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Science & NatureNatureHelp protect the Burnt Lands alvar       

Help protect the Burnt Lands alvar       

by Val Wilkinson

In a region that is typically covered in forest and water, alvars provide small areas of open prairie-like habitat for plants and animals that require such conditions.

The Burnt Lands Alvar is one of only four pieces of similar and very special alvars in North America. The flora and fauna found there are particular to the land and its surface soil.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has designated ca 610 hectares (1,500 acres) of the alvar area as an ANSI (Area of Natural and Scientific Interest) but has applied no compulsory protection. Only a small parcel of the ANSI land is protected within the Burnt Lands Provincial Park. The remainder of this unique and highly sensitive ANSI and its alvar is unprotected. Much of it lies within the boundary of the Municipality of Mississippi Mills and it is not protected by current municipal zoning. Residents of Mississippi Mills may remember efforts made to protect the Burnt Lands from development in recent years.

As part of the Mississippi Mills COP (Community Official Plan) zoning amendment, the municipality is currently conducting a review of its Prime Agricultural area designations, referred to as a Land Evaluation Area Review or LEAR. These changes affect landowners in the rural area by re-assessing the agricultural status of their land and creating areas of agricultural zoning. In creating agricultural areas close to the Burnt Lands ANSI some of the ANSI has been included in the new agricultural zoning. Agricultural activities and processes would not support the unique natural habitat that is currently found there.

The town is holding a public meeting at 6pm on April 5th to discuss these zoning changes and the new agricultural land values. Public comment is invited.

Please register your concern and request that the entire Burnt lands Alvar be protected as an environmentally sensitive Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, rather than portions of it being  placed inside an agricultural zoning 

To register your concern in writing, for further information,  or If you wish to make an oral submission at the meeting on April 5th :  Contact Melanie Knight, Senior Planner at the Mississippi Mills Planning Department mknight@mississippimills.ca  (613) 256 2064(ext 259). Further information is available on the town website or on the MM page in the Canadian Gazette.

 

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