|The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
The essence of the situation is that the provincial and municipal authorities long ago approved the development project, that would build houses on the lowest part of what is presently the Leitrim wetland, while attempting to preserve another part by constructing a barrier 700 metres long to prevent drainage of groundwater. Experts opposed to this plan say the barrier is unlikely to do the job, due to porosity of the underlying material, and because the barrier would not extend far enough. When or if it doesn't work, onus would be on the City to improve the barrier, or pump water back into the wetlands (all at huge public expense) or watch it die.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO DECIDE NOW WHICH OPINIONS YOU BELIEVE. WHAT YOU ARE BEING URGED TO DO IS TO WRITE TO DFO MINISTER THIBAULT AND ASK FOR A PUBLIC PANEL REVIEW OF THE DFO SCREENING REPORT. That report ignores those expert opinions and says it is OK to proceed with the project. With a panel review the experts can give their opinions publicly.
I am copying below some words of Juan Unger of the Greenspace Alliance. He provides full details on who to contact, and where to get get further information if you feel you need it.
YOU CAN HELPWhat is said, and how many of us say it, CAN make the difference.
What is needed is a letter (e-mail is ok)--even if it is only a very, very short one--to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (see address below).
You can start a letter or e-mail by saying that it refers to "the Findlay Creek Reconstruction and Stormwater Management screening report" or, more formally, to "the Findlay Creek Reconstruction and Stormwater Management Environmental Assessment Screening Report".
In it, please be sure to ask for
***a public review and full environmental assessment of the proposed stormwater system at Findlay Creek and the Leitrim Wetlands.***
The "screening report" published by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has many deficiencies and does not provide reliable assurances against irreversible, grave damage to these exceptional wetlands. According to Mike Lascelles (former director of legislation and education, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency), "This screening does not answer fully two key questions: Is the stormwater system likely to fail and drain the Leitrim wetlands? and Should future local residents worry about their health because of the landfill nearby? Faced with this wholesale uncertainty and public conern, the federal Fishries Minister has a legal duty to refer those questions to an independent public review by experts to give us credible and reliable answers before irreversible damage is done."
PLEASE NOTE: To be considered, a letter HAS TO BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN 17 JULY 2003. So please do not postpone it -it's very urgent, and this is in fact a chance to effectively contribute to the possible protection of these irreplaceable wetlands!
Please consider forwarding this message and asking others--as many others as you can think of--to do the same, and write at least a minimal letter (can be an e-mail) asking for a public review and full environmental assessment of the proposed stormwater system at Findlay Creek and the Leitrim Wetlands.
Your request for a public review must be received before midnight July 17 to be taken into account by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans!!!
You can write to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans--but please be sure to send a copy to the DFO Prescott District Office (see below). The minister's address (free of postage) is:
VERY IMPORTANT: Please be sure to send a copy of that letter to the DFO office responsible for the report by e-mail, fax or regular mail, at:
If you can, please copy also:
Thank you in advance for any and all help that you can contribute to this crucial effort.
Juan Pedro Unger
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE AREA
This page was revised on 20 April 2007
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