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Council supports plan to seek designation to protect public lands on County’s south shore

Photograph taken along the south shore, by Bert Jenkins.

The County’s south shore is the last undeveloped shoreline on the north shore of Lake Ontario and local environmentalists are working to keep it that way.

The County environmental group South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) received council agreement to update its 2018 letter of support to protect the south shore and maintain or increase its biodiversity. The updated letter would indicate support of the SSJI seeking designation for Ostrander Point and Point Petre as conservation reserves – to create permanent protection of the two public areas that are currently not protected. Final approval is to come before council March 10. A conservation reserve status has been deemed preferable to ‘provincial park’ status by the SSJI as park status may provide rules that are “overly restrictive.”

Red line shows Important Bird Area and biodiversity significant areas.

SSJI representative Cheryl Anderson, in a deputation to Committee of the Whole Thursday, states the group wants no changes to current uses by bird watchers, botanists or people using public areas for recreation or hunting.

“We believe the danger comes from development,” noted Anderson, who with members of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, and several other groups, successfully fought development of wind turbines on the south shore.

The South Shore Joint Initiative is a coalition of individual members and partner organizations focused on protecting the important bird and biodiversity areas. Partners include the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, PEC, Quinte and Kingston Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature, Bird Studies Canada, and Nature Canada.

“Conservation reserves permanently protect representative ecosystems, biodiversity and significant elements of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage,” she said. “And provide opportunities for ecologically sustainable land uses, including traditional outdoor heritage activities and associated economic benefits.”

She noted it also provides potential contribution to the PEC economy in revenue from eco-tourism, a significant contribution to Canada-wide diversity protection and addresses PEC’s climate emergency declaration.

The protection of the two public pieces of land and the surrounding waters also works to help reach ‘Target One’ of Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets which is a commitment to protect 17 per cent of land areas, and 10 per cent of inland waters.

The SSJI seeks support and conversations with local, provincial and national organizations and governments, and plans to meet with the provincial minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks to ask for the designation.

“We have received a significant grant from three Ontario Foundations to fund our campaign to achieve Conservation Reserve status for Ostrander Point CLB and Point Petre PWA,” Anderson said, adding there’s also on-going administrative support from Nature Canada.

“Protection of the South Shore is vital to maintaining natural habitat,” said Anderson as it is home to 33 species-at-risk. It also helps to provide an important contribution to biodiversity and mediate the effects of climate change.”

Since 2018, SSJI has held workshops bringing together representatives of local, provincial and national organizations to develop strategy and build coalitions. Two local symposia examined the natural and cultural heritage of the South Shore and explored a new vision for the area based on protecting it for traditional uses.

Annual South Shore Strolls invite participants to learn more about the Important Bird Area (IBA) by travelling its various trails and roadways.

For more information about the South Shore Joint Initiative, visit http://ssji.ca

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. John Hirsch says:

    SSJI is not proposing anything to do with private lands so there should be no worry over this.
    Our focus now is on conserving the provincially owned crown land blocks.

  2. Kerry Boehme says:

    I believe that a lot of land in the captioned area is privately owned. Is there any plan to compensate landowners for restrictions placed on their holdings?

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