/Discussion and  ideas needed

Discussion and  ideas needed

By Jim Poling Sr. 

week’s column about what might happen to the former Leslie Frost
Natural Resources Centre on Highway 35 just south of Dorset sparked some
discussion, and some ideas.
Discussion and ideas are keys to finding
a suitable future for the centre, left vacant and deteriorating by the
Ontario government for a decade and half. The government holds the title
to the Frost Centre, but it is owned by the people of Ontario, and it’s
time for them to get deeply involved with discussion and ideas.
friend who lives in another part of the province messaged me with his
thoughts and an idea. He recalled that H. R. MacMillan, the former
timber cruiser who became a giant in the Canadian forest industry, was
born in Stouffville and educated at the Ontario Agriculture College in
MacMillan spent his career in forestry research and
development and founded H. R. MacMillan Export Company, British
Columbia’s first locally-owned lumber export company. It later merged
with Bloedel, Stewart and Welsh Ltd. to become MacMillan-Bloedel, which
was sold later to Weyerhaeuser Company.
MacMillan probably was the
most successful forester in Canadian history and funded many
philanthropic endeavours for the public good. Although H. R. died in
1976, his philanthropy legacy might still have money for new projects.
friend suggested that MacMillan legacy funds, combined with the
University of Guelph and perhaps Toronto area school boards might form a
coalition to buy the Frost Centre, start university classes and day
schools for students, plus being a public setting for studies in
forestry and nature in general.
Might work. Might not. But at the very least it’s an idea that might help generate other ideas.
someone I met last weekend for the first time told me how his family
had cottage property in the Lake Simcoe area. There was a special tract
of forest land near their place that was put up for sale.
members and others saw the property as a place that should be preserved
in its natural state, and not torn up for a commercial enterprise. They
got together, raised money, bought the land and donated it to the Nature
That’s another thought that might spark other ideas.
important realizations are emerging from the horrid pandemic choking
life from our world, and they can be connected to thoughts about the
Frost Centre.
The first is a reminder that we humans are animals
just like birds, pigs, bats, and monkeys. We forget how interrelated we
are. So interrelated that non-human animals are passing on to us more
pathogens that can create deadly infectious diseases.
When a
pathogen, basically an infectious agent, jumps from a non-human animal
into a human and successfully establishes itself, it is called zoonosis.
It is a word that scientists say we can expect to hear more and more.
is a disease resulting from a virus believed to have jumped into a
human from a bat, then spread rapidly from human to human.
the habitats of non-human animals, plus changes in the world’s climate,
are moving non-human animals deeper into our human world. A simple
We never had to worry about ticks in Haliburton County. Now
changing climate, including milder winters, are bringing ticks carrying
diseases such as Lyme farther north. Lyme infections have been climbing.
Some scientists believe these changes will continue, helping to increase zoonosis.
is critically important that people become better informed about nature
to better understand the changes and how to live with them.
second realization is that governments, which are emptying the public
coffers in the fight against COVID-19 are going to become desperate for
money. One way of getting it is to sell off precious natural areas to
commercial interests, which offer not only money from sales, but coveted
tax dollars.
We need our governments to protect our natural areas.
We need our governments to promote environmental education and to help
provide settings where that can be done.
Most of all we need
community discussion and ideas. We can’t continue to exist in a world
where all the thinking, discussions and ideas are left to politicians
and bureaucrats.
More community involvement must become a key element in our future. Governments cannot do it all.