Fish and Wildlife
It is imperative that development plans adequately consider all of the potential environmental impacts prior to land use decisions being made. Hasty decisions, made on the basis of piecemeal planning, can have detrimental effects on the critical habitat needed to ensure viability of endangered wildlife and fish.
The forests and wetlands of Silverdale are currently inhabited by 100s of local species, such as deer, black bear, bobcats, several species of owls (e.g., saw-whet owls, northern pigmy owl), amphibians, and songbirds. Several Species At Risk currently live in the area, including endangered Red-Legged and Tailed frogs, Western Screech Owls, and Oregon forest snails. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), lists those species potentially impacted by the development.
The Silverdale Neighbourhood Plans Terms of Reference (LAN.48) includes provisions to protect wildlife by designating corridors used by existing wildlife as Environmentally Sensitive, and by appointing an independent consultant to conduct surveys of existing wildlife.
It is important to note that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently cautioned the District that the environmental base map had not been completed in accordance with the terms set forth in LAN.48 (DFO, July 31/07). The Ministry of Environment, similarly stated that the environmental work plan, submitted by the developer’s consultant, was inconsistent with Appendix 1(i) of LAN. 48 and this work plan was adopted in absence of agency input (MOE, Sept. 19/07). Most recent correspondence from DFO cautions that LAN. 48 objectives are at risk of being compromised and that it was “unlikely DFO can enter into agreements with the district based on the planning deliverables and process thus far” (DFO, Dec. 20, 2007).
Rather than ensuring that habitat for existing wildlife is protected, on Nov. 6/06, Council directed consultants to identify “inappropriate animals” in Silverdale. CAUSS believes that this directive could have dire consequences for local wildlife.
Streams, Watersheds, and Groundwater
Silverdale is covered with a multitude of streams and waterways. Many of these streams connect to the Stave River, Silver Creek, and the Fraser River, which are critical habitat for wild salmon and endangered white sturgeon.
These streams and wetlands are also important:
- To ensure water recharge for people relying on wells
- To ensure adequate stream setbacks for slope stability
In 2006, Council adopted Streamside Protection Regulations (SPR) to ensure protection of Mission’s watercourses. Council promised to uphold these regulations and even went the added step of creating an SPR bylaw.
On Nov. 13/07, a variance process to change from SPR to the less stringent RAR (Riparian Area Regulation) was proposed and later adopted by Council. Any move from SPR to RAR stream protection regulations will result in a net loss of protected habitatâ€ (West Coast Environmental Law Society RAR backgrounder).