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"Group still fighting for Hidden Valley" from the Saturday August 5, 2006 KW Record below as well as the PERSPECTIVE double page feature on groundwater contamination in the Tri-Cities (Preston in Cambridge).
Friends of Hidden Valley Poster
Group still fighting for Hidden Valley
KITCHENER (Aug 5, 2006)
Area residents are staging an 11th-hour attempt to save what will be left of Hidden Valley after a sugar bush is felled to make room for a road.
The road was sanctioned by Waterloo regional council after a group known as Friends of Hidden Valley lost a fight to stop the River Road extension.
A grove of sugar maples will be removed for the road, which will run through part of an environmentally sensitive area.
The area features rolling hills and valleys, a provincially significant wetland and more than 110 species of nesting and migrating birds.
Having lost the road battle, Friends of Hidden Valley now takes aim at development expected to follow the extension.
Pearl Valley Inc. wants to develop some of the 80 hectares it owns in the area.
In earlier interviews, company spokesperson Paul Eichinger said development plans haven't been finalized. He said what is developed will depend on where the road is built.
As much as half the land might not be suitable for development because of the sensitive environment, Eichinger said.
The Friends of Hidden Valley don't want industrial or commercial development in the valley, said Daphne Nichols, a spokesperson for the group.
The group wants the city to buy the land and rezone the property to prevent development on sensitive lands.
Failing that, the city should help form a consortium of private landowners to hold ownership of the land, she said.
Nichols said the idea of acquiring sensitive lands isn't a new one. The city's environmental advisory committee has recommended the city set aside funds to buy such properties.
The city did ask the region to consider buying land in Hidden Valley during the debate about the road, but the region declined.
Buying parkland is a city issue, the region suggested.
Friends of Hidden Valley is organizing an art show that will run at Kitchener Public Library from Aug. 29 to Sept. 23.
Called Hidden Valley -- A Celebration or Lament, organizers hope the show will raise public awareness about the issue.
Although area residents and opponents couldn't block the road, they are happier with the final alignment, which skirts around the outside of the valley instead of running through the middle.
The new alignment allows the area designated as environmentally sensitive to be enlarged.
Gord Nichols said about 52 hectares were designated environmentally sensitive in 1976, but the designation was revoked for about 14 hectares when the region initially planned the road.
At the time, planners said the 14 hectares no longer qualified for the designation because the parcel was too small to be viable.
Now, with the new road alignment, Nichols and others say it is time for the region to restore the environmentally sensitive designation to the larger area.
"Waiting to be Safe" Perspectives section August 5 2006 KW Record
"Waiting to be Safe" Perspectives section August 5 2006 KW Record continued
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