Protesters want to see Cooper Marsh protected

Carol Goddard, Special to Seaway News
Protesters want to see Cooper Marsh protected
On July 19, close to 50 people gathered at the municipal building in the Township of South Glengarry to protest the recent decision of council to approve the rezoning of a parcel of land adjacent to Cooper Marsh, located between Lancaster and Summerstown. Goddard photo.

LANCASTER, Ontario – A group of approximately 50 people attended a peaceful protest at the South Glengarry township offices in reaction to a decision made by council to approve a re-zoning of a parcel of land adjacent to the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area from Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) to Open-Space.  Ru Guo Investments Canada Ltd/Folenn Planning + Design, owner of the property plan to develop 25 campsites at the site.

Jacqueline Milner, one of the event volunteers, explained her goal for the peaceful protest was to have council reconsider their decision in this matter, before commenting it is hoped letters to be delivered to the township office during the event would be helpful.

She expressed her concern about the proposed development at the east end of Cooper’s Marsh which would affect a number of species at risk including Blandings Turtles and the Sandhill Crane.  She commented how the area in question had been designated as a wetland before being filled in by previous owners prior to legislative changes in 2018.   Noting there were still a couple of hurdles for the developers to overcome before the project begins, she is hopeful council will reconsider this decision and during the meeting and encouraged people to lobby council to consider including vital wildlife habitats in future planning.

There were several questions asked by participants during the protest, including wondering why council would approve this re-zoning, questions and comments about a possible conflict of interest, and wondering who had spoken for those who have no voice, in this case animals who live nearby.

In addition to people from South Glengarry there were residents of other areas in SDG including South Stormont and Cornwall.  Elaine MacDonald, a City of Cornwall councillor and long-time supporter of environmental issues, was in attendance at the peaceful protest in Lancaster.  She commented people are beginning to realize the danger our planet is in and the importance of taking care of the Earth.  She continued how it is her hope people will realize small things done to protect and help the environment are important.

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