piping ploverThe Town of South Bruce Peninsula’s appeal of their two convictions for destruction of habitat of an endangered species was recently dismissed, the two convictions were upheld. Two times the courts have agreed that the heavy machinery work the TSBP performed on Sauble Beach in 2017 was wrong, it was illegal, and there are now repercussions and penalties to pay. It is time to stop this nonsense. Time to move on proactively and listen to the experts in coastal management. And it’s time for those at fault to take responsibility for this colossal mistake and huge error in judgement that has cost the taxpayers almost $1M to date. Still the mayor and council debate if they will take this further in the courts and waste more of our money on self-serving agendas.

This isn’t about the beach environment at all. It is solely to satisfy those voters who remember and demand the smooth sandy beach from years past, devoid of any vegetation from the water’s edge to the dunes. If the mayor and council can placate those people they will get more votes and get to keep their jobs. Worked last election! Our elected officials don’t give a hoot about a bird, a plant, an ecosystem. They want instant gratification that encourages explosive unsustainable tourism, hence high-hoes and bulldozers. Had they cared they would not have defied both their own beach bylaw and the Endangered Species Act in 2017. Had they been more willing to look into alternative solutions, based on science, this all could have been avoided. But a healthier, slower and less destructive method to tame unwanted growth doesn’t win over voters in time for the next election. Perhaps they should look backwards to how the offending willows got a foothold in the first place - were they imported with the rocks and soil placed at both the mouth of the river and along the road to the Point at the misguided direction of a past council? I remain baffled by those who still staunchly support this mayor and her council’s actions and applaud what the TSBP has done and continues to do on the beach, with no regard for the ramifications, both environmentally and financially.

This week a facebook poster ranted that “it’s just a bird!”. For that poster I suggest maybe the Town should withdraw its financial support of the Oliphant Phragmites group because “it’s just a weed”. Then watch the waters of beloved Oliphant as they are choked shut with vegetation. It is just a weed after all, not endangered in the least. But that wouldn’t serve our elected Town officials well and would cost them votes. Helping financially support eradication of phragmites in a methodical and accepted science-based method (and thanks almost singlehandedly to dedicated volunteers) reflects well on council - and wins them votes. In this case it also happens to be the right thing to do for so many reasons! Yay Team Phragmites - you rock!!!!

I am not a Plover Lover. I am not a Friend of Sauble Beach. I am a single voter concerned about long term environmental destruction continually sanctioned by this Town. In August 2017, together with a friend, I photographed the bulldozing and within an hour we two had called, emailed, texted, messaged, contacted hotlines.... approximately 40 government agencies, environmental organizations, local groups and the media, asking for their assistance in stopping this illegal work. So I now count as part of the mayor’s “small group who pressured the Ministry to charge us”. And I’d do it again in a hearbeat! Charges don’t come from doing LEGAL work, a fact that seems perplexing to our municipality.

Ann Rolfe
Sauble Beach / Shedden