Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Medway Valley Heritage Forest - Extinction On The Forecast???

Over the last few years I have had the privlige to connect with and work with a number of local activist groups that are trying to ensure a healthy community for future generations. Just recently, a very sensitive issue has been brought to my attention.

The Medway Valley Heritage Forest is located in the northern area of London, Ontario. It’s name suggests why it is important. This forest has not been cultivated into a community park, it has been preserved since the birth of this city as a truly natural environment. This could change in the very near future.

Just north of this area, developers have recently stripped away a large area that is now being converted into luxury housing developments. The city planners want to build asphalt walkways and bridges through this heritage forest to connect two areas of the city.

Hmmm… sounds like a great idea at first! How could a walkway and bike path (which I’m usually in support of) be a bad thing? Upon further investigation, I became aware of the significance of this environment to conclude that it would be better if human impact in this area was decreased and not increased as planned.

Many wildlife species depend on this area for their survival. If development plans proceed then we will be pushing these species closer to their possible extinction.

The groups that are trying to protect this forest are trying to gain community support. Please visit this link to view a short documentary on this issue -

This group is asking for the support, in the form of a letter, to be communicated to London’s city planners as well as the mayor and city counsil members. The following is my letter, that I have just emailed to those concerned…
Dear Jeff Bruin

Many, many, many times I have had thoughts about directing my opinion about London’s expansion to whom it may concern. I find it completely baffling that our city is expanding in the way it is. Too quickly I am witnessing the destruction of our surrounding forestlands and farmlands for the purpose of creating housing developments. The families that buy into these developments must use their cars and vans to participate in any kind of community activity and we all know that cars are bad…. right?!!

In these days of global rise in environmental awareness people are looking for solutions. Why is London not a leader for a new ‘green’ community philosophy? Why are we being forced to continue to believe that these subdivision developments are the way that we must live? Why are we not building communities where we can walk to work, walk to the corner store, library, theatre, etc.??? There is so much information for us to educate ourselves about these issues and I’m seeing no examples that this is happening here in London.

The proposed development that will destroy the delicate and threatened ecosystems in the Medway Valley Heritage Forest is a perfect example of our city planners inability to find value in Nature. Do the birds, turtles, fish and other significant life forms that need these natural habitats to survive hold no value for our species? It is time to re-evaluate our needs and dependencies for these types of natural environments!

I am ashamed to think that future generations will think of our present actions in the most negative ways. We have known, for so long now, what ideals must be adopted to ensure the continuation of the human species. We must build communities where each household is partly self-sufficient. We must build communities where each neighbourhood is partly self-sufficient. Our communities must work together with neighbouring communities to increase this self-sufficiency, not only to increase our own quality of life but to increase the quality of life for every living animal and plant.

Since the wildlife that presently exists in this area does not have the ability to appreciate their possible demise, I write this letter as an advocate on their behalf. I strongly and whole-heartedly am voicing my opinion to state that I am against the proposals to build bridges and paved bike paths through the Medway Valley Heritage Forest!


Jim Kogelheide
I would like to urge you - my blog readers - to help with this effort. To make things very easy for you, I will suggest that you simply “cut’n’paste” my above letter into your email account and send it to the following people…

Jeff Bruin (city planner)-
Anne-Marie DeCicco (London’s mayor) -
Counsil members
Bill Armstrong -
Bernie MacDonald -
Paul Hubert -
Bud Polhill -
Cheryl Miller -
David Winninger -
Gord Hume -
Harold Usher -
Joni Baechler -
Judy Bryant -
Nancy Branscombe -
Paul VanMeerbergen -
Roger Caranci -
Susan Eagle -
Stephen Orser -
Tom Gosnell -
Gina Barber -
Walter Lonc -

I’m remembering the lyrics from a song, “I hope the pen is mightier than any sword!”


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