The city wants to reconstruct Decew Rd. — and they’re looking for input from the public on the project.
While the city’s 2020 Transportation Master Plan has identified Decew Rd. as being in poor condition, there are some ecological concerns related to the project.
The area up for reconstruction — between Richmond St. and Beaverdams Rd. — not only borders Mel Swart Conservation Park, but it is also a stone’s throw away from the protected frog pond.
To get ahead of any ecological concerns, City Hall has initiated a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment study that will take a closer look at the affected area.
“The study will also consider geometric and operational improvements to the road and intersections, street lighting, and improved pedestrian and cyclist amenities,” reads a statement from City Hall.
Recommendations for upgrades and replacement of underground water services will also be considered.
As part of the study, City Hall hopes to complete a Natural Environment Assessment in the spring, which will identify natural heritage features, determine potential impacts, and develop appropriate mitigation strategies.
While the bulldozed frog pond — situated right next to the study area — shouldn’t be affected, local eco-activist group ‘Friends of the Richmond Street Forest’ are following the project closely.
“We do recognize the need to improve [Decew Rd.] in terms of traffic and just overall safety,” says ‘Friends’ group member Rachael Haynes, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “We’re just hoping and expecting that the eco-studies will recognize what needs to be protected.”
While the frog pond was restored last year, it’ll be a few more weeks until we'll know whether or not life has returned to the pond.
“It should be soon,” Haynes says. "We’ll have to see what spring brings. The planting that has happened there, we want to see it be successful.”
The city also still has to build the promised pathway underneath Decew Rd., so that the frogs can safely cross between Lake Gibson and the pond.
“We are kind of expecting to see that the eco-terrestrial passage is included in these plans,” says Haynes.
Two Public Information Centres will be held for Thorold residents to ask questions and give feedback and comments on the project.
One thing’s for certain: environmental stewards of the surrounding natural areas will be in attendance.
“It’ll be very interesting to see how they improve Decew Rd. without encroaching on those spaces,” Haynes says.
The first Public Information Centre will be held in Committee Room 1 at City Hall on Thursday, Mar. 23 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
For more information on the project or to submit your feedback, you can head over to the city's website.