One Niagara, Ontario resident’s plea to Save Thundering Waters Forest
A Statement from Joyce Sankey, Director of Conservation for the Niagara Falls Nature Club to Niagara Falls City Council on May 8th, 2018
Posted May 10th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
“Good evening. My name is Joyce Sankey.
I am with the Niagara Falls Nature Club. We protested the removal of trees from this site in 1992 and again in 2008, but much of this forest was destroyed.
I am not against this development. I am against this development being built within the Thundering Waters Forest Complex.
People in Niagara Falls have been told this subdivision would provide between 1800 and 2800 jobs. This is not a promise. The developer would not have to provide these jobs, just employment lands. Business could locate in this subdivision but could also locate elsewhere in the city. By locating somewhere else, they could revitalize an area of the city that needs this, be near transit, and not destroy a natural area.
Many of the jobs in Niagara are in tourism. They are often low-paying and not full-time year round. People in Niagara, people who voted in the current council, need affordable housing and not expensive gated communities.
It may be cheaper for developers to build on virgin lands, but it is an economy Niagara can no longer afford.
I have questions on the wetlands. Who will have ownership of the wetland areas if the development proceeds?
Will the development be a private gated community? Will residents of Niagara Falls living elsewhere be able to walk there? Who will ensure that the wetlands are protected?
I have great concerns if the wetlands and areas that cannot be developed are owned by the GR investment group.
The developer has spoken of her desire to flood the wetlands with water from the Welland River. She has talked of ensuring that the vernal pools do not dry out. She has talked about how the wetlands need fish. She may mean well, but if she does these things, it could destroy the wetlands.
I disagree that the development could be built as planned and not harm the ecosystem. Thundering Waters has many wetland complexes – multiple wetlands connected by areas that are not wetlands. These connecting forests, meadows and other lands are also important to wildlife viability and the health of the entire ecosystem.
Council, please think of the long term. Please consider what you would like in Niagara Falls in 50 years. Should we be a huge bedroom community, largely paved over?
Could your legacy be that you kept Niagara green and healthy? Think of Niagara with a large healthy park, a place to be with nature, clean air, clean water, and flood protection. I think all of Niagara would thank you for giving those who come after us an enhanced quality of life.
The Niagara Falls Nature Club is an affiliate club of Ontario Nature. For more information on the Niagara Falls Nature Club, click on – https://niagarafallsnatureclub.org/ .
Following Joyce Sankey’s statement and numerous others from members of the public, a majority of Niagara Falls city councillors, including the city’s mayor, Jim Diodati, voted in favour of moving forward with plans to build a “multi-use community,” complete with a hotel and residential dwellings, on 120 acres of the 484-acre Thundering Waters Forest lands in the Niagara River watershed.
To read a news commentary Niagara At Large posted on the Niagara Falls council’s May 8th decision, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/05/09/thundering-waters-forest-now-closer-to-the-day-of-buzz-saws-and-bulldozers/ . )
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