Strict new definitions for “significant wildlife habitat” will offer more protection for Ontario wildlife.
According to journalist Tom Spears in the Ottawa Citizen, “protected sites could demand special treatment (such as not cutting trees or building roads) for hundreds of metres in all directions, up to a kilometre all around in the case of bat caves. They apply in urban and rural development alike.
Spears goes on to state: The Ministry of Natural Resources says it will not be applying the new definitions to existing properties or small residential projects. They will be “only considered as a result of a development application” and applied during an environmental impact study.
“Therefore Significant Wildlife Habitat is typically only determined when a subdivision, commercial development, golf course, aggregate operation, wind farm, and large solar project is proposed in an area that may be changing the existing land use,” the ministry wrote in a reply to questions.
They are in addition to existing protection for significant wetlands, or areas with rare or threatened species such as butternut trees or bobolinks.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says the changes would apply to new developments such as subdivisions, commercial construction or wind turbines, not to smaller projects such as renovating a house.
Follow the link above to the Ottawa Citizen to read the entire article by Spears.