Thursday, September 08, 2005

Notes from the EA front lines

With apologies to Guns n' Roses...

Welcome to the Environmental Assessment

We got evaluation n' consultation

We got everything you want

As long as its technically feasible

We are the people that can find

Whatever the Don River may need

If you got the money honey

We got you a process.

I went to one of the public forums for the Don Mouth Naturalization last night. It is one of the first of many meetings to decide what to do with the mouth of the Don. From the simple vision “Let's build a marsh at the mouth of the Don” we get 2 year process of collecting all the ideas, engaging the stakeholders, mapping the infrastructure, integrating it into existing planning projects, and then after all that's done, build a marsh at the mouth of the Don. Not necessarily the best approach but one that is mandated by the lengthy environmental assessment process. At least the consultants and facilitators are happy.

Attending the event were about 60 people. This was made up mostly of the usual suspects, meaning environmentalists and other community activists who have an interest in the outcome. There were also a few community members who have quite a different viewpoint on what gets done because they will have to live with it (literally).

I forgot that meetings like this brings out a few people with odd perceptions of reality. (OK, wackos). During the workshop portion of the meeting we sat around tables and discussed a number of questions such as “Are you more comfortable with the evaluation approach or the consultation approach?”. One woman at my table continually muttered gibberish about property taxes and the CBC strike. While we considered challenges and opportunities for the Don mouth naturalization she declaimed that all this would become irrelevant because of Bill 169. What has this got to do with transportation safety? Sorry lady, outside of scope.

So the process continues. I imagine many people will become weary with it all long before it ends. Fortunately groups like the Task Force have the staying power to see it through.For me, I just want to see some cattails growing at the mouth of the river.


Anonymous said...

Hi John,
At the meeting 2 weeks prior I has asked around to see if you were there> i wanted to introduce myself. This past Wed. I think we were at the same table. I am the women who believes the selection committee does not reflect the population of Toronto (we all have our pet peeves)Any way , I found that meeting exausting but will continue. Hope to meet you soon.

Donwatcher said...

Yes, I remember you. I just didn't connect you with my blog. This was the only meeting of the past three I could make. If I see you at a future meeting I'll be sure to say hello.

I agree that these meetings do seem endless but I think the next round will be a little more interesting.