Dear friends, associates & other interested parties - Time for a quick recap of public & private endeavors over the spring & great summer months of 2

Dear friends, associates & other interested parties -

Time for a quick recap of public & private endeavors over the spring & great summer months of 2011: it sure has been busy! TEN group exhibitions allowed me to keep my oil painting & pinhole photography front & centre. This was further amplified by the opportunity to be the ‘Guest Speaker’ at the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton in February.

Life as An Artist’ (slides & hour long presentation that covered 35 years of production) went well. The lecture also provided a venue to launch my new art-book project, ‘CANADADA: A Painter’s Nature’ in a very limited Collector’s First Edition. [To learn more about thus book, click on my oil painting below... ]

On the 'private' front, I was somewhat dismayed to discover that the City of Burlington tried to ‘sneak in’ MORE spectator seating onto the recreational sport facilities at New City Park far above & beyond what the Hearing Officer recommended after the Environmental Review Tribunal in October of 2010. With an inadequate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) done in April 2010 – six months before the component parts of artificial turf were even IDENTIFIED at the Hearing in October 2010 - there remains a SERIOUS lapse of ‘due diligence’ by both the local & regional authorities about the IMPACT that these added fields of plastic grass & now INCREASED body count will have on the finite eco-system of this Park. There is absolutely NO ANALYSIS of how this product will impact on human or wildlife health & well-being in this park. NONE. Zip. Nada.

In early May, I tried, yet again, to WAKE UP the authorities by sending in this passionate letter (including images) to the Niagara Escarpment Commission in time for their mid-May meeting. After a vigorous internal debate, [and the unexpected appearance by City’s ‘Executive Director of Corporate Strategic Initiatives’ to ‘defend’ the City of Burlington & PanAm Org RE-DESIGN of New City Park], we, THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC, lost again: 11 - 5. The only encouraging outcome of this last-ditch effort is that there are now at least FIVE NEC Commissioners who are beginning to rightly wonder - what the heck is going on here? This is good, albeit a tad late.

By late August, the first two fields of artificial turf were installed at New City Park. Horrendous green blotches of plastic, they now gleam unnaturally beneath soon-to-be blazing field lights: ‘picture perfect’ and FAKE. It is so sad to see this once beautiful peaceful undulating natural LIVING landscape SMOTHERED in this way. Adding insult to injury, as of June 2011, the actual durability & longevity of this supposedly 'superior quality' million-dollar plastic product is now under legal attack by the PARENT company. Yup, they are suing their own for undeclared 'deficiencies' ...

This plastic grass with HIGH FENCES is now in. There is nothing we can do about that short term. HOWEVER, the campaign is to now ON to get it OUT when it expires in 5-10 years. By that point the PanAm Games will have come & gone. Their million dollar ‘photo-op’ plastic grass investment and re-design of New City Park will have ‘blipped’ on television for a few seconds. Political ‘officials’ will have frolicked for the local press in the summer of 2015. The downtown soccer club will have settled in claiming exclusive soccer field tournament ‘Rights’ … BUT the adjacent residents and TRUE lovers of this magnificent section of the Niagara Escarpment Greenbelt lands will also be more fully aware of what this non-biodegradable ‘gunk’ REALLY is.

When Burlington & Halton taxpayers realize it is OUR money that will ‘re-finance’ this decaying multi-million dollar PanAm plastic grass for PRIVATE tournament-level soccer in OUR supposedly PUBLIC recreational park; and when locals can SEE the impact of these 'heat islands' of hot plastic in this designated UNESCO biosphere; and when SCIENCE further substantiates the leaching toxicity of plastic grass chemicals into the water and onto the land – OUT it MUST come! For example, technical analysis has very recently shown that 1861 trees must be planted and then grow for 10 years to adequately 'carbon neutralize' the Life-denying footprint of just ONE artificial turf playing field. (New City Park has THREE.)

We will continue to gather data, increase public awareness about the serious and often catastrophic consequences of using ‘plastic grass’ in PUBLIC spaces, and otherwise, keep an open eye on the overall wildlife health of this park. We urge you too to acknowledge your desire for the LONG TERM LIVING health of this threatened section of the Niagara Escarpment.

Help us BRING BACK an OPEN NATURAL GRASS & PUBLIC parkland area - - as it was ORIGINALLY intended to be before the PanAm Org & their monies got in the act. We deserve a REAL park worthy of the UNESCO Biosphere designation. - without pad-locked gates, high wired fences & multiple fields of lifeless plastic grass. Please sign the petition (if you've haven't) – Vote NO to Plastic Grass in New City Park . Thank you very much.

Other than that - Great Summer!!! Great friends: Good times; Fresh local fruit & veggies from our good soil, land & water. And a super abundance of SUN! Wonderful, really wonderful. Produced new oil paintings, new photography, new photo-portraiture : busy as a beaver!

Have a great fall all.
Will touch base again mid to late winter of 2012.
Very best –

Margaret Lindsay Holton
Award-winning Golden Horseshoe Artist & Author
Friend of New City Park

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