Why has the city still not delivered on its promise to restore the bulldozed frog pond?
The vernal pool is still in the same dishevelled state as it was left by developers three months ago—and with summer on the horizon, time is running out.
After a city council presentation on March 8 by the environmental group ‘Friends of the Richmond Street Forest,’ councillors unanimously ordered a report on the matter, and vowed to hire a wetland ecologist to reinstate the pond to its former glory.
Two months have passed since then and, in spite of the frogs showing signs of life, no action seems to have been taken by City Hall.
“We’re getting very nervous and anxious,” the chair of the ‘Friends’ group, Carla Carlson, tells ThoroldToday.
That is why the group is sending an urgent letter to city council demanding immediate action.
“We’d like the letter to go to the mayor and councillors asking about the report they had promised,” says Carlson. “The second ask we got is the status of the wetland ecologist being hired because we’re getting concerned.”
After the March 8 council meeting, the ‘Friends’ group put together a list of qualified ecologists for the city’s consideration but they haven’t heard news since.
The chair of Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara, Liz Benneian, who helped put together the list, says she understands the difficulties of finding the right wetland ecologist.
“A lot of firms that have people with the right qualifications are really big companies that work in the major construction industry and are consultants for that,” says Benneian, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “It’s hard to find a company that’s the right scale with the right people.”
Because vernal pools tend to dry up in summer, time is running out.
“They come in the spring and they’re around long enough for the frogs and toads to lay their eggs to hatch and successfully develop,” Benneian explains. “Without the tree cover that field is open and exposed to the full heat of the sun. The concern is that it’ll dry up too fast before the progeny have fulfilled its life cycle. Time is of the essence and it’s concerning that there is such a delay.”
Benneian is worried it may already be too late.
“I think they should have started the work a month ago,” she says. “Every day is getting later and later. Who knows what the weather is going to be like this year? But if the warming and drought trends are any indication there is no time to lose.”
ThoroldToday repeatedly reached out to City Hall for comment but did not receive a reply.