Save our CK Forests!

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Dear Chatham-Kent Mayor and Councillors:

We live in a time when bold action must be taken to preserve what's left of the dwindling habitats and wildlife corridors that connect them.

Chatham-Kent can stop this needless waste of biodiversity but it will take courage from Councillors and Administration to lead to a better future.

The ability to make those tough decisions is why we elected you.

There will always be opposition from those who would seek to put their own potential gains ahead of our collective loss. This issue is beyond politics or economics. It's a global issue of biodiversity and habitat loss that can no longer be sidestepped.

We must use the tools that we have to preserve what's left.

So, to that end:

In consideration of our Chatham-Kent Official Plan with regards to Significant Woodlands and as a citizen of Chatham Kent who cares about the health of my family, environmental sustainability and the long-term stewardship of the Lands and Waters;

I request that Council and Administration work together to protect our dwindling Natural Heritage features through rezoning all Significant Woodlands over two hectares to Open Space (OS1-1480) for the purpose of Conservation.

This would incur no loss to present agriculture in Chatham-Kent and limit development of our dwindling Natural Heritage.

There are at present unique Carolinian Woodlands under threat.

The trees are only one group of species along with all of the animals, plants and fungi that create the Forest community.

Council and administration already have the tools to make a real difference in our history.

Section 4 of the Chatham Kent official plan states:

Increase and improve the health of the natural heritage system of Chatham-Kent through protection and enhancement of natural heritage features, ecologicalu functions and natural resources, including air and water, education, conservation and environmental stewardship.

Section 4.4, Natural Heritage Features and Policies, provides policies specific to natural

Heritage features (woodlands), of which, the overall objective is to: 4.4.2.1 Ensure that development and site alteration results in no negative impacts on significant natural features in Chatham-Kent.

Our Official Plan contains policies designed to protect and enhance natural heritage features and areas. These also apply to lands designated Agricultural Area, as per the following policy:

3.10.2.12 For lands located within or adjacent to the significant habitat of endangered or threatened species identified in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Provincially Significant Wetlands identified on Schedules “A” and “E” Series

– Land Use, or significant natural heritage features identified on Schedule “C” Series– Natural Heritage and Hazards Features, the policies contained in Section 4 of this Plan.

I urge council to discuss this issue and work with the Planning Department to enact the tools at your disposal to protect natural heritage in Chatham-Kent.

Thank you for your kind Consideration.

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