Update on the Clair Maltby Secondary Plan, June 6 2018

On May 31, City staff presented a revised, and final, Recommended Preferred Community Concept for the Clair Maltby Secondary Plan Area. While some significant concerns were addressed in the revised concept (for example, by the removal of the arterial road that was proposed in the buffer to the Hall’s Pond Provincially Significant Wetland Complex), the City’s project team has still not completed essential surface water, ground water, and natural heritage analysis reports that they committed to completing in the study’s Terms of Reference. We need these reports to accurately understand how important natural features on the landscape function as part of the greater ecosystem. The maintenance and resilience of Guelph’s Natural Heritage System, which in the Clair Maltby area includes the Hall’s Pond Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, significant woodlands, and habitat for rare species, depends on a delicate balance of biodiversity and ecological functions. Even small disruptions to the system can cause irreversible damage, which is why it is so important understand all the interconnected pieces before significant planning decisions are made.

The Conservation Committee has submitted a comment letter on behalf of Nature Guelph (Nature Guelph Letter PDF). In it, the Committee identified substantial concerns regarding the Recommended Preferred Community Concept, and the significant lack of environmental information, analysis, and technical review that was used in its development. Due to the absence of a characterization report that analyzes and interprets the results of Year 1 & 2 monitoring, we believe that the project team has not yet completed the key Phase 2 deliverable of the Finalized Technical Work Plan for Clair Maltby Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (CEIS): to accurately define the key features and functions within the Secondary Plan Area, and to establish their relationship to surrounding lands in the Primary and Secondary Study Areas in terms of landscape scale functionality.

The Recommended Preferred Community Concept goes before City Council at a special council meeting on June 14. The Nature Guelph Conservation Committee respectfully requested that Council send the Concept back to staff for revision following completion of the Phase 1 and 2 Technical Report, that includes all the requirements of the approved Terms of Reference for Phase 2, particularly the commitment to accurately define the key features and functions within the Secondary Plan Area, and to establish their relationship to surrounding lands in the Primary and Secondary Study Areas in terms of landscape scale functionality. Furthermore, the Committee requested that the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee and stakeholders have the opportunity to review and comment on the revised plan prior to its resubmission to Council.

We need your help – please phone or write to the mayor, your councillor, or all of them! to let them know that you want the City to complete the analyses and interpretation of the surface water, ground water, and natural heritage data before they move on to Phase 3 of the project! Act quickly – letters and emails received at clerks@guelph.ca or at City Hall before 10am on June 8 will form part of the official record for the special council meeting on June 14. Phone calls and emails to councillors after that date are very helpful too – and your attendance at the June 14 meeting would help send the message that Nature Guelph demands “environment first”!

A sample letter to provide a basis for your own letter or email is provided here: Nature Guelph Sample Letter .doc