Monday, 20 February 2017

Toomas Karmo: DDO&P: Notes on Municipal Request for Programme Proposals


Revision history: 
  • 20170223T1558Z/version 3.2.5: Kmo mad a last few minor, purely cosmetic, tweaks, and then deemed the text frozen. He e-mailed the frozen text to its intended recipients.  
  • 20170223T0237Z/version 3.2.0: Kmo added particulars on public outreach (on meteorology, and on mathematics-education support, and on the public-education work of Mr Chris Vaughan). - Kmo reserved the right to make minor, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming four hours, as here-undocumented version 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.3, ... . 
  • 20170223T0014Z/version 3.1.0: Kmo not only made stylistic revisions, but added some substance: revision of e-mail scheduling; better particulars on the now-removed Administration Building north-dome telescope; particulars on the key Eric Ardwinckle art; and better particulars on the set of four chronometers. - Kmo reserved the right to make minor, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 5 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, ... . 
  • 20170221T2119Z/version 3.0.0: Kmo finished a sequence of provisional uploads, converting the improved point-form outline into coherent sentences. He was now ready to embark on a process of polishing. He reserved the right to make minor, purely cosmetic, tweaks over the coming 24 hours, as here-undocumented versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2, 3.0.3, ... . 
  • 20170221T0514Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo uploaded an improved point-form outline. But he realized that it would be only after getting to bed, and rising again, and putting in another several hours' work, that he would be able to convert the outline into coherent sentences.
  • 20170221T0004Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded a mere point-form outline. He hoped over the next 5 hours to polish the outline and to convert it into coherent sentences.





[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger server-side software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate doublespacing or inappropriate interparagraph whitespace at some points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears. - The blogger software has also shown a propensity to generate HTML that is formatted in different ways on different client-side browsers, perhaps with some browsers not correctly reading in the entirety of the "Cascading Style Sheets" which on many Web servers control the browser placement of margins, sidebars, and the like. If you suspect "Cascading Style Sheets" problems in your particular browser, be patient: it is probable that while some content has been shoved into some odd place (for instance, down to the bottom of your browser, where it ought to appear in the right-hand margin), all the server content has been pushed down into your browser in some place or other. - Anyone inclined to help with trouble-shooting, or to offer other kinds of technical advice, is welcome to write me via Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com.]



0. Preamble


This document is a response to the Town of Richmond Hill document EOI-30-17, calling for expressions of interest from parties wishing to offer astronomical programs at Ontario's David Dunlap Observatory (DDO), after ownership of the two key heritage buildings (the free-standing telescope dome, and the Administration Building with its three roof domes), plus its surrounding 45-hectare remnant greenspce, passes from the DG Group (formerly "Metrus") subsidiary Corsica to the Town.

It constitutes a formal communication to the Town, but does not itself constitute an expression-of-interest within the meaning of EOI-30-17. 

EOI-30-17 was released on 2017-01-12. It was followed by "Addendum 1" (2017-01-31) and "Addendum 2" (2017-02-13). All three documents are downloadable as PDFs from https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/David-Dunlap-Observatory.aspx

****

I propose to publish my own response document first to http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com (normally viewed in Canada as http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.ca), with uploads on 2017-02-20, 2017-02-21, and 2017-02-22. I propose to submit my document in an e-mail at some point in the late Ontario evening of 2017-02-22, or Ontario night of 2017-02-22/2017-02-23, or Ontario daylight or evening hours of 2017-02-23, to the Town of Richmond Hill Commissioner of Community Services, using the mailbox shane.baker@richmondhill.ca , with cc as follows: president@rascto.ca, sn87a@hotmail.com, shelton@astro.utoronto.ca, president@nyaa.ca, secretary@nyaa.ca, info@nyaa.ca, jeromecr225@yahoo.ca, president@utoronto.ca, s.mazza@utoronto.ca, susanne.miskimmin@utoronto.ca, abraham@astro.utoronto.ca, bolton@astro.utoronto.ca,    cclement@astro.utoronto.ca, fernie@astro.uotoronto.ca, lester@astro.utoronto.ca, pgmartin@astro.utoronto.ca, stefan@astro.utoronto.ca, percy@astro.utoronto.ca, rucinski@astro.utoronto.ca, seaquist@astro.utoronto.ca, pdelaney@yorku.ca, mmdr@yorku.ca, jgl@yorku.ca, eric@sensebridge.net, clerks@richmondhill.ca, MPozzebon@metrusdev.com, info@observatoryhill.ca, dbronskill@goodmans.ca, officemayor@richmondhill.ca, vito.spatafora@richmondhill.ca, brenda.hogg@richmondhill.ca, greg@gregberos.com, tom.muench@richmondhill.ca, castro.liu@richmondhill.ca, david.west@richmondhill.ca, karen.cilevitz@richmondhill.ca, godwin.chan@richmondhill.ca, attorneygeneral@ontario.ca, tmcmeekin.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, bmauro.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, cballard.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, premier@ontario.ca, rmoridi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, kmcgarry.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, commissioner@eco.on.ca, justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca, Melanie.Joly@parl.gc.ca, Kirsty.Duncan@parl.gc.ca, Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca, rona.ambrose@parl.gc.ca, thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca, elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca, Majid.Jowhari@parl.gc.ca, information@pc.gc.ca, david@donnellylaw.ca, anne@donnellylaw.ca, virginia@virginiamaclean.com, KZarzour@yrmg.com, editor@thevarsity.ca, newsroom@yrmg.com, ptyson@skyandtelescope.com, news@nowtoronto.com, editorial@torontolife.com, Newsroom@globeandmail.ca, city@thestar.ca, hmallick@thestar.ca, jfiorito@thestar.ca, jennifercheng@postcity.com, letters@macleans.ca, letters@torontolife.com, ptyson@SkyandTelescope.com.

It will be appreciated that although this list of cc recipients tries to be thorough, I may nevertheless through inadvertence have left out someone potentially important to DDO astronomy. I therefore urge all my e-mail recipients to ask themselves, "Is there anyone else who ought to be seeing this e-mail?" In the event of a "Yes", I would urge them to perform any appropriate forwarding.

I would particularly urge those recipients of my e-mail who prior to the 2008 sale were DDO-attached astrophysicists to check my writing  for errors or omissions, and to advise me of possible problems. In the interest of transparency, I will report any substantive incoming criticisms, whether from the astrophysicists or from any other quarter, at http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com

After transmitting my e-mail, I am likely myself to make subsequent forwards of it to other parties, most notably to individuals interested either in heritage conservation or in the protection of urban forest.

I am also likely to be communicating at some stage with one or more of our three principal levels of police (YRP, OPP, RCMP), urging that they keep this present e-mail on file in case forensic questions arise some day (perhaps even long after my death), whether regarding DDO heritage artefacts or regarding other aspects of DDO.  (This legal problem of artefacts is discussed again below, in more detail, in the context of a bullet list of some salient artefacts. When I here write "other aspects", I have in mind the fact that an overarching point, the overall legality of the 2008 University of Toronto DDO sale, has never been tested in court: a suit involving the Dunlap heirs, and filed in Ontario Superior Court around (roughly) 2003, never in fact came to trial.) 

I will assume, as a now-impecunious individual obliged since the finishing of an expensive spring-of-2014 DDO legal process to undertake his own legal work, that there are no legal problems with my writing - for example, problems involving any putative tort of defamation - unless notified in e-mail by UTC=2017028T2359Z, either in the approximate style "We, at Black, Black, and White LLP, legally representing both Grey and Charcoal, formally caution you regarding potentially tortious expression in your 2017-02-21 writing, at ..., and ask that you now..." or in the approximate style "We, at Black, Black, and White LLP, legally representing both Grey and Charcoal, informally ask for more time to determine whether tortious expression is or is not present in your 2017-02-21 writing, at ..." I propose, following my usual practice as illustrated at  http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/20141216T162316Z____blogpost/NNNN____20141216T162316Z____blogpost__main.html (this was my own 2014-12-16 follow-on to the expensive spring-of-2014 process) to maintain administrative transparency by Web-publishing any substantive incoming legal correspondence. 

1. Constructive Critique of  EOI-30-17 (2017-01-12, 2017-01-31, 2017-02-13)


It is helpful of the Town to have incorporated floor plans from the Administration Building in its 2017-01-12 document. However, it is unfortunate that the 2017-01-12 document lacks floor plans for the uppermost (roof) level of the Administration Building - on which are to be found not only an (inconspicuous) HF-regime radio antenna (possibly a classic dipole, or "copper clothesline"), but also three telescope domes - the northernmost of them housing a concrete pier presently with no telescope, and the other two each presently housing a telescope.

(From 1952 until some point after (perhaps not long after) 1981, the dome which presently has no telescope on its pier housed the 0.15-metre refractor acquired by the Government of Canada for the 1882 Venus transit, and used in following decades first by the federal agency then styled as the  "Meteorological Service", and then by the University of Toronto. The history of the refractor up to 1981 or so  is discussed in an article of exemplary thoroughness by Prof. R.F.Garrison's former research assistant Brian Beattie, in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (volume 76 (1982); Mr Beattie's article is available on line at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1982JRASC..76..109B). I believe the refractor was transferred a little after 1981 to the entity now known legally as the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, and that it is now housed in Ottawa. Federal, provincial, and municipal authorities will have to work together on this matter. It is inappropriate for so historically important an item to be wrenched from its historical context. In repairing the contextual situation, conservators will - awkwardly - have to consider the competing strong contextual claims of (a) the DDO itself (perhaps the telescope should once again sit on its 1952-era pier?) and (b) the old pre-DDO downtown University of Toronto observatory, approximately 20 km south of DDO (the pre-DDO building, with the dome which for some decades prior to 1952 housed the instrument, has been conserved, although without being currently conserved as an observatory).) 

This problem of gappy DDO Administration Building dome-level documentation finds a partial remedy in the Town's 2017-02-13 follow-up, "frequently-asked-questions", document. But the remedy is only partial, since the 2017-02-13 document is unclear, juxtaposing the (inaccurate) singular ("the telescope") with the (accurate) plural ("to the extent that they are operational"): 


Is the telescope on the roof of the administration building available for use?

To the extent that they are operational, they would be available


The facts here are as follows:

  • The south-dome telescope, a  0.4-metre reflector personally fabricated by Prof. Young of the University's Department of Astronomy in the late 1920s, and demonstrating in a perhaps rather pioneering way the feasibility of low-expansion "Pyrex" glass in astronomical mirrors (and shown off with some degree of fanfare at the Canadian National Exhibition around 1927 or 1928 or 1929) was restored by the RASC Toronto Centre at some point in its 2009-through-2016 DDO operations. The instrument was used for some stellar photometry at least up to the 1970s. It could be used in this way again. A weakness of the instrument, however, is that its operators have to do their dome recordkeeping at an unheated desk, rather than in a duly professional warmroom. 
  • The centre-dome telescope, a 0.6-metre reflector, is distinguished by its exceptionally heavy-duty mount, suitable for the development of instrumentation packages for still larger telescopes. A further positive feature of this instrument is its proximity to an electrically heated warmroom, in my day housing a full-sized desk, and with a convenient over-desk window view of the western (i.e., of Richmond Hill's normally meteorologically most relevant) sky. This telescope was used for stellar photometry at least into the 1990s. I myself helped mentor one of Prof. R.F.Garrison's research assistants around 2005, using it  in an amateur-operations part of our work. The telescope was by that time impaired, and yet was usable, in a crude way, with a work-around for positioning about its polar axis. However, during our tenure the telescope retreated from being impaired to becoming unusable, with the sudden failure of its declination-axis motor. I do not know whether the fault was something small, such as the mere blowing of an fuse at the instant of a more-or-less-acceptable inrush (motor-starting) current, or something major, such as the blowing of a fuse upon short-circuiting. Whatever the problem, I would imagine that this telescope could be brought back into service for at most a few thousand dollars in parts, to a condition better than its 2005-era impairment. Its restoration might be an appropriate project for one of our local amateur associations - for instance, for the RASC Toronto Centre, which could here argue the precedent it set by restoring Dr Young's telescope. (However, it is necessary that any necessary heritage-alteration permits be secured and respected: I have the rather informal, unresearched, impression that RASC omitted to do this in its successful just-cited restoration.) 
****

It is helpful of the Town to have referred in its 2017-02-13 document to aluminization: 

Is it possible to use the Aluminizing Chamber in the basement?

Yes, providing the successful proponent can confirm that they are qualified to use.

Here, however, a clarifying comment is needed. DDO had, at least until the 2008 summer, not one aluminizing chamber but two. 

(1) The larger of the two was used from the immediate postwar period onward for aluminizing the 1.88-metre main-telescope paraboloid - until 2007 or so, typically once a year. (An attempt, around 2005 or so, to retreat to a schedule of aluminizing every 18 or 24 or so months was found unsatisfactory for science. - I believe, subject to correction by others, that this large aluminizing chamber was last used in 2016, by the RASC Toronto Centre.) 

This large chamber sits not "in the basement" (in the language of the Town's 2017-02-13 questions-and-answers document) but on the ground floor of the main (the freestanding) dome. The main dome in fact has no true basement. 

(2) The smaller chamber is, or at any rate up to 2008 July was, in a basement, being in the (basement) optics workshop in the Administration Building. It is, or at any rate was, suitable for the aluminizing of mirrors up to a diameter of perhaps roughly 0.4 metres or 0.6 metres - in other words, mirrors up to the largest class of diameters commonly encountered in amateur astronomy. It was in fact used prior to 2008 for occasional contract aluminizing, I suspect in response to occasional requests from Ontario amateurs. 

****

Some language in the document of 2017-02-13 highlights a problem of potential interest to the Town, the University of Toronto, the Dunlap heirs (one of whom has represented herself in the National Post Peter Kuitenbrouwer 2007-12-12 DDO article as aggrieved with the University; I wonder, in a private and fully speculative and fully subjective way,  if on some still-remote day her own heirs might take up legal cudgels), and the provincial and federal authorities: 

Is the furniture on site available for use?

Groups should consider that the building will be empty for their use

Until July in 2008, the DDO main dome, the Administration Building, the radio shack, and the Director's Residence (the large 1860s "Elms Lea" dichromatic-brick farmhouse) comprised a time capsule of DDO life, with a rather unbroken sequence of duly conserved artefacts from 1935 onward. The following is a partial list (I can at instant notice one or two or so hundred pages of "further and better particulars", as lawyers say, from my private files to any government or police authority who might happen to need them, and perhaps will even at some stage upload some or all of those privately filed "further and better particulars" to http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com): 

  • "Schectograph" spectroscopy instrumentation for the main telescope (primitive row-of-pixels electronic detector, perhaps? and I know there was glycol cooling of the detector) - separate from the approximately-1965 main (grating) spectrograph, and likewise separate from the 1935-through-1960s decommissioned main (prism) spectrograph. 
  • Heirloom radio gear for VE9LHM, via which DDO maintained voice contact with its Chilean-mountains outstation, the "University of Toronto Southern Observatory" - notably during the months following the Chile detection of Supernova 1987A by the then Mr (but now Dr) Ian Shelton. This gear chiefly comprised two units - a Drake receiver, from the top-end 1970s ham-operator market, and a transmitter, possibly custom-built. Although licensed for both 20.5665 MHz and 14.6555 MHz, VE9LHM in practice used only the former of these two frequencies. The two units were kept in the radio shack, after the shack (built in the 1940s by the Department of National Defence) had relinquished its 1960s radio-astronomy role. - Separate from the shack, and housed in the Administration Building basement, was one of the two or three or so pieces of minor gear - a shelf- or desk-mountable cabinet "remote", through which personnel working in the comparative comfort of the basement could operate their shack receiver and transmitter. 
  • (As a minor, but specially charming, mathematical item:) a (perhaps pre-war?) melon-sized spherical blackboard, in some such material as slate, amenable to chalk marking, intended for the teaching of spherical trigonometry, with accompanying wooden cradle - up to 2008 July kept in the Administration Building ground-floor auditorium. 
  • Optical bench, in a small optical laboratory with revolving light-cutoff door, adjacent to the control room on the observing-floor level of the main dome.
  • Bulky Administration-Building basement machinery, including lathe, for working metal and wood.
  • Heirloom furniture, some of it (this might prove legally relevant) embossed or carved with medallion(s) or similar feature(s), architecturally matching the Main Building masonry medallion(s) (or similar masonry motif(s)). 
  • A pair of heirloom library-fireplace andirons, astronomically themed, from around 1938 or 1939. 
  • Oils and watercolours, possibly including a (minor?) Group of Seven. It is of specially high legal and cultural  importance to determine the current status (safely curated, perhaps, in University of Toronto collections?)  of a work which used to hang in Room 104. In my 99,000-word 2008 writeup of DDO contents organized room by room (this is a sort of follow-on to my 2,900-word 2007 writeup of DDO contents organized purpose by purpose), I describe the work as follows: /.../ painting, perhaps in oils or acrylic, by Canadian artist Eric Aldwinckle (1909-1980; biographical details can be had from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Aldwinckle /.../), in frame with broad matte, perhaps under glass, depicting 1.88 m operations as they might be witnessed by some bystander inside the dome. For dramatic effect, Aldwinckle had depicted the dome facing roughly north west, yielding a composition in which the telescope trusswork was accentuated by the full sweep of the polar axis and north pier. Two human figures were seen conferring on the observing floor, dwarfed by the grandeur of the machinery and the stars. With its brooding, laconic, brutalist sensibility, foreign to other DDO canvases, this piece (its human figures had the depersonalized aspect of soldiers from Canadian government artistry in the two world wars) faithfully evoked the mental and physical concentration required of Observers and T.O.'s at the 1.88 m.
  • Rare books, including a privately printed 1925 wilderness-appreciation work of David Dunlap, Shahwandagooze Days; and several manuscript materials from DDO Founding Director Prof. C.A.Chant; and an approximately-1650 Galileo Opera Omnia in 2 or 3 or so safely bound volumes; and an approximately-1610 Kepler, with its erstwhile leather binding disintegrating or lost. 
  • Guest books of historical relevance - documenting, among other things, the (informal, unexpected) 1935-05-31 visit to DDO of the William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister of Canada 1921–1926, 1926–1930, and 1935–1948; at the time of his visit, however, Mr King was Leader of the Opposition). 
  • An array of four chronometers (kept in the Administration Building basement, on a partition wall near the foot of one of the two staircases: one was of solar rate, with 12-hour (conventional-clock) display, with faceplate indicating Toronto construction; a second was of sidereal rate, with a faceplate not indicating its place of construction; a third - evidently built as a companion to the instrument just mentioned - was of solar rate, with 24-hour display, and with a faceplate not indicating its place of construction; and the remaining instrument was of sidereal rate, with faceplate specifying "Dent" and "clockmaker to the King" and "61, Strand & 4, Royal Exchange London"). 
  • Portable heiroom items with a direct DDO link, including (a) a conventional clock (as opposed to a high-precision chronometer) built as a cabinetry project by a cousin, or similar relative, of Prof. C.A. Chant (I was able to establish in July of 2008 that this item had not yet been removed from Elms Lea, even though a truck putatively in University service was at that point to my alarm and fear removing Elms Lea materials; I am additionally told that this item got removed from Elms Lea a little after 2008 July - if I recall my informant's words accurately, then in 2008 September), and (b) "Blue Willow" china (very likely a split set, I suspect kept before 2008 July partly in Elms Lea and partly in the Administration Building). 
Of these various items, the lathe and similarly heavy wood- and metal-shop machinery might be regarded in law as "fixtures", since they meet the usual lawyer's rule of thumb for the Ontario Heritage Act or similar legislation. What cannot be carried easily by one of two muscular persons tends to be in law a fixture, as opposed to a moveable chattel. I conjecture, as a mere amateur of law, that it was only the moveable chattels that the University of Toronto was legally empowered to remove at the time of its 2008 sale. Nevertheless, these items were for good or ill removed in the autumn of 2008 by the University of Toronto.  - I have been told that the lathe was actually damaged, on being hauled out of the Administration Building basement. If police enquiries at some proximate or remote future point prove necessary, attention should be directed not only to the downtown-campus Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, but additionally to the physics-labs workshops under the nearby Burton Tower.

I also suggest, subject to correction by lawyers, that any items of furniture artistically worked to match medallions or other stonework on the Administration Building facade, and (by my own analogous, admittedly  loose, legal reasoning) the astronomically themed andirons, are legally fixtures. 

Further, I suggest, subject to correction by lawyers, that the four chronometers might prove, on investigation, to have been so securely fastened to the Administration Building basement partition wall as to make their 2008 removal the (illegal?) removal of fixtures. 

I suggest, subject to lawyerly correction or even (cf my Preamble, above) lawyerly warning, that a police investigation might eventually be appropriate to determine whether the heirloom radio gear has been stolen. Here, admittedly, it may be that all is well. If the receiver and VE9LHM transmitter I have described prove on municipal investigation to be still within the (highly theft-vulnerable) radio shack, then they at this time trigger no significant police case. 

The watercolours, oils, and other artwork were removed, as far as I could in my position as fearful and alarmed bystander determine, on 2008-07-24 by the University of Toronto, with a (surely correctly refrigerated) PACART truck. The process is documented for YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsUQARA9kNY (2008-07-26 upload of my friend "PenOpticon", under title "Moving Day at David Dunlap Observatory", to a duration of 4:14). 

I believe, without having found the time to investigate, that the rare books have found their way into the University of Toronto Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, where they would now be surely benefiting from correct conservation conditions. 

I believe, without having found the time to investigate, that the artwork is now in the hands of the University of Toronto gallery, possibly within the walls of University College (where the artwork would now surely be benefiting from correct conservation conditions; but I stress again the special importance of checking that the Eric Aldwinckle depiction of 1.88 m observing-floor operations is safe). 

I have for many years speculated, in my habitually pessimistic way, that the Blue Willow china got pilfered. My speculation might, however, have been too hasty. In 2013, I  managed to see one or more of the Blue Willow pieces in a glass case at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, as part of the exhibition documented at http://current.ischool.utoronto.ca/news/2013/astronomical-discovery-display-museum-studies-exhibition

Since the 2017-02-13 document speaks of the need to regard the pertinent DDO buildings as "empty", the question arises, and must be pressed (pressed if necessary by provincial or federal layers of government, or even - I say this mindful of my caveat regarding tortious exposure, in my Preamble - by one or more levels of  our police): what has become, or is to become, of the pre-2008 DDO heritage contents? 

A properly civic solution to the heritage-contents problem would involve the University of Toronto and the Town of Richmond Hill issuing a joint statement, detailing which items are housed where. I or others could then check this against my own (long) private room-by-room and purpose-by-purpose lists of DDO heritage contents, to see if anything is missing. I am proposing to wait and see what the University and Town are able over the coming months to achieve by way of a joint statement, and then if necessary to start courteously reminding them of their civic obligation. 

****

Although the municipal documents of 2017-01-12, 2017-01-31, and 2017-02-13 do not discuss liability in case of an accident involving tourists, we as members of the taxpaying public must do our best to ensure that the liability questions do get documented. It will be important that liability gets tightly defined, so as to leave no uncertainty in the minds either of the Town or of the various prospective tour operators which parties carry which onus.

In defining liability, all parties will have to be mindful of the unresolved public-safety problems. 

(1) At a DDO Shop Meeting in the late spring or early summer of 2008, Prof. Bolton and I jointly raised the dangers of running a naked clock-drive shaft at the 1.88 m telescope. The shaft is almost at floor level, where any small child in a tour group could reach out and touch it. Correct procedure requires the shaft to be enclosed in a wire cage - even though engineers have in at least the years immediately prior to 2008 had trouble with the shaft, and might therefore continue to need easy access (say by an arrangement on which operating a cheap padlock undoes the enclosure). I believe that in past years there was some sort of cage. However, it had been removed by the time I started getting to know the telescope well, in the autumn of 1998. 

(2) I gather anecdotally, without having performed my own investigation, that data cables have been used in the main dome to convey power between the telescope and the ground-level switching gear. I believe, subject to correction by authorities, that this use of cabling, with a mere data-conductor cross-section pressed into carrying a power amperage, is a breach of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. Indeed I should at this point advise the three levels of government that, according to some local DDO folklore, provincial electrical inspections up to 2008 were perfunctory, with the inspecting official unfortunately leaving the main dome after just a few minutes. 

(3) The most serious DDO safety, and therefore liability, problem concerns the tendency of the main telescope to fall eastward, turning about its polar axis. Before the 2008 sale of DDO by the University of Toronto to the DG Group (then "Metrus") subsidiary Corsica, the DDO day crew found it necessary to check the balancing of this roughly 20-tonne mass about the polar axis once a week. The task took a crew of three engineers half an hour, and (after perhaps roughly 2005, when engineering staff was reduced) took a crew of two engineers one hour. With this weekly maintenance duly performed, the telescope's tendency to fall eastward (as I myself noted in my capacity as a part-time-contract "Telescope Operator") could be resisted by applying to the handwheel a reasonable muscle torque, easily within the capacity of one single healthy human. Nevertheless, all operating personnel must have been aware that if the telescope were ever to be handled carelessly, it would not only begin to fall, but would acquire momentum - attaining quickly enough a speed of turning at which any manual counter-torquing effort at the handwheel would fail, with the human operator's wrists liable to get broken. In the event of such an uncontrolled descent, an emergency application of the polar-axis clamp would not help. The reason for this is that the clamp is not a cogged device, but a mere friction shoe, such as is used for the braking of highway and rail vehicles. - Now, with up-until-2008 weekly balance-checking (surely?) omitted, the telescope balance problem might possibly be worse. 

The most extreme realistic hypothetical balancing-accident scenario is the following:

  • On a crowded tour night, the telescope falls eastward, rotating about its polar axis, until its accelerating descent is arrested by the violent impact of its sky end against some part of the dome. At the end of this fall, lasting perhaps 2 or 3 or 4 seconds,  the telescope is horizontal.
  • As the sky end of the telescope falls, its instrumentation end rises (the exact extent of the rise is admittedly a function of the previously selected positioning of the telescope about its "declination" axis, orthogonal to the polar axis; some selections of position are more dangerous than others). A member of the public is caught unaware, sustaining injury or death through a fracture - for instance, through a skull fracture, with glancing upward impact to jaw and cranium from swiftly rising metal breech-of-telescope assembly. 
****

It is helpful that the 2017-02-13 document indicates the Town's willingness to maintain the telescope. It will be necessary for the public, and perhaps also for some provincial and federal authorities, to query the Town on its capabilities and intentions. (When I write "federal", I have particularly in mind Parks Canada, who ought to be monitoring this longstanding, and perpetually troubled, local-park case, with a view to offering assistance: I do today take the precaution of including them in my cc-of-e-mail list)  In particular, it will be necessary for the Town to define its lubrication schedule, incorporating the schedule in its published documentation. Prior to the 2008 DDO&P sale, it was considered necessary to lubricate the main telescope's intricate gearing weekly. What (limited?) schedule, then, has ben achieved over the period 2009-2016, with the telescope in the ownership of Corsica? And what (improved?) lubrication schedule is the Town proposing to achieve from 2017 onward? 

****

It is helpful that the document of 2017-01-12 incorporates into its paragraph "4.0" caveat language, regarding the state of the buildings: 

/.../  the Town will be required to conduct a building condition assessment upon gaining ownership of the buildings. Therefore, at this time it is unknown if any work will be required to make the buildings ready for programming or when programming will begin.

I would respectfully remind all parties that problems with the two key heritage buildings surfaced at the Ontario Municipal Board 2012 hearing, when expert witness Prof. C.T.Bolton was undergoing examination-in-chief by Ms M. Virginia MacLean, QC, in her capacity as counsel for the Richmond Hill Naturalists. Here is a raw excerpt from the court-reporter's transcript of 2012-08-17. I leave the transcript's hurried punctuation, uncertain capitalization, and the like, uncorrected: 

Q. What were the - what condition were the buildings in when you left?

A. The Administration Building and the dome of - the Great Dome were in poor shape.  The maintenance and repair of those buildings had been neglected and deferred for 25 years prior to the closure of the building, and there were numerous problems. The roof of the Administration Building was leaking and had - was in very bad shape, long past due replacement. The building - the central core of the building was heavily infested with mould. The windowsills and some of the window frames of the windows - wooden windows were dry - had dry rot in them. The domes on the Administration Building and the Great Dome, the singles were coming off the dome.  Water had penetrated into the dome. There were - very likely that the ribs of the dome - of the Great Dome were rusted. I strongly suspect the ribs of the smaller domes on the Administration Building were rusted. As well, the frame - there was something wrong with the frame of the inner door into the Great Dome which was causing the door to bind, and it was the opinion of the engineering staff that the dome - the dome as opposed to the cylinder on which it sits, that the dome was too heavy for the cylinder, and the cylinder was starting to collapse at that point where that door was on. So the problems were very serious.

 Q. Now, you had an administrative role at the Observatory; is that correct?

A. yes.

Q. And you've been involved with it for a long time. Were you able to - have you thought about it since as to a cost estimate at that time to fix it?

A. Well, I can only make a rough estimate; But in discussions I had with the engineering staff, the feeling was it was a minimum of $10 million to repair the issues that I just outlined.

 Q. I take it you have no information today as to the condition today?

A. I do not.


A few comments are in order.

(a) Ms MacLean's "when you left" refers to Prof. Bolton's distressed departure in 2008 July.

(b) Prof. Bolton's "shingles" might more aptly be called "panels". It should for the possible benefit of persons not closely acquainted with DDO be added that they constitute the surface seen from inside the dome, being in this sense geometrically unlike the shingles on a house roof. In the days when I was coming to DDO for Telescope Operator and research-assistant contract duties, one of the dome-interior panels, measuring perhaps very roughly 1 metre by 1 metre, or 1 metre by 1.5 metres, or thereabouts, fell from the interior of the main dome onto the observing floor. This was a free fall of very roughly 5 or 10 or 15 metres. Although I do not know the mass of the panel (all I know is that it was of a 1930s papier-maché-like material tradenamed "Agazote" or "Agasote"), and although I cannot believe the mass to have been as great as 60 kg or even 40 kg, I nevertheless suspect that it would have been capable of inflicting a head injury had it struck anyone.

(c) As I have myself previously remarked to the Town, the hypothesis that the drum is, or has been, settling under the weight of the superposed dome is suggested by the presence of a long crack at the drum foot, in the stone or concrete or ceramic vestibule floor as one enters from the lawn on one's way toward the dome staircase. The Town engineers will in due course have to assess the crack. Writing as a mere engineering layman, I make the suggestion that since the cylinder is under compressive stress, electronic strain guages could be (perhaps even, as a matter of public safety, now must be?) used to determine whether it is presently unstable (i.e., whether it is presently moving, in a "strain response", to the stress imposed by its load).

(d) The Administration Building roof problem to which Prof. Bolton refers was putatively rectified a few years ago, at some point subsequent to Prof. Bolton's 2012 testimony, in a repair which a technically capable person has informally suggested to me might have cost Corsica on the order of 50,000 CAD. I know myself that the roof problem was serious, since I was present when the senior Telescope Operator and I had to call in University of Toronto personnel, around 2007, for emergency night repairs. On this occasion, rainwater had entered the building somehow, and was now - after tracing a path which I think was on the order of 5 or 10 or 10 metres long, in other words was not at all short - emerging as a torrent from the ceiling of the women's washroom. The quantity of water was perhaps not to my unskilled eye easily estimated. One might tentatively guess at a volume of a few hundred, as opposed to a mere few dozen, litres.

****

It is helpful that the document of 2017-01-12 repeatedly mentions astronomical research - in other words, that it does not confine itself to the easier topics of education and public outreach. This is a point to which I will return below, in my section on "Recommended Next Steps".

****

It is helpful that the document of 2017-01-12 refers to the Ontario's "Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy" process as a safeguard of administrative transparency, and that the 2017-01-12 document explicitly reserves to the Town the right to publish the identities of any or all parties submitting programme proposals. We may hope that the public will exercise its statutory FOI right to probe, in any conceivable, hypothetical case in which administrative details such as this are through some oversight not proactively published by the Town.

****

It is helpful that the document of 2017-02-13 envisages multiple programme operators at DDO. The Town is here avoiding a danger to which I drew its attention in recent months. As I have in recent months remarked, the Town must avoid a repeat of the situation that prevailed from 2009 through 2016, in which the RASC Toronto Centre enjoyed a monopoly, and so on a couple of occasions felt itself able to tell legitimate visitors they were unwelcome. (On one occasion, RASC-TC went to far as to prohibit entry on a tour night to a professional astrophysicist, accompanied by his amateur-astronomer friend. - I do add here that although that particular case is well known to me, I have not myself suffered any such large indignity at RASC's hands. I heard about that particular case only afterward, from one or both of the distressed individuals. The RASC Toronto Centre's treatment of me has been generally good.)

In assessing programme proposals, the Town will have to keep in view the possible involvement of a possibly helpful organization which has in its ranks some key former participants in the RASC-TC programming.  I know scarcely any more about this organization now than when I communicated with the Town's Committee-of-the-Whole on 2016-09-16 (in language which I reproduced on that same date at http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com). For the possible convenience of the Town and others, I reproduce here now what I wrote back then:


The database at https://www.can1business.com indicates that YRAA was registered as a corporate entity on 2016-08-08. The database gives also a few other particulars, including a Richmond Hill street address. 

The various e-mails I receive as a member of RASC-TC have not mentioned YRAA.

YRAA held a first meeting (which I unfortunately missed) on the evening of 2016-09-16 (FRI), in the York Regional Police station at 171 Major Mackenzie Drive West. 

YRAA has a Web site at http://www.yrastronomy.ca. Oddly, however, the site is now without content, and has in the (recent?) past had some content: a Google search retrieves the past content fragment

Members of the York Region 
Astronomy Association want to continue to build on 
seven years of
success at the David Dunlap Observatory, maintaining,

(with nothing shown by Google beyond that final comma).

Prominent in DDO outreach, and in RASC astronomy outreach,  and in astronomy outreach at the Richmond Hill Public Library, and therefore possibly connected with the emerging YRAA intiative, and in any case of interest to Town Staff in the context of [the securing of astronomy programming for DDO] is amateur astronomer Chris Vaughan. 

I have not yet attempted any communications with Mr Vaughan. 


(The relatively unknown YRAA is distinct from the long-established, well-known North York Astronomical Association, or NYAA, with Web outreach at http://www.nyaa.ca/.)

The Town will be well advised to encourage heterogeneous groups of potentially mistrustful people into mutual cooperation, by applying some long-night-shift, dome-and-control-room version of a tactic used successfully in the 1918-1920 Estonian War of Independence. I am not sure if I have already mentioned this somewhat comic administrative tactic to the Town. But if I have, then it bears repetition:

Key individuals ABC and XYZ, both quite necessary to the nascent 1918-1920 Estonian parliamentary and military effort, do not get on. What to do? It is winter, in conditions paralleling Ontario's Sudbury. ABC and XYZ happen to be in some snowbound, obscure corner of Estonia - perhaps, as it might be, in Irboska or Räpina, but at any rate tens of kilometres away from the nearest station. It has become necessary first to convey ABC and XYZ to the railway, and then to put them onto a train for some major centre of population, such as Tallinn or Tartu, in time for some such major thing as a meeting of General Staff or Cabinet. A solution suggests itself. Let ABC and XYZ share the same sleigh, supine under the same heap of blankets as their primitive conveyance makes its slow way to the rails. - Many hours later, ABC and XYZ disembark from the sleigh, ready to board their train for Civilization. And by now their bilateral diplomacy, honed in protracted "frank and open discussions" when their slow horse hauled them through that seeming eternity of field and forest, has progressed to détente.


2. Recommended Next Steps in DDO Heritage Conservation


In several submissions to the Town, I have mentioned the need to conduct a "Citizen Science" research programme, to the extent allowed by constraints of personnel and funding. I believe I have already drawn the Town's attention to the helpful writeup of the general Citizen-Science concept at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science. I repeat here what I have already remarked to the Town - namely, that one possible low-budget Citizen Science project at DDO would be the timing of eclipses in binary stellar systems, such as Algol and beta Lyrae, with a view to documenting mass transfers. (If Star A is dumping sufficiently large masses of gas onto Star B, then the period of the eclipse cycle will change - say, from (my made-up example, contrived to broadly resemble beta Lyrae) 12.912345 days this week to 12.912511 days next winter; in other words increasing by 14 seconds.) A programme of interest to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) could be mounted on, say, one of the two  Administration Building roof telescopes, for an outlay of just a few thousand dollars.

The bulk of the expenditure would be for an electronic camera, with its controlling computer. Additionally, it would be necessary to supply the computer with chronometry, I suppose good to plus-minus one or five or so milliseconds, via Network Time Protocol (NTP). My own modest experiences with NTP on my ageing personally built Linux box suggest that a computer clock can be disciplined to the required precision easily enough - with, no doubt, an invocation of /usr/sbin/ntpdate or similar tool, against some such timeserver as pool.ntp.org, two or four or eight times a night. 

On the personnel side, this particular conceivable Citizen Science project would require one professional or semi-professional "Principal Investigator" (PI), optimally trained to doctoral level, and a scientifically literate lieutenant-to-PI, plus a group of half a dozen rank-and-file citizen volunteers.

One might imagine giving the project two half-nights per week, over a period of 12 or 24 months.

The Town might want to see to it that whatever else is achieved in public outreach, at any rate some use is made in an AAVSO context of one or both of our main sources of local astrophysical expertise, outside the (traditionally not very research-driven?) RASC Toronto Centre:
  • My friend Dr Ian Shelton, currently heading the organization for good or ill named the "DDO Defenders" (http://www.ddod.ca/), might serve as a PI (or his astrophysically qualified spouse, my friend Dr Tuba Koktay, could be PI; or one of them could be PI, the other lieutenant-to-PI).
  • An appeal might be made to a repository of expertise regarded in some quarters as more research-driven than the RASC Toronto Centre, namely the North York Astronomical Association (NYAA; http://www.nyaa.ca/). This would be specially appropriate in the event - I hope that things do not reach this point, but anything is possible - that RASC-Toronto professes itself disinclined for DDO research, favouring instead its traditional concentration on public tours, and that YRAA takes a position parallel to RASC-Toronto's. NYAA might if the need arises prove anxious, or at least might if the need arises prove capable of being persuaded, to supply a scientific officer, at least at the lieutenant-to-PI level.
Additionally, some thought needs to be given to DDO programming which is science- or technology-based, even while falling outside astronomy. 

(A) I have already noted to the Town the advisability - from, I would stress today, even from commercial-entrepreneurial-innovative perspectives - of developing the DDO Administration Building as a counterpart to the Toronto Hacklab (https://hacklab.to/) and the Kitchener Kwarzlab (https://www.kwartzlab.ca/) "makerspaces", or Citizen-Engineering incubators. DDO's facilities are arguably unequalled in the Greater Toronto Area: 
  • basement woodworking shop
  • basement metalworking shop
  • basement optics shop
  • upper-floor electronics shop, with slate-topped (or similar) bench for soldering, and with sufficient space for possibly 8 individuals soldering at any one time, and with ample wall space for the storage of the thousands of duly binned components upon which successful electronics experimentation, outside the undemanding domain of large-scale integrated circuits and the associated undemanding Raspberry-Pi/Arduino-style "cyber", depends
  • upper-floor darkroom, with several outsized sinks, suitable for repurposing as a biology wet-lab (with large adjoining room, capable of accommodating possibly 6 individuals at once, for dry work such as dissection and microscopy) 
(B) Some thought should be given to approaching the Greater Toronto Area ham-radio community - currently active in public outreach with ham station VE3OSC at the Ontario Science Centre, but perhaps potentially interested also in DDO operations, perhaps even with support from a group of experimenters in the just-cited upper-floor electronics shop. (In the City of Toronto, Hacklab in fact includes radio in its portfolio, operating  ham station VE3HRQ.)

(C) An effort should be made to revive, and perhaps also to expand, the DDO tradition in meteorology started in or soon after 2009 by the RASC Toronto Centre. RASC installed an automated package, the "Vanessa Straumann Memorial Weather Station", with data communicated to the public at http://billlongo.com/DDO/weather/index.htm. The equipment was evidently taken offline on or just after 2016-12-17, and is perhaps now feeding a DDO-independent display at http://billlongo.com/weather/index.htm. One does not want so useful a meteorology station to be lost to DDO. It might even be good to see it supplemented with a hutch of traditional instruments (including manually operated max-min thermometer, and funnel-equipped manually operated precipitation gauge), as a check on the accuracy of the electronic installation. It would make sense for the hutch to be operated by one or more local schools, under consultation with one or more such parties as RASC, the Richmond Hill Naturalists, the DDO Defenders, YRAA, and NYAA.

(D) The Town should consider using the Administration Building for a programme of mathematics outreach, directed in the first instance at gifted Grade 11 and Grade 12 students. Here is one possible scenario:


  • A "Mathematics Self-Help Group", comprising about 10 people, meets upstairs weekly in the Administration Building - perhaps in the large open-plan room which housed DDO's prewar (human) computing staff, two or three doors southward of the darkroom suite. The Group spends most of its meeting doing something very humble indeed - namely homework from school, and examination prep! 
  • Separate from this, there is a rather ceremonial weekly tea, in the ground-floor Administration Building library, in the spirit of a good Cambridge University laboratory, with reasonable china and reasonable pastries. The rule, here as I suspect in Cambridge, is that teatime conversations get confined to science. 
  • Once or twice a month, there is a guest lecture, in the ground-floor auditorium beside the library. [If I had to help, I would cheerfully enough talk on cardinals and transfinite arithmetic - developing, for instance, the standard Cantor proof that no set is equipollent with the set of its own subsets, and in this context developing the proposition that the reals are a strictly larger infinite set than the rationals. It would be natural to follow this on some later night - though now I would have to revisit my 1970s/1980s mathematical-logic studies, in preparing - with a lecture on Turing machines and the undecidability of arithmetic-rich formal systems, pointing out the analogy between Cantor's circa-1874 proof tactic and Turing's circa-1936 proof tactic. On some still later night, I could haul down to DDO my "Lénárt Sphere" (like the perhaps-prewar spherical blackboard I recall from the DDO of 2008, but better - transparent, and duly equipped with toroid base, spherical protractor, and spherical compass, all of a pleasant recent Budapest design). On the Lénárt Sphere, I would then develop some of the spherical analogues for classical plane trigonometry - to take one example (I worked this out on my own a week or so ago, not referring too much to the published books) that as in plane right triangles the sine of an acute angle is the ratio of opposite side to hypotenuse, so in spherical trigonometry the sine of an acute angle is the ratio of sine of opposite side to sine of hypotenuse. It would on the same evening be pleasant to walk out with the young people to the lawn, explaining the linkage between spherical trigonometry and astronomy. This is a linkage that could be explained to them, to an adequately gratifying degree, even if the night sky proves overcast. - I speculate that the Richmond Hill Naturalists might be willing to supply a certain more weighty authority from their own ranks, doctorally qualified in statistics, and known to me personally, and now retired from teaching in one of the Ontario universities, for a probability-and-statistics lecture. - One might also hope to attract one or two or three lecturers from farther afield, somehow or other (perhaps - if there is an honorarium - from Toronto's Fields Institute, or even from Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics?).] 
  • At suitably rare intervals, there is a bit of Fun in the auditorium - for instance, a screening of one of the various films detailing Prof. Turing's wartime Bletchley Park code-breaking work. 

3. No Retraction Herewith of Previously Affirmed Heritage-Conservation Principles

Nothing communicated here should be taken as a retraction of my underlying conservationist principles: 

  • The loss, favouring would-be subdivision developer Corsica of (to two significant figures) 32 hectares out of the (to three significant figures) legacy David Dunlap Observatory and Park (DDO&P) 76.5-hectare total, is a loss to national heritage - now as at all previous times urgently requiring both federal and provincial attention. 
  • The worst feature of the loss is the blow, perhaps fatal, which it deals to any attempt to put DDO&P onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, as a parallel to that UNESCO history-of-science centre which is the Joggins Fossil Cliffs (in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia; I write about Joggins from a position of moderate knowledge, having in the course of DDO conservation casework spent a few hours there; in the years leading up to the 2008-07-07 achievement of UNESCO listing, this case heavily, and correctly, engaged Halifax and Ottawa authorities, notably Parks Canada).
  • The correct line of action for the would-be developer Corsica - now as hitherto - is to walk away from its projected 32-hectare development, leaving to others (for instance, to ordinary residents) the harsh job of reforestation. 
  • Even outside the sphere of cultural heritage, the federal government should take an interest in the problematic 32 hectares, as a suitable site for a piece of Department of National Defence infrastructure so far lacking in the Greater Toronto Area - a suitably wide terrain, potentially reforestable, for a civil-emergency HF-regime Toronto-to-Ottawa civil-defence radio link, deploying the (radio-optional, and yet spatially extended) rhombic antenna-farm design. 
  • DDO must to the fullest possible extent be conserved for astrophysics.  (It must not, in other words, decline into a mere museum.) This is because of the unspeakable Elephant in the Room, probably evident enough since 2001 or 2008 or so to at any rate the more senior levels of the provincial and federal civil services, professionally interested as they are bound to be in Canada's energy-security and climate-change (i.e., food-security) files: the G-20's, including Canada's, deteriorating economic and social situation may some decades from now preclude the flying of Canadian astrophysicists to the world's better observing sites (notably, to Las Capanas in Chile,  and to Mauna Kea on Hawai'i). 

APPENDIX A: Disclosure of Personal DDO&P-Conservation Interest


The following is my formal disclosure of personal interest, and equally of lack-of-interest, in  the various administrative, financial, scientific, and legal facets of DDO&P heritage conservation: 

  • history of scientific involvement with DDO, through (neglecting here a minor 1997 two-night observing run) 1998-1998 fourth-year-project spectroscopy on helium-weak star HD21699 (around 20 nights used?), and also NASA NStars volunteer observing for Prof. R.F.Garrison
  • history of employment at DDO, through (neglecting here minor paid tour-guide duties, from 1999 or so onward) two concurrent part-time contracts, from 2006 November through 2008 June (as Telescope Operator, and as Prof. C.T.Bolton's research assistant)
  • history of significant police interaction, being directed off property 2008-07-30 in my attempt to photographically document removal-of-chattels or removsal-of-fixtures (full writeup finished, as a handcuffs-I-have-known kind of essay, but not yet uploaded to http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com; any authorities, whether friendly or otherwise, now desiring to see the essay quickly should ask me for it), with subsequent history of small undetected infractions (brief attempt to examine vehicle movements on property in 2008 summer, from a concealed vantage point in tall grass, under direction of citizen conservationists; attempt to investigate an acoustic problem at DDO, in preparation for conservation-relevant tribunal work, toward the end of a RASC public tour night (excursion on foot up driveway as far as main lawns, and quickly back out again); cobs-of-corn deer-feeding operation, perhaps around 2010, at a time at which Corsica's mowing operations were causing the resident herd to hunger (only very shallow penetration of property, under cover of forest, with some near-site logistical assistance from an adult male resident who has since left the relevant Richmond Hill neighbourhood; I was entering under the direction of  the then conservation-supporting K.Cilevitz))
  • history of 2014 legal actions involving a then election candidate, and by now a Town Councill, the (by 2014 subdivision-supporting) K.Cilevitz, as documented at http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/ and http://www.karen-vs-toomas-legaldocs.ca/ 
  • financial involvement through supporting Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) (2012, 2014) and Ontario Divisional Court (2013) work of the conservation-supporting Richmond Hill Naturalists (outlay of bulk of life savings, to 500,000 CAD or 550,000 CAD, if the approximately 50,000 CAD of K.Cilevitz-triggered legal work is included in this total outlay; to my surprise, the expert-witness testimony at the Ontario Municipal Board, involving among others Shore from Italy and Luginbuhl from Arizona, which cost me so many dollars, did not in the end save so much as one tree; there are now just two outstanding financial points, on the one hand a bill for 30,000 CAD or so at the at 2014 OMB lawyer Gowlings - but the pertinent Richmond Hill Naturalists authority has told my verbally, in my capacity as their principal benefactor,"not to worry" (my interlocutor's phrase) about this -; and a remaining last-part-of-job bill for 10,000 CAD or so by 2012 OMB lawyer V.MacLean, which has been the subject of displeased e-mails between her and me (I herewith reiterate, as I have remarked in e-mail to her, and have again remarked in my http://toomaskarmo.blogspot.com posting of 2016-04-25 or 2016-04-26, that I will even in my poverty pay this at soon as she explains in some clear way why she stated at OMB on 2012-09-10, to the surprise of her client the Richmond Hill Naturalists, that the Naturalists were actually willing to have some homes built on a certain part of the land - if her explanation is that she was pressured behind the scenes, then let her supply details for my readers, and if appropriate for the Ontario Provincial Police or other levels of police; if, on the other hand, her explanation is that she was in some other way frightened, or was confused, or was ill, or was feeling sorry for what she perhaps perceived to be a naive client, then let her again supply details for my readers)
  • no expulsion from the already-mentioned grouping, the "DDO Defenders", founded by me late in 2007, and from the spring of 2008 headed by K.Cilevitz, and currently headed by my friend Dr Ian Shelton (Ms Cilevitz, in publicly asserting that I have been expelled, has been under a misapprehension; although I know the facts to be as I here write them, I nevertheless do invite my friend Dr Shelton herewith to attempt a rebuttal, or reply, or clarification, or whatever, should he see fit, and will assume if I do not hear from him by UTC=20170228T2359Z that all is well with my writing here) 
  • strong hope of leaving direct hands-on DDO casework behind late in 2018, with a move to Estonia (but this can be delayed, if Town or other authorities for some reason need me - my hope is that I will not be needed after 2018); with the move to Estonia, my ongoing DDO work will have to be centred merely on correspondence and writing, without the possibility of easy site inspections (but if the Corsica subdivision project goes ahead, and there is a "Sales Centre", I will have to mount a legal picket, perhaps not abandoning my picket until the "Centre" at last closes: and in the - remote? - contingency of legal trouble once the "Centre" at last closes and I am at last settled in Estonia, I would hope to be able to investigate, as an Estonian national, possibilities for creative legal countermeasures in a properly European context, perhaps even somehow involving the European Court of Human Rights - all this, I suppose, just in the remote contingency that my hitherto-polite adversaries become harsh, and contrary to all expectation start playing dirty with Tallinn authorities, to the extent of my adversaries' engineering some breach of the European Convention on Human Rights) 
  • membership maintained up to 2017 December in the RASC Toronto Centre (but this may well have to be given up upon my moving to Estonia - perhaps with my formally leaving the Toronto Centre at the end of 2018, and thereafter continuing only as a member of RASC-National) 
  • heavy RASC national-level commitment maintained, first as junior author and more recently as lead author of the annual Observer's Handbook bright-stars article (a commitment surely best retained - it serves Canada's science-education interest, reaching many thousand readers - even after the envisaged 2018 move to Estonia)
  • merely peripheral links to Ontario ham-radio community (the various remarks on radio in this document notwithstanding: licensed from 2005-11-02 with full band privileges as VA3KMZ, under Industry Canada "Basic with Honours"); currently active in Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Greater Toronto Area Sundays-17:30 VE3TWR UHF net, but without formal ARES membership) 
I add that despite the history of police interactions detailed as the third point on this bullet list, I dream of being once again allowed - this time by the Town of Richmond Hill - (a) to walk the DDO grounds in the daytime, from 2017 right up to my envisaged 2018 departure for Estonia, and (b) to observe the sky with binoculars or my other amateur gear from the DDO lawns at night (dealing with people as well as I can in my occasionally troublesome mild autism; I am by temperament kindly, if shy, and these days I only rarely get frightened of people).

Finally, I remark - this might help the Town in its efforts at organizing at organizing DDO programming - that up to the time of my envisaged departure for Estonia, I am happy to make my modest private equipment available for general DDO tour-guide use:

  • 0.20-metre Dobsonian reflector, duly equipped with a high-quality image-not-reversed finder scope (this Dobsonian would be suitable for stowing, as a potential temporary DDO tour-guide amenity, in some such place as one of the DDO upstairs rooms - to be brought out by RASC tour guides, or by  other tour guides, as appropriate, on condition that any loss or damage is the tour-guiding organization's burden) 
  • set of three eyepieces (low-power and medium-power of modest quality, high-power perhaps rather up-market) 
  • collection of atlases, included the exceptionally detailed northern-sky Will Tirion Uranometria 2000.0 

APPENDIX B: Previous Blogspot Publications on DDO&P Conservation



  • 2017-02-20 or 2017-02-21: "Advertising Standards Canada Case #141628 (Corsica Inaccuracies) Now Closed?" 
  • 2017-01-02 or 2017-01-03: "Update on Advertising Standards Canada" (a no-content posting, made in error, and mentioned here only for completeness) 
  • 2016-12-19 or 2016-12 20: "Open Letter to Advertising Standards Canada, with Municipality and Others"
  • 2016-11-28 or 2016-11-29: "DDO&P Sewage-Works Stormwater Facility: Queries for Province and Town, and Suggestions for Residents"
  • 2016-11-25: "Letter to Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs, on OMB Reform"
  • 2016-11-07 or 2016-11-08: "USA Election, and Government Generally (DDO File as an Indicator)" 
  • 2016-11-07 or 2016-11-08: "Theology-of-Civics and DDO (Oak Ridges Moraine Aquifer Cap)"
  • 2016-09-26 or 2016-09-27: "Submission to Town Council"
  • 2016-09-19 or 2016-09-20: "(A) Submission to C.O.W.; (B) RASC-TC communication"
  • 2016-09-12 or 2016-09-13: "Minor DDO&P News: (1) Dr R.Chou Now Heads RASC-TC; (2) DND Memo Now Updated"
  • 2016-08-29 or 2016-08-30: "Moral-Uplift Images Pertinent to Radio and Department of National Defence"
  • 2016-08-29 or 2016-08-30: "Open Letter re DDO&P DND (Department of National Defence) Implications"
  • 2016-08-22 or 2016-08-23: "Open Letter re DDO&P Breach-of-Aquifer Question (Town et al)"
  • 2016-08-15 or 2016-08-16: "Failure of 2016-08-14 Archdiocese-Outreach Effort (Pertinent to DDO&P Conservation)"
  • 2016-08-15 or 2016-08-16: "Failure of 2016-08-14 Muzzo-Outreach Effort (Pertinent to DDO&P Conservation)"
  • 2016-08-15 or 2016-08-16: "RASC-TC Leadership Change, and Further RASC-TC Statement on DDO&P"
  • 2016-08-08 or 2016-08-09: "Muzzo-family/Toomas Conciliation Project (DDO&P and Convict)"
  • 2016-08-08 or 2016-08-09: "DDO&P Karen-and-Toomas Reconciliation Project"
  • 2016-08-08 or 2016-08-09: "Commentary on Useful RASC-TC Editorial on DDO&P Conservation Case"
  • 2016-08-01 or 2016-08-02: "Open Letter re DDO&P to Town Council, Addressing the 2016-07-29 Concerns of Councillor Karen Cilevitz"
  • 2016-07-25 or 2016-07-26: "Open Letter re DDO&P to Muzzo and DeGasperis Families, and Others"
  • 2016-07-22: "CIVIC EMERGENCY: RASC Pulls out of DDO 2016 September"
  • 2016-06-02: "Lori Nix: artist's vision of an abandoned observatory"
  • 2016-05-30 or 2016-05-31: "Hillesum, Frankl: Holocaust insights on trees (for benefit of DeGasperis and Muzzo families)"
  • 2016-05-16 or 2016-05-17: "(Part C) Islands in a Time of Civilizational Decline: DDO&P"
  • 2016-05-02 or 2016-05-03: "2016-05-03 e-mail to DDO&P-casework public figures, re blog"
  •  2016-05-25 or 2016-05-26: "Essay on Sorrow - Its Anatomy and Its Remedies" 
The "Essay on Sorrow" is an important posting, highlighting my private and subjective fears that conservationist lawyer V.MacLean may have been pressured by someone into making her unexpected concessions to the developer, when addressing the Ontario Municipal Board on 2012-09-10. This posting is also important in highlighting the M.Muzzo criminal conviction (peripherally connected with DDO&P, in that the convict is a paternal nephew of one of the Corsica directors; I think - subject to lawyerly correction - I am allowed by the "Fair Comment" doctrine in defamation law to express, without fearing tort, my subjective opinion that the younger Muzzo's criminal carelessness expresses the same unsatisfactory underlying values, calling now for Catholic correction, as have led the Muzzos and DeGasperises into a felling of urban forest and a distressing of wildlife). Further, the posting is important in highlighting some potential legal questions around alleged ongoing University of Toronto DDO&P financial interests. These questions might, for all I can now see, become relevant to the police or Ontario Ombuds or Ontario Attorney General or federal authorities - perhaps soon, perhaps in the longer term (as, for instance, in the conceivable contingency that someone at some remote future point starts questioning the legality of the 2008 sale). 

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. For comment-moderation rules, see initial posting on this blog (2016-04-14).