Important Information for All

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

Are you #Rooting4Trees this Earth Day?  This year marks the beginning of a wonderful initiative by the global network of Earth Day organizations.  Around the world, they are kicking off an ambitious campaign to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every person on the planet, by 2020. Canada’s contribution to this worldwide goal is 35 million trees — one per person in Canada. From April 1st to April 30th, Earth Day Canada will be collecting pledges to support tree planting projects across the country.

Deforestation is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for up to 15% of total emissions. Deforestation plays such an oversized role in climate change, in fact, that part of the 2015 Paris Agreement singled out both the end of deforestation and the importance of reforestation to hitting national climate goals. Planting trees – lots and lots of trees – is the best way to counteract deforestation. Take action by pledging a tree or planting a tree this Earth Day! Visit to learn how to participate, and to find out more about Earth Day Canada’s programs.

In the interest of achieving balance, let’s follow up all that feel-good Earth Day activity with something most of our readers are likely less than thrilled about - yet another increase to hydro rates announced last week. This one’s a doozy.  In a release, the OEB says "Ontarians consumed less electricity than expected over the recent milder winter.  As a result of lower usage, Regulated Price Plan (RPP) prices did not recover the full cost of serving RPP customers. One of the main reasons prices are increasing in May is to recover this shortfall."  Crank up the AC!  Do your laundry on a Tuesday afternoon!  Run the dishwasher on half loads!  What does it matter?  We’re charged more when we use too much and, now, when we use too little electricity.  Is it coincidence that this latest increase follows so closely on the heels of the debt retirement charge elimination and the introduction of the Ontario Electricity Support Program? It would take far more space than we have here to fully explain all the factors in the mismanagement of energy that has led to poorer families having to choose between running their fridges and having food to store in them.

We are, of course, not advocating that you disregard all of the energy conservation efforts you make.  Yet, the fact is that fixed distribution rates plus increased charges for less usage serve to undermine the energy saving measures we’ve been encouraged to implement through costly marketing and advertising strategies.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  For many, switching off the lights when you leave a room is a life-long habit, and a good one.  Our elders used to say, ‘waste not, want not’.  While rising costs for all of modern life’s necessities are making it more difficult to see that adage reflected in our bank balances, it still applies to our responsibility as humans on this planet.

Most mechanisms for generating electricity release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into Earth's atmosphere. While small quantities of carbon dioxide exist naturally in the atmosphere, the generation of electricity has greatly increased the presence of greenhouse gas.  Those gases lead to air pollution and acid rain.  The dangers of radioactive waste produced from sources like nuclear energy add to the ways in which electricity affects the environment.

Let’s not get so distracted by the frustration of being chained to the hydro giant that we forget there’s a far more important benefit to conserving energy than saving money.  Since usage is less relevant to that number on our hydro bills with every rate and policy change, start (or continue) to think of conservation in terms of caring for the planet.  All those Earth Day trees we were talking about at the beginning will bring much needed change.  Don’t make it negligible by giving up.  Keep doing your part to help all the living entities on our planet, including ourselves, to thrive.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Clean-up, Burn Permits & Waste Collection

In putting together our last post, I was caught up in the romance of early spring and chose to ignore the rocky moments of the relationship.  We were lucky to escape the damage that our neighbours to the south suffered during the recent ice storm but it did serve as a reminder.  This season that embraces us with warmth and serenades us with birdsong can be a cranky suitor with a practical side too.  Let’s get some of those matter of fact issues out of the way this time around so we can get back to the courtship.  Despite the snow on the ground as I write this morning, it won’t be long until we’re cleaning up our yards and enjoying warm summer evenings around the fire.

We’re foregoing an organized spring clean-up day this year.  Most residents tidy up areas adjacent to their own properties.  Please remember that ditches play a big part in keeping the lake healthy.  Reeds and other natural growth provide a filter for run-off that travels through them on its way to the lake so grab the garbage, but leave the leaves.  To maintain other areas, we ask that you consider taking along a bag and pair of gloves when you head out for a stroll on the warmer days to come.  If even a few of us make a habit of picking up bits of refuse along the way we’ll keep our community litter free year round.

There are a couple of changes to the acquisition of burn permits to pass along.  Effective February 1, 2016, there is a fee for Recreational Burn Permits of $15 per calendar year.  For the first time, permits may be obtained online using a major credit card.  Visit the Springwater Township website to get yours.  Under the Municipal Services menu, click on Fire & Emergency services.  On the left hand side you’ll find a link to the Burn Permits page.  You’ll need to have your property roll number (found on your tax bill) at hand and be sure to click the check boxes beside each of the conditions for recreational fires.  Permits can also be obtained at 2303 Ronald Rd, Minesing (Station 3) or 2231 Nursery Rd, Minesing (Township Administration Building) between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) or at any of the three library branches (Midhurst, Elmvale and Minesing) during regular business hours.  Rural open air burn permits also incur the $15 fee but are not available online and must be purchased at either Station 3 or the Township Administration Building.

There was a bit of confusion in our neighbourhood regarding the County’s Easter weekend waste collection when pick-up was cancelled on Good Friday due to the storm.  This temporarily created the impression for some that there was actually a scheduled one day delay due to the holiday.  By ‘some’, I mean me.  Usually the County’s waste management calendar hangs in the garage but we didn’t receive one this year.  Currently, I’m not sure whether we were simply missed or if the County has discontinued distribution of the traditional paper copy.  However, the situation did lead to all kinds of new discoveries when I checked the County website.  From the home page, I found my way to Waste Management Services through the Services tab at the top.  There, I clicked on ‘When is my collection day?’ in the sidebar menu.  On that page there are a host of options.  Viewers can download and print a copy of the calendar, which was my original intent until I saw that I could sign up for weekly reminders and notifications about changes to collection via email, phone or Twitter.  There’s also an option to add the collection schedule to your personal calendar if you use iCal, Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.  Technology often drives me crazy, but this is one of its better uses.  For those without access to either a hard or digital copy, please note that yard waste collection will begin April 25, and continues every two weeks until the week beginning June 6.

If the weatherman has his facts straight, we’re in for a week or so of lower than average temperatures but after that we should be seeing real spring in all its glory.  It’s a time of plans and projects, so use the coming days to organize so you’re ready to get outdoors and enjoy when it arrives.