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Old Friday 24th February 2006, 18:10   #1
Rory Rickwood
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Exclamation Help Save Bird Habitat in Nanaimo, BC CANADA

HELP STOP THE CITY OF NANAIMO
AND
VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY
FROM DISTURBING AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREA
AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO RESTORE VITAL WILDLIFE HABITAT


Adjacent to Vancouver Island University (formally called Malaspina University-College located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada) is a provincially registered sensitive area known as, “Jingle Pot Marsh” – a municipal nature park. A small ecological group known as Friends of the Cat Stream has been in a David and Goliath battle with the City of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island University to protect vital habitat for the skittish migratory bird known as the Virginia rail and other wildlife values associated with the wetland area.

As local volunteers, Friends of the Cat Stream are working hard as wetland habitat stewards to stop the degrading of vital wetland habitat found around and within this important marsh. We are presenting this ecological issue to you in order to raise your awareness and to ask you to help us by writing two short letters. Letters from many different people can make a difference. Please distribute this story within your own networks.

We have mounted a robust campaign to restore and protect wildlife habitat that has been disturbed by the asphalt Trans Canada Trail and by the Mariners Field which is the area used by Vancouver Island University. This multi-sports recreational area specifically overlaps Virginia rail habitat. These sports fields eliminate 50 meters of an 80 meter buffer of vital foraging habitat recommended by Dr. Conway (Author of Birds of North America) for this site. We are also calling for bio-filtration swales to be put in as promised to protect the marsh from automobile runoff from the parking lot. A development project in a wetland area should not have been allowed by our municipal decision makers.

We need to have the City of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island University to help us in stopping the fragmentation of this critical habitat by moving their noisy sports fields back and away the wetlands and marsh. This can be done by increasing the leave strip by removing one of the five fields that have been jammed into the wetland area; and, by closing down the fields between Oct. 1 to Feb. 29 when the wintering Virginia Rail come to the area. Just as important is that an accredited university is involved. We can’t let Vancouver Island University fall out of the fold of institutions of higher learning and promoters of good environmental standards. We can let them know the world is watching.

We need your help! We encourage people to review our material that follows and send a letter to the decision makers listed below. Your efforts can make a difference!

Please join the campaign to protect vital wetland habitat by communicating your views to:

Board of Governors
Vancouver Island University
Building 300, Room 105
900 Fifth Street
Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5
Email: president ‘at’ viu.ca

and,

Mayor Gary Korpan and City Council
City of Nanaimo
455 Wallace Street
Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6
Email: mayor.council ‘at’ nanaimo.ca

Thank you for your support!

“As far as natural spaces are concerned, the land that is saved must be saved within the next few years. Our options are expiring — we have no luxury of choice. We must look to this landscape as the last one. For us it will be.” – William H. Whyte.

Background:

Canada is known for having 14% of the planet’s wetlands. It has been estimated that up to 70% of Canada’s original wetlands have been lost due to development. Unfortunately, the loss wetland habitat continued in Nanaimo, due to municipal decision to create an inappropriate active recreational area next to a Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI) and Marsh, which continues to disturb wildlife due to a field-use partnership with Vancouver Island University. A SEI is a provincial/federal designation for a highly environmentally sensitive area. A Nanaimo City Council decision further disturbed this SEI when they decided to approve the placement of a 7-meter berm with a 3-meter asphalt Trans Canada Trail across it. Those decisions in effect turn Nanaimoites and visitors into evasive species of this environmentally sensitive area. How did this happen?

As far back as 1999, Malaspina University-College (now called Vancouver Island University) was in a partnership with the local baseball association and Rotary Club (North) to build sports fields on Malaspina campus. However during construction of those fields in an environmentally sensitive area they hit an aquifer of gushing water resulting in fish-threatening sediment entering a fish-bearing creek, known as the Cat Stream.

That unfortunate event resulted in Malaspina being fined by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans in provincial court (Visit: http://www-comm.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pages/release/p-releas/2000/nr0005_e.htm for “DFO News Release”. Malaspina received a serious black eye for not being precautionary in their environmental due diligence. At that time, Malaspina’s President assured the public by saying, “Malaspina sets very high environmental standards for programs and students… We have taken steps to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Friends of the Cat Stream formed a clearer Mission Statement after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans fined the Malaspina University-College for releasing fish-threatening sediment into the Cat Stream Creek. As follows: The mission of the Friends of the Cat Stream is to restore, preserve, and promote the environmental health of the Cat Stream and its watershed.

Looking for a new location for sports fields was a hop-skip-and-jump over Third Street to an area that contains a provincially registered sensitive wetland known as Jingle Pot Marsh. Critical wetland is within the 62 acres of the 1651 Jingle Pot Road property, which was acquired by the City of Nanaimo in September of 2000 from the BC Assets and Land Corporation after a strong lobby by the Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association (NMBA) to purchase the Third Street property. Early NMBA documents that promoted the building of sports fields referred to the marsh as a year round swamp.

Other areas around the city would have been more appropriate for sports field development, and the Jingle Pot Marsh area was simple the wrong choice. This sensitive wetland became a victim of development because of its proximity to the university. Malaspina contributed of over quarter million dollars that sped up the Phase-2 construction by three years, which expedited the fragmentation of wetland habitat for Vancouver Island University’s Mariners Field. We are working to recover and restore this critical habitat!

A Third Street Property Master Plan Steering Committee (City sponsored committee of local stake holders) with extensive community input developed nine recommendations, of which Recommendation No. 3 stated, “If an environmental impact study allows for development of ballfields in the western, developable portion of the property, the fields should be single use (with no ‘organized’ use from October 1 to February 29)”. This did not please the sports field developers. I believe behind the scene activities and lobbying resulting in City Council amending the community’s recommendation, which effectively supports Malaspina University-Colleges year-round physical education, intramural and intercollegiate programs.

As local stewards for the area, the Friends of the Cat Stream and other ecological groups have been in conflict with the City over what they see as the elimination and fragmentation of a sensitive wetland area, and that the public approval process was flawed. A public petition was ignored by City Council. There was one thread of hope, and we were hopeful the City Council and staff would follow the following recommendation that was developed during the public-approval process:

Recommendation No. 9 – that stated: “It is the strong opinion of the Third Street Property Master Plan Steering Committee that due to the extreme environmental sensitivity of this property, which is known to be a rearing area for Coho Salmon and Cutthroat Trout, and is perhaps the most significant habitat in Canada for wintering Virginia Rails, any development should be approached conservatively, undertaken with utmost care and managed to ensure minimal long-term impact from use”. However, council/staff were not obligate to follow (and did not) this environmental recommendation because it was not adopted as a bylaw. Also, government environmental guidelines have no legal force, and Nanaimo did not follow them, which has contributed to a protracted dispute with community stewards.

Based Recommendation No. 9, both the Nanaimo Field Naturalists and Friends of the Cat Stream presented information to protect the wildlife values of the property. It was pointed out that the City of Nanaimo’s own commission study by J.C. Lee & Associates on the marsh site reported the, ”greatest concerns with playfield development adjacent to the wetlands are noise and effects of night lighting, which may discourage wildlife use or nesting and/or increase predation on nocturnal species.” Another valuable contribution to assist in determining what high environmental standards to apply at this development site came from Dr. Courtney Conway, author of Birds of North America. Dr. Conway wrote his masters thesis on the migratory bird, Virginia rail, and remains one of the foremost expert on this bird.

Dr. Conway shared his scientific information on the foraging area need by Virginia Rails, and advised the developers of the sports fields of the need for an 80-meter leave strip [buffer zone] from waters edge (high water mark of the South Marsh) to the development in order to protect the habitat of the Virginia Rails. Information on the skittish, migratory bird, Virginia rail can be found by visiting the following sites:

1. http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird_details.aspx?value=search&id=129 “About Virginia rail”
2. http://www.nenature.com/VirginiaRail.htm

It was hoped that the developers would consider of J.C. Lee & Assoc. noise concern and the recommendations of Dr. Conway (Associate Professor at Arizona University). It soon became apparent that the City’s and Malaspina’s bureaucrats were not interested in reducing the size of the footprint for development, nor approaching it in a manner that local habitat stewards thought was environmentally conservative. The developers were quick to say they have followed their due diligence under federal and provincial regulation. Many of those regulations have been viewed as environmentally inadequate in Canada by stewardship groups and such organizations as, Sierra Legal Defence Fund and West Coast Law.

There was a real sense of portrayal by many volunteer community stewards when the City of Nanaimo completed this unfortunate development. With caring people urging them to act responsibly, we can urge Vancouver Island University and the City of Nanaimo to consider their reputation, rethink their decisions, and work with cooperatively with Friends of the Cat Stream to restore the environment they have affected.

The poor decisions and sad events in Nanaimo have generated many media reports (see below). The City of Nanaimo dove into a bunker and have exhibited a bunker mentality ever since and don’t know how to reach a compromise. We have a many community-based organizations and government official who have expressed serious concern about the development of sports fields and an asphalt trail in the area of provincially registered sensitive ecosystem (our precious Jingle Pot Marsh). It is helpful to review the following accounts:

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/esd_pet_225_e_30320.html “Auditor General of Canada website”
http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_central/nanaimonewsbulletin/news/19802589.html “Nanaimo News Bulletin front page”
http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?p=194289&sid=b66b217dc73f337aa204631 fa81dd4b6
“Blog/Globe and Mail News Report”
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=9ebd9841-5a41-4391-9a82-67ba6e4e5861&k=44493
“Times- Colonist News Report”
http://www.fpnnews.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemi d=79 “Website Article”

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlifeactreview/feedback/5.html “Click Rory Rickwood to read submission to government website”
http://www.sierraclub.ca/pipermail/syc-sustainable_campuses/attachments/20050922/006048ee/SLDFMediaRelease-0001.pdf “for Sierra Legal Defence Fund Media Release”


“The existing paved trail through the wetland poses a potential risk to wildlife and may impede movement of wildlife, including species at risk. As a general approach, Environment Canada prefers that travel corridors are available for wildlife.” - The Hon. John Baird, Minister of the Environment

“As we see it, our role in this process is to provide pertinent information on the natural history of the Jinglepot Marsh area…The Nanaimo Field Naturalist have been using this area for their entire 30 year history, as an outdoor classroom and as a recreational site. We have put countless hours into caring for it and over the years have hauled many, many loads of refuse out of this are to the local dump. This site is also a key area in our X-mas bird count due to the large number of Virginia Rails and other species using the area. We are dedicated to doing as much as we can to preserving this habitat for the creatures that live there and the people who enjoy them.” – Guy L. Monty, President, Nanaimo Field Naturalists

The Jingle Pot Marsh area has the “highest wintering density in Canada” of Virginia Rails (a freshwater marsh bird). – 1997 Environmental Assessment of 1651 Jingle Pot Road, J.C. Lee & Associates report

Re: Jingle Pot Marsh – “I documented home range size of both breeding and wintering Virginia Rails in Arizona in my MS Thesis… One might want to protect a buffer equal to the radius (or diameter) of the average home range size for Virginia Rails (1.64 ha during breeding season, and 2.41 ha in winter). If you assume a typical home range is a circle, then the radius of a 1.64 ha home range would be about 65m and the diameter would be about 130m. If you use the 2.41 ha winter home range (perhaps more appropriate for your situation), a circular home range of 2.41 ha would have a radius of about 80m and a diameter of about 160m. Any development that affects the water regime in the marsh is of more importance. Virginia Rails need soft mud or sand within emergent marsh vegetation for foraging and nesting. A drop in the water table could lead to reduction in preferred habitat.” – Dr. Courtney J. Conway, University of Arizona

“We have received and reviewed a significant amount of information that would suggest that the proposed development (sports fields) could adversely impact an area of extreme environmental sensitivity that is the habitat of a number of migratory birds, including the Virginia Rail (yellow listed – 1997), rare plant (e.g. Vancouver Island Beggar Tick) and amphibian (e.g. red-legged frog – blue-listed) species and is the headwaters of Cat Stream Creek, a fish-bearing stream. Unfortunately, it seems that from the material we have reviewed the intent of maximizing the useable ground space for sports fields at the expense of the well-documented environmental values the area supports is taking precedence. This is exemplified by the City’s apparent refusal to consider affording an 80 meter set back on the property to protect the habitat of the Virginia Rail.” – John Werring, Senior Staff Scientist, Sierra Legal Defence Fund

“Jinglepot Marsh has high wildlife values. The presence of large numbers of Virginia Rails is significant. This uncommon bird is losing habitat in areas such as this where development pressure is intense… The high biodiversity and rare species of the Jingle Pot wetland make the site a conservation priority.” – Jan Kirkby, Conservation Science Ecologist, BC Conservation Data Centre (A joint program of BC Environment, The Nature Trust of BC, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the US Nature Conservancy)

Re: Jingle Pot Marsh – “Apart from concerns regarding water quality impacts, the greatest concerns with playfield development adjacent to the wetlands are noise and effects of night lighting, which may discourage wildlife use or nesting and/or increase predation on nocturnal species.” – from City of Nanaimo commissioned, J.C. Lee & Assoc. Report

Re: Jingle Pot Marsh – “Pesticides, lawn care chemicals, road salt, a fuel spill in the parking lot or even something as minor as an unintentional over application of fertilizer could be the final straw that tips the balance against the fish”. – Kevin L. Telfer RPF Bio.

Re: Jingle Pot Marsh. “Altered water flow and the use of fertilizers and other chemicals on the adjacent ball fields will likely have an impact on the marsh’s chemistry and temperature.” – Dr. Gordon Hartman, Fisheries and Oceans Scientist (Ret.)

“At Jingle Pot you (we) are dealing with a wetland habitat – a relatively rare commodity these days and a habitat that is easily maligned and very easily damaged or compromised. Wetlands have a high biodiversity. I think we all agree that for the Jingle Pot/Catstream headwater we want to maintain and hopefully improve what wetland habitat remains.” – Bill Merilees, (Biologist), Chair, Buttertubs Marsh Liaison Committee

“The local area of the Jingle Pot Marsh is a major wintering spot for the Virginia Rail that is being threatened by a campaign to fill in part of the wetlands in order to build baseball fields… I ask that in your capacity as Minister of Environment you give this serious concern careful consideration.” – Reed Elley, MP (excerpt from letter, 2001)

Re: Jingle Pot Marsh – “Environment Canada officials have already stated publicly the Department’s concerns with this proposed development. In particular, we have expressed concern about the proximity of the baseball fields to the wetland identified in the Inventory, the possible hydrological effects of the development on the wetland, and the potential effect on wintering Virginia Rails.” – David Anderson, Minister of Environment (excerpt from letter, 2001)

“Canadian Wildlife Services’ position with respect to development within Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI) polygons is that any further development within them is not condoned. This is based on the very real concern for the continued degradation of sensitive, rare, and fragile ecosystems of East Vancouver – Gulf Island study area. Results from the SEI study - the first of its kind - clearly showed development has resulted in substantial habitat loss and fragmentation. Degradation appears to be ongoing, the net effect being the cumulative loss of these important ecosystems over the entire study area.” – Andrew G. Robinson, Environmental Assessment Officer, Canadian Wildlife Service

Re: Beneath the Jingle Pot Marsh area: “Statement of Problem: Portions of the property have been undermined by coal-mine workings . . Prior to redevelopment of the subject property, it may be necessary to conduct remedial works… to arrest further deformation of the overlying strata… the alternative to remedial work is partial condemnation of a site, by building ‘no-build zones’.” – Westwater Mining Ltd, 1999 Third Street Remediation Review Report

“Unfortunately, wetland loss continues in Canada. As much as 70 per cent of Canada’s original wetlands have been lost in some areas of the country.” – Ducks Unlimited Canada

“Canada has 14% of the planet’s wetlands. Today, Canadian wetlands are under pressure from agriculture, urban and industrial land use development. Recreation activities can either preserve the natural condition of wetlands or be part of their destruction. Many activities such as hunting, fishing and bird-watching are considered non-destructive. How-ever, other recreational activities involving the construction of facilities such as marinas and docks, cottages and beaches are destructive to wetlands.” – Natural Resources Canada

“This Department acknowledges efforts of Friends of the Cat Stream to protect the fish and fish habitat value of this marsh, and we recognize that this objective is not possible without efforts from local stewardship groups such as yours.” – Bruce MacDonald, R.P. Bio, Area Chief, Habitat and Enhancement Branch

Re: 2006 Letter Writing Campaign – “Thank you for your interest in wetland conservation and good luck with your endeavours!” – Lynette Mader, Communications Manager (Ontario), Ducks Unlimited Canada

We need to encourage municipalities like Nanaimo to strictly follow environmental guidelines, to adopt better rules for planning, to allow predictability in the land-use process, and to find meaningfully ways to prevent the negative ecological consequences of degrading our vital wetland habitats.

We are asking you for your help to save and restore a small patch of vital wetland habitat in Nanaimo.

Please write your letters today!

Thank you from,
Rory Rickwood
Nanaimo Volunteer Steward

Last edited by Andy Bright : Thursday 25th January 2007 at 20:19. Reason: Info Update
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Old Monday 27th February 2006, 11:57   #2
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I've checked this situation out and feel that this is an important and worthwhile effort. I urge people to do as Rick asks and write letters.
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Old Monday 27th February 2006, 11:59   #3
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Rick, I think this might get a greater response if you were to draft something that people could use as a model.
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Old Monday 27th February 2006, 17:24   #4
Rory Rickwood
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Form Letter as a Starting Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowyowl
Rick, I think this might get a greater response if you were to draft something that people could use as a model.
Dear Sirs:

My name is (name) and I live in the community of (name). I am disturbed by the information that has been presented in the Bird Forum regarding the development of sports fields next to a highly sensitive wetland. Knowing you are partners and participants in the laudable enterprise of providing accessible and affordable recreational opportunities in our community, we encourage you to take care not to forget that we are by no means this community's only inhabitants. We are, however, the ones who create the greatest impact.

As such, I would strongly urge you to work cooperatively with local habitat stewards, namely the Friends of the Cat, on the active recreational area being built next to Jingle Pot Marsh, and to act immediately on the advice of Dr. Courtenay Conway and reduce the number of playing fields by one (1) and apply other measures in order to preserve habitat for the Virginia Rail and other wildlife values. This small reduction in the footprint of the sports area is well worth the survival of vanishing wetland species.

If we, on the other hand, continue to degrade wetland areas and contribute to the disappearance of wetland species, no amount of recreational space will compensate for our loss, or the losses of the generations who follow us.

There was extensive community consultation through the Third Street Property Master Plan Steering committee, and “conservatism” should be the watchword when applying the good advice of professionals and your local habitat stewards. Saying you have followed "due process" or done "due diligence" means nothing to vanishing species. It saves the reputation neither of an institution that, while teaching conservation, has contributed to extinction; nor of a community that, in creating recreational facilities for its youth, robs them or a piece of their planet's future.

Sincerely,
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Old Monday 13th March 2006, 19:48   #5
Rory Rickwood
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Update to this Story

Update to this Story:

Except from the front page story in the Nanaimo Daily News (March 3, 2006)

“Boycott of ‘Unhealthy’ Nanaimo urged during 2010

- Group tells the world to stay away
by Robert Barron

Some of Nanaimo’s environmental stewards are encouraging the world to avoid the city during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver unless compromises are made over development near sensitive wetlands.

Rory Rickwood, a steward with Friends of the Cat Stream, said Nanaimo is ‘too unhealthy to visit’ because of the way the community and Malaspina University-College pushed through their athletic program to build the Serauxmen sports fields on Third Street at the expense of the Catstream, a nearby wetland habitat.

‘We have a conflict of values going on here in Nanaimo which makes our community an unhealthy place to visit,’ he said. ‘On one hand, we have the local baseball association referring to the sensitive marsh area as a ‘year-round swamp’, and a member of Parliament public survey of 658 Nanaimo residents tells us that there is 81.3% local support for an emphasis on habitat protection.’

The Friends of the Catstream have been advocating for more watercourse setbacks, about 80 metres, from the Third Street sports fields to help protect the rare Virginia Rails, and other species that nest in the Catstream, but planners decided on a 30-meter watercourse setback.

Rickwood said the city is in ‘blatant contravention’ of the land-use principles in the Third Street Land Use Plan adopted by council. ‘I believe a compromise to this conflict is possible and we are prepared to end our boycott campaign when the city simply follows the rules and works with us to protect vital wetland habitat,’ he said.”
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Old Friday 31st March 2006, 20:15   #6
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Update on this Nanaimo Bird Story

Local wildlife stewards have filed an official complaint with the BC Omudsman because the City of Nanaimo is overseeing the conversion of marsh habitat into forest habitat which has been harassing of the rare migratory bird, Virginia Rail.

Roger Giles [gilesroger(at)hotmail.com]
Nanaimo
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Old Saturday 1st April 2006, 10:05   #7
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Rory ... done
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Old Saturday 1st April 2006, 10:21   #8
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Hi Rory,

I have written too, every piece of wetland in the world is important not only to the birds but to us as well, they absorb water and help prevent floods.

Please keep us posted.

I for one will fight for every wild piece of dirt (earth) in the world. I want a world full of diversity not concrete.

Ann
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Old Saturday 1st April 2006, 12:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rory Rickwood
Update to this Story:

Except from the front page story in the Nanaimo Daily News (March 3, 2006)

“Boycott of ‘Unhealthy’ Nanaimo urged during 2010

- Group tells the world to stay away
by Robert Barron

Some of Nanaimo’s environmental stewards are encouraging the world to avoid the city during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver unless compromises are made over development near sensitive wetlands.

Rory Rickwood, a steward with Friends of the Cat Stream, said Nanaimo is ‘too unhealthy to visit’ because of the way the community and Malaspina University-College pushed through their athletic program to build the Serauxmen sports fields on Third Street at the expense of the Catstream, a nearby wetland habitat.

‘We have a conflict of values going on here in Nanaimo which makes our community an unhealthy place to visit,’ he said. ‘On one hand, we have the local baseball association referring to the sensitive marsh area as a ‘year-round swamp’, and a member of Parliament public survey of 658 Nanaimo residents tells us that there is 81.3% local support for an emphasis on habitat protection.’

The Friends of the Catstream have been advocating for more watercourse setbacks, about 80 metres, from the Third Street sports fields to help protect the rare Virginia Rails, and other species that nest in the Catstream, but planners decided on a 30-meter watercourse setback.

Rickwood said the city is in ‘blatant contravention’ of the land-use principles in the Third Street Land Use Plan adopted by council. ‘I believe a compromise to this conflict is possible and we are prepared to end our boycott campaign when the city simply follows the rules and works with us to protect vital wetland habitat,’ he said.”
I don't agree with this sort of shotgun approach at all. If a boycott actually happens too many innocent people can be hurt, people who perhaps feel very much as you do.
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Old Monday 3rd April 2006, 16:46   #10
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Rory ... fyi I received this reply;

"Thank you for your comments regarding the Bird Habitat in Nanaimo. Each
member of Council has received a copy of your email and I have forwarded
a copy to members of senior staff.

Marilyn Smith
Administrative Assistant to Mayor and Council"

Good luck,
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Old Friday 5th May 2006, 18:32   #11
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Fwd Update on a Environmental Report at the Nanaimo Site.

From Roger Giles [gilesroger(at)hotmail.com]:

A City of Nanaimo commissioned environmental report by URSUS Environmental has just been released. The terms of reference for the report was the Conservation Planning for the Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) in Jingle Pot Marsh. Of major concern for local stewards was the planting of Douglas Firs trees by the City in the marsh proper, which was converting marsh habitat into forest habitat and harassing the Rails.

Our concerns that the City is contributing to the fragmentation of this vital habitat was confirmed in the URSUS Environmental report's Conclusions and Recommendations, which in part, state:

"Rail use of Jingle Pot Marsh appears to have declined over the past decade, probably as a result of plant succession ..." and, "It is the author's (URSUS) opinion that development of playing fields in the southwest part of the City property removed wintering foraging habitat, and possibly nesting habitat, capable of supporting two Virginia rails."

Please help us restore this habitat loss by writing a letter!

Roger
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Old Saturday 6th May 2006, 10:39   #12
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Done.
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Old Saturday 6th May 2006, 16:11   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg L
Rory ... fyi I received this reply;

"Thank you for your comments regarding the Bird Habitat in Nanaimo. Each
member of Council has received a copy of your email and I have forwarded
a copy to members of senior staff.

Marilyn Smith
Administrative Assistant to Mayor and Council"

Good luck,
Polite reply you got,Greg. All I got was a curt,"The information posted is incorrect.
Every aspect of habitat protEction has been followed
Merv Unger
Councillor - City of Nanaimo"
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Old Sunday 7th May 2006, 08:32   #14
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Hi,

You guys are lucky I didn't even get an acknowledgement.

Ann
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Old Sunday 7th May 2006, 08:41   #15
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Done

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Old Sunday 7th May 2006, 12:29   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A CHAPLIN
Hi,

You guys are lucky I didn't even get an acknowledgement.

Ann
Ann,I must be .I got a reply from the mayor,too.He's polite,quess that's why he's the mayor .

"Thanks for emailing your concerns.
The City of Nanaimo consulted
many environmental professionals
and set aside 63% of the entire site
for natural protection. The sports
fields (which are opening today)
were designed to minimize impact
on the adjacent areas. We believe
we have acted responsibly in balancing
many demands. Nanaimo has a very
high proportion of protected parkland
due to the initiative of Council and
City staff. The person who
distributed the "alarm" does not live
in our city and has little support
among most environmental groups
due to his extremist, absolutist views.
Please come and look for yourself.

Thankyou from:

Gary Korpan"
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Old Monday 8th May 2006, 23:39   #17
Rory Rickwood
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Mayor mis-spoke Himself

I am part of the group fighting to restore the wildlife habitat the the Mayor of Nanaimo has referred to in his reply. I also know Mr. Rickwood, who lives in Nanaimo at 519 Pine Street. It is not correct for the Mayor to say he lives outside the community.

Sorry for the lie. It does indicate what local habitat stewards have been dealing with in trying to protect wildlife habitat. The community "pro-habitat" standards designed by a City sponsored Steering Committee were dismissed by City Council!

In fact, Mr. Rickwood, who is assisting us with our campaign, was awarded in 2001 with the City of Nanaimo's "Vounteer Stewardship Award". Mr. Rickwood is a very caring, community minded individual, who is passionate about protecting our precious wildlife and wetlands. Also, Rory Rickwood has a long record of public service: volunteer manager with the Commonwealth Games, past school trustee, past chair of a regional library board, past vice-president of a chamber of commerce, served on a economic development commission, past chair of a government sponsored healthy community task force, past director on the Centre for the Arts in Nanaimo, and presently serving on the Buttertubs Marsh Liaison Committee to the City.

Shame on Gary Korpon, the Mayor of Nanaimo.

Sincerely,
Roger Giles
gilesroger[at]hotmail.com
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Old Monday 5th June 2006, 17:11   #18
Roger Giles
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Exclamation Need Better BC/Canada Bird Protection Laws!

Here is another sad example of how BC and Canadian habitat protection laws fail our migratory birds. At Eagleridge Bluffs (West Vancouver), which are to be torn down, there are many migratory birds presently nesting there. For full story, and how you can help, visit: www.eagleridgebluffs.ca

Sincerely,
Roger Giles
gilesroger[at]hotmail.com
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Old Thursday 13th July 2006, 19:52   #19
Roger Giles
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Habitat Protection Not Followed!

This is a reply to Mark Bruce's May 6, 2006 remark about the curt response from a Nanaimo City Councillor.

Mr. Merv Unger is a greenhorn Councillor who was elected last November 2005. Strange he is the spokesperson for the City of Nanaimo on important evironmental issues??? The wetlands/bird habitat we are trying to protect is within a government sensitive eco-inventory called SEI N0157. Our volunteer group just received this information in a letter from Paul Kluckner, Director Canadian Wildlife Service, Pacific and Yukon Region who wrote:

“Losses of wetlands, such as found in N0157, are also highest in the Nanaimo sub-unit, with 3.2% of wetlands lost (losses in other sub-units ranged from 0.6%-1.8%). A loss of 3.2% is especially significant when we take into account that the original inventory found that only 1.6% of the Nanaimo sub-unit was occupied by wetlands in a relatively natural state. These statistics make it clear that conservation of remaining sensitive ecosystems should be a priority for land use decision makers and that all possible options should be carefully considered before land us changes are made in sensitive ecosystems.”

If habitat protection is being followed, why is their a loss of wetlands in Nanaimo, Mr. Unger?

Roger Giles, Friends of the Cat Stream

Last edited by Roger Giles : Thursday 13th July 2006 at 19:58.
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Old Friday 17th November 2006, 01:35   #20
Roger Giles
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Hello Birders,

Our issue with the City of Nanaimo not protecting the habitat area for the Virginia Rail continues. The City just put a 10 foot wide asphalt trail and fencing along the whole trail into the middle of the marsh and rail foraging area. This trail is supposed to be part of Canada's Trans Canada Trail System. This is the same area as the provincial government's Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory. Our low-flying Virginia Rail is a federally protected migratory bird and a recently commission City report (by Ursus Envirnmental) states fencing contributes to the mortality of the rails. If this trail remains, the federal government's Trans Canada Trail would be an example of environmental abuse. The Director of the Canadian Wildlife Service contacted us on Nov. 11th,'06 to say: The width of the trail was governed not only by the width of the
berm on which it is located, but also because the trail was designated as multi-use as
part of the Trans Canada Trail system...The nature of the fence was not discussed during the CEAA screening. We are concerned that the fencing that has been erected may negatively impact wildlife movement through the area, especially the low-flying Virginia Rail known to occur there."

I encourage Birders to write a letter (see address above) to the Mayor to register your conerns.

Regards,
Roger Giles
Nanaimo Wildlife Steward (Volunteer)
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Old Friday 2nd February 2007, 20:00   #21
Roger Giles
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Our story has made National news. Scroll down to see:

Blacktop path hard on Nanaimo wildlife

by Mark Hume
Globe and Mail Printed: Monday, November 20, 2006

http://www.fpnnews.ca/index.php?opti...d=41&Itemid=64

Write a letter today to support our Nanaimo Birds!
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Old Thursday 1st March 2007, 00:00   #22
amikosik
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The Committee for the Protection Of Eagles
http://free.ngo.pl/eagle/index.html
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Old Wednesday 16th May 2007, 20:59   #23
Roger Giles
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Arrow Latest News on saving the preserved area for Virginia Rails

Asphalt on sensitive wetland fuels controversy in Nanaimo

by Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist

Published: Sunday, April 29, 2007, Page C2

The strip of blacktop, which runs through the middle of Jingle Pot Marsh in Nanaimo, has divided more than the designated sensitive wetland.

Since last year, when the city topped a seven-metre wide berm across the marsh with a three-metre wide asphalt trail flanked with page wire, arguments between environmentalists and the city have escalated. Located next to Malaspina College, the trail is needed to allow students access to recreational facilities such as the Aquatic Centre and ice rinks.

It is also tied into a nearby subdivision, said Coun. Joy Cameron, who is in charge of Nanaimo’s environmental portfolio.

“Nanaimo is giving us a sad example of how not to approach trail building in a sensitive eco-system,” said Rory Rickwood, chairman of Friends of the Cat Stream.

The asphalt can leach harmful polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons into the marsh, creatures such as the blue-listed red leg frog have to scramble over asphalt and the skittish Virginia rails — marsh birds — are in danger of flying into the page wire, Rickwood said.

MLA Leonard Krog, in a letter to Mayor Gary Korpan and city council, said he is concerned “as to why the city would put such a large pathway through a very sensitive ecological area.”

At the federal level, where the trail got the go-ahead, there is cautious disquiet about how a trail, originally designed as a boardwalk, became an asphalt runway.

Rob Russell, Department of Fisheries and Oceans senior habitat biologist in Nanaimo, said he has not had a chance to talk to the person who approved the trail.

“I do have concerns. It’s a sensitive area, there’s no question,” he said.

“Personally my choice would have been a different covering for the trail. . . DFO would certainly support a boardwalk or crushed stone or brick or mulch. Those sorts of things perhaps should have been considered instead of asphalt.”

However, the City of Nanaimo points out that the trail, which is eventually supposed to become part of the Trans-Canada Trail, was approved by DFO and went through a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency screening.

“I guess there’s always debate among experts, but city staff say we have passed all the environmental processes,” said Cameron. “It is asphalt because it has to be wheelchair accessible and we want it to be used as part of our bike trails. We are quite proud of this trail.”

The area is not a pristine wetland environment and there has always been a pathway across the wetland, Cameron said.

During the Second World War, it was used as a training ground for troops and tanks.

Tom Hickey, Nanaimo’s director of parks, recreation and culture, said the trail was built, after public input, on one of two flood dykes to improve access to the sports fields and other amenities in the 25-hectare park.

“All the design and the work was supervised by an environmental consultant,” he said.

The aim was to keep people on the trail and protect the wetland, Hickey said.

“It is quite a popular trail and the aim is to balance environmental sensitivity with getting people through the park in a reasonable way. It’s asphalt because it’s a multi-use trail.”

But Bill Merilees, chairman of the Buttertubs Marsh Liaison Committee, the adjacent wetland area that is owned by the Nature Trust of B.C., said a report will be going to city council next month asking for changes.

The 25 metres of blacktop over the most sensitive area should be replaced by a boardwalk and other measures should be taken to protect the wetland, he said.

Initially, the whole trail was supposed to be boardwalk, Merilees said.

“There’s a whole lot of misinformation here because the Ministry of Environment and DFO had to sign off on it and, for some reason we don’t understand, they didn’t do due diligence,” he said.

-30-


Crushed gravel would have been better, chemist says

Ontario analytical chemist Richard Smythe, an expert on polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, struggles to find the logic of using asphalt in a sensitive wetland.

“The use of asphalt in a wetland is a bit of a travesty,” he said, after explaining the chemical makeup of asphalt.

“It’s a known carcinogen and known endocrine disrupter. Why not just put down crushed gravel?”

The feeling is echoed by Don Watmough, Capital Regional District parks planner.

Ideally, trails should not be built through wetlands and the CRD is trying to pull trails away from marshy areas, he said.

“And we would use a boardwalk wherever possible.”

The Stewardship Series, booklets of best practices developed by the federal and provincial governments, lays out the aims for “Access Near Aquatic Areas.”

Boardwalks, crushed aggregate or railed pathways are suggested.

“The principle of least impact should always apply when managing or maintaining structures or trails near aquatic environmentally sensitive areas,” it says.
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Old Friday 25th January 2008, 19:28   #24
Rory Rickwood
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Update:

Local Nanaimo Wildlife Stewarts, Rory Rickwood and Roger Giles have formaly presented an environmental petition to the Canadian Government. The government has registered it as, "Canadian Environmental Petition 225".

As presented above and stated in the petition: during 2005/2006, the Government of Canada’s commitment to protecting a fragile ecosystem was ignored during a Canadian Environmental Assessment Act screening process (CEAA) when a harmful asphalt trail/berm and fencing development was put across an environmentally fragile aquatic environment that is a government registered Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI). The asphalt trail contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are persistent, carcinogenic aquatic toxins that are known to be bioaccumulative and highly harmful to mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. The page-wire fencing is known to harm low-flying migratory birds. The asphalt trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail system, and the fencing/trails approval was inappropriately added to the Cat Stream Detention Pond approval (CEAA Ref. No.:05-01-10543).

The information presented in our petition clearly shows the land development referral to the CEAA screening in the City of Nanaimo involving a SEI was not carried out in a thorough and transparent way, and that the conclusions drawn from the environmental assessment did not reflect the best and most current science available – or best management practices! A cogent argument can be made that the CEAA screening process failed in protecting a fragile ecosystem and that a major SEI disturbance occurrence in Nanaimo was a result of Canada failing to apply its own guidelines and meet its international obligations under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

It is wrong for the federal government to present a CEAA screening process and stewardship model when it is evident environmental degradation continues to happen to the wetlands of Canada.

The vulgarization of community stewardship by the City of Nanaimo is absolutely wrong and works against environmental sustainability. Also at stake is the efficacy of stewardship and community involvement program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. When community stewards follow the advice of government officials, federal department websites, and find that municipalities are thumbing their noises at stewardship guidelines and sound science, then there is a serious disconnect with the present model that is designed to respect nature. The Government of Canada can take a lead role in helping shift a civic culture's abusive approach to ecosystems to a culture that embraces conservation.

The Government of Canada must not deny their responsibility and need to commit to take immediate action for the environment. It would be truly responsible for us all to take collaborative action to remove the asphalt trail from the SEI and re-route the trail around the SEI. Such meaningful action is “key” to the principles of environmental sustainability.

We all can play an important role in protecting our natural legacy, and failure to act on this petition will be a tell-tail sign that wetland ecosystems in Canada will suffer the “death of a thousand cuts”.

Regarding our environment: "The time of half-measure has passed. We are entering a period of consequences," says Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner, quoting Winston Churchill.

A great response to our petition:

Dear Rory.

Thank you very much for your work to protect nature in Nanaimo! I will ensure that your petition is circulated to the members of the Canadian Nature Network. Nature Canada is working very closely with Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice on issues such as these. We will ensure that everyone is aware of your petition and we will see how we can fit it into our strategy for strengthening the implementation of the federal species at risk act.

Sincerely yours,

Julie Gelfand, BSc, MBA
President, Directrice Generale
Nature Canada
www.naturecanada.ca
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Old Wednesday 23rd July 2008, 20:23   #25
Rory Rickwood
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Update:

Our stewardship group recieved the following April 15, 2008 message from Canada's Environment Minister: “The existing paved trail through the wetland poses a potential risk to wildlife and may impede movement of wildlife, including species at risk. As a general approach, Environment Canada prefers that travel corridors are available for wildlife.” - The Hon. John Baird, Minister of the Environment


The poor decisions and sad events in Nanaimo has generated many media reports:

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/En...5_e_30320.html

http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver.../19802589.html

http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/v...04631fa81dd4b6

http://www.canada.com/victoriatimesc...4e5861&k=44493

http://www.fpnnews.ca/index.php?opti...d=55&Itemid=79

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife...eedback/5.html (Click Rory Rickwood to read submission)

http://www.sierraclub.ca/pipermail/s...lease-0001.pdf

The City of Nanaimo dove into a bunker and have exhibited a bunker mentality ever since and don’t know how to reach a compromise. Your letter continue to put pressure on them. It is also election year!

Please write your letter today.

Thank-you for your support!

Rory
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