Say No To Building Over Thundering Waters Forest
By John Bacher
Posted August 10th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
As far as environmental protection goes, June 30th, 1992 must be recognized as a ‘Day of Infamy’ in Niagara, Ontario.
It was a day that saw the first cut in the Thundering Waters Forest-savannah complex in Niagara Falls – a place in the region that 12 years earlier had been recognized as an environmentally sensitive area in a joint study by Brock University and Niagara’s regional government.
The assault on this area clear cut into oblivion a 35 acre block of wetland old growth forest north of Oldfield Road in Niagara Falls. The block hosted, among many other natural features, towering Pin Oaks and rich vernal pools providing habitat for amphibians.
During several days of June 1992, all but 10 acres of a 45 acre block of old growth was ripped out. Backing a hydro line, three acres of what is left of this forest still provides habitat for a threatened vine, the Round Leaf Greenbrier.
In 2015 seven acres of this forest was cut down as part of a subdivision on the site of the 35 acre 1992 clear cut still being constructed by Mountainview Homes.
During the Day of Infamy the St. Catharines Standard sent Doug Draper, then the environment reporter with the newspaper, to view the wreckage.
“One of the things that shocked me the most was see the way the devastation of the trees was impacting on many species of colourful birds. All the trees had been cut down during the nesting season and the birds were flying around frantically over the tumbled piles of trunks and branches as if they were searching for their nests.”
“It was a disturbing sight that I will never forget.”
At the time of this incident, Draper was told by officials with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) that about 12,000 trees had been cut down in the forest. Some 2,400 of these trees were oaks – mainly old growth giants.
Draper interviewed Gerry Levesque from the Natural Resources Ministry at the time and, among other things, Levesque had this to say: “When 30 to 35 acres of forest gets flattened, you think of the wildlife habitat that was lost, the little bit of oxygen (produced by the trees) lost and the esthetics. It’s upsetting to see that little respect.”
Tragic as the assault on this forested area was, what happened in June of 1992 may pale in comparison with what may happen in Niagara Falls to the nearby Thundering Waters Forest where a plans are now afoot to turn close to half of more than 400 acres of forest, savannah and wetland over to urban development.
What is important for all of us who care about saving what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage to know is that at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23rd of this month, Niagara Falls City Council will be holding a Public Meeting at the City Hall under the Planning Act.
The purpose of the meeting is to facilitate the zoning changes needed to move forward with the so-called ‘Paradise’ development on the Thundering Water Forest lands.
If forest clearance on the scale recommended in the draft Environmental Impact Study for Thundering Waters is implemented through new zoning amendments, we will be seeing tree slaughter on a scale that could rival or surpass that of 1992
I urge each and every citizen in Niagara Falls and across the Niagara region and beyond to stand up against this proposed development on these lands by attending the Public Meeting and by contacting members of Niagara Falls City Council and expressing your opposition to this plan.
Here is a list of Niagara Falls city councillors along with their contact information –
To E-mail all the Council Members click on – firstname.lastname@example.org<email@example.com>
Wayne Campbell 905-358-9643 Cell: 905-351-9237
Kim Craitor 905-358-6196 Cell: 289-241-8439
Carolynn Ioannoni 905-358-3063
Vince A. Kerrio, 905-358-4534
Joyce Morocco Cell: 905-351-1757
Victor Pietrangelo 905-353-1808 Cell: 905-359-0682
Mike Strange Cell: 289-696-1916
Wayne Thomson Business: 905-374-5118 Cell: 905-359-2238
If you want E-Mail individual councilors you can find them by clicking on the following link then clicking on their names – https://www.niagarafalls.ca/city-hall/council/members.aspx
John Bacher is a veteran conservationist in Niagara, Ontario and is the Chair of Greening Niagara
For more on Greening Niagara click on – http://www.greeningniagara.ca/
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