Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Canadian Land Inventory Inaccuracies

The following is an excerpt of the answer we received when inquiring about why the Canadian Land Inventory seemed to be inaccurate...

Neither GIS nor high-resolution DEM's existed in the era of either soil or CLI initial map product development for Simcoe County. Today's digital products, available through the Land Information Ontario warehouse, are the products of attempts to "modernize" the original paper map products.
Unfortunately, the map digitizing pre-dated the DEM development and the rationalization of the soil and CLI polygons into their proper landscape positions was overlooked - until now.

The precision of landscape rendering - as performed by an Ontario Land Surveyor - far exceeds the current spatial resolution and accuracy of the soil maps and derivative products - like the CLI layer. The new Greater Toronto Area (GTA) DEM has sub-metre vertical accuracy. It is superior to the current provincial DEM. Neither of these DEM's approaches the accuracy of products that an Ontario Land Surveyor should produce for landscape location of boundaries and features. The problem is that the perception of scale and accuracy of the soil map products does not meet the reality of their application - except by people such as yourself who saw through this issue immediately. We have started down a road of renewal of the soil map resources of the Lake Simcoe watershed (and will then move to the extent of high-resolution DEM availability in the rest of the GTA DEM coverage). We are also acquiring LiDAR data clouds, creating LiDAR-derived high-resolution DEM's and moving to much more detailed predictive soil mapping in selected areas of the province. At present, however, we have not completed this work for the C.F.B. Borden area of Simcoe County.

An estimate of the margin of error associated with these current soil map (and derivative) products may be derived, somewhat at least, from the input data density requirement to create the original 1:63,360 map product.
However, we can find no metadata records of how rigorously this mapping protocol would have been applied on any individual acreage of the map area.
I am very sorry, but this remains a major weakness in the current Ontario soil map products across the province.

On behalf of OMAFRA and the current Soil Resource Information Team, thanks very much for your inquiry and interest in the Simcoe County soil and CLI map products. If you have a project in mind for adding value and precision to the soil mapping in the area, please contact me directly. We would be pleased to discuss options and opportunities for soil information data improvements with you.



Stewart J. Sweeney, Ph.D.
Environmental Management Branch,
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Monday, July 18, 2011

Three of the ten proposed Industrial Solar Facility sites by Recurrent Energy have been registered on the Ontario Environmental Registry. We as citizens have 30 days to make comments from the published date. This is the most important step for you to directly communicate your concerns and issues to the Ministry of Environment, if comments are not submitted, it is assumed there are no issues. Your comments are registered and have to be addressed.

'Orillia 2' was published on June 6, 2011. The on-line comments are no longer available, it has been suggested you may still mail them in. The address and the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry number (011-3764) 'Orillia 2' are in the link provided below:
or the address and contact information are:

Kristina Rudzki
Senior Project Evaluator
Ministry of the Environment
Operations Division
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1L5
Phone: (416) 314-6802
Toll Free Phone: (800) 461-6290

Be sure to include the EBR Registry number, the Ministry Reference Number and Site Name,
011-3764, 9368-8EZGTB, RE Orillia 2 ULC
011-3959, 8442-8FDLFV, RE Waubaushene 4 ULC
011-3956, 5535-8FDLKL, RE Waubaushene 5 ULC

'Waubaushene 4' and 'Waubaushene 5' were published on June 24, 2011, therefore you have until July 24, 2011 to send in your comments.

'Waubaushene 4' link is:¬iceId=MTEzNzIz&statusId=MTcwMzcx¬iceHeaderIdString=MTEzNzIz
'Waubaushene 5' link is:¬iceId=MTEzNzIw&statusId=MTcwMzY4¬iceHeaderIdString=MTEzNzIw
The link to access Ontario's Environmental Registry is"

Then type in 'solar'.

An example of some of the suggested comments are:

1. Site Specific Soil Studies are required for 'Waubaushene 4 and 5' because they are on 'Prime Agricultural Land' class 1 -3 as well as class 5 and 7. I understand that these studies have not been completed. When may we expect to see the pedologists reports on these sites?
2. Water (well) contamination, drilling of footings for the panels may cause elevated levels of bacteria and coliform counts as well as severe turbidity. 'Waubaushene 4 and 5' are on bedrock and there are multiple dug wells surrounding the proposed sites. Are there studies available proving this will not happen? and who would pay to prove that the proponent caused the problem?
3. 'Waubaushene 5' is on the North River where several species of fish spawn at this location, what will the excess water run-off from the panels do to the river? The Ontario Federation of Agricultural states "In temperate farming areas OFA believes solar will cause erosion, bake the soil, disrupt carbon and nitrogen fixing, create habitat for noxious weeds, destroy habitat for many native creatures on farms including worms and frogs and needlessly remove good land from production."
4. Are the proponents able to remove water from the sites? (ie. from wells drilled during construction and from existing rivers and streams)
5. Solar Panels generate extra heat , when it rains and the run-off enters the river, how will that affect the water temperatures (Thermal Plume?) of the rivers and what would it do to the fish and other species?
6. The proponent had no knowledge of 'Waubaushene 4' being tile-drained. Thousands of holes drilled for footings will drastically affect the flow of water causing inevitable flooding of neighbouring fields. Have proper studies been completed for tile-drained fields? and should they be promoted for such a project with so many flood risks?
7. Noise - Generating stations and inverter clusters are within close proximity to dwellings. The Point of Reception (POR) for the acceptable 40 dBA during the night and 45 dBA during the day are the homes surrounding the proposed sites. We do not remain in our homes where the POR is within the MOE's standards. These proposed sites are in heavily populated rural areas where we utilize our yards and fields for children playing, gardening and pasturing livestock. What are the long term affects of more than 45 dBA of noise to human health, horses, dairy cattle and other livestock?

I am sure you have many comments and concerns of your own regarding these proposed facilities that you may include in your submission.

Links will also be posted on the Simcoe Solar Farm Awareness Project website.

Contact SSFAP with any questions or concerns at