Citizen groups asks Clearview to naturalize 26/27 SR

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With the reconstruction of 26/27 Sideroad Nottawasaga off the table, the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Watershed Action Committee is asking Clearview Township to consider revegetating a portion of the road as a way of mitigating erosion and runoff.

The Blue Mountain Water Trust has asked Clearview to consider closing and revegetating the steep slope of the road to provide access to the Bruce Trail and a wildlife corridor into the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve on the north side of the easement.

The minutes of settlement recently agreed upon by Walker Aggregates and the Township of Clearview states that the township will not have to complete improvements to 26/27 Sideroad.The denial of a development permit for the mostly seasonal road by the Niagara Escarpment Commission derailed a Road Improvement Agreement, the outcome of a 2014 Joint Board decision, to close a portion of County Road 91 in order to expand the quarry by upgrading 26/27 Sideroad to an all-season road thereby creating an alternative route.

During an appeal process, according to the NEC, “additional environmental work undertaken by consultants on behalf of the township identified that certain aspects of the road works would result in the removal of 1.2 ha of natural heritage and key hydrologic features within the existing right of way. This was not known when the development permit application was originally submitted. The township requested an adjournment of the hearing since the policies of the Niagara Escarpment Plan in 2016 prohibited development in wetlands.”

The quarry expansion was able to proceed with the use of a tunnel under County Road 91.

The Trust’s Watershed Action Committee Vice President George Powell said the steep slope of the road is almost impassable at times by vehicle and existing residents can access their properties from the Osprey/Clearview Townline and Concession 10.

Without proper ditching he said any materials added to the road surface wash away into the wetlands and streams.

“You gotta go in there and do something because the erosion is a big issue on the slope,” said Powell.

He is suggesting to engage environmental partners and volunteers to do it in a cost effective way.

With regard to the remainder of the minutes of settlement, Powell said Blue Mountain Watershed Trust is keeping the pressure on as the quarry progresses through this next phase of development.

They are hoping for independent hydrological monitoring of wells in the area and a citizen review committee as Walker Aggregates applies to deepen the quarry by 10 metres below the water table.

In a statement to The Echo earlier this month, Walker Aggregates said, “Under the Aggregates Resource Act, any potential changes to our operating plans would be subject to the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. This approval process includes consultation with the community. Walker is committed to continue working alongside the community as a safe, responsible and sustainable operator.”

Bob Charlton photo

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