Zoning Change Request in LaSalle to Protect Species at Risk

The province is asking LaSalle Council to rezone some property it owns in the town to protect species at risk.

Those species include: the eastern fox snake, the Butler's garter snake and plants including dense blazing star, colicroot and willowleaf aster.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation owns one-hectare of land on the north side of Todd Lane, west of the Highway 401 off-ramp that is zoned residential, but the province wants it rezoned as natural environment.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been involved with species at risk restoration work and has requested this site be rezoned.

"Part of the land was taken over when the highway went through and it's vacant, it's got bush, undergrowth and stuff on it," says Councillor Sue Desjarlais. "It is part of the endangered species areas with the different snakes that are in there and some flowers that are in there."

Desjarlais can't imagine anyone would want to build a house on top of the highway and feels if they can keep some green space green, "let's do it."

She says it's unclear who would be responsible for maintaining the land, because the main objective is to assure it's not disturbed.

"We would, I'm sure, ask for the ministry to suggest who's going to take care of it, but nothing's been done with it for the last so many years so I would assume that we're just going to leave it as is," says Desjarlais. "The town of LaSalle will clear the road in front because that's our road, but going into the bush, I don't think that there's anything they'll be doing with it."

A Public Information Meeting on Feb 19 received no comments from the public and the Essex Region Conservation Authority has no objection.

Council will review the request at its meeting Tuesday night, but administration is in support of the request.