

   All too often one Administration will establish park land, only to have another Administration come along and sell it off.   And for this reason, all designated park lands should have 'non-reversal' clauses attached to them.

   Organizations like Duck's Unlimited, The Nature Conservatory of Canada and Conservation Authorities are now turning down donated lands and selling off some of their park lands because they can't afford the taxes. Another example of 'going backwards' instead of 'forward' when it comes to environmental protection. It is my personal opinion that these non profit organizations should not be paying taxes because they play an important role in the conservation and protection of the resources that we need for survival: carbon credits and water purification

Non-Reversal Clauses for Protected Areas and Park Lands

All protected areas and park lands should include 'non reversal' clauses.

This is to prevent future governments or councils from coming along and undoing everyone's hard work.

This happens far too often, that one government or council will set up a good thing and then another Government or Council will just sell off or remove a 'protected' clause from the docket that a previous government or council had established.  

If we want to move 'forward' and protect the natural environment, then we can't take steps that take us backwards instead.

Comfort Country:

The Comfort Country, the brain child of the Marmora down town business association, is a marketing campaign and a grass roots movement designed to increase tourism in the 'explore the four' towns of Marmora, Madoc, Tweed, and Stirling. 

I think if Comfort Country wants to be a major destination for the outdoor recreational enthusiast then they need to invest more in the prime asset with is that of outdoor parks and designated green spaces. 

This area also needs some 'good' accommodations for the tourists to stay because almost all of them are in over crowded trailer parks or on a busy highway. 

Clear cutting lands without leaving green space buffer zones between developments creates toxic towns and cities, which is exactly what the tourists are trying to escape in most cases.  If this area is over developed with too much pavement and cement then it is going to loose it's outdoor recreational tourism appeal.  

Letter to editor: Dec. 22, 2011. 

To enlarge: copy and paste onto word or works processor. 

The selling off of school board properties. 

Dear Ontario Parliamentary Members:

I write this letter today in request that you consider a proposal to have that all educational properties declared 'community spaces' when they are no longer needed for educational purposes in order to prevent the disposal of these properties based on the following principles: 

-More often then not, these properties are the only open green space/community space in that given neighbourhood. 

-The taxpayers own these properties. Correct me if I am wrong but School Boards do not usually pay for these properties, they are given or leased for $1. to the school boards for educational purposes.   

The school boards do not pay taxes.  In fact, the taxpayer pays their salaries and what ever other expenses they have. 

So technically these properties belong to the taxpayer and they're being sold off to pay all the salaries of the highest paid people in most communities. 

Belleville lost five such properties over the years, properties that were the only designated green spaces in their particular communities. 

Hasting's County School board is currently looking at replacing two schools in Marmora with one and disposing of the other property. 

This property could be a badly needed open park land/green space for that particular neighbourhood community.  

Please don't tell me that it surrounded by tons of green space/woods because that is NOT designated park land, it is private property which will no doubt be developed some day. 

Ontario's Teacher's Pension fund currently has a short fall and so they are selling off school properties to help fund this. 


Carbon Credit Recapture

When the construction of a new facility chops down trees, they should be forced to plant at least the equal amount of trees some where else in the community or area to offset the loss of carbon absorption caused by the loss of trees. 

One good example of this is the new addition to Trenton airbase.  It is hoped that for every tree and amount of grass or green space loss, that they will plant that else where in the Quinte area to offset the loss of carbon capture.  

Sale of Parklands in Southern Ontario