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Town nixes Nigh Road subdivision plan

Fish and turtle study puts drain upgrade in limbo

Fort Erie town council denied the approval of a draft plan of subdivision in Ridgeway because councillors felt it would cause more flooding of Beaver Creek.

At issue was a 30-home plan on 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) north of Nigh between Ridge and Gorham near the bend and bridge over the stream.

The proposal known as Creekside Estates was opposed by residents in the rural-type neighbourhood. Drainage was one point of concern.

They also opposed the number of homes, preferring less density, and they were concerned that the Region’s sewage pumping station was inadequate and that Nigh Road would become more dangerous.

But it was a fish and a turtle that postponed, at least, the development of the land.

Grass pickerel and an endangered species of turtle make Beaver Creek home. Since it is the outlet for a number of drains including the tributary near the proposed development, their habitat will be affected.

Although rehabilitation of the drains in the Beaver Creek watershed are a town priority, the federal department of fisheries is studying grass pickerel in the creek and the results may limit the town’s maintenance plans.

The creek is also on the edge of the range of two species of turtle. Both are considered endangered in Ontario.

The area near the land in question is prone to flooding, and while the developers and town staff say the runoff can be contained to prevent downstream flooding, it’s all predicated on the municipal drain and Beaver Creek.

Public works director Ron Tripp said there’s no reason to deny the approval of the draft plan at this stage because the developer still has a lot of engineering and design work that can be done while the DFO conducts the study.

It could take two to eight years to upgrade the drain, Tripp said.

Councillor Tim Whitfield said there’s no sense in adding increased flows to the creek until the outlet problem is fixed.

Mayor Doug Martin said he’s “not comfortable” with approving the draft because flooding has always been a problem and the fish and turtle concerns complicate it.

“I agree with the mayor,” said Councillor Ann-Marie Noyes. She would only approve the plan on the condition the Beaver Creek situation is solved, noting her belief that it could take as many as 15 years.

Councillor Sandy Annunziata said the draft should be approved to give the developer the clear signal on how to proceed to address the drainage.

Councillor Steckley said he was “cautiously in favour” of the draft, although he doesn’t have confidence that staff and partner agencies will be able to solve the flooding problem.

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  1. George Jardine | Sep 9, 2010 | Reply

    Beaver Creek runs into Black Creek and then into the Niagara River its taken 30 years to get the creek free of contaminants credit goes to Friends of the Creeks.Caution is the word on our waterways.

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