Today's date: Sunday October 22, 2017 Vol 50 Issue 42
   
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The Wellington Advertiser encourages letters to the editor.
You may, if you wish, submit your letter online.

Better methods needed

Dear Editor:

In regard to a recent article (Neonics endanger biodiversity: study, Oct. 6), the question that needs to be asked is: what do we know?

Neonicotinoids are 8,000 to 10,000 times more toxic than DDT. Neonics are systemic, which means they are absorbed by the plant and released in the pollen and nectar of plants. They are water soluble, meaning that they move around in the environment. They are slow to breakdown. There can be a build-up of residue from one year to the next.

Research in Saskatchewan has shown residue five to eight years after application. In Ontario, in 2013, a wide range of pollen samples were taken, including samples from within bee hives, and 92% of the summer samples showed neonic residue. The 2013 residue findings show us the prevalence of these chemicals in our environment.

Neonics are often found in springtime pollen samples from trees and plants surrounding fields. These residue levels would be carry-over from previous years’ agricultural crops. To argue that they do not affect honey bees or other insects is similar to the argument that cigarettes do not affect human health. Sometimes the effects are immediate and deadly - like heart failure - but other times they are gradual and a long, drawn out event - more like cancer or emphysema. The situation is complex because when we look at insects coming in contact with neonics there are lethal and sub-lethal exposure as well as multiple and chronic exposure.

Regarding the governance over-sight on registration of these chemicals, the process is severely flawed. Neonics first received conditional registration (- conditional on further research) in the early 2000s based on research by Dr. Cynthia Scott Dupree and that research was later deemed flawed. These chemicals remained in use even though there was no research to support their safety. That research was done again in 2011 when neonics were widely found in our environment and pesticide-free control hives could not be found for the research. Dr. Christian Krupke from Purdue University says the methodology by which neonics received registration is antiquated.

There was a time when about 94% of the Ontario corn seed was treated with neonics, leaving many farmers with no choice other than to plant treated seed. I believe there are times when farmers need chemicals to reduce pest levels, but these chemicals should not be used at the expense of our environment.

Integrated pest management (IPM) and crop rotation are important tools to incorporate into crop production and better methods to detect pest levels need to be developed. Further research and development could help farmers with these tools. It can be challenging.

Better methods of detecting and treating pest and disease levels as well as IPM are areas that we in the beekeeping industry (farming) are labouring to see further developed and improved as well.

Jim Coneybeare,

Court opening

Dear Editor:

A nine-year-old boy (at the time) wrote a letter to Puslinch Council asking if they could build a basketball court in the Boreham park.

 The letter was forwarded to the Optimist Club of Puslinch, which voted to take the project on for the community of Arkell.

A number of local businesses were contacted and in turn offered resources to complete the project. Davan Group supplied the heavy equipment to clear and grade the site, MacKenzie Brothers supplied the gravel, Cox Construction supplied the asphalt, Paul’s SnoBiz dug the holes for the net posts and The Line Painters painted the lines. Optimist members and local residents put on the final touches by raking and seeding the perimeter of the court.

The official opening of a court “built by the community for the community” will be on Oct. 22 at 2pm on Boreham Drive Park in Arkell. 

June Williams, PUSLINCH

OPINION: Agri-food sector vital to nation’s economy

Harvest is a season of plenty. It’s a time when agricultural productivity is most evident. Farmers are spending long hours harvesting in the fields, and consumers are enjoying a huge selection of locally grown products at farmers markets and on store shelves.

 Harvest is also a reminder that the agri-food sector is an important, vital business for Canada. We’re fortunate to have plenty of land to grow crops and raise livestock and plenty of fresh water resources. Harvest reminds us of our responsibility to use these bountiful resources in a productive and sustainable way.

 According to the federal government’s Barton Report, released earlier this year, our agri-food industry has the potential for huge growth and, with the right investments, could become the second largest exporter of food in the world.

 The Barton Report is a comprehensive set of recommendations from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. The report identified agriculture as a sector where Canada has the potential for substantial growth and export improvement based on the industry’s strengths as a trusted food supply backed by research and access to resources.

 Canada’s agri-food sector is now the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world, contributing 6.7 per cent of our nation’s GDP and accounting for 2.1 million jobs. Canada’s agri-food exports have averaged annual growth of 9.5% over the past five years. The report defines the sector as one of Canada’s largest employers and economic engines, and poses that the sector represents a distinctive opportunity for Canada to boost inclusive economic growth.

 The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) brings this message to our provincial government – that Ontario’s agri-food sector can and will be a driver of inclusive growth across the province.  

Our vision of economic growth includes distributed development opportunities that will spread wealth across the province. It will be based on the agri-food sector’s vast potential but also include other economic development across our communities.  

 What Ontario needs is an action plan to build on our agri-food strength and to support opportunities in our communities through strategic investment.

 OFA continues to remind the Ontario government of all the reasons that investing in agriculture and our communities is an investment that will benefit all Ontarians. The Barton Report and the bounty of our harvest reminds us of Ontario’s endowments and strengths as sources of inclusive growth and opportunities for producing prosperity.

Debra Pretty-Straathof,

OPINION: Opioid crisis not just a ‘big city’ problem

Dear residents of Guelph and the County of Wellington:

If you’ve been following the media and reading the headlines, you will know that we are experiencing a national opioid crisis.

What we once thought of as a “big city” problem, is now a concern throughout Canada, in communities large and small.  

As community organizations, the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy and the United Way are committed to working together to bring solutions to local social challenges, which includes writing this joint letter to encourage an informed public conversation about the impacts of the opioid crisis in our community.

The best way to address our concerns about the opioid crisis is to have accurate information. Knowing more about opioid dependence and having information about the health and social services that are available to help with this issue in our community, is a great place to start.

In Ontario, there is one opioid-related death every 10 hours; this reality has impacted individuals, families and neighbourhoods in Guelph and Wellington County.  

Opioid dependence can develop when someone is using opioids for medical or non-medical purposes. Opioids include codeine, heroin, methadone, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, and they are typically prescribed to manage pain.

Withdrawal from opioids is a debilitating physical and emotional experience.  Because of this, tapering off opioids is more likely to be successful when it is a gradual and supported process.  Our community has services which offer opioid substation therapy and counselling, both of which help the withdrawal process, and Community Withdrawal Support Services launched in the spring (to access information about these services, please check the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy  website).  

If people with opioid dependence turn to the black market for drugs, they increase the risk of overdose because the potency of illicit drugs is not controlled.

There have been recent reports of street drugs being found with traces of fentanyl, an extremely dangerous opioid.  Fentanyl can be added to substances without the user’s knowledge, which further increases risk.

A drug called Naloxone can temporarily reverse opioid overdose, and keep someone alive until first responders arrive.  Naloxone is free with a health card at many pharmacies and pharmacists can train you to administer it. You can also visit the Government of Ontario’s “Get Naloxone Kits for Free” page to find the location of pharmacies that carry Naloxone.

Individuals interested in Naloxone who do not have a health card are still encouraged to visit a pharmacy or to connect with Sanguen Health Centre to receive a kit.

If you use opioids or care for someone who does, keeping a Nalxone kit accessible is a good precaution, just as wearing a bicycle helmet is a good precaution for anyone who cycles.  

If you are a concerned parent, you can have age-appropriate conversations with your children about the risks of using substances, especially illicit ones, or using other people’s prescribed drugs recreationally.

Helping our kids to develop a fact-based understanding of the risks related to substance use so that they are safe in our communities is a key part of the parental role.  You can find resources on talking to kids about drug use at the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy website.

If you know a friend or family member who is currently experiencing negative effects from substance use, our community has a range of services, from harm reduction to in-patient residential treatment, available to help residents who struggle with opioid use and/or other substance dependencies.

In fact, since the spring, our community has opened four new harm reduction and addiction services. You can also find out about these services at the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy website.

The word crisis can be frightening and it may be helpful to remember that it denotes both risk and opportunity.

The hardships that some members of our community experience in relation to substance use require all of us to get engaged and use our unique resources.

By writing this letter, we hope we have made you more aware of the issues around the opioid crisis, and we invite you to work with us to find solutions.

Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy and United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin,

Schoolhouse idea

Dear Editor:

RE: Save schoolhouse, Oct. 13.

‘Schools of Elora’ would make an interesting walking tour!

Of course, if the two log walls of the McNab Street school are forced to stay within a private dwelling, they will not be seen by anyone except the owner ... (and even then, he or she might hide them within the walls.)

Here is a thought: how about moving the remains of that early school to within the most recent public school, currently the Elora Centre for the Arts? Build them into a corner and have photos of the log school house if any exist. Then there would be two buildings previously used by children of the village in one place! Kids and parents alike could marvel at how things have changed.

Elizabeth Litch, ELORA

Stompin’ good time

Dear Editor:

Thank you to everyone who shared in making Ballinafad’s 150th event such a success, including all the reporters and photographers who gave us excellent coverage in The Wellington Advertiser, Erin Advocate, The New Acton Tanner, Halton Heritage Society, Esquesing Historical Society, Wellington Historical Society and Erin Heritage Society.

Thank you Bryce Butcher at Erin Radio for great advertising and promotion. Everyone who spread the word via social media and the old fashioned way, by word of mouth, helped make this day an outstanding success.

Thank you Artcast for making the handsome bronze plaque.

A huge thank you to Stompin’ Tom’s family for providing the graphic artist, CDs and much needed support and all of you who gave a donation to help make this plaque possible. Thanks to Glen and Jim Sanderson for the stone and the ladies for their gardening expertise. Finally, thanks to everyone who helped me set up, decorate and clean up. Everything went so well. The weather was terrific. We even had four Harvard Bombers fly over during the event.  

A special thank you to the six very talented local musicians who entertained us by singing and playing country and Stompin’ Tom’s music: Bryce Butcher, Sam Leitch, Earl Burt, Brad Park, Paul Weber and Ken Majuery (also Marion Armstrong and Donna Weber would have joined the men, if there had been a keyboard).  

Thanks to our MPP Ted Arnott, our mayor, many councillors from Erin and Halton Hills, many reps from the historical and heritage societies of Erin, Wellington, and Esquesing and hundreds of folks who knew and loved Stompin’ Tom and his music for joining us. Lots of stories were shared.

The crowd cheered when I said, “I even received a donation from fans on Vancouver Island!” This is more proof that Stompin’ Tom had fans from coast to coast across Canada, the land that he so loved.  He was a proud and very loyal Canadian.

If I missed anyone, thank you.  You have made me very proud of our community and all of Canada.

 

 

Karen Smith,

Support for arts

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Elora Fergus Studio Tour, I would like to thank everyone who visited our studios and supported the local arts community over the last few weekends.

It is my first year as chair and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much help our tour receives from the township. We have ongoing support from the tourism office and this year we received great support from the roads department which managed to keep intersections on Colborne St. open during the tour.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next year for our 32nd year of the Studio Tour.

Jean Loney, FERGUS

‘Deeply concerned’

Dear Editor:

In the past few months, there have been letters in the Advertiser from three Centre Wellington councillors, raising issues of communication and financial accountability with respect to both the elected and unelected members of the government of Centre Wellington.

I am deeply concerned by this.

Kelly Linton appears to pride himself on communication, stating recently at a town hall meeting that, “we are always interested in new ways to engage people, not just send stuff out.”

Yet, it is clear there is frustration among Centre Wellington councillors over procedural and ethical transparency within our local government that have not been addressed.

I suspect that taking out a slick four-page advertisement touting the township council’s accomplishments and planning an accompanying PR event will not change this.

I encourage all Centre Wellington citizens to talk to their councillors and the mayor, and attend council meetings or watch them online to get a real feel for how our local government functions.

Debbie Reynolds, ELORA

‘Wynne or Lose’

Dear Editor:

Hundreds of Save Our Water.ca signs are up over Centre Wellington and Erin/Hillsburgh. Other requests have come from Guelph, Toronto and Oakville from those who are concerned about the need to protect water.

The signs call on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to reconsider granting permits for commercial water bottling. Trucking water from a watershed is a threat to that watershed. Centre Wellington relies on ground water for its municipal water. The doubling in size of the local population in the next few years puts a great deal of pressure on this system.

A short play illustrated the dilemma facing the premier with drama and humour during two performances at the Elora Farmers’ market and two more at the downtown Elora green space.

“Snidely Bigwater,” “little Miss Middlebrook” and “Kathleen Wynne”  acted out the play Wynne or Lose and it is now posted on YouTube. 

Donna McCaw, ELORA

ReliableFord

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Community Guide Fall 2017

BUZZ

MTO asked to include town hall session at Highway 6, 401 meeting
Puslinch on shortlist for relocated truck inspection stations
Mapleton CAO resigns citing family considerations
Erin to video record council meetings

COLUMNISTS

Stephen Thorning - 1949-2015
Kelly Waterhouse

EDITORIAL

Dave Adsett: Drugs in my pocket

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