Ken Reid Conservation neighbours launch petition over disc golf project
, 2022-11-22 11:04:29,
When Ray and Judy Denure heard chainsaws at the Ken Reid Conservation Area near their home, they figured it was just some typical property maintenance.
They were surprised — and more than a little concerned — to learn the effort was to make way for a disc golf course.
“We had no idea it was happening. We don’t think cutting down trees is the right move … and it would have been nice to at least be notified that this was a project they were interested in pursuing,” said Ray.
Denure pointed out that conservation lands are not like personally owned lands because there are so many other people who aren’t owners yet are fully vested in what happens on the property.
“A consultation process might have helped those who are interested in conservation see why cutting the trees for alternative use is a good idea, or perhaps the process might have helped staff see that moving the course to another place on the property would have been better.”
Judy also pointed out that when the couple wanted to construct a small building on their property, they had to obtain a special variance from the municipality and pay a fee to the conservation authority.
“What they’re constructing seems to be much larger than what was proposed … and I don’t believe the environmental assessment was extensive enough,” added Judy.
Kawartha Conservation director of stewardship and conservation lands Kristie Virgoe said the project stems from a public consultation process held in 2019. With the endorsement of its board, staff successfully applied for funding from the federal Tourism Relief Fund and RTO8. The course is expected to be completed by the end of December.
Virgoe explained the area being developed is a “transitional meadow” — the conservation area was primarily used as livestock pasture before being purchased in 1981 — and the project will have no “significant impact.” The agency also hired a third-party consulting firm to conduct an environmental assessment.
“We’re not cutting down any trees on the escarpment,” said Virgoe, adding trees are a part of the allure of disc golf. “In fact, 90 per cent of what is being removed is invasive Buckthorn. So it’s actually a positive.”
Although Virgoe appreciates the Denures strong connection to the Ken Reid — she and general manager Mark Marjowski recently met with the couple to address their concerns — it’s not the agency’s practice to consult with area residents on proposed projects….
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