Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Progress on the ANSI and the Fonthill Kame

We heard some good news lately about the “Area of Natural and Scientific Interest” (ANSI)on the Fonthill Kame.

As you will recall, that the Fonthill Kame‐Delta is our rare, 75‐metre‐tall landmark that that was formed by retreating glaciers 13,000 years ago. It’s 6 km long and 3 km wide – nearly 1000 hectares – and boasts the highest point in the Niagara Region and the headwaters of the Twelve Mile Creek.

Microclimatic conditions create an ideal atmosphere for tender fruit production on “the Kame” including peaches, sweet and sour cherries, apples and pears.

The Fonthill Kame was originally identified in 1980 as a provincially significant area and became an “Area of Natural and Scientific Interest” (ANSI) in 1983. This ANSI designation restricts development for reasons of heritage, science or education.

Last May, however, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) recommended making changes to the ANSI, significantly reducing its area.

While a new area to the south side of the Kame (near Hillside Cemetery) would be added to the ANSI, other changes would significantly reduce the protected area. In fact, only small portions of the main components of the Kame‐Delta complex would be included and the landform as a whole would no longer be protected.

The area that the MNR proposed to remove from the ANSI encompasses much of what is called theUpper Terrace. The Upper Terrace to be removed stretches from across from EL Crossley High School, past Effingham, to Lookout Street and lies between Tice Road and Highway 20. This area is the most vulnerable to development pressure!

But, since last May, Niagara Regional Council, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Niagara Peninsular Conservation, more than a dozen Pelham citizens, Town of Pelham Council, and Tim Hudak, MPP, have publicly recommended that the current ANSI be maintained. Minister Jim Bradley also indicated to me in December that he is supportive of maintaining the current ANSI boundaries. (For more information, please see my previous On-Line Journal entry.)

Then, last week at Pelham Town Council, we received great news from the Minister of Natural Resources. In a letter to the Town the Minister stated “Please let me assure you that it is our intention to maintain and, where feasible, enhance the current ANSI boundary.”

Now, before we celebrate this success, the MNR does have to complete its formal review process. That being said, I am delighted with the “intention” of the Minister and with this positive progress!