Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
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Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   


(Posted 6 a.m., March 31)
Navan resident upset over proposed manmade ponds

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

Plans to build three manmade ponds in Navan has raised the ire of at least one resident who is trying to find out who’s behind the plan and why they are being built.

Peter Friske first found out about the project when workers armed with chain-saws started cutting down several trees in the forest behind his Birchtree Crescent home.

This picture shows the easement on the left which will act as a pathway to the proposed manmade ponds and Peter Friske's Birchtree Crescent home on the right. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Next, the heavy equipment arrived in the form of a bulldozer and a back hoe. Friske immediately called the office of Cumberland Ward Coun. Stephen Blais who managed to get the operation suspended temporarily.

The project, officially called the Navan Wetland Restoration, is the brainchild of Ducks Unlimited and the South Nation Conservation Authority. It calls for the construction of three shallow ponds along the north side of the Prescott-Russell Recreation Trail at a cost of $180,000.

According to Blais, the city has also set aside $200,000 to build a boardwalk and nature trail around the ponds as part of his Canada 150 Trail Project.

A public meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 11at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Navan Arena. Friske is hoping to get some answers at the meeting.

According to Friske, the proponents of the project want to restore the area as a wetland, but Friske, who’s lived in the house for over 30 years, says it’s never been a wetland.

“It’s not a wetland restoration, it’s a wetland creation,” argues Friske, who is a retired biologist. “The ground is made up of Leda clay and it’s surrounded by hardwood trees."

The South Nation Conservation Authority is adamant that the area was a wetland and it has the historical data and maps to prove it. The land is also designated a recreation/park zone in the Navan Village Plan.

Besides the argument of whether or not a set of ponds is needed, Friske is also considered about the impact the project will have on surrounding properties.

Access to the site is being proposed along an easement between his property and his neighbour’s house, which up until now has served as a space where Friske has parked his ATV. The city wants to turn it into a pathway with a large sign at the entrance signifying access to the ponds.

“They want to bring in students on buses and have other people from outside the community use the pond. Birchtree is a quiet residential street. It’s not made to accommodate all that traffic and be used as a parking lot.”

Friske is also concerned the ponds will produce hordes of mosquitos.

The city’s response is that the ponds will attract frogs which will eat the mosquitos

“I worked in the bush for years and I know that where there’s standing water, there’s mosquitos,” says Friske, who also questions the environmental aspect of the project.

“If this is being done to promote and protect the environment, then why would you cut down 30 odd trees, bring in a back hoe and a bulldozer to disturb the area, and dig up the existing natural state of the land. It’s crazy.”

All that said, Friske’s biggest concern has been the complete lack of any public consultations.

“I found out about it after the back hoe showed up. Even now, no one seems to know who’s idea it is, or who’s taking the lead on it. If I hadn’t said anything, the ponds would be dug already."

A public meeting was held by the South Nation Conservation Authority in the fall and no objections were raised at the time, says Blais. The records also show that the project was brought to the Navan Community Association at a meeting last June.

"This is a case of residents not being aware of the original meeting for whatever reason, which is why we're having the meeting next Monday to try and address any concerns the residents might have," says Blais.

The South Nation Conservation Authority are the stewards of the South Nation watershed which includes the land in and around the village of Navan, a large part of Avalon, and the Mer Bleue Bog.

The agency was created under the Conservation Authority Act of Ontario in 1947, and it has complete authority in managing natural resources within its boundaries.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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