Members of Burlington City Council have applauded a major new study containing ideas on how to preserve and protect the unique environment in south west Aldershot.
At a committee meeting this week Councllors formally accepted the study indicating that it will serve “as the guiding document regarding future management actions for these lands”.
The report was prepared for the Cootes To Escarpment EcoPark system, which has a variety of agency partners, including the City of Burlington.
The report includes many recommendations impacting the publicly owned lands. It specifically calls on the City to participate in initiatives to: reduce road salt, support cycling, enhance signage, improve trail safety, discourage illegal feeding of wildlife, grow tourism and much more.
No specific time frame for action was identified.
“This is very exciting for Aldershot. Also, for my back yard” commented Aldershot Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, who lives in the area.
“As a child, my back yard went right into the Lower Grindstone Creek. This is a very special area. It’s a beautiful park that spans multiple properties. I’m glad it has a management plan behind it. It’s going to be protected long into the future” said Galbraith, who also serves on the Board of the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Councillor Paul Sharman who sat on the RBG Board during the last term of Council described the report as “an important step for the environment”.
The lands in question are owned by the City of Burlington, the Region of Halton and the Royal Botanical Gardens. The 147 hectares south of the 403 and west of Waterdown Road, support many Carolinian and southern plants, including rare and uncommon species, endangered and threatened species and species at risk.
The study, which was prepared for the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, outlines the challenges and opportunities faced by this unique area including; problems with pedestrian trail connections, wildlife crossings, trail erosion, vegetation removal, invasive species, illegal dumping, cycling safety, traffic impacts and more.
According to the report, people are both part of the problem and part of the potential.
“A major overarching management issue is the anticipated increase in use that will result from future development and the associated population growth. Increased use …..has the potential to degrade the natural, recreational and cultural resources”.
The report says the area is very desirable due to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities therefore, developers should pay for the privilege of building in Aldershot.
“It is thus fitting that management or mitigation of any population-induced negative impacts resulting from development…… should be contributed to by development proponents,…….it would be incumbent on planning authorities (Burlington and Halton) to consider increased use pressures and likely environmental impacts in their assessment of development applications.”
By Rick Craven