Navan residents fighting plans for rehabilitated wetland.
Published Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:39PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, June 7, 2017 6:51PM EDT
Some residents in Navan are pouring cold water on plans to create a wetland in their community.
The idea is to turn city parkland into a pond with a boardwalk for the public to enjoy. The six-hectare proposal would be built behind some houses off Birchtree Crescent in Navan on property owned by the city of Ottawa. The city and South Nation Conservation say they're surprised by the resistance to this project.
But some 400 people have signed a petition arguing against it, saying leave their meadow as it is.
From John Mesman's perspective, this is going to be a beautiful project. Mesman is with South Nation Conservation, the group working with the city of Ottawa to turn a dry wetland in Navan into an enhanced wetland with a man-made pond and a boardwalk at a cost of about $300-thousand dollars.
But the plan is meeting with some stiff opposition from residents.
“It’s difficult to see opposition when you think you have a great project that is great for environment and great for the community,” says Mesman, “so you have to listen to everyone and see what will work and what won't work.”
Peter Friske and Cheryle Houle are leading the charge in trying to overturn this project. Both their properties back onto it.
“A boardwalk through this area would be great,” says Friske, “but what we have a problem with is that they want to dig out this area and put an acre of stagnant water in this area.”
The concern for many of the residents is that this one wetland will eventually be linked with the other existing wetlands in this area and consequently be designated a provincially significant wetland.
And that, they say, would impact their property values and their rights as homeowners.
“We wouldn't have the liberty to put topsoil on our properties or put up a shed or put an addition on out home,” says Cheryle Houle, “Once the ponds are put in, the species at risk will come make their home here and as soon as that happens, South Nation Conservation will come in here, will reassess and the whole area would become environmentally protected.”
But the councillor for the area says that's simply not true.
“There is no chance this will be deemed provincially significant wetland,” says Stephen Blais, “the city would have to ask for this to be evaluated and even it did get evaluated, none of the scientists believe it would quality as a provincially significant wetland.”
South Nation Conservation says it will let the city decide how to proceed.
“At this point, if the community doesn't want it, we have to leave and go somewhere else,” says John Mesman, “We're not going to force a pond and board walk down anyone's throat.”
One final meeting is being held Wednesday evening on this issue at the Navan Memorial Arena, at 1295 Colonial Road. It gets underway at 7.