A group from Collingwood, Ont. Residents erected a sign in the town to show their opposition to two development projects on a southern Georgian Bay wetland.
“Silver Creek Wetland? Destroyed! Save it from developers now!” reads the sign on private property on Highway 26, east of Gray County Road 21.
Katherine Holmes, a member of Friends of Silver Creek Wetland, an advocacy group, said on Sunday the group wanted to draw attention to the impact the developments, Bridgewater on Georgian Bay and Huntingwood Trails, will have on the wetland of Silver Creek and its floodplain. Collingwood is north of Toronto.
Members of the group gathered around the sign on Canada Day to display homemade signs that read: “Honk if you agree.” The panel was installed Thursday evening.
“We did this to raise awareness and let developers, the city of Collingwood and the Ontario government know that we’re going to keep fighting,” Holmes said.
“There’s a lot of land for development. I don’t think any of us are against development because obviously affordable housing has become an issue. Densification makes more sense to me in Collingwood. It There is a condominium being built in Collingwood right now. Why can’t there be more of this? We understand there has to be development, but where is the gist of it all.
Holmes, who moved to Collingwood from Toronto, said the wetland is important for flood prevention and biodiversity. It has salmon and trout habitat. The Silver Creek system is part of the city’s natural heritage. The wetland stores carbon and protects the coastline.
“At the end of the day, it’s a wetland. And the surrounding area shouldn’t be developed because that feeds into the wetland,” she said.
The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority lists on its website that the Silver Creek Wetland Complex is a wetland that has been deemed provincially significant. It is made up of swamp forest, thicket swamp and swamp. It’s a Great Lakes coastal marsh that’s home to a number of plants and animals, he says.
The Consulate Development Group, based in Mississauga, Ontario, plans to build the Bridgewater development on Georgian Bay.
According to the city’s website, the Bridgewater development would be located north of Highway 26 West, bounded by Bartlett Boulevard and Princeton Shores Boulevard. The developer proposes to build a subdivision of a total of 655 housing units, consisting of 539 townhouses, all three storeys, and 116 apartments in a four-storey building. The plan would involve rezoning.
Meanwhile, Huntingwood Trails (Collingwood) Ltd. is considering building a subdivision south of Highway 26 West, but the development is being appealed to the Ontario Lands Tribunal.
According to the city’s website, the Huntingwood Trails development would be located on 21 acres of the 5 Silver Creek Drive property, between the Silver Glen Preserve condo development to the east and the forest subdivision to the west. The developer proposes to build 100 lots, consisting of 86 single-family homes and 14 semi-detached homes.
The Ontario Lands Tribunal has scheduled 25 days of hearings due to begin Aug. 8 to determine the fate of the Huntingwood Trails development.
Friends of Silver Creek Wetland organized an online petition against the developments which garnered over 30,000 signatures. The petition calls on the Ontario government and the city to stop development and permanently protect the wetland from development.
“South Georgian Bay’s last intact coastal wetland is threatened like never before by rampant overdevelopment,” the petition reads.
“Time is running out and the costs are very real: the destruction of endangered wildlife habitats, increased risks of severe flooding and the permanent loss of our natural heritage.”