Citizens of Fernie were outraged by the destruction of a Beaver Dam on the Montane property on Cokato Road this week. Earlier today the City of Fernie announced that they have commenced a prosecution in the Provincial Court of British Columbia against Montane Developments Ltd..
Comments on a facebook post regarding the beaver dam removal included:
“The rumour is true. My girls and I were very sad to see the beaver dam be gone – from one day to the next – it disappeared. I know we drove past today as well . There was a small creek going through it… how , why, who approved this?”
“… apparently no one.”
“You can get a permit to remove a beaver dam, but a permit is required.”
“Photo confirmation of them ravaging the beaver dam. The evening before this we were watching the beaver mum and her two pups glistening in the sun by their home. The next day, their home was destroyed and there were were two pups swimming aimlessly by the site of where their home was. We’ve only been able to spot one pup swimming over the last 4 days…”
Earlier today the City of Fernie posted the following on their website:
“The City of Fernie has commenced a prosecution in the Provincial Court of British Columbia alleging that Montane Developments Ltd. failed to obtain the required Watercourse Protection Development Permit and Hazard Lands Development Permit prior to undertaking work on their lands adjacent to Cokato Road and Montane Parkway.
The first scheduled court appearance is July 23, 2020.”
Parastone provided the following letter regarding the Fernie Montane property:
“An Open Letter to Residents of the Town of Fernie
Parastone Developments Ltd. would like to provide an update on the Montane development adjacent to the gravel portion of Montane Parkway in Fernie, BC. Once completed, the Montane project will provide a multitude of uses in the area, including enhanced recreation, conservation, childcare, retail, residential, and agriculture.
Parastone acknowledges the heightened public interest over the wetland habitat and beaver dam that is near the project site. Since Parastone started development on the Montane property in 2014, preserving and enhancing this natural area has remained a key priority of the overall project scope. After careful review with our project professionals, Parastone determined that the proposed construction to redistribute the wetland would infringe upon the initially proposed project scope. To mitigate any future disturbances, we are working with our engineering team to ensure all work is completed within project boundaries as outlined in the approved permit for this project. The proposed wetland complex, which would include engineered shrub and meadow areas as well as permanent shallow water habitat, would provide a diverse range of long-term, natural sustainable habitats for the existing ecosystem.
We want to assure residents that Parastone is working closely with the City of Fernie as well as the appropriate conservation agencies throughout this project. Parastone is currently developing a revised public engagement process to ensure we maintain transparency and that our key stakeholders feel informed. We look forward to sharing this process soon.
Once Montane has reached project completion, the area will become an educational wetland, maintaining the habitat and creating a boardwalk with educational storyboards for educational purposes and public enjoyment. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2021.
Parastone understands and shares the passion of Fernie residents to maintain the natural beauty that draws so many to the area, including enhancement of the existing ecosystem and native wetland species.”
Sincerely, Simon Howse
General Manager, Parastone Team of Companies
Riparian areas link water to land. They border streams, lakes, and wetlands. The blend of streambed, water, trees, shrubs and grasses in a riparian area provides fish habitat, and directly influences it. Protecting riparian areas, while facilitating urban development that embraces high standards of environmental stewardship, is a priority for the Government of British Columbia. The Riparian Areas Protection Regulation was enacted under Section 12 of the Fish Protection Act in July 2004.
The City of Fernie has a history of challenging developers and holding the environment as a high standard. Parastone has a history of acting on its own accord without concern for public opinion. As with all conflicts the outcome will involve compromise and end somewhere in between each parties position.