Development activity in Hudson’s Como bog raises questions with council
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Surveying the beginning steps of a housing development in Hudson’s Como bog, resident Eva McCartney fears the impact it will have on the surrounding wetlands.
Hudson resident Eva McCartney raised questions regarding when excavations would begin in the Como bog at the town’s regular monthly council meeting held Tuesday, September 3.
“I’ve been waiting since July 24 for a response from Étienne Lavoie at Urban Planning,” said McCartney. “I told him it was quite urgent, that I had seen activity in the bog. We had a discussion and I took notes of what he said.”
McCartney said tree cutting had also taken place. Her question regarding the lack of a response from the town was intended for Mayor Jamie Nicholls who was not in attendance at the council meeting which was chaired by Pro-Mayor and Councillor Helen Kurgansky.
According to McCartney’s email, tree-cutting permits may be requested from the town at different stages of the development or all at once.
“They already have their certificate of authorization from the Ministry of Environment,” McCarthy told The Journal. “When they have their fence approved by the ministry, they can begin building their berm.”
One of her concerns is the effect the removal of trees and peat will have on the surrounding bog that has been preserved. There are two streams flowing through parts of the property that have been conserved. “I fear the development will be a continual drain on the existing blog,” said McCartney. She said it will affect existing houses, one of which experienced flooding earlier this year. According to McCartney, the cause was runoff from spring snow melt and rains.
Environmental Action Group
McCartney had additional questions regarding the working procedures of the town’s Environmental Action Group (EAG).
“After several meetings, I asked what the purpose of the group was, what was the mission statement, why no agenda, no minutes and no meetings posted on the town calendar, and why there was no communication with the group by email,” said McCartney.
In response, Kurgansky said the questions would be brought to the attention of the mayor. She added the ideas, discussions and concerns of the EAG had not fallen on deaf ears. Indeed, they had resulted in two notices of motions for by-laws concerning the protection of woodlands of interest, wetlands, and forest corridors across the town.
Supervision of Como bog development
“I’ve been told repeatedly over the years that anything to do with the development of Como bog would be followed and inspected by the town and supervised by the Ministry of the Environment,” said McCartney adding, “I wanted to know what had happened and I haven’t had a reply.”
According to Councillor Austin Rikely-Krindle, the Ministry of the Environment has a backlog of applications for permits and inspection of projects. Council members noted the project had been approved at an earlier date and was in the hands of the Ministry of the Environment.
“When I contacted the mayor, he wasn’t aware the work was going on,” said McCartney.
“I understand your frustration and we will try to get some answers for you,” said Kurgansky.
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Protecting Hudson forests and wetlands is the priority for a petition organized by JJ Corker (left) and others to temporarily halt residential construction affecting those areas.
Protection of wetlands and forests
On a similar environmental note, resident Benjamin Poirier asked why the notices of motion for the two by-laws protecting wetlands and forests introduced at the August meeting were not on the agenda for the evening.
“I want to draw your attention to the fact there is a deadline associated with these by-laws,” said Poirier.
“We are really aware of the deadline,” responded Rikley-Krindle adding, “We wanted to make certain the language was correct and that everything was included.” He noted that Eco2Urb, the company mandated to create a town-wide conservation plan, would provide council with a snapshot of that plan in September. Kurgansky said the motions would be presented at the October council meeting.
Temporary moratorium on residential development
A group of concerned Hudson citizens are working on a petition asking Hudson Town Council to place a temporary moratorium on all residential developments that have the potential to negatively impact natural areas of the town, according to resident JJ Corker. Although the petition was not deposited with council on Tuesday evening, Corker reported more than 500 hundred residents had signed. “We will keep on working on the petition which, I suppose, is a form of support for the council and the administration showing the people of Hudson value these areas,” said Corker as he handed the Town Clerk a copy of the petition’s rational. Corker added the group intends to continue canvassing the town for more signatures.
The petition is available on line by following the link at www.naturehudson.org.