Woodlot Redesignation Should Not Be Celebrated: Local Environmental Group

The local Citizens Environment Alliance believes developing a wetland within city limits is not something to celebrate.

The province has re-designated a part of the South Cameron Woodlot, bounded by Totten Street, Dominion Boulevard, Daytona Avenue and Ojibway Street, in the area west of Holy Names High School.

"I know the argument is that it improves the property tax base, improves the ability of people to live in the city but so do the wetlands," says Alliance Co-ordinator Derek Coronado.

The redesignation has removed 50 acres of the property from its provincial significant wetland designation, which means it could potentially be developed.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the original designation was flawed and was done by a bureaucrat in Alymer who never visited the city.

But Coronado says the city should be fighting to maintain it.

"This wetland and woodland area is one of the most significant features of its type in the city that is left and it is really unfortunate that the  mayor took the time to lobby to redesignate it to open it up for development."

Coronado says this is backwards thinking.

"In the 21st century, it is really unfortunate that we are doing things now that would be out of the 1950s forgetting the fact that we have a climate crisis, we have a biodiversity conservation crisis and the city needs all the help it can get."

He says it is hard for the alliance to look at the municipal government as a defender or protector of natural habitat when these actions are taken.

More than 100 acres of the property are still protected by the provincial designation.