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Support bid to establish County’s wildlife areas as conservation reserves

Letter to the Editor:

Dear Mayor Ferguson and Council members

I wish to express my full support of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and SSJI representative Cheryl Anderson’s presentation to the County Council Committee of the Whole this Thursday to ask for your active participation in establishing Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area as Conservation Reserves.

As a resident of Picton since 2007 and active leader in protecting clean water and promoting the preservation of our green spaces in the Quinte region, I urge you to think big and think forward in how these unique and yet-untainted wild areas will be used in the future.

Long-time residents have enjoyed the wild South Shore for recreation for decades without concern for losing them. Today, visitors are discovering the County’s backcountry charms, especially Prince Edward Point for world-class bird watching and Point Petre for riding all terrain vehicles, picnicking and duck hunting.

The ecological significance of our undeveloped shores cannot be overstated as thousands of migrating birds depend on them twice a year as feeding grounds and refuge before and after their treacherous cross-great-lake flight.

Now that the threat of wind turbines has been won, we must lock in the protection of these same lands from home construction and other activities that damage the natural habitat.

I am well aware that many past and present (and future) members of Council have vested interests in real estate. 1,500 new homes are already planned and permitted for Prince Edward County. If we do not designate protected green space now, we will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, that is, the reason people want to visit and move to PEC.

It goes without saying that our pastoral landscapes, quiet back roads and outdoor activities are what make The County attractive, not only to tourists but to us who reside here year-round and who cherish its authentic living heritage. It would be hypocritical of us to promote it and not preserve it.

Like the Field Naturalists, I lead groups to these “Parts Unknown of Prince Edward County”. My clientele ranges from local photography and birding enthusiasts to Toronto and Montreal urban visitors who want to experience The County’s adventurous side.

There is a huge economic impact to preserving green spaces and family farms now that so many tourists have discovered us. This means efforts and costs to protect the South Shore NOW will be rewarded in economic terms well into the future.

Phil Norton

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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