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With Bill 23, 75 years of conservation leadership is destroyed.

"In 2000 the Grand River Conservation Authority won the Thiess International Riverprize, the most prestigious international river basin management award on Planet Earth. The criteria for the award included "strong leadership , partnerships, collaboration, and accountability"; "solid science to support conservation efforts", "a strong outreach program" and "successful restoration projects".

Premier Mike Harris congratulated the GRCA: "The GRCA was the first watershed and river management organization in Canada, and the third oldest in the world. The contributions you have made to the community is an inspiration to other organizations and individuals and to all in Ontario".

With Bill 23, 75 years of conservation leadership is destroyed. One expert in water management at the University of Waterloo is quoted in the Report on Business of the Globe and Mail: "Bill 23 is the nail in the coffin of the conservation authorities".

Gaia must be heartbroken.

The photos above show what will be lost. A volunteer group asked the GRCA for help to ecologically restore a piece of ravaged land. The citizens' group supplied the idea, the leadership and enthusiasm, the civic engagement, design work, did the planting and looked after the area. The GRCA provided advice, guidance, and material aid. Look at the difference! The photos, supplied by Susan Bryant, a member of the group, were taken 20 years apart. Such restoration is more recently termed "re-wilding". It's an apt descriptor for this healthy stream and forest.

Please circulate these photos, as widely and wildly as you can.

-Greg Michalenko, Waterloo

ps, Shakespear must have meant these lines for the likes of Ford and the Developers: "Oh pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that i am meek and mild with these butchers""

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