by Brent Eades

Many local residents regularly drive by the slightly bleak expanse of scrubby grassland at the Burnt Lands without realizing they’re passing a haven for naturalists and botanists — the so-called Burnt Lands Alvar, a thin-soiled limestone plain hosting numerous rare and threatened species of flora and fauna. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has thus designated the 1,500 acre site as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.

alavar
A section of the alvar

It was recently brought to the Town’s attention that private owners by the corner of March and Golden Line Roads have cleared sections of this protected land. On raising the issue with the Ministry, the Town was advised that in the absence of a local by-law there was no course of action open.

Town planner Stephen Stirling quickly wrote a recommendation, to be presented to Council next Tuesday night, calling for the drafting of a by-law prohibiting any future development in such ecologically sensitive areas. This is certainly a welcome and appropriate response on the Town’s part.

The very rare  Ram’s-Head Ladyslipper orchid, found at the alvar.
The very rare Ram’s-Head Ladyslipper orchid, found at the alvar.