Advisory committee votes to hold Terry Fox extension
The Ottawa forests and greenspace advisory committee will ask city council to put the construction of the Terry Fox Drive Extension on hold and order a more thorough environmental review.
The committee passed a unanimous motion Monday night to ask the city to "immediately re-examine the demographic, transportational and economic rationale" for the project and to halt construction until an "in-depth ecological analysis is undertaken."
The request will come before the city's planning and environment committee, where it would need the endorsement of councillors before it could be voted on by City Council.
But the highlands, a 895-hectare area of near-pristine woodlands and wetlands, have been identified by the province as a candidate for the designation of Area of Natural and Scientific Interest containing a complex of Provincially Significant wetlands.
As well, the province has passed endangered species legislation that covers several animals and plants in the highlands, including the Blanding's turtle, American ginseng and butternut tree.
The highlands were identified as "one of the most significant ... for maintaining biodiversity and ecological function," in a 1997 report on natural areas commissioned by the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton.
"It's very disappointing to know the work has been done in terms of identifying these special areas and to know it means nothing," Heather Hamilton, vice-chairwoman of the advisory committee, said during the meeting Monday night.