Save The Beeton Woods
This campaign is asking you to join the residents of Beeton Ontario, who have come together in a quest to save ‘environmentally protected’ forests within our community.
On February 2nd, 2015 Simcoe County issued a "special permit" to Tecumseth Estates Inc., for the removal of approximately 35 acres of mature forest containing endangered Butternut trees. The known developer and property owner will now see the forests destroyed for "agricultural' purposes.
Through a petition gathering over 2300 signatures, a peaceful protest at the site and County's admittance of not following proper process, a stop work order was issued. A hearing was then held under the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act. Residents were granted status at the hearing, and spoke to many concerns, but ultimately were not given the same rights as the developer.
This whole process has been riddled with flaws since the beginning. Such as:
The Town of New Tecumseth failed to uphold the Environmental Protection that was placed on these forests (section 4.4.3 of our towns official plan).
They also failed to notice that the developer had an open planning application on the property. Had they properly recognized these points, the Environmental Impact study to be preformed for the forests would have been considerably more detailed.
Simcoe County didn't follow the notification process contained within its own bylaw, leaving the people this would directly effect with no voice.
The developer was able to submit evidence after the public hearing, an advantage that was not given to the other presenters or community.
After the hearing discrepancies were found in the overall procedure and vote. This included, 2 councillors voting in favour of the tree clearing after missing the initial hearing and an unrecorded vote that has led to questions surrounding the count.
Simcoe County has refused to speak to us regarding these issues. Our own Town Council is not interested in continuing this battle.
Why This Forest Matters
This forest sits atop a highly vulnerable aquifer, it protects the creek that sits below it, has endangered butternut trees, and is home to countless species including, pileated wood peckers, bald eagles, snowy owls, foxes, coyotes. It is also a known wildlife corridor used by black bears and deer.
Every spring the forest floor is blanketed in trilliums, a truly amazing sight. These forests protect Beeton from flooding, and from the dust generated by surrounding farms. New Tecumseth already has less then half of the recommended forest cover that it should. These forests are irreplaceable, and once gone they will be lost forever.
NOW WE NEED YOUR HELP!
It is time we protect our children's futures by protecting the earth and the green spaces within our communities. With your generous donations we will continue our fight to hold our government accountable and protect this vulnerable ecosystem.
How these funds will be allocated
Retaining legal representation to continue this fight to address the many infractions in this permits application and approval process
Obtaining scientific advice and testing from experts in the field to assess the value and fragility of this particular area
Obtaining the required formal documentation (ie: FOI’s, meeting minutes, envi etc.) to help support our cause and further our case.
Please help us in our fight to protect this crucial natural area, it’s endangered butternut trees, and the wildlife that call these forests home. Together we can save this forest!
AWARE Simcoe is seeking a Judicial Review of Simcoe County’s hearing and decision regarding Beeton Woods. County Councillors voted May 12, 2015 to unconditionally lift a stop-work order that had been issued March 3 to Tecumseth Estates. The hearing was held April 14.
Lawyer Michael Fleischmann will be filing the application on behalf of the citizens group.
“Our mandate is clear, AWARE Simcoe is a citizens’ group that works to protect the environment through transparency and accountability in government,” said Chair Don Morgan.
“The Beeton Woods issue speaks to all the reasons our group was formed. That is why, after careful consideration, we have decided to take this action.”
AWARE Simcoe has been closely involved in the issue, with two of its board members – Nicole Cox and Stephanie MacLellan – spearheading a public campaign to raise funds to retain legal and scientific expertise in the effort to protect the 35-acre mature forest.
A rally to Save the Beeton Woods will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday July 21 in Beeton Park. Further details to be announced.