Don’t Let The Forest Destruction Of 1992 Happen Again In Niagara Falls, Ontario

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.

A news photo of some of what was left of a sprawling forest off Oldfield Road in southwest Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1992. This clear cut by developers played a role in driving the Ontario government to pass tougher tree cutting legislation in the province. File photo

A news photo of some of what was left of a sprawling forest off Oldfield Road in southwest Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1992. This clear cut by developers played a role in driving the Ontario government to pass tougher tree cutting legislation in the province. File photo

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.”

The same spot 14 years later where the 1992 clear cut took place as seen this past winter. The developers only recently got around to building houses on the site. Photo courtesy of Niagara, Ontario photographer Emma Fleury

The same spot 14 years later where the 1992 clear cut took place as seen this past winter. The developers only recently got around to building houses on the site. Photo courtesy of Niagara, Ontario photographer Emma Fleury

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.

jon august 23 rally

Here is a list of Niagara Falls city councillors along with their contact information –

To E-mail all the Council Members click oncouncilmembers@niagarafalls.ca<councilmembers@niagarafalls.ca>

Mayor Jim Diodati 905-356-7521 ext 4201 www.jimdiodati.ca Mayor Information Page

City Councillors

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 nameshttps://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 onhttp://www.greeningniagara.ca/

Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post in the space below. We only ask that you include your first and last name with your view.

Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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2 responses to “Don’t Let The Forest Destruction Of 1992 Happen Again In Niagara Falls, Ontario

  1. In my opinion, and I have written about this in the past, developers in this region have shown absolutely no respect for anything but the bottom line on their profit and loss statement and they like many CORPORATE entities literally own most of, if not all, the so called “ELECTED” councils and MPPs through financial support at election time. A few years ago it was written in the local media that they are getting a free ride when it comes to development charges levied by governing bodies and the evidence was note worthy when a now ex-mayor made a motion, in Regional Council Chambers, the basically table an attempt to increase the development charge in the Niagara Region. I was alerted to this by Doug after an Regional Council meeting when He asked the affiliation of this person to a developer.
    In my opinion Developers are the giant in the closet who manipulate and scheme with little or no thought to the consequence and environmental disaster.
    The evidence is noted in this above history of past indignities perpetuated on the land known as the Niagara Region.

    Just saying

    Like

  2. Gail Benjafield

    Bruce Timms of the NPCA has been corresponding with me. And he is off to the AMO meeting (an annual gathering of Ontario municipalities) in Windsor this week, where, according to (a recent story in the) Standard on the AMO, titled’ Niagara Politicians primed for AMO’, (Niagara’s regional government chair) Al Caslin states that Niagara delegations are being sent and that “one meeting will focus on wetlands designation”. Note not Conservation, but designation.

    Guess who might be part of that delegation.

    Like

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