Residents in Collingwood, Ont. set up highway sign to oppose 2 planned developments on wetland | CBC News

A group of Collingwood, Ont. residents has erected a sign in the town to show its opposition to two planned developments 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 Grey County Road 21.

Katherine Holmes, a member of Friends of Silver Creek Wetland, an advocacy group, said on Sunday that the group wants to draw attention to the impact that the developments, Bridgewater on Georgian Bay and Huntingwood Trails, will have on the Silver Creek Wetland and its flood plain. Collingwood is north of Toronto.

Group members gathered around the sign on Canada Day to display homemade placards that read: “Honk if you agree.” The sign was set up on Thursday night.

“We did this to raise awareness and to let the developers and the Town of Collingwood and the Government of Ontario know that we are going to keep fighting,” Holmes said. 

“There’s lots of land to develop. I don’t think that any of us are against development at all because obviously, affordable housing has become an issue. Densification makes more sense to me in Collingwood. There’s a condominium going up in Collingwood right now. Why can’t there be more of that? We understand there needs to be development, but where is what’s the critical part of all this.”

Holmes, who moved to Collingwood from Toronto, said the wetland is important for flood prevention and biodiversity. It has a salmon and trout habitat. The Silver Creek system is part of the town’s natural heritage. The wetland stores carbon and protects the shoreline.

“At the end of the day, it’s a wetland. And the surrounding area should not be developed because that feeds into the wetland,” she said.

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority says 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 marsh. It is a Great Lakes coastal marsh that supports a number of plants and animals, it says.

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority says 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 marsh. (Katherine Holmes)

Consulate Development Group, based in Mississauga, Ont., is planning to build the Bridgewater on Georgian Bay development.

According to the town’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 dwelling units, consisting of 539 townhouse dwellings, all three storey, and 116 apartment units in one four storey building. The plan would involve a rezoning.

Huntingwood Trails (Collingwood) Ltd., meanwhile, is planning to build a subdivision south of Highway 26 West, but the development is under appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

According to the town’s website, the Huntingwood Trails development would be located on 21 hectares of 5 Silver Creek Drive property, in between the Silver Glen Preserve condo development on the east and the Forest Subdivision to the west. The developer proposes to build 100 lots, consisting of 86 single detached dwellings and 14 semi-detached dwellings.

The Ontario Land Tribunal has scheduled 25 days of hearings that are set to start August 8 to determine the fate of the Huntingwood Trails development.

Friends of Silver Creek Wetland have organized an online petition against the developments that has garnered more than 30,000 signatures. The petition calls on the Ontario government and town to stop the developments and protect the wetland permanently from development.

“South Georgian Bay’s last remaining intact coastal wetland is being threatened like never before by rampant overdevelopment,” the petition reads.

“Time is of the essence and the costs are very real: the destruction of endangered wildlife habitat, heightened risks for severe flooding, and the permanent loss of our natural heritage.”

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