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New group presents plan to protect County’s south shore

A local group with provincial and federal affiliations will present council with plans focused on protecting the natural environment on the County’s south shore.

The immediate goal of the South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) is protection of the biodiversity of terrestrial and marine eco-systems in tandem with Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets.

“The government’s commitment is part of worldwide recognition of the importance of biodiversity to human health and the health of the environment,” said the group’s spokesperson, Cheryl Anderson. “Studies by Canadian Wildlife Service indicate that the south shore of PEC exhibits a high degree of biodiversity. SSJI points out that protecting the public areas of PEC’s south shore could help the government achieve the target one commitment (protect 17 per cent of land areas and 10 per cent of inland waters) and add needed protection for the area.

John Hirsch, a group director is scheduled to make a presentation to council’s Committee of the Whole on March 1 detailing the project. The group seeks council’s support for the initiative.

“We know from the attempt to develop Ostrander Point that being designated Crown Land does not protect an area from development,” Hirsch said. “We need permanent protection for the south shore public areas not only to preserve valuable biodiversity but also to keep them from being developed inappropriately in the future.”

The group will lobby the provincial and federal governments to stop development around Ostrander Point, and Pt. Petre.

SSJI is joined in their campaign by local groups, national groups and provincial groups including Ontario Nature, Nature Canada, Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Hastings Prince Edward Land Trust, County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy, Bird Studies Canada, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County and Point to Point PEC Foundation.

They, as SSJI have signed a letter to the federal Minister of the Environment and the provincial Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry requesting immediate action to achieve protection for the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area as well a designation of the waters offshore of the south shore as a National Marine Conservation Area.

The first meeting of the South Shore Joint Initiative is to be held Saturday, March 24 at Bloomfield Town Hall at 2 pm. The public is welcome.

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