Environmental officials weigh in on PenEquity development
Less than a day after council gave conditional approval to PenEquity's controversial retail development in south London environmental officials are having their say.
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) tells CTV News they will not allow any development to take place in or around any wetlands on the property.
PenEequity Realty Corporation's own consultant has identified a 2.4 hectare wetland, and depending on how environmentally significant it is, a large portion of the property could potentially be off limits to construction.
Christine Creighton, land use planner with the UTRCA, says “We believe there is a wetland on the property and we will protect the wetland. It just remains to be seen how big that area is that will be protected.”
The wetland is actually moist ground within the forested area that during the spring could become quite swampy.
But more than just the 2.4 hectares will be impacted. A protective buffer up to 30 metres could be insisted on by the UTRCA to protect it from the impact of development.
If the Ministry of Natural Resources determines the wetland is provincially significant that buffer area would expand to 120 metres.
That would result in a significant portion of the property becoming off limits for the planned construction.
The UTRCA had asked for more time to do a proper analysis, but city council approved the rezoning on the condition the trees stay until environmental questions are resolved.
It puts the UTRCA in a touch position but Creighton says they can handle it.
She says “The next steps for us are to consider whether we are going to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. That is a matter we are going to be exploring with our board of directors.”
What impact having a smaller building space would have on the PenEquity plan is unclear and the company did not respond to requests for comment.